I literally just got home from watching Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As I have started to do with many of the “big release” movies, I am reviewing that for you here on Emerald Specter.com. Let’s get to it.
I am a Marvel fan, have been since I started actually “collecting” comics. While the first superhero I fell in love with was Shazam (aka Captain Marvel), I usually put my hat into the ring with the Marvel cast of characters because they’re a little more realistic in my book. That said, the Marvel movies are a huge hit with me and I’ve been interested in seeing how DC would respond to that for some time. I did write a companion piece about how DC’s cinematic universe would fail, but I didn’t know about what this particular installment would be like.
Spoilers from this point on.
The idea that Bruce Wayne wants to kill Superman for no apparent reason (thinking that he’s saving the planet) bothers me. Building that up over the course of the first half of the movie was a little annoying, like they were trying to justify a reason for Batman to fight Superman. I found Lex Luthor annoying as all get out and the government just allowing him unfettered access to the Kryptonian ship was bordering on the unbelievable. The James Bond-esq nature of Diana Prince’s involvement was a little weird, seemed out of character to me, Bruce Wayne doing all kinds of the cloak and dagger outside of his bat suit, and the fact that Gotham and Metropolis seem to be right across the river from each other was too convenient for me. The critical reception of Man of Steel concentrated on the rampant destruction wrought across the planet (centering on Metropolis) and that continued here as a conveniently uninhabited island and a conveniently abandoned dock are laid waste… oh, and Metropolis takes another hammering.
That said, I think there is more good in this movie than bad.
Doomsday was cheesy, or at least how he was created was cheesy, but they needed something that the DC “holy trinity” would combat and because two of the three of the trinity are superpowered they needed a villain that was powerful enough to give them trouble. We did NOT need Jesse Eisenberg in this movie as the “chicken hopped up on Red Bull” Lex Luthor that we got. He was highly annoying, flighty, and there is absolutely no way anyone with half a brain is going to allow him unrestricted access to an alien ship without supervision. The very concept strains credulity. Remove him from the movie and you’re looking at a solid star increase in a five star system.
Jeremy Irons was a great Alfred. Just like Sean Pertwee in the Gotham TV show, we get an Alfred that isn’t just an old guy that happens to know who Bruce Wayne is at night. His level of involvement was perfect, too. I also like Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, generally, but he was borderline annoying in this movie… he shouldn’t have been such a pushy ass.
Ben Affleck was a great Batman. Michael Keaton was told he wouldn’t be great in the suit and he was, Christian Bale was great in the suit, and now Affleck makes a great Dark Knight. I enjoyed the portrayal immensely and anyone that says he didn’t do a fantastic job is a complete idiot. I can’t wait to see more of him as Batman.
We didn’t need the Knightmare scene, the part where Batman is wearing a trench coat and fighting Superman soldiers and whatever those big things were… it did allow the Flash to pop in with a warning about something or other, which I believe is the red herring to what he was actually talking about, and I know that was needed mainly to put in the trailers to build up the short Batman/Superman fight. Without that scene, we could have had more story building on Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent researching what they really needed to be worried about: Luthor.
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was perfect. Wonder Woman’s movie is going to be great and I’m seriously looking forward to seeing that movie. I’ll be interested to see how DC and Warner Brothers are going to build up the characters rather than continuously reboot them according to movie executives thinking they know better than the source material. Wonder Woman isn’t a hard sell, you just had to do the character right instead of trying to just do the character how you THINK the character would be responded to by the general populace. Superheroes aren’t for the general populace, they’re supported by actual fans.
I left the theater hopeful that my column about DC failing being wrong. There is still a lot of possible ways to screw up but I’m more hopeful now. Jason Momoa as Aquaman is going to be awesome and, while I’m not a Cyborg fan, Im curious as to what the hell that damn cube thing was that started making him Cyborg.
With Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman teased, that gives us six of the “big seven” of DC. Green Lantern would be the seventh and I hope they go with the John Stewart version for the Justice League. We’ll also get to see Shazam at some point, but I wonder if they won’t use him until his actual movie, hoping whomever is cast for that character fills the role of Superman for the “next version” of the Justice League. I can totally see that happening already, replace all the original heroes with different ones so that 15 years into the future, they aren’t relying on Henry Cavill to still be interested in playing Superman.
Out of five stars, I’m going to give Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice a reluctant four. I think it was better than three but would have been closer to five if Jesse Eisenberg wasn’t in the movie. He made an annoying Luthor, and just like my loathing for the Joker, now I have a reason to hate Luthor.
Go see the movie. Critics are dissing it and people are comparing it to other movies that weren’t good but those people and critics are wrong. 4/5, it will be a great movie franchise if they go in the right direction.