The Boldly Uneven Tentpole: Our Review of ‘Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - March 25, 2016
The Boldly Uneven Tentpole: Our Review of ‘Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice’

Us nerds, of which I proudly count myself as one of, need to chill out and calm down just a little bit.

While Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice is one hell of a holy mess, it also does quite a bit right.  Enough even to make this an interesting taking on these comic book mythologies.

In the destructive aftermath of Man of Steel, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) and his alter ego Batman live in fear of this god like creature across the pond in Metropolis who could wipe out the entire planet in the blink of an eye if he felt like it.  As the world stirs in the grips of debate about what kind of hero it actually needs, a new threat is looming as Alexander “Lex” Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is setting the Caped Crusader who has a taste for vengeance and the saviour of Metropolis on a collision course to tear each other apart while an even greater threat to humanity is bubbling underneath the surface.

It’s narratively messy, fairly joyless and FAR too long but I can’t get away from what Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice actually does right.

BatmanvsSuperman

Director Zack Snyder has unquestionably crafted a loud and brash affair that looks unbelievably pretty and if you are going to see it, splurging on the IMAX certainly isn’t a bad way to go.  That being said, go in with an empty bladder because saying that it is at least a half an hour too long is probably being incredibly kind over all as this is easily one of the most bloated and severe things that I have ever seen.  Writers David S Goyer and Chris Terrio have taken this to some interesting places as it is hands down the most severe comic book movie that this critic has actually ever seen.  There is no joy, I mean none as it is a ride that is filled with bile, vengeance and hatred throughout and even a couple of little genre in jokes that were written in to the end of the film isn’t enough to redeem what is a very dour experience.

Granted it’s supposed to be, as we think Superman might not be all he is cracked up to be and Batman is just a vengeful dickhead who is consumed by his overall anger by the perceived threat that Superman brings to humanity.  The set up of it all makes little to no sense as characters are introduced in a fairly haphazard matter because Snyder wants to get to the action sequences which are admittedly fantastic, but he goes out of his way to only give moments that are filled with clunky dialogue that makes you want to roll your eyes at how this story is unfolding and it doesn’t do any of the actors any real favors because there is just too much going on as major character points get lost in the action that Snyder is determined to paint all over the screen.

batman-vs-supermanTo his credit, Ben Affleck actually does a pretty good job here as Batman and gives it a fresh spin basically playing as a narrow minded asshole who wants his ounce of flesh by any means necessary.  Affleck doesn’t hesitate to let Bruce Wayne go grim, despite his higher ideals he just wants vengeance and years of patrolling the streets of Gotham has left him a broken shell of a man that he once was.  Henry Cavill is fine as he dons the red cape once again, but gets lost in the flow with all these new characters that are being introduced.  Jesse Eisenberg also manages to breathe some life into Lex Luthor channeling his psychotically petulant side while Gal Gadot brings some fun swagger to the role of Wonder Woman that immediately commands our attention and makes us want to see as much more of her as we possibly can.  Sadly there just isn’t a lot of character development outside of these leads; it tries to set up so much while telling us things that we really already knew at the same time.

Ultimately, Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a spectacularly flashy affair and as a piece of popcorn nonsense there’s actually nothing wrong with, but it also rife with bloated moments and flaws that just didn’t need to happen as everyone involved has actively pushed the mythology elements of it all to the background in favor of big, loud and beautiful action, creating a mythology of its very own.  This has been actively designed to piss of the comic book and cinema purists, and while I know it is FAR from being a well executed piece of cinema, I can’t help but appreciate what an absolute mess of a movie it actually is and revel in the borderline arrogance of how wrong and flawed get married with stunning visual set pieces.

 

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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