We’re going to mix it up a bit with this review. In celebration of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hitting theaters today, we thought we’d have a face-off of our own… with a split review! Yes, indeed, today it’s black and blue, we have god vs. man, Day vs. Night, it’s Miguel and Ed.
In an attempt to avoid spoilers and not repeat some of the pretentious babble circulating this film currently, we are going to approach this review by answering the questions that have been on all of our minds since this film was announced – our thoughts, our concerns, our hopes – we aim to tackle all of it and answer as spoiler free as possible. So read on good readers and, as always, stay entertained.
Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane.
Following the events of Man of Steel; Bruce Wayne (Affleck), having been a first-hand witness to the destruction wreaked on Metropolis, now focuses his attention on Superman (Cavill) and opts to take him down before he can cause more harm. As the two heroes prepare to battle, a greater evil is at work as Lex Luthor (Eisenberg) aims to take out both Son of Krypton and the Bat of Gotham in one fell swoop, and if they should fail to destroy one another, then he will unleash a monster that will.
First, quick thoughts of the film?
ED: I think I’ve been skeptical about BvS since they decided to go from the inspired idea of finally pitting the two titans against one another on the big screen, to the all too predictable choice of making it a setup to the Justice League. That was just the first of a long line of issues I’ve had leading up to the release of this film. Now, having seen it, a lot of my fears have been realized, but it does have a few (and that’s few) saving graces and, honestly, it’s far from the worst of all the superhero movies coming out right now.
MIGUEL: When BvS was announced it was an exciting moment in superhero cinema. Who wouldn’t want to see two powerhouses face off and bring the smackdown of justice to some bad guys? But, as time went on, more cast was revealed and rumors started swirling and next thing you know 3 years of hype have made for impossible expectations.
Is the story good?
ED: Here lies the core of the problem. For such a lengthy film – and it does feel lengthy – the story feels so disjointed and was hardly endearing. Whilst it offers the opportunity to see some of our favorite heroes do battle in a feast of visual imagery, everything in between is loosely tied together to a point where we stop caring and just want the action to start. There are so many jumps back and forth between characters, especially as things gear up towards the big finale, that it feels like it gets itself lost in the midst and slowly becomes more and more inconsistent. There are random dream sequences, some of which work to positive effect – the desert Batman sequence in particular – but others that left me wondering what the fuck did I just watch? The editing did not help at all either. And somebody please show Zack Snyder how to properly end on a cliffhanger because the end of this film was so frustratingly dumb, it may have been my least favorite part in the entire thing.
MIGUEL: Story? I couldn’t tell you much and I just sat through almost 3 hours of film. It’s convoluted, clunky and sort of drones on for quite some time. Batman and Superman hardly spend any time at each other’s throats, opting instead to: stare at costumes, stare at televisions, stare into the distance, have nightmares and mommy/daddy issues. It’s also pretty unfortunate that the trailers give away not just “the good stuff” but rather the entire damn movie.
What about the action?
ED: So this is where I was severely hoping things would pick up. My major concern with the action going in was that it’d resemble too much of Man of Steel‘s action, where everything was a blurry mess and you could hardly tell what was going on. It steers from that for the most part, though it has it’s rough moments, and the action has the potential to steal the show, however when the big moment comes where Batman finally faces Superman, it’s disappointingly short lived, and the reason used to stop the conflict is, frankly, lame as hell. Again, I was left wondering “wait, it’s over?”. And then we fall into the battle with Lex and Doomsday, and whilst it has some sterling imagery and a handful of cool moments, it never really feels heightened, even with Wonder Woman’s entrance.
MIGUEL: I spent the week reading bad or mediocre reviews and prepared myself for somewhat of a letdown. “But the action will be spectacular…” I told myself. Maybe it’s because I saw a late showing after a long day, or maybe it’s because most of the good stuff comes after 2 and half hours of monotonous babbling, but nothing really packed a punch here. And it didn’t quite get the build up I think was intended. All of a sudden we stop the boring, humdrum, soap opera and are thrown into this big fight. Nothing felt naturally lead to that moment, instead, it was placed at our feet with a nice bow that said “please enjoy, now.” Too bad I’d seen most of these scenes in the trailers.
How is Ben Affleck’s Batman/ Bruce Wayne?
ED: This may truly be the best thing to take away from BvS right here. The potential for the Batman in this universe is now at an all time high… so long as Zack Snyder and Ben Affleck are not the ones directing the movie when the time comes. But, truly, Ben Affleck is a solid Batman and makes for a convincing Bruce Wayne. Whereas people may not like the bleak approach to Superman, it works perfectly for Batman and seeing him get as dark and gritty as he does is actually exciting. Ben Affleck’s bulk makes the character more formidable than ever before. This is a Batman I want to see.
MIGUEL: I’m going to admit my bias for Batman and truthfully say he was the only reason I was excited for BvS. THREE YEARS ago when Affleck was announced as the new Batman I was hesitant like many others at the time. But optimism and then finally photo proof showed that we might be in for one of the best Batmen yet. Does Ben Affleck deliver? Absolutely. He’s as gruff as he is enormous and his batsuit is definitely the best one we’ve seen. Batman is one of the only saving graces about this film and I’m way more interested in future solo Batman outings than Justice League at this point.
How is Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman?
ED: A lot of people have said that she steals the show, all I’m wondering is how could she with so little screen time? She shows up here and there throughout the film with little context as to why she’s there or what she’s up to. Then she finally shows up in the battle against Doomsday and it’s cool, yes, but again, severely short-lived. Most of her action scenes are blurry images and the action is so all over the place, she hardly has a moment to shine, she’s just a presence. You can’t even say “oh, it was cool when Wonder Woman did…” because all she really did was show up, and that was it.
MIGUEL: Brief, but enjoyable. Gal Gadot was an interesting choice to play Wonder Woman, in that she wasn’t who most people thought of to play the amazonian princess. However, like Affleck, she quickly becomes one of the better parts of BvS. Unfortunately, that isn’t saying to terribly much.
How is that beefcake (Henry Cavill) as Superman the second time around?
ED: I like Henry Cavill as Supes. He has all the right elements, and he is as big as hell. I feel like the character is being misused in this series, at least that’s how it feels on the whole. I really like the themes and philosophies that they set up here – Is Superman a threat? Are we safe only through his good graces? Or is he a man just trying to do the right thing? – but once again, the story is so disconnected, it never amounts to anything. And again, throughout the action Superman has his moments, but in the chaos, the reason to care gets lost along the way.
MIGUEL: Yikes. Superman was so crotchety and mean at times and honestly was the second most boring part of BvS. He is sort of worried about saving the world but more often can be found rescuing his GF <333…. Ugh, he even brushes off killing thousands because “what would you have me do, let my soulmate die???”
Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor?
ED: He is not as annoying as the trailers or critics make him out to be. He does have some over-the-top moments for sure, but on the whole he does make for a compelling villain, despite the hints at daddy issues that just feel forced rather than organic.
MIGUEL: Surprisingly, Jesse Eisenberg isn’t as annoying as most make him out to be. Sure he’s eccentric and is a little out of place at times but he’s making the role his own, differing from any iteration we’ve seen before. He may not be great at hiding his evil intentions but at least he’s doing something interesting while Batman and Superman are just gossiping behind each other’s backs. I think with another film or two under his belt Eisenberg will find a good hold on the character and make him a villain to truly be disdained.
The rest of the cast?
ED: Had the story had any continuity to it, there could’ve been so much more for the supporting cast to do, but if the leads can’t make the most of their screen time, then you can bet that the rest of the cast doesn’t add much. Amy Adams is present, but needlessly so as her Lois Lane keeps getting into trouble or, should I say, getting in the way of the action from ever evolving. Jeremy Irons is a cool Alfred, but he’s used for little more than comic relief (if you can call it that, even the few jokes in the film are spoiled in the trailers). And if you’re looking forward to seeing some Justice League cameos, don’t hold your breath (like Jason Momoa looks like he’s clearly doing in his bit).
MIGUEL: I could care less to be honest. Not one storyline was truly riveting or kept me on the edge of my seat. Is that the actor’s fault? I wouldn’t place blame at their feet. The script gives nothing solid to any one character, instead, it tries to cram 6 million subplots into an already crowded story.
Does this bode well for the future of this new DC universe?
ED: The problem, so far with this series, is the lack of focus on story, and so far it’s really hurt its future potential. Warner Bros. seems to be so swept away with the potential of this franchise, they’re not even stopping to use it fully, they just want it made. They have all of the right ingredients, they’re just losing their way in the execution. I am looking forward to the Wonder Woman movie and a new Batman movie, but I move forward with great caution.
MIGUEL: I’m worried about the future of DC. Dark and brooding can be fun but Marvel has shown that levity makes all the difference. If they start focusing the narrative to keep it from spilling over the edge of plausibility then they can build a solid universe. Unfortunately, with this outing, it appears that a nonsensical plot and far too many characters will be DC’s template for self destruction.
Final thoughts and rating?
Ultimately, whilst Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has all the right ingredients for stellar entertainment, it underwhelms immensely. Aside from the unfocused story, shoddy editing, and a lack of emphasis or endearment, it seems what really hurt this film was the trailers. They pretty much gave everything away. Any plot device that they could’ve used to heighten the action – Doomsday, Wonder Woman, the Justice League – should’ve have been left to be revealed in the movie itself, and within the movie itself be used more appropriately. This started off as Batman vs. Superman, it digressed to a prequel to the Justice League during development, and it shows here, thus allowing the spotlight to fall from what was a golden opportunity in cinematic history.
MIGUEL: 10/10. Just kidding…