Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Arguably the most important superhero film of all time has finally been unleashed. With The Dark Knight facing off against The Man of Steel for the very first time on the silver screen, it’s the movie that DC fans have been dreaming about and expectations are at an all-time high. And so, it came as no surprise when all the negative reviews started pouring in. A film this epic was doomed to be bashed from the beginning, but is all this negativity really warranted? I guess it all depends on your own reference points for these two icons. Remember, these two icons both have a rich 75-year history and everyone has their own take on these heroes.
Batman V Superman suffers the same fate as the 2013 Man of Steel movie. Director Zack Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer tweaked the lore of the last son of Krypton, causing a rift amongst Superman fans. Some fans loved the darker tone of Man of Steel, while purists claimed that Snyder and Goyer lost sight of what made Superman an icon in the first place. In this film, it’s the Dark Knight that’s undergone this very similar type of “tweaking”. This is why I believe, those who liked Man of Steel will like Batman V Superman whilst purists will leave the theatre in disbelief.
On my way to the theatre, I had to keep reminding myself that these are not my heroes anymore, but Snyder, Geyer and Chris Terrio’s vision of the DC Universe. If you can get passed that hurdle, you’ll see some really great moments in the film. Batman V Superman is a feast for the eyes and ears, but it in my opinion, it’s plagued with bad editing, pacing, tone and the shear bombardment of too much information for the audience.
DC knows they are a decade behind Marvel and have spared no expense in throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, into this movie. It’s just that after two and a half hours, you are beat down and simply too drained to be emotionally invested in this film. I believe, the film should have been left at its original running time of three hours, but released in two installments.
Now let’s get to some of the unexpected surprises in the film out of the way. Firstly, Gal Gadot is great as Wonder Woman and there are a couple of scenes at the end of the film that will leave you with a smile on your face. Secondly, for me, the real highlight of the film is Ben Affleck. He nails both Bruce Wayne and Batman. His portrayal was the most brutal Batman to ever grace the silver screen and I couldn’t get enough. Affleck’s take on the Dark Knight will surely divide the Batman fan base just like the Man of Steel did in 2013. Thirdly, or last but not least, the chemistry between Affleck’s Bruce Wayne/Batman and Jeremy Irons’ Alfred is worth the price of admission alone. It looks like they have been playing these characters for years.
Anyways, as flawed as the movie is, I do believe that most fans will need to go back to the theatre for an additional viewing, in order to absorb all the information that is thrown at you during the movie. I just hope that the R rated director’s will help resolve some of the films shortcomings.
Snyder, Goyer and Terrio have, for better or worse, changed the lore and the landscape of the DC Universe. This is the one obstacle for either fan to overcome and embrace this film and for the franchise to be successful. Can fans get passed this new take on our favourite superheroes? That’s the deal breaker. I can understand the negative reviews, but are the critics reviewing the actual movie or are they lashing out because this is not the Batman/Superman they grew up with?
Now, grab your inner geek and leave your old impressions behind for these two heroes and you might actually just enjoy: Batman V Superman.