Batman v. Superman (2016): Dawn of Justice

Posted: April 10, 2016 in Action, Adventure, Fantasy
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The atmosphere is somewhat shaky after the invasion of the surviving Kryptonians and the battle with Superman. Bruce Wayne fears the unchecked power of the remaining survivor of Krypton and questions his heroic status. At the same time, Lex Luther holds the same concern and desires access to the alien technology and kryptonite deposit from the Indian Ocean. As Bruce and Lex jockey for access to the kryptonite, the public dissonance over accepting Superman as a just hero is hitting a breaking point as Congress looks to bring him in for his collateral damage and lack of accountability. As the tension continues to mount, Superman and Batman finally confront each other regarding their distrust, but there is another serious threat looming not far from their battleground.

Darkness Consumes All: The Dark Knight series was one that truly changed the tone of the DC universe and superhero movies, in general. With such a major hero having a darker tone, it ushered in a string of films that took a similar turn. Even Man of Steel took that tone. The most challenging aspects of the newer image of Superman included the massive collateral damage during the battle with General Zod and his other survivors and the killing of Zod at the end of the movie.

These actions and dark environments have bled into the new film, with Superman brooding over feeling alone on the planet and being called into question as a hero and Batman struggling greatly over the death of his parents many years later. While Superman actually more caught up in his thoughts, the Batman represented was one who seemed to engage in the torture of his enemies and was seeking the death of Superman rather than attempting to understand and reach the alien’s sensibility. Both characters seem more ready to take a life than most iterations of their storytelling. And by taking the Death of Superman story to its conclusion, it solidified a sombre beginning to the formation of the Justice League.

The Death of the Death of Superman: One major criticism of the creation of this film’s story surrounds the loose retelling of one of Superman’s most infamous stories. While Doomsday was of Kryptonian origin, this new film mashed and ripped apart his creation story to filter into a confused mess of a Justice League origin. The original Doomsday (The Ultimate) was a vicious beast of prehistoric origin from Krypton. This film used some strange combination of the crashed Kryptonian ship, General Zod’s dead corpse, and Lex Luthor’s blood to birth the beast. The fight was of epic proportions, but it lacked a sense of continuity with other tellings of Doomsday’s arrival and Superman’s death. This distortion seemed like a waste of an evil counterpoint to Superman.

Uneven Casting Choices: While I was actually not as turned off by Ben Affleck’s performances as the caped crusader and I believe that Henry Cavill makes a fine Superman, other choices in this film were a bit suspect. Casting Jesse Eisenberg as Lex was not necessarily poor at first glance, but making him more of a psychotic, Joker-like villain rather than the calculated, composed Luthor fans are used to left the film imbalanced. Gal Gadot was also actually a nice choice for Diana/Wonder Woman, but she has such little dialogue or purpose toward the storytelling that her inclusion in the film seemed unnecessary. What also felt a little out of place were the high number of real life news reporters and scientists used to try to force a sense of reality and credibility to a film that took a lot of criticism before it was even released.

Final Verdict: I have been very critical of this film before and after viewing it in the theater because we should expect better from Hollywood when taking the stories and characters we love and adapting them for the big screen. Considering the monumental success of Marvel’s waves of films, DC Comics had sorely been lagging behind and failed to produce a film that can rival Marvel’s quality and integration. A few of the fight scenes are epic, Wonder Woman’s entrance is fierce, but the overall quality is just not there. I would not mind keeping the cast and restarting the canon, but that is not how the industry works and the Spiderman and X-Men stories are perfect examples of why.

Dan’s Rating: 2.0/5

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