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Film review – BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

There’s a lot to process.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a heartbreaking experience. I remember the time it was announced back in  2013 at SDCC. I felt the need to cry when I saw the Batman and Superman logos combined. A Batman and Superman movie was beyond my dreams and for a long time I thought that Warner Bros. will never even consider making that movie before a Justice League live action adaptation. But they did!

The second entry in the DCEU has been an emotional rollercoaster since Ben Affleck got the Batman role (which I loved) to the trailers. And here we are almost three years after the film was first announced by Zack Snyder and Harry Lennix.

So, is Batman v Superman good? Kinda. It’s definitely not great, but works as an entertaining movie.

How come that a movie with this budget and such a big studio behind could be so disappointing? How can a movie that took so much time in the making tell such a weird story? That’s the question of the year. I’m baffled.

Zack Snyder who is great at visuals proves again that he is quite weak at storytelling. The first hour of this film is shockingly dull and poorly constructed. Of course there’s good sequences but overall the first act of Batman v Superman is like a collage, some kind of strange anthology movie about the greatest clash of titans in comic book movie history. The first 60 or 70 minutes feel like a mashup of random scenes hoping to make a good first act. You get what is going on, but the problem is you know the story can be told in a much better way. The movie – in this first hour – does nothing to jump from character to character, just to show the audience what they’re doing. It feels like an episode of Marvel’s Daredevil but oddly boring, rushed and slow paced. Everything seems to be disjointed and every single time that a scene is evolving and building an interesting moment, it cuts away to something that is less engaging. Is like playing a video game where you’re getting close to the level’s boss, you die and then you have to start the level all over again since the boring part. It’s frustrating.

From this weird mix of scenes, the film moves to the battles – which are honestly the best parts of the movie, but significantly shorter than the sequences seen in Man of Steel. The problem is, even if the film has some gloriously choreographed fight scenes, it’s hard to get why are these two characters fighting. Batman has a point, he has to destroy Superman before he destroys the world, but why the idea of meeting him – with a contention plan – and talk never crossed his mind? Why is Superman so pissy? A wonderful thing about Superman’s character is that he knows how powerful he is and that he is responsible of his actions. Why does he hits Batman when he gets a bit mad? The Man of Steel, one of the nicest guys in comic books, has the worst temper in this film, and that’s very confusing.

However, when Batman fights Superman, it’s amazing. The action is well executed and the visuals play a nice role in the scenes making these battles even more exciting. It’s wonderfully executed but the “Batman vs. Superman” sequence takes about 6 minutes of the movie. The “greatest gladiator fight in the history of the world” is surpringly short but there’s some good punches in there. In the other hand, the battle against Doomsday is absolutely awful when it comes to visuals and reflects the fact that Zack Snyder hasn’t learned from the mistakes done in his previous Superman movie. The destruction is worse than ever and Doomsday as a CG character is  a horrible weapon of mass destruction who brings the movie to its knees and works as the Venom of Batman v Superman. There’s not too many reasons why to have Doomsday in this movie other than to unite Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

In the other hand, when the Trinity is in action, the sequence turns into a joyful experience. It takes out your inner child, it’s great – unfortunately, they don’t talk to each other. There’s chemistry between the characters, but they don’t bounce against each other. They don’t make plans, they don’t yell at each other and they don’t help each other all that much.

What is so bad about Batman v Superman (besides the amateur-level editing) is the fact that it never worries to work on the characters. Each one of them are plot devices more that characters, they’re just poorly designed and in some cases they’re bad directed like Superman. Henry Cavill looks bored throughout the movie, giving us one of the strangest version of Superman ever in cinema. The way this character is portrayed makes him look like a angry douche, miserable, confused and totally unlikeable.Cavill’s Clark Kent is good, but we don’t that side of him very often. Lex Luthor is more of the same, a different (annoying) angry douche with daddy issues. Jesse Eisenberg definitely makes his own version of Lex, but it’s so jumpy, childish, socially awkward, too Joker-ish, obvious and weird… it just falls flat and has absolute no charm.

In the other hand, Wonder Woman is good, really good actually, but Wonder Woman is brought to the mix with no significant preparation to be in the final battle. She just shows up for the sake of having a popular character fighting in the movie to sell more tickets and of course, to get the Trinity together in the big screen for the first time. She is great fighter, oddly omnipotent in several scenes, misterious, sexy, and interesting. However, Wonder Woman’s appereance in the movie feels more like an advertising for her solo movie.

If you are wondering about who is the star of Batman v Superman I have the answer for you: Ben Affleck. What Ben Affleck delivers in this movie is simply amazing. What you’re going to see is the definitive Batman. The best Dark Knight ever to be put onscreen. He fights like Batman is supposed to fight, he moves like him, he looks like the Caped Crusader, he is frightening and perhaps the deeper character of this movie. Watching Wayne’s relationship with Alfred is a total delight. What Jeremy Irons deliver is possibly the best Alfred in cinema, since he is proactive and has a greater role in Wayne’s life and in his duty as a vigilante, but we don’t see much of him in the theatrical release. I can’t wait for a standalone Batman film with these two.

Perhaps that’s what Zack Snyder does best in this movie, bringing the best Batman on cinema. In the negative side, the movie he just directed is not really all that fun and it’s terribly confunsing. Batman v Superman is basically another Man Of Steel but with Batman init and hints at the Justice LeagueThe film is very ambicious. Dawn of Justice tries too hard to settle a cinematic universe, but there’s so much to process it feels convoluted.

It makes us wonder if they did the movie carefully. Batman v Superman from the story point is incredibly sloppy. There’s so much scenes that make absolute no sense. Dawn of Justice has a series dream sequences that look great, but they’re absolutely confusing. The Knightmare vision/dream sequence is cool, but why is it in this movie? It settles the ground for other DC Movies, it shows other characters that we will see in the Justice League movie, but theres’s no valid reason to be in this movie. Many scenes are so hard to understand, like a scene where Clark Kent is in the Arctic and finds his dead building something. Pa Kent advices him and then he is gone. Why are these weird illusional scenes in the movie? What’s the purpose?

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice just strenghts the fact that Zack Snyder is incredible at visuals but lacks skills when it comes to tell a story, understand characters and their value, and settle a cinematic universe.

Is it enjoyable? Yeah, sure. I would love this movie to be great, but unfortunately it wasn’t. I like it, it’s okay. Here’s high hopes for Wonder Woman and  Justice League. I really want the DCEU to work. There’s great sequences, but overall the editing and the story is baffling.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice gets 6.5/10.

Follow Marv Castillo on Twitter: @MarvCastillo

Keep in touch to see Geek Broadside’s series of Batman v Superman articles.

 

 

 

 

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