Friend Or Foe?
The second film in the new DC cinematic universe is packed with action, excitement and a whole lot of head scratching moments.
Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice feels like what a child’s imagination would think up when they’re playing with action figures in their bedroom. Like playing with action figures, the motivation for each character’s actions are often unexplained, all of them in the same vicinity seems a little too convenient, but it doesn’t seem to matter because seeing all these famous comic book characters on screen is what this film seems to care about the most… and damn is that a disappointment.
Taking place directly after of the events of 2013’s Man Of Steel, Batman V Superman begs the question of what does Superman stand for, and is he the hero people need after seeing the destruction that he can unleash? As a first hand witness to the destruction of Metropolis, Batman will not rest until Superman is stopped. With these two at war with one another, Lex Luthor has created a new threat that puts mankind in great danger.
The first time seeing the newest version of Batman on screen had me filled with wonder with how he would compare to the Nolan film’s, and I am happy to say that I like this new take on the character.
Batman in this universe has been fighting crime for twenty years, and doesn’t appear to have slowed down. He is still the ass-kicking vigilante that we are all familiar with, but he does so in a more bruiting and destructive way than we have seen before. This Batman is not afraid to use guns and he does occasionally appear to kill people, something that the Batman in the Dark Knight trilogy would not do. Ben Affleck turned out to be a great casting choice. His wide acting range is perfect for the part both physically (the guy is ripped) and personality wise.
Batman isn’t the only new addition to the new DC cinematic universe, however. We are also introduced to Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) and a couple other heroes that I will not spoil for those who have yet to see the film.
Wonder Woman is one of the more memorable characters of the film, and she had the audience clapping in my theater during her brief, but exciting, appearances. It’s great to finally see a strong female character in a world where we have so many male superheroes being put on screen. She is fierce, strong and has some extremely catchy theme music. The film’s ability to demonstrate her powers and fighting ability almost certainly lassoed everyone’s desire to go and see her future origin film.
I really loved Eisenberg’s take on Lex Luthor. He is a spoiled, devious mastermind mixed with some elements of classic bad guys from the 1920’s who twirl their mustaches. I found him entertaining, and not the least bit annoying as some speculated he would be.
I left out Superman because he is pretty much the same Superman that we got in Man Of Steel, so if you liked that, then you get that again, with a few additional scenes with him as Clark Kent.
What really kills this film from competing with any Marvel film is the plot. The plot moves along at such a weird pace, along with some bad editing. One moment Batman is against Superman, then they along with Wonder Woman are fighting Doomsday, but they don’t really know each other all that well so its a little odd, but then there are needed references to Justice League. It’s too much story to put into one single film.
The big moment of the Batman V Superman, as the title suggests, is when the two iconic heroes finally face off. The fight sequence is well executed as we see Batman hold his own against Superman, thanks to an upgraded suit and smoke grenades that are filled with a certain green element that Superman is immediately weakened by (shocker).
After a long and arduous first act of attempting to establish all the characters, watching the fight scene finally gave the film a sense of fun and excitement that was much needed by this point.
Unfortunately, it is at this moment that one of the films weakest points also occurs. The turning point in which Batman and Superman go from being enemies to teaming up felt so rushed, with the one thing the two have in common that makes them stop fighting each other is so stupid, it actually made me cringe and say to myself, “is this really happening?”
It might be one of the dumbest moments in a Superhero film history. These characters are beating the crap out of each other, which means there needs to be a more emotional and logical reason for them to set aside their differences for the greater good.
One thing that I hope is fixed in the next film are the visuals. While I think that the grey and gloom look does add to the film’s theme and tone that is darkness, some of the scenes were so dark that I was difficult to make out what was happening on screen. Turn up the brightness, DC! Nearly every setting in these first two films so far is eventually in shambles, so a splash of color would help the action scenes create a bigger emotional attachment.
Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice is an overall improvement when comparing it to Man Of Steel, but just barely. This film universe certainly is just beginning to flesh itself out, but it needs to slow down a bit and establish its characters. I still feel after two films I don’t have an emotional connection to Superman, and this film introduced many more characters, which made it even harder to care about each one individually.
The film certainly has many flaws. It shows what happens when you try and hammer too many elements into one film. The way it tells its story is clumsy, each characters motive is questionable, and visually it could use some work, but at its best moments, it’s a film that I do think should be seen, but with lowered expectations.