Movie Review | Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Countdown to Justice League - why so serious? Two of the biggest pop culture icons of all time, with literally the single most popular and famous female superhero ever created, and DC spend so much time ignoring what they've got and are already looking forward to the next film with title of this movie.
This should've been one of the easiest billion dollars plus ever made by a film at the box office, and we got something... mediocre instead.
Movie Summary: Fearing that the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. (IMDb)
Wow, is this film a cluttered mess. DC and Warner Bros are trying so hard to catch up to Marvel Studios that they ended up with the exact same problem Green Lantern did: trying to do too much in one movie. This could have been so much better with a little more ruthless editing. Don’t believe me? Let’s see…
First up, this is a quasi-sequel to Man of Steel (which I thought was decent), although Superman has been bumped from number one billing in only his second appearance. Second, it’s introducing yet another big-screen Batman and showing us his damn origin yet again. We get it: dead parents, wealthy orphan, life-long vendetta against crime – why are we seeing this again?
Then there’s Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, who is pretty much the best thing in the film, but that’s not exactly a high bar. It showed how poorly female superheroes have been treated when taking into account the huge response to a character with extremely limited screen time, as good as Gal Gadot is in her first appearance as the Amazonian.
Next is Lex. Or the hybrid combination of Lex Luthor, Joker and Riddler, who were apparently the originally-planned trio of villains. It’s pretty easy to tell as this Lex is nothing like any Luthor we’ve ever seen before, acting much more like the two Batman villains than Superman’s calculating and highly-intelligent nemesis.
Another thing to point out about Lex here: he’s practically omniscient. When the film starts, he already knows Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman’s not-so-secret identities, as well as having video clips that are horrendously wedged into the film to show off the rest of the yet-to-be-formed Justice League.
Oh yeah, this film is supposed to be setting up that too, with multiple nonsensical dream sequences that will confuse anyone unfamiliar with the comics, if not outright alienating them. Marvel Studios has had issues with this in the past (looking at you Iron Man 2 and Avengers: Age of Ultron), but this is just on another level.
Then there’s the moody, downbeat and generally oppressive tone. DC want to be the anti-Marvel, which is fine if you have the quality to back it up as Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight proved.
Unfortunately, that generally only works well with Batman for DC, with nobody really wanting to see Superman and Wonder Woman – with two of the brightest-coloured costumes in comics – being portrayed the same way as the Dark Knight.
There’s very little humour, even less warmth, Wonder Woman is the only truly heroic character in the film and she doesn’t even get her name in the title. Superman’s an insufferably miserable whiner and Batman has resorted to gunning down or snapping the necks of anyone who gets in his way.
This does raise an issue for Suicide Squad and any other future Batman films – if he’s fine with killing criminals, why doesn’t he just head straight to Arkham Asylum, or wherever his rogues’ gallery is locked up, and prevent them all from ever being threats to anyone ever again?
That’s just one of the many gaps in logic in this film, a lot of which are the result of some of the most dreadful editing you’ll see in a blockbuster any time soon. The movie jumps around from place to place and from plot thread to plot thread with no real rhyme or reason, leaving you wondering just what the minds behind this movie were thinking.
You can ask the same question about turning Zod from Man of Steel into Doomsday just so they can do the Death of Superman story-line (oops, spoiler alert – but yes, another huge story just thrown away!), only to already start to undo it by the end of the film.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice simply tries to cram far too much into its lengthy running time, smothering the good and puncturing the potential of other plots by not allowing them enough time, instead trying to serve as a world-building epic for the wider DC cinematic continuity. Better editing, including knocking about thirty minutes off the length, could have resulted in something a lot better than what we got.