Right – let’s get the negative stuff out of the way first shall we? Was this the best movie in the world? No, I guess not, it had some flaws which I’ll detail below. However, it definitely was not the horrible pile of steaming tripe that other reviewers are painting it as. To be clear, I’d in fact normally agree with the opinions expressed on some of these sites & by some of these reviewers – one of them is our very own Valentin & his post: Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice: Review. Their thoughts and opinions generally echo my own, however, I think this time they were perhaps being a bit too harsh and critical and I think that might be a function of their own choice of fandom – DC or Marvel – vs. the quality of the film itself. As an avowed Marvel fanboy, I have only a passing familiarity with the DC Universe so if I get anything blatantly wrong, please don’t hesitate to (politely) correct me!
- The Dream/Fore-shadowing Sequences – OK I’ll agree here with the commentary that these were somewhat unnecessary. I’d be the first to admit that I almost groaned out loud when the movie started with Batman’s backstory once again. I really didn’t feel that it was at all necessary to watch his parents – once again – get gunned down in the street. While I understand the juxtaposition of the names (now) it was annoying to see it as we’d already seen it so many times before and it just felt painful to go through it all once again. Moving on from this is more visceral fight sequence in a destroyed world that sees Superman & his acolytes carving up Batman and his group of resistance fighters. Now I’m not sure if the flying bug things are meant to be in actuality the minions of Darkseid? I think they are & they are obviously presaging his eventual arrival as DC’s answer to Thanos in the Justice League Movie. While we are led to believe that Batman’s dream is all about Superman, in reality based on the appearance of the Parademons – it’s really about Darkseid. As the foot soldiers of Darkseid their participation in the battle clearly tells fans one things: Darkseid is coming. Now were they (the dream sequences) necessary for THIS movie? No, probably not … they did however serve as a good tie-in to the larger DC Universe though which is I think the overall intent and purpose.
- Lois & Clark – While this show from the 90s had our TV screens almost melting with the chemistry between the characters, the love story between our modern day iteration of Lois & Clark is nothing more than tepid. Here too I’d have to agree with the sentiments voiced by others as surprisingly the most wooden elements of this film were the portrayals by Adams and Cavill. Considering how vivacious Amy Adams is as a character and how she can literally bring the screen to life, it’s a real pity that she wasn’t given that opportunity here. Henry Cavill definitely LOOKS the part of Superman … it’s just somewhat disappointing that in this movie he was not given an opportunity to portray a normal human being also. In all honesty – DC could have gone the route of Marvel here quite easily when they removed Thor’s love interest in between movies instead of having her act as just a bit player. While Lois’ role had some importance in villanizing Superman, the task could have been accomplished just as simply through another plot device, reducing the number of characters on the screen and also tightening the movie as a whole.
Parademons are the foot soldiers of the space tyrant Darkseid – think of them as the orcs in Lord of the Rings, a marginally intelligent, fiercely loyal to their overlord troop that’s bred only for war. Either way, this is clearly saying one thing to fans: Darkseid is coming.
- Conflict but not enough – This was perhaps my own personal hate point and the one that I really think needs the most focus. The whole movie was a set piece about how much Batman doesn’t trust Superman and fears that he is going to become a despot. Despite Alfred’s continued insistence that he’s not actually done anything wrong, Batman states that his legacy will be the destruction of Superman. When the actual conflict happens though … its stupid! Not the fight itself – that seemed to take some elements from the classic Frank Miller book, but rather how and why the fight happens. Superman travels to Gotham (by the way, did you know that the two cities are on opposite sides of the Bay?) to persuade Batman to help him search for his mother and after initially stating that he needs Batmans’ help, the instant that they are actually face-to-face, he proceeds to shove Batman across the roof? They hadn’t actually even started talking yet and he’d already jumped into fisticuffs?? Proceeding further in the fight, Batman has Superman on the ropes and the instant Superman mentions his mom’s name (another aside here … I’d not really put the two Mom’s names together before … nice juxtaposition), all hatred against Superman is forgotten and they are instantly on the same team?
- Laughter is the best medicine! – Not really mentioned by too many reviewers, but something that I thought worth speaking to was the lack of humor in this film. While the films in the DC Universe seem to (generally) be darker in tone vs. the Marvel films, I think a smattering of jokes sprinkled throughout the movie help keep the audience engaged. They need to be the right ones of course and unfortunately the only one that I recall (“Superman asks Batman if he brought Wonderwoman and he replies that he thought Superman did”) just didn’t work for me. It was forced and considering the threat they are facing, it didn’t make sense at the time. I guess you could also include the introduction of Clark and Bruce by Lex but I feel that this was ruined by the trailers more than anything else. By contrast the interaction between Iron Man and Captain America in both Avengers movies was flawless. Guardians of the Galaxy had a ton of jokes and don’t even get me started on Deadpool!
Now to the positive! While I think I’ve spoken to some of the complaints mentioned by others, I think the key here is to realize that DC really had no choice. Marvel has created a Universe of films and is able to call upon all of their characters from decades of comics for stories. If DC wants to remain relevant, they NEED to somehow bridge the gap between stand-alone features to a more cohesive and larger story arc. Could they have done this slower over the course of many years? Yes they could have, but in some ways they alluded to it by Batman witnessing the destruction caused by Superman in his most recent incarnation/debut in the 2013 feature Man of Steel. I think that particularly, was well done as there have been many movies – Marvel included – where you’re left to wonder where all the other superhero’s are during the course of a massive slug fest. When this movie had Bruce witness the destruction that Superman caused and in fact, be personally impacted by it – well that for me was one of the high points of the movie.
The other high point of course was Wonder Woman! Portrayed amazingly well by Gal Gadot the scenes that contained her were excellent. Her fight sequences with Doomsday were particularly well done as she attacked not just with strength but also with intelligence. I loved the fact that she didn’t try to stab with her sword but rather sliced through tendons and muscles to weaken her foe. I also loved the fact that when she got knocked down – she seemed to relish the challenge. She almost had me grinning with her when she jumped back into the fray and her enthusiasm for the battle was infectious! I could only wish that Lois had the same joie de vivre!
As an (already stated) Marvel Fan, I don’t know the DC Universe as well, however I think there are elements to this movie that could let DC have something special when they eventually build out their own creation. Affleck actually made a decent Batman and a particularly imposing (elder) Bruce Wayne. While he doesn’t have the same brooding nature as Christian Bale, I think he’ll do well in the future as the leader of the Justice league and while we’ve so far only seen him as a fighter, perhaps we’ll eventually get to see him as the intelligent Detective he is also. It’s a pity for DC that the Green Lantern didn’t do as well as it should have – although I guess in some ways I’m glad as if it had, we’d never have had the Deadpool we’ve all fallen in love with! It does make me wonder though how the Justice League is going to fight Darkseid and all of his minions with only 5 members (6 when Superman returns)? I mean from what I know he’s not HYDRA but rather more akin to a God! It should be an interesting little tussle is what I say!