Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice review

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice review

I have to admit that I have always been a DC comic book fan over Marvel since childhood and my comic book team of choice was the Justice League. So it goes without saying that I have wanted this film for a long time, ever since George Miller wanted to direct what might have been Justice League: Mortal. So I watched the trailers for BvS as they came out and did my best not to pay attention to the posts and video analysing them in minute detail. Because I wanted to be surprised.

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That being said, I saw Doomsday coming a mile away.

This film was not an Avengers film where Snyder only had one prequel to the film, therefore quite a bit was spent on exposition for Batman. Which is a pity as it was established that he had been around for 20 years and I would have liked to have seen Affleck’s Batman in action before being driven to face Superman. But that being said, Dark Knight Rises was four years ago, so asking audiences to sit through a reboot film in the Nolanese universe might be a bit much. And Gadot’s Woman Woman is most likely one of the best things about the film (or worst, depending who you speak to). Either way I am glad she is getting her own film, even if it technically appears to be a prequel from the footage seen so far. But I digress.

BvS is, for the most part, a beautifully shot film with Snyder’s hallmark style of replicating frames from the comic he has used for the storyline. He took scenes left, right and centre from Dark Knight Returns, which also served loosely as the basis for the storyline BvS. I say loosely because the fight between Batman and Superman in the comic was about the fact that Batman had undermined the government in a dystopian future, not who was better: “man or a god”. It also looks like he plundered Crisis on Infinite Earths for end of the dream scene. The show down between Superman and Batman is one of the best superhero face-offs that I have seen for a while as they both have their moments to shine in the fight and it was not completely one sided. I felt let down by the fight between Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman versus Doomsday. Partly because Doomsday initially looks like the troll from the HP film and then changes into the slight more recognisable version that comic books fans would recognise. While the fight itself was very ‘300’, but then again it is a Snyder film. I can understand that because the three superheroes had not fought together before why the final fight degraded into a free-for-all, however I feel that it could have been shot or even choreographed better. But then maybe it was Snyder’s plan that the fight between Batman and Superman be the better cinematic fight, which it was.

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From a storyline point of view, the plot was a bit all over the place. I get that they were trying to shoehorn as much as they could in and still have time to have an over-the-top throw down at the end, but come on. I have to admit that if you had to remove some of the scenes, like most of Wonder Woman’s, I’m afraid to say, then the film would have still told the same story and would have been up to 30 minutes shorter. Lois drifts from one sub-plot to the next and not even by her own volition. The scene for Cyborg, Flash, Aquaman and Wonder Woman felt unnecessary, although it there was an Easter egg in the Cyborg scene for the apparent Big Bad. To be fair, the less I say about the plot the better, I suspect when I watch the film again I will be picking it apart and pointing out where the JLA Watchtower could pass through the plot holes. I still don’t understand why a journalist like Clark Kent would not have heard about the Batman after two years if Metropolis and Gotham are a stones throw away from each other. Because you would assume, that after two years, the media in both cities would have compared them with each other.

Henry Cavill’s Superman must be one of the most dour Superman characterisation I have seen on the screen. For someone who is supposed to embody DC’s boy scout he is sullen for most of the film, even though he is worshipped by the masses. I forgave him for Man of Steel as that was his first outing. But now, even with all the mistrust that the world has for him, one would have expected Superman to be a beacon of hope, not be Mister Emo.

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However Ben Affleck’s grizzled and jaded Batman I liked. A lot. He captured the descent into a man focused on revenge very well and still had time to have some fun on screen as Bruce Wayne. The montage of him training for the fight and building the Kryptonite based weapons was the perfect cinematic depiction of Bruce Wayne’s brawn and brains.

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As I said before, I felt that Gal Gadot’s Diana was one of the best things about the film. They just thrust her into the story and Wonder Woman did what she needed to do. I am definitely looking out for her film what appears to be a prequel storyline. There were a couple of points where she outshone Ben and Henry and I am glad for it. It shows that Gal as Diane can stand up to the other two.

Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is intelligent, chaotic, manipulative, charming and has serious daddy issues. However his Lex did stand up well to the leads of the film. I did have one question though: what was his motivation for setting his plans in motion?

I just wish they had given Jeremy Irons’ Alfred more screen time. Hopefully we will see him again in Suicide Squad.

I have to admit that I am not sure how I feel about the foreshadowing of Darkseid with the Parademons and the Boombox. Just because Marvel are heading towards a confrontation between the Avengers and Thanos, it doesn’t mean that the DC films should copy them. After all there are villains from the mythos that would be as big a threat to the entire world and a challenge for the Justice League and fit into the Chris Nolan inspired universe.

Verdict:
I don’t think I’ve seen a film that is more divisive than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; in reviews, on social media and even amongst the MachinimaSBOC team too. I enjoyed it. I did not think it was a great film and I did not think it was terrible. It had some beautiful cinematic scenes and some interesting storyline elements which will stay with me. Unfortunately the plot was did not feel well thought out and rushed in places.
I appreciate the film is a gritty exploration of the nature and flaws of superheroes. However I feel that Snyder should have embraced the fact that it was a comic book film and not tried to make a film that Christopher Nolan might have tried to make. After all there must have been a reason he passed on making the films.

Batman was created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane

Superman was created by Jerry Seigel and Joel Shuster

Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston

Written by: Shaun Kennedy

Shaun is a contributor to Machinima SBOC. You can find him at him on Twitter at @misshelved He is a self confessed DC comics and boardgaming/RPGing fan.

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