Fans vs Critics: Dawn of Justice?
Before I commence my review for the heavily anticipated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, let me first apologize profusely for slacking so much on posting lately. Life has been so busy and I know I owe a plethora of reviews (and even an Oscar recap....I'm the worst,) but I knew this was one review I could not be negligent on! One of the biggest movies of the year absolutely deserves a timely review, so though I'm out of the habit I shall do my best to deliver.
Every now and then a movie comes along that the general public was looking forward to that once screened by critics, gets absolutely torn to shreds. Expectations become dashed and some audiences decide not to waste their time and money on a movie that's no longer a sure bet. But is the harshness of these reviews deserved? As it currently stands at Rotten Tomatoes, Batman v Superman sits at 31%. Having seen the film, I can absolutely say without a doubt that this film does NOT deserve that low of a score. Is it a perfect superhero film? No. It has its flaws to be sure, but is it a colossal disaster like Fantastic Four? Is it forgettable like the Iron-Man or Thor sequels? The answer is NO.
I do feel that some of the first half could be significantly trimmed to be a movie that gets right down to the point. There are a couple dream sequences that don't feel necessary, and in general, you can tell that the movie just really takes its time to set up the chess pieces for the rest of the film. But I really enjoyed myself nonetheless because I happen to love these characters, and seeing them inhabit the same world was a treat. The titular fight is fantastic, I even wish it could have been a little longer. The transition of the characters teaming up for the last battle was a little more rushed than I would like...but honestly, none of these issues I had is enough to destroy my view on the film as a whole. By the way, for some context, this is coming from a girl who loves the first two Nolan Batman films, was initially disappointed by Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel on first viewing, but warmed to them on a second viewing. My initial reaction to this film wasn't disappointment but simply rather the feeling that some things could be improved... Ultimately though, it's just so fun to see a big screen Batman and Superman share the stage together.
And with that addressed, now I'd like to break down my impressions of each of the major players of Batman v Superman to give you a good idea of my feelings about all aspects of the film.
One of the biggest questions everyone wants an answer to is "How does Ben Affleck fare in the iconic Batman role?" It's a very hard role to step into, particularly because Christian Bale only 4 years ago finished a great portrayal in the Nolan series (that I myself am very particularly attached to.) But Affleck is almost a seamless fit in the role. To the film's credit, it doesn't attempt an origin story (his backstory tastefully is told through a series of images during the opening credits,) and instead shows an established Batman who has been doing the job for 20 years. He's believable in the role. My only problem with him was more character based, and arose from the fact that I just have a preference for Superman... I just couldn't help but be frustrated that Batman could be so stupid at times not to know Superman is a good guy. Other than that, I really thought he was great.
Oh man. Henry Cavill is just so beautiful. What can I say? I haven't seen Man of Steel in awhile (which will be rectified soon with my great Superman & Batman filmography rewatch...) so it's hard for me to compare the performances. As a film, I definitely preferred this one. I like how he was resolute in not fighting and really [SPOILERS highlight to read] only was blackmailed into it [/SPOILERS] I was worried this film would be more Batman than Superman, but thankfully both heroes got to share the limelight and Cavill was wonderful.
Gal Gadot brings Wonder Woman (and her counterpart Diana Prince) into the 21st Century. Her Diana shows up at parties looking fabulous and intriguing Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne like CRAZY. I loved their banter. I loved her character. I just wish I was a little more familiar with her powers so that when the big battle began I wasn't scratching my head whenever she was onscreen wondering what she was up to. Her part is small, but I'll be excited to see what she brings to the table in her solo film.
Another one of the biggest question marks was the casting of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. He certainly does NOT seem like any Lex Luthor I've ever encountered in any rendition of the classic Superman story, and by the trailers I was very skeptical. Once I saw the film though, I have to say I kind of love how different of a take he went for in portraying the villain. He's unlike any Lex we've seen, and though he's certainly not what we've traditionally come to expect, I thought his completely original take was kinda refreshing! Also, to my surprise, I discovered he was far more integral to the plot than I had supposed. [SPOILERS highlight to read] I really like how it's Lex that is responsible for really pitting the two heroes against each other, and his own form of maniacal genius he displays in creating Doomsday. Stealing the fingerprints from Zod to access Kryptonian technology is just absolutely brilliant.[/SPOILERS]
Amy Adams was one of my biggest complaints about Man of Steel, and though a fine actress, seemed to undoubtedly be the weak link. I'm happy to report that she fares better in the sequel. Though I still wish she'd dye her hair, she had some great "Loisy" moments in this one, and her relationship with Clark Kent was absolutely perfect. The first film botched the beginning of their romance, but this one, set two years later, shows the iconic couple exactly the way they need to be portrayed. They have a couple moments that really made my Clark/Lois shipping heart flutter. Sometimes I still think of her as Amy Adams as opposed to her character, but I still think it was an improvement. I was also happy that she wasn't relegated to a Pepper Potts Avengers role. I expected her to maybe have a cameo, but she was integral to the story as well.
All in all, as I've covered, this film was not perfect. But it was absolutely enjoyable, and so yes I believe you should go out there and support it. This movie needs to be a success for the sake of DC's future (and because frankly I don't think Marvel Studios should have a monopoly on an entire genre.) These are great characters and their world is one I definitely want to keep visiting in the future, so please... ignore the critics and get out there and make your own opinion. As for mine? I'm giving this movie. RATING: 8/10.