Ladies and Gents, the time has come now after the fact. From the announcement at Comic-Con 2013 to the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman to the first teaser trailer release, we have all been along for the ride. Now, the long-awaited comic book feature, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is not just alive in our wildest imaginations, but alive on the big screen. It is a given that this monumental undertaking did not have the huge, unstoppable kind of success most of us would have thought it would in the beginning.
The reviews for the film have been in the range of amazing and wildly fun to unwatchable and a disgrace to comic book movies. One of the funniest things though, when it comes to reviews is that they do matter, but it is still for every person to go out and gather their own opinion. If a review cripples a movie with its sharp words, it obviously casts doubt on a film and can ultimately stop someone from even watching something they might enjoy, possibly love. With that being said, always review a movie for yourself, make your own interpretations and thoughts by viewing, use reviews as a guideline of sorts for your own level of hype. Yesterday, there was a review from this site detailing how bad Batman v Superman was.
My review is quite contrary to theirs, I really enjoyed the film and think it quite possibly one of the better comic book films today. I also believe that with the power and just shear awesomeness of this film, DC Comics, after many years, has finally gotten their cinematic universe running. This review will have very few spoilers, so tread carefully. Off to the review, let us start with the plot and the cast.
“After the devastating and tragic events following Superman’s triumph over the villainous General Zod and his army in Metropolis, the general public has begun to question his motives. Some say that he is a hero, others say that he is most certainly a villain. However, the legendary Gotham City crusader known as Batman, begins to fear this god-like superhero’s actions and the two soon wage war against one another. In the midst of tremendous rage and violence, a new threat quickly emerges and threatens all of mankind.”
The film stars:
- Ben Affleck (Gone Girl, Argo, upcoming The Accountant) as Bruce Wayne / Batman
- Henry Cavill (The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Man of Steel, Immortals) as Clark Kent / Kal-El / Superman
- Jesse Eisenberg (American Ultra, The Social Network, upcoming Now You See Me 2) as Lex Luthor, CEO of LexCorp
- Amy Adams (Big Eyes, Man of Steel, upcoming Nocturnal Animals) as Lois Lane
- Jeremy Irons (Race, TV’s The Borgias, upcoming Assassin’s Creed) as Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce’s trusted butler
- Gal Gadot (Triple 9, Fast and Furious series, upcoming Criminal) as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman
- Holly Hunter (Manglehorn, Thirteen, The Incredibles) as Sen. June Finch, a junior senator from Kentucky
- Scoot McNairy (TV’s Halt and Catch Fire, Argo, upcoming War Machine) as Wallace Keefe, a victim of the Metropolis attack
- Callan Mulvey (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 300: Rise of an Empire, upcoming Delirium) as Anatoli Knyazev, a Russian mercenary
- Tao Okamoto (The Wolverine) as Mercy Graves, Luthor’s assistant
- with Laurence Fishburne (Man of Steel, The Matrix series, upcoming Passengers) as Perry White, Editor of The Daily Planet
- and Diane Lane (Inside Out, Man of Steel, upcoming Felt) as Martha Kent, Clark’s mother
Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne / Batman
I can honestly remember where I exactly was when I heard that Ben Affleck was going to be the next actor to don the cowl of The Dark Knight. I was at home getting ready for work, when I checked one of the various sites I go to and it just popped up. “Huh.,” was my reaction and as I let is ponder inside my head I started to realize that Ben Affleck was going to be a great Bruce Wayne / Batman. Now when I say this, I do not want to take away from all of the other men to portray the legendary crusader. Actors Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney and Christian Bale all in their own right did a fantastic job.
However, they all started out their careers as Batman, whereas Affleck is on his more seasoned stint as Batman. It also makes perfect sense when you think about, with as much of a life as Affleck has had not only as a person, but as a celebrity and an actor, he has had great moments and some that I’m sure he wished never existed. Those are the kind of things we need in a Bruce Wayne and even more so with a Batman. But I digress.
His casting did bring a lot of negative responses and certainly a lot of questions. However, it is quite ironic that it seems out of every review I think written about this film, not a bad thing has been said about his portrayal. That says something, people.
When it comes to his portrayal, minus very minor wishes for a bit more backstory on his Batman, I do not have a bad thing to say about him. One of the parts I actually find most interesting about his Batman is his dedication to the training and to the character. Affleck has always been a big guy, but at the age of 42-43, putting on around 40 pounds of solid muscle is no easy task. Even quite hard. In the film, there are scenes of his training regimen and it is incredible. Definitely made me question some life choices at my young age of 26.
With this version of Batman, we really get to see the character disillusioned if you will. He has been taking on the burdens of his beloved city and wearing it right on his shoulders. After 20 years, that must be tiring. And then lo behold, Superman and Zod tear up Metropolis and more importantly… Wayne Enterprises. After seeing Affleck’s performances for the last 6-7 years and most notable with 2014’s Gone Girl, Affleck is able to pull off any emotional feat when it comes to our favored caped crusader. Well done, sir.
Henry Cavill as Clark Kent / Superman
I was absolutely blown away by his performance in Man of Steel. He is as much Clark Kent as he is Superman, or Supes as he calls him. With this being his second outing as the mighty Kryptonian, Cavill is definitely a worthy successor to the late Christopher Reeve. In this film, we really see the true turmoil through his eyes as being an ordinary man-trying to be hero-while being seen as a god. With that being said, this is the most humanistic portrayal Cavill has given. He is almighty and powerful, but also vulnerable and at some points, scared.
As a fan, I still for some reason keep longing for more when it comes to this character. I can’t exactly describe it. Maybe it is a certain charm I’m looking for or a just an unfair comparison to Reeve’s Superman. Because of this hold up I have with this character, I can’t really say anything bad, because besides some minor scripting issues, Cavill does even better than I could have imagined as Superman. I cannot wait to see what he brings to the table in the future.
I was watching an interview before writing this article and it was with Cavill. When asked his thoughts on the character, he said that he had become very protective in a way of the role and an even bigger fan of the comics now that he plays him. I know that this is not really important to the review, but I just thought that this was really awesome to hear and share. Well done, sir.
Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
Just like the news of Affleck’s casting of Batman, I was very concerned and confused with their choosing of Eisenberg to play Lex Luthor, one of the mightiest bad guys in the DC Universe. Eisenberg is skinny and quite small, but damn if he is not a brilliant actor. Not only does he take on a different version of Luthor and make it his own, he almost steals the whole movie from the two leads.
Before the film was released, I heard a rumor that the film was originally going to have two big DC villains. With Superman, they were going to have Lex Luthor and for Batman, they were going to have The Riddler. I am guessing this was a plan to cause a common goal for both men. And on top of that tiny rumor was that Eisenberg did not originally tryout for Luthor, but for The Riddler. However, because his reading was so epic, they decided to make him Luthor and carry over all the eccentricity of his reading for Riddler.
Now is any of this true, I am sure Zack Snyder definitely knows, but there is no way I can ask him.
As a cross between Gene Hackman’s great portrayal of Luthor and Jared Leto’s upcoming take on The Joker in this summer’s Suicide Squad, Eisenberg is almost as psychotic, as he is justifiable in his actions. With many awesome quotes throughout the film as:
The Red Capes are coming, The Red Capes are coming.
We know better now, don’t we? Devils don’t come from hell beneath us. They come from the sky.
And now, you will fly to him, and you will battle him to the death. Black and blue. Fight night. The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world. God versus man. Day versus night! Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham.
Such powerful words, written by Chris Terrio. When read by Eisenberg, they light up the screen in a maniacal manner. I have nothing bad to say about his performance as Luthor. He definitely will give Leto a run for his money. Cannot wait to see what Eisenberg has in store for us in the future. Well done, sir.
Zack Snyder, Director
It is no little secret that I have always been a fan of Snyder’s. Even before Watchmen, when he tackled 300 and the remake of Dawn of the Dead, I saw real talent in this man. Before I go on to talking his role with this film, one of the biggest complaints I have heard is that he failed this film in a comic book sense.
Snyder who is not only an avid comic book reader, but a huge fan, said a quote from The Dark Knight Returns at Comic-Con 2013 in order to hype up the crowd, but then went on to say the film would not be a an exact adaptation of the graphic novel, here is the quote.
If you were going to do that you would need a different Superman. We are bringing Batman into the universe that now this Superman lives in.
Hopefully this can put some perspective on the situation. Snyder is a showman, there is no denying that, he is like the P.T. Barnum of cinema today. Can he get carried away at times, yes. Can his films be a little larger than life, almost certainly. Is the man a great director, absolutely.
This film is not a hundred percent perfect. This is undeniable. But it is Snyder’s motivation and attention to detail that moves this film along almost effortlessly. I am more than excited to see what he has planned, as he starts shooting Justice League Part 1 next month.
One other thing I think is quite awesome. Snyder said in an interview that there is one scene in the film where they attached a go pro camera to the batmobile and used the shot. That is incredible. Using a go pro, alongside 70 mm film cameras and IMAX cameras. Well done, sir.
Amy Adams as Lois Lane
Surprisingly enough, when I first heard about Man of Steel, one of my first thoughts was not who was going to be donning the cape of Superman, but it was… who is gonna be the new Lois Lane? Adams met almost everyone of my expectation in the first film. She was not a diva, she had balls as a journalist and it didn’t hurt that she is breathtakingly beautiful. Also, I’m not sure a lot of people know this, but it was Amy Adams’ childhood dream to play Lois Lane.
Adams is just as cool and casual in this film. She is a bit more of damsel under the circumstances, which takes away some of her appeal as a strong woman. However, when dealing with larger than life issues, I guess everyone who does not have a superpower can be considered a damsel. I cannot fault her for that. She is not getting off that easy though.
The one issue I do have with the character is where are her ambitions. Lois is not a lapdog. However, as sad as I am to say it, she really seems that way with Superman. I know they are in love and I fully respect that. But it just seems that she needs to have her ambitions like maybe trying to uncover bigger scoops or trying to get a Pulitzer prize or something. Just a minor critique.
While the men are bickering throughout the film, she is really the one who connects the dots. For a film this size, you have to have someone doing that. It cannot just be said that this person or that person is responsible. Now, I am not saying that Batman nor Superman, do not do any investigating. Batman actually shows a great use of his known detective skills. But Lois is the one always around in the muck sort of speak, digging for the truth. I, also really enjoy how they are keeping up with a modern take on journalism overall. That is very important. And that is why we say, thank you for a great performance and a great portrayal, Mrs. Adams.
On a side note, can Lois Lane please punch someone in the next film? I really thank that would show off her full prowess as a strong woman alongside an god-like superhero.
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman
If there was one casting in the entirety of this film I was almost a hundred percent against, it was Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Seeing her as Gisele in the Fast and Furious movies was one thing, but I did not see her as an Amazonian princess/warrior. Today, I can say wholeheartedly that I was wrong.
Not only does she look the part as mysterious socialite Diana Prince, but she kicks some serious ass as a warrior princess. She has that spiciness that one would need in order to smile at her adversary in the midst of a battle.
As it has been for most of the cast, I do not have many bad things to say. This is mostly because of how surprised I am with the very successful casting process.
Her role in this is that of an extended cameo, but she makes it her own. She is also is very passionate about making this role her own, which you can really tell through only a few scenes. For a young actress, that is very impressive. I am very much looking forward to seeing her in her solo film next year. Well done, Ms. Gadot.
When it comes to supporting characters for a film of this magnitude, usually a bunch of usual character actors are just thrown together with some meaty dialogue and thats that. Not with this film, the supporting characters really bring this film along. Each one of them make their scenes with the leading roles that much more impressive.
Academy Award Winner Holly Hunter is one of the best parts about this film. As junior senator June Finch, she is the head of the committee for the Superman hearings. She is a reasoned politician and most certainly not a pushover. Her scenes with Eisenberg’s Luthor are some of the best in the film. Hunter embodies what I believe we would all like to see a politician truly be like. Her role is the catalyst of what brings these two men finally together for the epic showdown. Even though she is not in the comics, thank you Mr. Snyder for bringing her in.
I was a huge fan of Sir Michael Caine’s Alfred in The Dark Knight Trilogy. He was as pleasant as he was blunt with Bruce Wayne and in many ways embodied a warm father figure. In this film, we have the wonderful Academy Award Winner Jeremy Irons coming in as a quite different take on Bruce’s loyal and trusted butler, Alfred Pennyworth.
One of the things I particularly liked about this new portrayal is Alfred is a bit a snarky and funny. He embodies an older man’s wit and complaints. Just like with Affleck’s Batman, I would have liked to see his backstory a bit. He shows off a more loyal side than I think Caine’s did. Alfred would do anything for Bruce. And he ultimately believes in him.
The major difference with this Alfred is Irons is more hands on. He is like a Alfred and Lucius Fox hybrid. Also doesn’t hurt that he has one of the best quotes in the entire film.
That’s how it starts. The fever, the rage, the feeling of powerlessness that turns good men… cruel.
Newcomers Scoot McNairy and Tao Okamato portray Wallace Keefe and Mercy Graves. Keefe was not necessarily in the comics, but is a well-added addition to the cast, just like Hunter. Okamato is barely in the film. Which is really sad, because she is very talented. Her role is also of Luthor’s robotic bodyguard in the comics, not his assistant. Kind of disappointed with how her role was written.
I was sincerely hoping that McNairy would be playing the adult version of Jimmy Olsen. Given his talent, he would be awesome in that role. However, it served a much greater purpose in this film as a truly hurt victim of the Metropolis attacks. He has a truly bright future ahead of him.
What can be said about Laurence Fishburne that hasn’t already. I was concerned about him in Man of Steel. But even more so know, he is Perry White. Just like J.K. Simmons will always be J. Jonah Jameson, Fishburne will always be Perry White.
Just like Lois, he truly enraptures that journalistic mindset. His performance is one of those that makes every other actor he shares the screen with better. Also doesn’t hurt that he gets quite a few laughs this time around.
Lastly, we have the always fabulous Diane Lane as Martha Kent. She was a great part of this film and even more so of Man of Steel. Lane fully embodies a good, honest woman and the mother role to Cavill’s Clark. Even though her role is limited, she is one of the main reasons Clark is who he is. Why he has the moral code of right and wrong. Why he fights to protect the innocent.
This whole movie was for the most part put around the fact that these two superheroes would fight. They definitely do that, but I found myself being disappointed at the fact that it was a very limited fight. When I first thought about the fight would be I was expecting blood. I wanted some busted bones and truly awe inspiring noises.
As I mentioned before, we do get a fight and its not a bad one. Even though it is only 3 minutes. It is also quite unfair and unrealistic. But that is certainly not because of the actors, that is more of a script issue.
For a fight as anticipated, it was also quite predictable, which takes almost all the fun out of it. Yes, we know because of the comics who wins, but still make it interesting. Batman is fully intent on fighting and it so far gone to the extreme there is no time for words, only punches. It would have been nice to see a little more viciousness on Superman’s part.
Doomsday, the villain
After seeing the debut of what we then thought and now know to be Doomsday in the second trailer, I, alongside of a lot of people was not particularly happy with the outcome of this character. However, what we saw in the trailers was only the tip of the ginormous Kryptonian.
The character is only in the movie for like 10 minutes. But it is an awesome 10 minutes. He is so powerful and deadly, it is almost unfair for the superheroes. But he serves his purpose alright, he unites the trinity. In all honesty, that is really Doomsday’s only purpose in this film.
We also really see how these three heroes fight when against an adversary like this. Kind of a prelude if you will to Justice League. The visual effects are quite cool. Actor Robin Atkin Downes (How to Train Your Dragon) provided the vocals for the creature.
Chris Terrio & David S. Goyer, Writers
After wining an Academy Award for his work on Affleck’s 2012 film, Argo, writer Chris Terrio became quite a name. It only makes sense that he would reunite with Affleck for something of this size. I have seen Argo and it is a wonderfully written piece of film. So when I first heard he was coming to Batman v Superman, I was more than happy.
When it comes to the dialogue of this film, I think he was spot on and right to the point. He gave some really great lines that made some awesome performances. However, watching the film, it is clear that the original script that David S. Goyer wrote was taken over by Terrio.
Not saying that it hurt the film, but with Goyer’s background in comics and even more so in comic book films, some things might have been left out. Those minor things can be important when dealing with a film like this.
Now, usually, I am not the person to go after the script wholeheartedly, but when the actors deliver good performances and the direction is for the most part solid, there is usually only one place left to check… the script.
The biggest issues I have and have heard are these:
Some of these are minor.
- Why would Bruce Wayne have to give the ok to evacuate the his building during the Metropolis attacks?
- How can Lois be distant and head over heels for Clark at the same time?
- Why is Lex Luthor so against Superman? Kind of did get a glimpse into this one, but not much.
- What is with the damsels in distress act?
- Did the script expect people to have a big knowledge of comic book lore? It was said this was not an exact adaptation of the comics, but there is still a lot of information given.
- Why is Superman’s dialogue so held back? He seems like Captain America in the first Avengers film.
- With the fight ending predictable, the whole truce between Batman and Superman is very shaky.
I did say earlier that I would not divulge anything too spoilerific about this film, even though I really wish I could. All I will say is that this film sets up the early stages of the DC Cinematic Universe. As everyone already knows Jason Momoa, who has been cast as Arthur Curry / Aquaman is in the film and there are a few other gems that most comic book fans and film lovers alike will really enjoy.
With superhero movies, realism is definitely a hard thing to try and pick out. I say this because they are in fact movie about superheroes who do not exist for the most part. The film is a darker look at the DC Comics, which I personally love. Just like Man of Steel, it continues with this.
There is a cameo in the film by Charlie Rose, a great journalist. In his part, he is himself and he is interviewing Holly Hunter’s character. He asks her this one question, that I want to list:
Is it really surprising that the most powerful man in the world, should be a figure of controversy.
When we think about it if there really was a being on this planet that was all powerful and not of this world, would we really fear him or except him? Personally, I think I would be afraid at first, but then warm up to him. In this film, I believe it is very real when it comes to the topic of realism.
In today’s world, we have wars, both domestic and international. We have death, corruption, and much more. If there were figures in our world that were considered vigilante or god-like, they would be figures of controversy. They would have the power in their hands to continue life or end it automatically.
As Superman’s S (a symbol of hope) or Batman’s Bat symbol (a symbol of justice), we as a society will always need symbols that stand for these virtues. And it is through movies like this, that in a way we are rewarded. Didn’t mean to get on a tangent. Saying that, I believe this film is realistic enough.
Comic Book Relation
As I mentioned before, the quote from Zack Snyder at Comic-Con, this film was not meant to be made as an adaptation of the legendary graphic novel, “The Dark Knight Returns” by Frank Miller. Because of this, it is hard to go trough each and every facet of the story. So I will focus on the main parts.
One of the biggest foundations that this film set up was in fact the trinity of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Brought beautifully to the screen by Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot.
Another part was the newest imagining of Batman’s origins. As with a lot of others, I actually enjoyed this one better than the most. Even though there is very few words and is does look like a Watchmen-esque opening, actors Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen) and Lauren Cohan (TV’s The Walking Dead) bring Thomas and Martha Wayne to life if only for a few short moments.
The new take on the Batmobile is a little similar to the Tumblr from The Dark Knight Trilogy. This one is a beast though. It has all kinds of fire power and we get more in-depth looks at it in battle. We even get a new take on the Batpod. As sorry as I am to say it, I really enjoy this one better, it’s like it took some designs from Tim Burton’s Batman and merged it with The Dark Knight Rises‘ Bat.
I know a big issue has been with Batman’s somehow new ability to kill. The way I look at it is a lot different than how people will look at it from the comics. If I were a crime fighter who has lost people over his twenty plus years fighting crime and villains, I would show a little restraint on the killing issue. And it is not like, he is going for straight kill shots. This Batman is a brutal fighter and unless he ha son other options, he won’t necessarily kill. But don’t give him a choice either.
Score / Cinematography / Visual Effects
I am still amazed at how much of a role the score played in this film. Not unlike The Dark Knight Trilogy, the score is very much a character of its own in the movie. Having Snyder bring back the musical mastermind himself, Hans Zimmer, who not only scored The Dark Knight Trilogy but also Man of Steel is an absolute treat.
On top of having Zimmer, Snyder also brought in the very talented Junkie XL, the same man behind such scores as Deadpool, Mad Max: Fury Road and 300: Rise of an Empire. I dare you to listen to this score and not absolutely love it.
Between the incredible visual effects and the film’s cinematography, I have no complaints. Well done.
With Batman v Superman now out in theaters, if you feel a little down, no worries because it won’t be a long wait till the DVD/Bluray release in July. DC has a whole release schedule ready for us, so let us see what is coming up. I still hope we get an official announcement that Batman will face Red Hood in his own solo film. Fingers Crossed.
- Suicide Squad – Starring Will Smith (Floyd Lawton / Deadshot), Jared Leto (The Joker), Margot Robbie (Dr. Harleen Quinzel / Harley Quinn), Joel Kinnaman (Col. Rick Flag), Jai Courtney (Digger Harkness / Captain Boomerang), Cara Delevingne (June Moore / Enchantress), Jay Hernandez (El Diablo), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Waylon Jones / Killer Croc) and Viola Davis (Amanda Waller) – Written & Directed by David Ayer (Fury, Sabotage, End of Watch)
- Wonder Woman – Starring Gal Gadot (Diana Prince / Wonder Woman), Chris Pine (Steve Trevor), Lucy Davis (Etta Candy), Robin Wright (General Antiope) and Connie Nielsen (Queen Hippolyta) – Directed by Patty Jenkins (Monster), Written by Jason Fuchs (Pan, Ice Age: Continental Drift, upcoming Lobo)
- Justice League Part One – Starring Ben Affleck (Bruce Wayne / Batman), Henry Cavill (Clark Kent / Superman), Gal Gadot (Diana Prince / Wonder Woman), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Jason Momoa (Arthur Curry / Aquaman), Ezra Miller (Barry Allen / The Flash), Ray Fisher (Victor Stone / Cyborg), Amber Heard (Mera) and J.K. Simmons (Commissioner Jim Gordon) – Directed by Zack Snyder, Written by Chris Terrio
- The Flash – Starring Ezra Miller (Barry Allen / The Flash) – Written & Directed by Seth Grahame-Smith
- Aquaman –Starring Jason Momoa (Arthur Curry / Aquaman) and Amber Heard (Mera) – Directed by James Wan (Furious 7, Insidious series, upcoming The Conjuring 2), Written by David Leslie Johnson (Red Riding Hood, Orphan, upcoming The Conjuring 2) and Kurt Johnstad (300 series, Act of Valor, upcoming The Coldest City)
- Justice League Part 2 – Cast (TBA) – Directed by Zack Snyder, Writer (TBA)
- Cyborg – Starring Ray Fisher (Victor Stone / Cyborg) – Director (TBA) – Writer (TBA)
- Green Lantern Corps – Cast (TBA) – Director (TBA) – Writer (TBA)
Sources: Google, YouTube, Batman v Superman