Home > Movie and Anime Reviews > Movie Review: Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice (2016)

Movie Review: Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice (2016)

 BATMAN V SUPERMAN

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Superman Evolves and Batman Involves

Firstly, let’s deal with the weirdness that happened before the actual movie was released. When Ben Affleck was cast as Batman (instead of Christian Bale) the internet(s) lost its bat-mind. Not Affleck! Not Daredevil! And yet, this same pattern has repeated itself time and time again. Heath Ledger went from Brokeback Mountain to the joker, Hugh Jackman was all parts wrong for Wolverine and Ryan Reynolds was a ‘bad” Green Lantern and a bad Deadpool the first time around in X-Men Origins and the right Deadpool in, um Deadpool (2016).   I was 100% against the switch too- and I’m saying if you have the recipe right, don’t go changing the ingredients. Now that I’ve seen the movie, it all makes sense.

This is the EVOLUTION of both characters. And that’s the difference. If you can remember with me- The Silence of the lambs franchise (I know, we’re reaching) Agent Starling was recast after Jodie Foster with Julianne Moore. Moore played an evolved Agent Starling that was tougher and far removed from where we left Clarice. Jarring. So Ben Affleck plays an EVOLVED Bruce Wayne/Batman. Clark Kent is no longer the clumsy goof that pines for Lois and does whatever he’s told. He’s got the girl now. He stands up to Perry (Laurence Fishburne) and he is certainly his own (super)man and grappling with his choices. Wayne has been doing this a while now- 20 years by the movies admission. So who should he be, twenty years LATER? Same guy womanizing and stopping bank robberies in Gotham? Batman needs to bump up from fighting skilled-human thugs to dealing with gods, monsters and well….superheroes (meta-humans as the movie calls them). Clark should be doing what? – hiding behind Lois and saving kittens from trees?

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Understand their fundamental differences. Batman stops crime. Superman saves lives. I’ll repeat this because many people seem to be lost on who these two characters actually are and how they were made. Batman was created by witnessing a crime, which robbed (pun intended) him of his parents. And so, he is obsessed with stopping crime. That’s his motivation. Superman is an orphan from an entire planet/race that died. His own father (Kevin Costner in Man of Steel) is portrayed as a life he couldn’t/didn’t save. He is obsessed with saving lives. Should these two get along? Maybe, not really. Batman V Superman is really serving as a bridge to the future where we go from solo adventures and personal quests to epic clashes where more than just cities are at stake. Basically, where Marvel’s Avengers are right now.

Director Zack Snyder takes the task of combining two beloved franchises and giving birth to a third and maybe even fourth (Wonder Woman, anyone?). It takes all of 2 + 1/2 hours to cram all this in and do …justice (ahem) to each caped crusader and their back stories. The story is supplied by Chris Terrio [Argo (2012)] and David S Goyer [Batman Begins(2005) The Dark Knight (2008) The Dark Knight Rises (2012) Man of Steel (2013) which explains why the tone was rightly dark and felt like the next chapter in each heroes timeline. So what do we get?

 

We get a sequel, prequel, sequel… prequel. Before there can be a Justice League (a grouping of DC’s greatest heroes) they have to come together and find a reason to do so. Superman has to more than stand a symbol for the sanctity of life. He has to accept that there are consequences and new responsibilities and yep, his hands are gonna get dirty. Batman has to let go parts of his personal vendetta(s) and stand for more than vengeance. They both need to stand for JUSTICE. So it’s not the ‘Dawn of the Justice League’. It’s the dawn of justice as an idea or concept for the assembled characters to rally around. We have, basically, two movies in one. Yes, Batman VERSE Superman does go down, but we also have the awakening to a new world, a great cameo by Wonder Woman and an interesting future blueprint. Should it really have been split in to two movies? Probably. Most ‘fixes’ by unhappy moviegoers tend to involve adding more, which suggests future movies or side adventures in some other medium.

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So why all the bad reviews? I have no idea. The movie audience clapped at the end so I’m wondering where all the early hate came from. I hear a lot of nitpicking which can be done with any movie- so I’m not understanding how warranted all negative feedback is. – After all, it’s based on characters from comic books so historical-documentary-like treatment isn’t required. Yes, expect common comic-tropes and clichés. Flimsy reasons for the two good guys to battle, perfect coincidences and quick resolutions that make everything pretty okay by the end. Yeah, that’s a movie.

Face it, as children we were raised on brightly colored super heroes who used punches and kicks to defeat bad guys in face masks. They were born from a world at war and our heroes inhabit a much darker universe. We are at war right now. We don’t even think about that fact. We are not sure what to believe. Who are we fighting? How truthful is our government? A Batman can’t save us- nor can a Superman. But something in the middle would be rather fitting and that’s where justice is found. This movie is much more like Man of Steel II: Batman comes to Metropolis than anything else. If you expect that walking in, you’ll be fine.

 

See all the movies reviewed here.

 

 

 

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