Two of the biggest DC superheroes face off against each other in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (here after known as BvS). Gotham’s Dark Knight travels to Metropolis to keep Superman in check, after seeing the destruction wrought by Superman and Zod’s fight. Superman faces a lot of issues, as he is under investigation by the government as a bid to control his powers surfaces. However, behind the scenes, Lex Luthor is brewing something that may take both superheroes and Wonder Woman to handle.
Honestly, I had high expectations when the film was first announced, but it has gotten lower and lower with each subsequent news piece. The amount of superhero cameos announced. The trailers filled with important story beats. The final trailer helped raised it a little, only to be dropped down the well by early reviews. Still, I had some hope. Batman and Superman were my favorite superheroes growing up. I loved watching the Justice League animated series and this was supposed to be the spark that would set it all off. I prayed and hoped that it would be everything I wished it was. It wasn’t.
Alfred was the best thing in the movie, next to Wonder Woman and Batman, in that order. Yeah. Oh boy, this is going to be tough to write. Alfred’s snarky dialogues and interactions with Bruce are among the best in the movie. It reminds me of the animated series Alfred. Batman was… different. He packs more punch and is more effective but at the same time he’s also heartless. A captures that feeling of someone who has seen and lost too much. Wonder Woman steals the show whenever she’s around, though I’d hope that she would play a more integral role in the movie. The plot would still go on with or without her.
There were a few fight scenes that were great, though I wished they were shot more clearly. Batman’s takedowns resembles those of the Arkham game series and the fan boy in me was giggling with glee. Though the fact that Batman broke his rules was always in the back of my head, but I tried to reason it as him being burnt out on doing good. Parts of the Doomsday fight was great. I don’t think it’s something that has been done in superhero films before, three superheroes working together to defeat one villain. The Avengers have mostly been multiple superheroes fight multiple cannon fodders. So that was good.
Trailer spoilers. A lot of the important story notes are spoiled in the trailers. On one hand, I should blame myself for watching those trailers, because you know, it happens all the time. All that fool me once, fool me twice deal. But on the other hand, this is Batman vs Superman. It’s supposed to be a big franchise, surely you can attract an audience without showing key story points. Think the Force Awakens trailer, those had almost no story spoilers at all.
The pacing of the film wasn’t great. Slow at the start, packed at the end, just like Man of Steel. The editing was all over the place. From the start of the movie, scenes were short and jumped around a lot. Most of it was setting up the eventual battle between Batman and Superman. And funnily enough, there are still a few times I was left wanting for more exposition. Which really highlights the choices they made in the first half of the film. There were more than a few scenes that I thought wasn’t needed. Lois, Wonder Woman, Justice League cameos, Wally’s storyline, Batman’s backstory (actually one of the favorite parts of the movie, very well shot) could have been either made shorter or removed entirely. Having a tighter more focused film would have benefited the movie a lot.
I’m on the fence on Lex Luthor Jr. I thought he’s something different, and certainly provides a contrast to the stoic nature of the other characters, but at the same time I felt he’s too reminiscence of the Joker. There’s some rumors saying that Eisenberg based his Lex on Max Landis. I can definitely see that. But ultimately his actions left a lot to be desired. He basically degrades as the movie goes on. And turns into a confusing mess by the end.
Speaking of Landis, I watched Max Landis’s pitch for Man of Steel 2 a few weeks before BvS’s release. You can watch it here. While BvS is a story about Batman and Superman, Landis’s pitch was a film focusing on Superman. And I must say, I’m intrigued how it would have worked out compared to BvS. I could really see Landis’s pitch being better than BvS. Though there’s some areas in the pitch that might need work, particular the doing good deeds part and the capturing all superheroes part. Both might work as montages, but it does dampen the gravitas slightly, especially on the latter one. Note that I say this without an inch of experience in writing screenplays and anything involved in film making in general. Let me know your thoughts on that.
It’s more Dawn of Justice than Batman vs Superman and it tries to take on too much and ends up with a muddled mess. Has a few great scenes, but the string linking them together is poor. Overall, I think that DC comic fans will find some entertainment out of it, but otherwise, I can see it being a bore fest.