Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has been one of the most anticipated films of the new century, if you didn’t already know. Why? Because so much hangs on this one movie. For years now, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros have tried to create an interwoven universe of their heroes, similar to the Marvel and Star Wars franchises. However, they were derailed by the shortcomings of Green Lantern and The Dark Knight Rises, not to mention the unwillingness of both Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale to continue what they’ve built. The movie has been put against impossible odds, which has, unfortunately jilted many opinions without ever seeing the film.
Truth be told, no one is ever going to recreate magic. As fans, we latch on to certain art that inspires us to be better people. At no point in time has lightning struck twice. We love Harry Potter, so why would we love Beautiful Creatures? That’s not how this works with Marvel and DC, though. The MCU has produced 13 films since 2008, not all of them good, by the way, and continue strong. The DCEU only has two under its belt. It’s working to create its own magic in its own unique way. Stop comparing the two companies right now. I promise that if every comic/cinema/superhero fan continues to do that, both companies will cease to be successful.
Why do I digress so much? Wasn’t this a review? Yes it is. I digress because as of now Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice has received such terrible critical reviews that it seems personal. From the beginning, this movie has been faced with ridiculous adversity that it truly feels as if it is a critical attack against the film. Why don’t people want this to succeed? Because it’s not how they would do it? Because they have an idea of what a superhero film should be and that’s how all of them should be? Well, that’s not how things work.
I loved the movie. And I was a staunch anti-Batfleck advocate. This was not how I would have done a Justice League film. At no point, though, did that make it a bad movie. If I can get over that, so can you.
Your Grid Daily writers saw the film Wednesday evening and it affected us very differently, so you are going to get three mini reviews from three different people who all enjoyed the film differently.
Derreck’s Batman v Superman Review
It’s dark, it’s gritty, and it’s intense. BvS takes the lead of films like The Dark Knight and Synder’s own Watchmen. As many know, it takes a lot from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. This is not just from the design of the Batman mech suit. The entire tone of Batman and Bruce Wayne is inspired by Frank Miller’s work. This is an older, more brutal Dark Knight and it shows in nearly ever scene. Ben Affleck does a superb job throughout and quickly became my favorite live action incarnation of Batman. Gal Gadot is intelligent, smooth, confident, and outright fierce. When she isn’t taking up the sword, she is keeping one step… or maybe three, ahead of everyone else. When she is in full gear with sword and shield, she becomes an exhilarating force that took more joy out of battle than her titular counterparts.
This is not the early 2000s Justice League cartoon. It’s not bright and funny; it’s dark and gritty but that’s okay. If gods came to Earth and started crushing cities, things would seem pretty grim and there wouldn’t be a whole lot of joking around. I urge you to not only see this film but do so with an open mind and an understanding that it is trying to do something different, something fresh, and it’s doing it with three of the most iconic superheroes of all time: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, the Trinity.
Overall, the movie is building to so much. A lot of time is taken to build the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) since their approach is essentially the opposite of the MCU. BvS is part Man of Steel sequel, part companion story and it lays the seeds for nearly all future DCEU films. With that in mind, I think it’s very important that people go to see this movie. Batman v Superman is the beginning of the DCEU. Man of Steel opened the door but Batman v Superman took the first steps toward building this universe. I can’t wait to see the rest of the films.
On a final note, if you have not seen Man of Steel or if it has been a very long time, you should probably watch it (again). A lot of the beginning of BvS takes part during that film and the whole movie is essentially a response to those events.
Rae’s Batman v Superman Review
I loved this film. It was definitely one of the better superhero movies I’ve seen in awhile. I say that because I wasn’t expecting any of it. Every bit of it was a new take on the Trinity for me, which was ultimately refreshing. It’s not every day someone can show me a new incarnation of Batman. But that’s what DC has always been; reinventions of the same characters for years, proving that everyone has built these characters, from writers, to directors, to actors, to fans.
Jesse Eisenberg was a complete surprise for me. His spastic portrayal of Lex showed layers of his psychoticism peel away as the movie went on. He was a Lex that was worthy of being a Superman villain, unlike some of his predecessors. I rather enjoyed how his brilliance and craze overlapped into a well developed character. Ben Affleck as Batman is still not my favorite Batman, but he’s the only Batman who has been a detective since Adam West. That alone was enough to get me on his side. His relationship with Alfred was another surprising move. Arguably, the two were the closest that I’ve seen to an accurate portrayal of the comic book characters, including the animated series.
I was never convinced that the movie was going to be bad. And it wasn’t. The choppy ADHD beginning was the Snyder way of getting 75 years worth of exposition for these four characters (I’m including Lex in with the Trinity) out of the way. So, there was a few stylistic choices I would have done differently, but overall the movie makes me entirely too excited for the continuations.
Ryan’s Batman v Superman Review
This movie was good. Better than the reviews would lead you to believe, but probably not as good as what you want it to be. It has a lot of issues, the main one being the amount of story lines that they try and follow, most fairly unsuccessfully. You have the Batman introduction story, Superman dealing with the repercussions of Man of Steel, the actual Batman V Superman story, the setup for the other characters in Justice league, Setup for the Wonder Woman movie, and the titular dawn of the Justice League. That isn’t even touching on the movie’s villain stories.
The movie could have shaved off 30-40 minutes of the excess small story lines, and it would have helped it feel less bloated and jumpy. The cuts between the scenes in the first hour or so of the movie felt like Zach Snyder forgot his ADHD medication on editing day. That covers the majority of the bad for me.
With all the bad things out of the way, there were some good things. Some of those things delve into spoiler territory, so I won’t cover those now. The casting was great. I had some doubts with Gal as Wonder Woman, but she was great. She stole every scene she was in, and her character was handled brilliantly in the short amount of screen time she received. Zach Snyder has a lot of issues that plague all his films, but the movie was beautifully cinematic. A true feast for the eyes.
If you liked Man of Steel you will love this movie. If you didn’t like MOS, you probably won’t enjoy this movie as much as I did. Either way, I recommend avoiding spoilers, as well as going in without preconceived notions of what the movie is. Forget all the negative reviews, walk in the theater, and have some comic book style fun.
What did you think of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Did it live up to your expectations? What would you like to see in future DCEU films? Comment below!
Be sure to catch all three of us on Wednesday for Screen Heroes! We’ll be talking about this movie in great detail with lots of spoilers. So stay tuned and subscribe on iTunes at screen-heroes.com!