SPOILERS: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Review/Analysis

My review and analysis of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice WITH SPOILERS!

After viewing Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice at the IMAX event I have to say, I am completely conflicted. Superman has been my favorite superhero since childhood as well as an avid film fan in general. One thing that I’ve always wanted out of comic book movies is that they would appeal to not just the comic geek, but the average moviegoer as well.  I love that some of the current movies such as, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days of Future Past and even Man of Steel can be watched with family and friends as everyone can enjoy them without knowing all the nerd knowledge that I have. I have to say I am one of the people that like the “realistic” approach to some of these films and sometimes they end up being a good movie, instead of just a good “comic book” movie. We can already see this movie is receiving mixed reviews from fan boys and critics, but I need to write something about this movie because I have so much to say. Of course I will offend someone and many will disagree (it’s inevitable) but these are strictly my opinions, and I just need to put them out there. Here is my review and analysis of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
From the first opening scene of this movie, I knew we were about to get something very special.  The art direction of this movie was awesome and very “Watchmen-ish” and I love that. It has a very “artsy” feel to it, which I think is important in movies sometimes and really helps this movie stand out. Even the title scene after the opening sequence is a white background with “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” written in clean black font in the lower right hand corner. It’s little things like that, where in my opinion, it shows the movie setting up more of a serious tone.
The movies first and second, acts, play out like a political drama set in the DC Universe. The movie is very serious and really plays out how the world would react if an alien with superhuman abilities came to earth. Half the population love Superman and view him as a god, while the other half view him as a danger to humanity and want him to leave earth. Superman was always so much more to me, than just a guy with the coolest super powers ever, so the fact that you have these underlying issues with the way people view him and even the way he views himself, give some humanity to the character. You feel for him, every time he tries to help, someone is there to discredit his actions and find something negative to say. Man of Steel touched on these issues within the first half of the film so I’m glad they brought this aspect back in BvS. Although there isn’t much action in the first part of the film I personally loved that. I know some people are going to see this movie to see a blowout action punch fest but I like a good story, with a good plot, good characters, and good dialogue. The tone that DC is trying to set is very apparent early on and even in a world of super heroes, it works.
The movie moves along very well, introducing Batman early on and giving you his perspective on the destruction that Superman caused while fighting Zod. It also offers a quick glimpse of the night his parents were killed, and I have to say, the way Snyder showed it is darker and grittier than ever before. It looks fantastic.
The filmmakers do an amazing job making you really feel the seriousness of what would happen if Superman wasn’t on the Earth to help, or if suddenly more evil Kryptonians came back to earth for round two. Bruce Wayne is haunted by this thought, figuratively and literally. He has constant nightmares of a world where Superman is evil and the destruction that it would cause earth and the pure reality that no one would be able to stop him. He feels compelled to unearth a backup plan. He needs to be prepared, and you completely feel the sincerity of why.
I personally thought all the characters in this film were spot on with a few exceptions which I’ll get to later on. As most of you have read already Ben Affleck, as Batman, could be the best on the big screen we’ve seen, even surpassing Christian Bale as the fan favorite. His Batman is possibly the darkest incarnation we’ve seen and it’s awesome. One of the scenes, Batman is interrogating a henchman and two police officers arrive midway through. The scene plays out like one from a horror film, and this in my opinion is how Batman should be shown. One of the police officers is younger, and when he hears the screams of the henchman, chills run up his spine. When they finally spot Batman, he moves like never before. He may be an older more mature Batman, but he clearly hasn’t lost any of his agility in his older age. 
Lex Luthor is extremely modernized and it works. He’s basically evil Mark Zuckerberg with major psychological troubles. At first I didn’t know how I felt about that, but I think it totally worked out. I don’t know if I would go as far to say he “stole the show”, but it’s definitely nice seeing a different take on the character, finally stepping away from the Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey incarnations (which I loved).  Lex is also very anti-Superman and can also see the importance of having a plan B in case Superman decides to turn into the evil force that Batman is afraid of.
Gal Gadot who for most of the movie is Diana, instead of her alter ego Wonder Woman, was also a great casting choice. She’s a strong female character who is not about to get pushed around by the men. The scene during the party at Lex Luthor’s house with Bruce and Clark is great in showing her ability to even get one over on Batman himself, when she steals his hacking device before he can retrieve it from Lex’s server room. I’m extremely excited for the Wonder Woman stand-alone film; I think the character has a lot to offer to the DC universe. Basically, she’s a badass.
One of the best parts of the movie is how we are introduced to the future members of the Justice League. After Bruce hacked into the LexCorp servers, he finds a file labeled “Meta Humans”. Lex had been keeping tabs on other Meta humans on earth and we see logos of Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg. Each file contains a short video clip showcasing their powers, and I have to say, I had goose bumps during this scene. It really was executed wonderfully. Wonder Woman’s especially, it was one of the first times you heard a pop with the crowd in the theater.
 In my opinion the first 2 hours of this film were damn near perfect*, and I wouldn’t change much, if anything at all. The way the story flows and the key elements they were focusing on were exactly what I hoped for. The movie felt like Man of Steel but a step up, it felt more realistic, more grounded, even the writing and dialogue seemed much improved. When it got to the fight between Batman and Superman I remember thinking, “They pulled it off, they really did it! Nothing can go wrong now! We’re in the clear!” Unfortunately, I was wrong.
The final act of the movie felt like a punch to the gut, it felt completely over the top and unnecessary. You know early on in the film that Lex made a deal with the government to obtain General Zod’s corpse for testing. We know from the trailers that Doomsday is in the film (not sure why they revealed that) so it’s no surprise what’s to come from these experiments. Doomsday is born (the Gumby CGI version) and starts immediately fighting a weakened Superman, who just barely made it out alive from a fight with Batman. It instantly starts to feel like the battle from Man of Steel. Doomsday jumps to the top of a skyscraper (I think LexCorp tower) and the military choppers come in and start bombarding him with missile attacks. Superman finally recovers from previous attacks from Doomsday, takes the upper hand and flies him up to space. Meanwhile the President and General Swanwick are discussing whether or not to nuke Doomsday and Superman while they are away from civilians and the President makes the executive decision to do it. Superman sees the nuke coming and scarifies himself to make sure Doomsday is hit with the attack. Doomsday rockets back towards earth while Superman is shown disintegrating, almost in skeleton form (Just as seen in The Dark Knight Returns). This scene to me just sort of seemed thrown in as an Easter egg, but I personally could have done without it. The battle continues but coincidentally Doomsday lands back on Stryker Island, which is of course, is abandon. I won’t complain too much about the use of an abandon island for this last fight, because if it happened in the middle of Metropolis or Gotham (which are twin cities now) it would be way too much destruction, yet again. Plus this is where Batman and Superman were dueling it out earlier, and Batman left a kryptonite staff there, which he was about to kill Superman with before they realized they weren’t enemies. Fast-forward through a bunch of explosions and lighting flashes later (and Wonder Woman finally making an appearance), and Doomsday is evolving. He’s taken the energy from the nuke and whatever else is thrown at him, including kryptonite and seems completely unstoppable. Superman retrieves the kryptonite staff, says his goodbyes to Lois (who is obviously there) and can barely fly to doomsday because of his weakened state from literally holding the kryptonite staff. He stabs Doomsday in the chest and Doomsday takes one of his now kryptonite laced, bone…things, and stabs Superman. They kill each other.
Before I even get into the fact that yes Superman is dead…this entire scene was not good. If this movie had ended before this ridiculous unnecessary battle, I can almost guarantee the reviews on this movie would not be mixed. If we had ended the movie off where Lex was defeated by Batman and Superman; but us as the viewers knowing that Doomsday is coming in the Justice League movie, that to me, would have been completely fine. My problem isn’t with the fact that Lex creates Doomsday, I actually like that. I simply just don’t think he needed to be thrown into this movie for the last 30 minutes to have this huge ridiculous CGI battle. I can’t stress enough how much this took way from the movie for me. All the people in my aisle had their hands on their heads saying, “you’ve got to be kidding me” and it wasn’t because this scene was so amazing. It seemed as if the original ending script pages were lost or they didn’t have an ending and threw this together real quick. Not only did it not fit in the film, it also looked horrible.
Now to the death of Superman…This I am torn between because I understand the reason the filmmakers chose to go down this road, (sort of). Now the world really should have no reason choosing between loving or hating Superman. The guy just literally sacrificed his life for the people of earth, again, and died while protecting them. The final scene shows Lois throwing dirt on top of Clarks casket and right before the camera cuts to black you see some of the dirt start to rise up. We know he isn’t dead for good and honestly I just don’t see a good way of bringing him back. Hopefully it’s not like in the comics when we find out kryptonians just go into a “sleeping coma”. It’s just a little goofy in my opinion so I’m really not sure what they are going to do here. This is another one of those “why?” moments for me. We know Superman isn’t going to be cut from all future films…we know he isn’t going to remain dead. Superman getting killed off in this movie seems extremely premature. Also out of the countless story lines they could have followed, they chose the Death of Superman…I just don’t get it.
Some other minor issues: Batman is shown probably killing people? It’s never exactly confirmed but from what I can tell, he killed multiple people throughout the film. Blowing up cars, shooting people from the bat-mobile and never once did the bat-mobile or Alfred say, “zero casualties” or “changing to non-lethal rounds” is it just implied? Or does this Batman actually kill? Is his golden rule just thrown out the window? I’m sure they’ll address this in future installments but it did take away from the action sequences. A lot of people complained about Superman snapping Zod’s neck in Man of Steel but Superman has killed before. Batman doesn’t kill; it’s his one rule that separates him from the villains.
I’m sure some people will read this and think, “Dude, you wrote so many good things and barely any bad. What’s the issue?” The good DID outweigh the bad in terms of time however, the bad was so bad, that it ruined the good aspects of the film for me. If you can’t finish strong then it’s just a waste. Back to one of my original points about making a movie for everyone, I’m sure a lot of people will get totally turned off, confused and lose interest when the Doomsday scene comes. It’s a CGI mess and completely throws out the previous tone of the movie.  People that won’t are most likely die-hard action movie fans; kids and I guess viewers that don’t mind, mindless action sequences thrown in even though they’re affecting the story in a negative way. On the other hand I’m sure that some people will just simply enjoy the direction the movie ended in. Unfortunately I’m not one of them. It’s been a roller coaster the last few days, I did not expect much from this movie going in. Then going in and seeing the first two hours my expectations were blown out of the water. When the movie is good, it’s GOOD, maybe even GREAT. And when the movie is bad it’s BAD…and I mean, really BAD. I’m not sure what the play is here for DC. The movie needs to take in a ton of money to be considered a “success” and frankly I’m not sure how many chances they’re going to get before someone pulls the plug. I don’t want another reboot but we all know how bad reviews and a lack of money at the box office can influence the film companies. Man of Steel was liked by many ( I know it had some problems but I for the most part was very happy) but not considered a huge success, and the way this turn out is unfolding its looking like BvS is about to suffer a similar fate. Sure people can say Rotten Tomatoes isn’t a credible source, or “critics don’t matter! They don’t understand comic book movies!” But if it’s a good film shouldn’t the critics and fan boys be agreeing? Sure not all the Marvel movies are sitting at a 90%...but a handful of them are. I guess we can only wait and see.
Overall I am torn on what to think of this movie. When this movie was announced I completely thought this was a cash grab move by DC to make a ton of money, putting Batman Vs. Superman (when we all knew they would fight for 5 seconds, and then join forces) and then throwing in a ton of characters in this mix felt like a move to play catch up with Marvel. I still think in some way that is exactly what they were going for however; there were some really special powerful moments in this film. I just wish it panned out differently and could have saved the final act for a future installment.
Rating 6/10
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