Movie Review: Batman v Superman

Three years ago, a rumor started swirling around the fan boys and girls and social media spaces that at some point in the near future two of the world’s most iconic comic book characters would be coming to the big screen in a battle that had never been seen before.

Three years of shocks, awes, casting, backlash, pre-production, re-writes, re-shoots and release dates later, Zack Snyder and Warner Brothers follow up to “Man of Steel”(2013) with “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016).

Yes, for the first time ever, Batman and Superman go head to head in a climactic battle that is supposed to shake up super hero movies and fans and haters forever. And is it what everyone has hoped for? If you asked most critics from Hollywood they would say this movie is a failure beyond words, but I am here as a fan for the fans, and am here to give a fan’s take on a movie I myself have been personally anticipating for almost three years.

“Batman v Superman”is at the same time everything I wanted and expected and not what I expected. And I think that is the movie’s core problem. At its heart, it is an adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns comic that details the fight between the goliaths.

Bruce Wayne, played by the newcomer Ben Affleck, is one of the many people who suffered from the catastrophic destruction caused by Superman, played by Henry Cavill, after battling Zod to the death.

The film balances an elemental chart of main characters and sub plots that eventually lead to the final showdown between the two titans, which is led on by main antagonist Lex Luthor played by an always-eccentric Jesse Eisenberg.

The film is stuffed full of cameos, Easter eggs and subtle hints to the upcoming larger DC universe. And if you haven’t set eyes on the trailer for BVS yet, I won’t spoil the third act of the film that could have been so much of a surprise if there had been a better marketing team behind the scenes.

Director Zack Snyder is able to mix this stew of exposition veggies and spew it out to the audience in the director’s typical flair for brilliant visuals and action sequences; and this is one of the many reasons why I was in tune to BVS the whole of its 2 hour 30 minute runtime.

Staring at the IMAX screen has never brought me more goose bumps, even during the new “Star Wars.” The several action scenes in this movie, the few there are, include a brilliant bat-mobile chase scene and an insane concoction of Mad-Max-meets-Watchmen style nightmare sequence that sees Batman at his most brutal phase yet. And this is the biggest take away from this movie.

Ben Affleck’s Batman is now the definitive Batman, bringing a boiling underlying anger and sadness that has never been portrayed on screen before. His Bruce Wayne isn’t that bad either, played with a devilishly cool cockiness that makes him seem like the playboy billionaire he is.

The Batman sequences in this film are the best — yes, I said it — the best Batman action ever put to film, and this is also the most brutal we have seen the character. While his violent antics on screen will turn off some moviegoers and younger audiences, I had a blast seeing the famous sociopathic vigilante portrayed just like the comics on screen.

It may seem like I’m all on the Batman train here, but the other cast members also did very well, including Gal Gadott as Wonder Woman, who finally brings the character to screen for the first time. She plays the character with gusto and confidence. I also really like Jeremy Irons as Alfred, who plays off Affleck’s brooding sensibility with an understanding only the proud butler could give to the Knight of Gotham.

Although these are great positives, there are several issues with the movie that keep it from being great. BVS is edited and put together not in particular superhero movie fashion and it jumps from point A to point B, back to A and skips to D.

If that confused you then some of the sequences leading up to the third act will also be confusing; and while I had a lot of fun as a DC fan with this film, many general movie audience members may not be able to connect to all the sub plots and character arcs, as the film sets off blazing and expects the movie goers to know these iconic characters and the setting up of the justice league.

This leaves little to no exposition to set up particular characters, including Wonder Woman, who shows up out of nowhere. I can also see some people having an issue with DC’s dark tone and dark themes, as this may be the most downer of a superhero movie I have seen to date.

It can be fun to see the characters on screen but the movie is almost empty of any type of humor. Batman v Superman is a flawed movie, but demands to be seen by any fan of the iconic title heroes, or the dark DC films in general.

The film also works more than just a superhero film and may leave you feeling like you experienced more than just a little visual entertainment. While it provides that in spades, there are also some emotional impacts that will be felt throughout the new DC cinematic universe.

Grade: B+


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