Hello interweb, Nate here! So I am disgustingly late to this review and I apologize for that but I finally got around to watching this film. Batman V Superman has been critically panned and while some people love it a lot of people feel like it was a train wreck of a movie that made little sense. What do I think? Well, I liked it. It’s not an amazing film but it’s not nearly as bad as critics been saying it is. But hey let’s talk about the film in the review! Also everyone has probably seen the film by now since I think I was the last person on the planet who has yet to see it until now but SPOILER WARNING just to be safe.
Movie Title: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Produced by: DC Comics
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Writer: Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer
Director: Zach Snyder
Producer: Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder
Running Time: 2 hr 31 min
Batman V Superman is the direct sequel to Man of Steel. Now I didn’t like Man of Steel. The characters all acted strangely out of character, the film overall was pretty boring, and the only positive I could really think about was the fact that it probably had the greatest action sequence in a comic book film of all time that was only beat recently by Captain America: Civil War‘s airport scene. Now is Batman V Superman an improvement? In some areas yes, in some areas no. The biggest criticism I can give it is that it spends too much time setting up for a mediocre fight before giving us a better fight that we didn’t even want to see. No seriously there’s two big fight scenes: Batman Vs Superman and Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman Vs Doomsday; and the later was WAY better.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, what’s the story? So because of Superman’s fight against Zod in Man of Steel, Bruce Wayne doesn’t trust Superman and wants to get rid of him. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor also doesn’t trust Superman and wants to manipulate the situation in order to take Superman down. So Batman steals a chunk of Kryptonite (off screen) from Lex and creates a Frank Miller inspired armor to take down Superman. Superman goes to fight Batman because Lex has Martha Kent hostage and threatens to kill her unless Superman destroys Batman. This ends up in Superman and Batman fighting until Batman realize that Superman’s mother is hostage. Batman then goes to save Martha while Superman goes of to confront Lex ending in Lex creating Doomsday and both Superman and Doomsday dies fighting each other. Oh yeah and Wonder Woman helped (she’s in this too!).
So yeah there’s a lot of plot in this story. That I feel is the biggest problem with this film. Now I’m fine with DC not having a lot of jokes and humor in their films to differentiate themselves from Marvel and I feel like that’s the biggest reason critics hate this movie. People are used to all of Marvel’s wise-cracks and jokes that having a comic book film that’s not constantly trying to make you laugh might be a little boring for some.
Now I hear that the R-rated Ultimate Cut is a much better movie as it explains a lot more about the character’s motivations than was presented. I personally feel like if that’s true than that’s the film that should’ve hit theaters. Mainly because there were several points in the film where I found myself questioning why certain characters were doing certain actions. For example, at one point Lex Luthor plants a bomb and blows up a court room with Superman in it. Why? Was it to kill Superman? Cause he should’ve known a simply bomb wouldn’t do that! Was it to frame Superman? How? Superman could incinerate the building with his heat vision if he wanted to! Also Henry Cavil’s acting in that scene was terrible, he looked less distraught at the carnage and more like “Ah man, not again!”
Also, why how did Batman know Superman was going to go to him in the final fight? I mean let’s break this scene down: Lex Luthor kidnaps Lois Lane and throws her off the building so Superman would hear her and come save her. ok. So Superman saves Lois and goes up to Lex to confronts him and that’s when Lex reveals to Superman that he also has Martha. Ok. So Lex tells Superman that he’ll let Martha go free if Superman goes and kills Batman in Gotham. Ok. Now Batman plans out this fight by creating his armor, planting a Kryptonite spear as his final weapon, and uses Kryptonite gas to weaken Superman. Ok. And Batman knew Superman would come to Gotham and fight him there and then because… … …I don’t know… Was it the Bat signal he turned on? How would Superman know that that’s what that meant? And if the Bat signal was to lure out Superman than why would Lex even have to tell Superman to go over to Gotham in the first place?
Now the climax actually wasn’t the actual fight between the Batman and Superman but the fight between the DC trinity and Doomsday. Now if Lex’s whole motivation for killing Superman was “he’s too powerful to control” then why would he create an even stronger Kryptonian that has less control than Superman to take down Superman?!?!??!?!? I mean don’t get me wrong, the final action scene was awesome to watch, but it makes no sense!!! What was Lex’s plan right after Doomsday kills Superman? How would he take care of Doomsday? It’s not like Doomsday was under Lex’s control! And if he was under Lex’s control than why didn’t they specify that!? And also if he was under Lex’s control than how was he controlling him?
Also let’s just talk about Superman’s death here. So Superman was weakened by the Kryptonite to the point where Doomsday was able to kill him by stabbing Superman in the heart with a bone shard. However at the very end of the movie the dirt rises up hinting at Superman’s return (plus Superman is in promotional art for Justice League so we know he’s coming back). Now that was a TERRIBLE mistake. Now I don’t like The Death of Superman. In my opinion it’s a gimmicky 90’s comic where where Superman dies by fighting some random monster in the form of Doomsday. Now I’ve always felt like that was cheap since it would’ve been far more meaningful if Superman died at the hands of someone like Lex Luthor, ya know a character that he’s had conflict with pretty much his whole life rather than some random monster. But as much as I don’t like the story itself, I like the meaning it had to people. Superman has been around since 1938 and has been in thousands of comics before the 1992 Death of Superman. At this point Superman means something to people and to see such an iconic character die protecting the people and the planet that he loves shows the lengths this character would go to do it. And the actual death of Superman was followed by a funeral where his fellow Justice Leaguers appeared to mourn his death until he returned to be the hero that everyone loves.
Here, he’s in two movies and dies. The end! I mean really, the comics earned Superman’s death and because that Superman has been around for decades and has found his way in our hearts and mind it meant something to us when he died. This Superman has not earned that considering that half the people who saw Man of Steel didn’t like it and Batman V Superman was it’s sequel it doesn’t have an emotional impact on us. If Captain America would to have actually died at the end of Civil War like in the comics than people would feel the impact since they’re invested in his character, but not many people probably felt anything when Superman died here. What I would’ve wanted to see was Superman taking down Lex Luthor and then forming the Justice League with Batman and Wonder Woman to help take down Darksied. I would’ve wanted to see the Justice League grow, gain more characters and expand it’s roster, and have Superman interact with all the new members. I would’ve wanted to see Superman in Man of Steel 2 to fight another villain like Brainiac or The Elite. And when this Superman finally found his way in the hearts of moviegoers everywhere, then have him heroically die at the hands of Doomsday and see the world the DCEU created to mourn his loss. Now I can’t because if they kill Superman off again after this than that would just be stupid and ridiculous. You guys only had one “Kills Superman at the hands of Doomsday” card and ya blew it! Thanks Zach Snyder!
Ok so the story is kinda all over the place and the ending sucked. What about the action? Well the action was honestly anywhere from kinda sucky to awesome. Pretty much any action scene with Batman (barring his fight with Superman) was badass! This is honestly probably the first film to capture a Batman fight accurately. Like I love The Dark Knight but honestly in terms of Batman fighting sequence this film beats it by a mile. The scene where Batman’s trying to save Martha from Lex’s thugs was a blast to see and I even liked the homage to The Dark Knight Returns (only in DKR it was a baby, not Martha). However if there is one downside to his fighting scenes it’s that he does…kinda…kill…
I have mixed feelings about this. For one, Batman has killed in previous films and nobody complained so why are people making a big deal now? But on the other hand, just because a previous film did it doesn’t mean it’s okay here and my Batman doesn’t kill. It also kinda makes me wonder if this Batman is willing to kill petty thugs than why is Joker still alive? Also why does he kill some guys but than leave some guys alive? Now I am fine with him torturing people as he has done that before. Batman is willing to torture people and beat someone up inches from death, he’s just not willing to go past that line. This always made sense to me because Batman doesn’t have super strength like Superman so he kinda needs to break a few bones so his stays in tact. However, I still wish that this Batman was more hesitant to kill.
Now the Batman Vs Superman fight scene is the one everybody wanted to see and is the reason everyone came in the first place. However it was pretty bad. Batman came up with these Kryptonite gas bombs that weakened Superman when activated. However when the Kryptinite gas wore off (which makes no sense considering that Superman breathed in the gas so the tiny kryptonite shards should’ve been stuck in his lungs but whatever) suddenly Batman was Superman’s rag doll (even with the armor). So here we have a fight where there’s constantly one person far too powerful for the other and it’s just a constant shift of whose currently more powerful than the other. I would’ve much rather a fight similar to Iron Man Vs Hulk in Avengers AoU where the person without superpowers could do something to boost his strength up significantly. Also if they were adapting Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns then I wish they would’ve included Batman’s badass speech (quoted below) that he tells as he’s beating Superman up.
“You’re beginning to get the idea, Clark. We could have changed the world…now…look at us…I’ve become a political liability…and…you…you’re a joke. I want you to remember, Clark…in all the years to come…in your most private moments…I want you to remember…my hand…at your throat…I want…you to remember…the one man who beat you.”
Now the Doomsday fight was a marvel to watch. As little sense as Doomsday made on a story level, he was a great opponent to face on an action level. Seeing Superman and Wonder Woman using their strengths to fight Superman only for Batman to weaken him enough with the Kryptonite gas so Superman could finish him off was awesome! Not Man of Steel level imo but it was a blast to see.
Now we got a messy story with bad to amazing action, how about the characters (which, in my opinion, is the most important element to a comic book adaptation).
Let’s start with Batman since he’s my favorite. Ben Affleck might just be my favorite Batman actor yet. He did a great Bruce Wayne and did a good job with Batman. I do kinda wish he was more hesitant to kill but I already talked about that so I won’t keep harping on it. His motivation did make sense to me considering how powerful Superman is. I just wish he came up with a better plan to take Superman down; bonus points if that new plan didn’t involve Kryptonite. I also thought the line “Tell me, do you bleed? You will!” would’ve been a whole lot cooler if he actually said it to Superman’s face.
Henry Cavil’s Superman still feels wrong to me. He spent his whole time brooding throughout the film with doubt before the final climax. Superman should be a symbol of hope and optimism, not self doubt. Granted self doubt could add complexity to his character considering the amount of power he has and how he should use it. However while he’s constantly wondering what he should do I don’t think he ever asked in provocative questions or made any statements that were answered or paid off. Also his motivation for not liking Batman made no sense to me. Did he dislike Batman because Batman was a vigilante taking out criminals? Um hello! Hypocrisy thy name is Superman!
In fact Superman is the only one of the DC Trinity that I didn’t like at all. Yeah Batman had his problems with killing but other than that he was fine, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was AWESOME! I still don’t like her lack of muscle, but the way she played Wonder Woman was done very well. Diana Prince was classy and Wonder Woman was a warrior. I couldn’t help but grin when Wonder Woman grinned half way through the Doomsday fight as if she was enjoying it. I honestly can’t wait for her to appear in her solo movie.
Now Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthor was the worst casting of a supervillain ever. Like seriously, it was as if the writers originally planned for both Joker and Lex Luthor to be the villain of the movie and at the last minute they where both shoved into one character. He’s intelligent but also psychotic! Lex Luthor is a villain that is suppose to be calm and in control. He’s rich, smart, and has some class, but he also loathes Superman and will do anything (or buy anything) to get rid of him because he sees Superman as a threat. Here, his motivation makes sense but he’s too flamboyant and acts like he has ADHD. Also why did the Kryptonian ship allow Lex to use it when he’s not Kryptonian? And if Lex is the most intelligent human on the planet, than why didn’t he use his own tools to create Doomsday rather than the ship? As much as it doesn’t make sense for him to create Doomsday in the first place, I’m fine with Lex using Zod’s body to create Doomsday so long as he used his own brains and his own lab to do it, not some Kryptonian tech that anybody could use!
One last character I want to bring up: Lois Lane. What was her purpose in the film? She was just kinda there to have this pointless romance with Clark that didn’t really go anywhere and she had no purpose in the Doomsday fight. Like literally when Superman died and Lois, Batman, and Wonder Woman went to retrieve Superman’s body I asked out loud “why is Lois even here” and my whole family laughed because she really had no business being there.
Let’s talk about the cameos real quick. Aquaman’s cameo was recorded weirdly and just looked stupid. Cyborg looked creepy but in the cool “mad scientist” sort of way. Flash was pretty cool.
Overall I give the film a 3/5.