Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Realizing they are falling behind, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the latest entry from Warner Brothers to cash in on their share of superhero dollars. Is this a cash grab or a serious attempt to be a real player in the superhero genre?

Release Date: March 25, 2016
Writer: David Goyer
Director: Zach Snyder
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Gal Gadot

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a decent action movie. Unfortunately, it is loaded is popular DC comic book characters and has Marvel Studios setting a high standard for comic book movies. The movie delivers on its title. The all-powerful Superman battles the street-smart vigilante Batman and the battle itself is fun to watch.

The problem is everything leading up to this moment was thrown at us in rapid-fire succession and not developed well. Before we go into the problem, I’ll say what was good about the movie is Ben Affleck’s Batman was not bad, and the action/fights are good.

The main problem with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is its need to present a lot of information and only having two and a half hours to present this information. Sadly, the movie needs another two hours to tell its story and no one wants to sit through that.

The movie starting strong with the final battle between Superman and General Zod but seen through the eyes of Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). Bruce for some reason is in Metropolis, and he is trying to get to some guy trapped in building owned by Wayne Enterprises. Of course, this building is destroyed as collateral damage from the aforementioned fight and the guy, who we only know as Wayne’s good friend perishes. On top of that, we are once again treated to flashback memories of the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents. Already that is a lot.

Next, we jump to Lois Lane (Amy Adams) in the middle east attempting to get an interview with some alleged terrorists. This moment serves only to reintroduce Lois as the main character and her relationship with her protective lover, Superman (Henry Cavill). Later, there is a discussion with Lois and Superman in a bathtub, which is super-hot. Other than that, Lois as a character serves only to expose ultimately Lex Luther as the mastermind of the tragic events that are about to happen.

The next storyline follows the newly discovered Kryptonite. Lex (Jesse Eisenberg) needs help from Congress, led by Senator Finch (Holly Hunter), to import the substance to his lab in the U.S. so it can be used as a weapon against Superman. The twist occurs when the substance is stolen by Batman so that it can be used as a weapon against Superman.

Let us now return to Batman’s story. Haunted again, by the death of his parents, Batman sees the only salvation the world has is the death of Superman. Of course, Batman is conflicted. He also doesn’t trust Lex. Batman hacks into the phone of Lex’s henchman to discover the identity of four “meta-humans” who may be able to help defeat Superman.

Back to Lex, who is upset about his stolen Kryptonite, manages to blame Superman for another national tragedy, figures a way to instigate a fight between Superman and Batman and finally discovers all of Superman’s secret by accessing Zod’s ship from the first movie.

Now to Superman, who only wants to bring peace to his new home and protect his girlfriend. Look, this movie suffers from too much plot. There is so much plot going on that every strand of the plot is not serviced adequately leaving it weak and full of holes.

Another problem, secondary characters only serve to move story along. Lois Lane exists to slowly reveal the mystery of Lex and the Kryptonite and Lex Luther is the vehicle the film uses the pit Superman and Batman against one another and to ultimately unite them together. You could have interchanged Lex with other DC villains and still told the same story.

Lastly, the introduction of the Justice League is weak and underwhelming. As seen in the trailers, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is introduced late into the action. Very little is said about her and she kicks ass, which is what we want, but clearly anything related to the Justice League feels last minute and serves only to create excitement about the Justice League movie.

It’s hard not to feel like Batman v Superman is a movie that needed to exist because Warner Brother’s was falling behind in the superhero race. The difference is that Marvel built its universe over the course of 10 years and Warner Brothers started two years ago with Man of Steel.

The tone of Batman v Superman is dark and moody. There is very little humor in the film. I don’t necessarily have a problem with this. One, it sets itself up as a different kind of filmmaking compared to Marvel. Two, it’s borrowing from brooding tones of the Dark Knight. My only problem is that Superman has always been a character of hope and justice. His storyline, beginning with Man of Steel, as the misunderstood alien just isn’t striking the right tone for Superman.

There you have it. A movie with both Batman and Superman, an introduction to Wonder Woman and soon the Justice League. That’s the best thing you could say about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

6 out of 10 stars

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