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Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

 

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Following on from Man of Steel, Zack Snyder returns to direct Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which intends to establish the cinematic Justice League, or the DC Extended Universe. The film stars Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne (Batman), Henry Cavill as Clark Kent (Superman), Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and Gal Gadot as Diana Prince (Wonder Woman). The film has made $301m in the United States alone, and may hit $900m worldwide [1].

(Video: Warner Bros. Pictures)

The film opens with a shortened redux of Batman’s story, before moving to the World Engine fight in Man of Steel.

This time, we see the fight from the perspective of Bruce Wayne, with Ben Affleck giving a potent performance of a business leader losing his employees. Wayne’s burning stare settles for the audience: the Kryptonians are a threat.

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Okay, that looks cool. (Source: Warner Bros.)

The fallout from the World Engine fight is Kryptonite, which the mogul of LexCorp seeks to obtain, along with General Zod’s body. Jesse Eisenberg’s Luthor is not the calm, calculating and ruthless Luthor of comics, cartoons or other films. Luthor in Dawn of Justice appears to lose his thoughts during a speech, speaking almost whimsically, and is first shown playing basketball with his employees: he is the Mark Zuckerberg of evil.

Dream sequences

Through manipulation of both Batman and Superman, the battle between titans begins. The film looks fantastic, but relies on dream sequences to tell the emotional story of its characters. It is enjoyable in the cinema, but then seems rather disappointing, given the immense budget and effort.

(Video: How It Should Be Ended)

Indeed, a flashback is needlessly used in a key scene — presuming the audience are not intelligent to remember a small detail — thereby depriving us of a coherent performance.

The film aims for philosophical weight, but falls far short of its potential. Despite concerns about the casting of Bruce Wayne and Batman, Ben Affleck’s performance is one of the highlights of the film. The problem is that, like its predecessor, elements of the film are not consistent.

Once again, why do the Kryptonians seek to transform Earth, even though the planet and its star give them superpowers? Why does Batman ask Superman (in reference to Wonder Woman) if ‘she was with you’, when he knows exactly who she is? Why does Superman fail to give the Kryptonite spear to Wonder Woman, when she could wield it much more effectively than him? What was Lex Lethor going on about in the ending?

What happened to Batman to become the character he is in this film? Does anyone think we missed a much better film, that happened right before this one? Like Man of Steel, Dawn of Justice is a magnificent spectacle in the cinema, but try not to think about it too deeply.

References

[1] Mendelson, S., 2016. Box Office: ‘Batman v Superman’ Tops $300m, or When a Big Hit Feels Like a Flop. Forbes. Available from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2016/04/14/box-office-batman-v-superman-tops-300m-or-when-a-big-hit-feels-like-a-flop/#256a65f3a8cf [Accessed: 14th April 2016]

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One comment on “Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

  1. theaspiringfilmcritic
    April 25, 2016

    Good review. Interesting to read a write up from a different view-point! I mean, I thought Man of Steel was a mediocre superhero film…and then, this…well…I was lost for words. Please feel free to take a look at my review and let me know what you think: https://theaspiringfilmcritic.wordpress.com/2016/04/25/batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-2016-%E2%98%85%E2%98%86%E2%98%86%E2%98%86%E2%98%86/

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