Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice Review

"Zack Snyder has brought to life some of the best DC comics of the last 30 years." 5/5 Reviewed by Adi Mursec

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It’s been one of the most wanted movies for the last twenty or so years, most people thought it wouldn’t happen, others thought it just couldn’t but thanks to the visionary Zack Snyder who brought us Watchmen and 300 we finally have the cinematic Batman and Superman we’ve needed since film was born.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet I’m going to try and keep most of the spoilers for another section later on in the review but one thing is for sure and that’s that you can’t have avoided all negative response from critics. Firstly if you have read any comics at all and enjoyed them this movie is aimed at you. General movie critics just wont get this movie. It’s for the fans made by the fans. It’s not one of those throw away Marvel movies like Age of Ultron, this is a labour of love for so many people. If The Avengers was classed as a comic book movie Batman Vs Superman is more of just a live action comic.

Zack Snyder has built a name for himself by making movies based on comics which are almost word for word from the source material. The movies play out just like he has filmed your imagination as you read it. The difference between BvS compared to 300 and Watchmen is that BvS is part of a franchise and takes inspiration from a lot of big comics. Watchmen and 300 were easier to follow as they were all relatively self contained. So basically if you haven’t read all the Frank Miller Dark Knight comics, Death of Superman, Crisis on Infinite Earths you will probably get a bit lost on this movie.

I think the poor reviews come from those people who haven’t read the comics which fill in the gaps. I’d say they have made the movie like this in an attempt to catch up with the kind of cross over movie franchises Marvel is making in a short space of time. If the movie was an hour or so longer or followed on from another which introduced everyone better it might have been better received by critics.

Personally I loved the film, I might be still in hype mode from watching it recently but  I honestly think this is the most important comic book movie made to date, just based on what they have achieved and pulled no punched to deliver something more closer to the source material. Like I mentioned earlier this is like someone has filmed my imagination when I’ve read some of the biggest DC comics over the last 30 years. The special effects are amazing, a little choppy on Doomsday but overall it looks like they pushed the bar a little higher for comic book movies. I hope the bad reviews don’t make WB change direction with the upcoming movies. It’s perfect and could crush the Marvel movies but they will need to make a few more to pad out the characters and story and make more solid foundations for this live action comic universe.

Ben Affleck’s Batman is the star of this movie. You might think you’ve seen Batman in movies before but that was the mainstream DC Universe Batman who doesn’t kill people, swear or do anything in a movie that’s not family friendly. The Batman Affleck plays is the Bruce Wayne from the Frank Miller Dark Knight universe which is boxed off and more self contained from the other comics. It’s a controversial move as some of Frank Millers comics have even been cancelled in recent years for superheroes being too out of character, stories like Holy Terror which had to have Batman removed entirely from the story and All-Star Batman and Robin which got cancelled half way through because Batgirl swears and he kidnapped an orphan and fed him rats. They are more edgy and to comic fans regarded as the most influential and epicly awesome Batman comics ever made.

It’s a great move to bring Frank Millers Batman into the movies but with 95% of the people watching the movie expecting to see Christian Bale’s Batman you will be a little surprised. Those 5% who have read Millers Dark Knight comics will appreciate it and understand him a bit more. What made Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies successful was the realism they had, there was no aliens or magic, it was a lot easier to understand for the general audience. Personally I think Frank Millers Dark Knight is more realistic. For someone to dress up as a bat and fight crime at night they would have to be a bit crazy with a few nuts loose. That’s the Batman I love and Ben Afflecks portrayal of him was epic. I don’t think Christian Bale’s Batman could go up against Superman and the new direction makes everything fit together nicely.

This is the first time we’ve seen Wonder Woman in a live action movie and I was a bit worried about Gal Gadot when she was cast, mainly because I hadn’t seen her in any movies before and didn’t look like she could carry the persona of an Amazon warrior princess. I was very wrong on that guess. She’s absolutely amazing and the only thing I’d change would be to give her a bigger part. The costume looks amazing and in that final fight scene she kicks some major ass. Even Adam Hughes one of the most famous Wonder Woman artists gave his approval.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

The only casting which didn’t sit well was Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. I might be wrong and it’s just me opinion but I’ve read a lot of Superman comics and I’ve never read one where Lex Luthor was this crazy. He should be more calculating and have more reason behind the madness. It looked more like Jesse Eisenberg watched Heath Ledger playing the Joker in the Dark Knight and tried to base his incarnation of Lex partly on Gene Hackmans Luthor and partly on Ledgers Joker. Again it might be that the movie needed to be longer and spend more time introducing the new characters but I just didn’t understand his motivation behind trying to take down Superman.

A few spoilers ahead.

Bringing in the Justice League members was a nice touch. There is one scene with the Flash where we see him in his suit warning Batman of the future and it was one of the biggest teasers I’ve seen in any movie. I really want to see more of the movie Flash and see how he’s involved in the movie. But other than teasing us I wonder if the movie would have been better without introducing the Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg in the movie. Their part is so small and you keep waiting for them to show up again but never do. Again if you don’t know a lot about the comics this is going to confuse a lot of people.

Going back to Batman I don’t think I’ve seen him kick more ass than he does in this movie. I never thought they would do this with him but it was amazing. Kind of like a live action button bash playing Arkham Asylum on the XBox, they do that ground take-down, a vertical take-down and 50 hit combo. They have made him the centre of the Justice League with a mission to recruit the team to take on Darkseid when he attacks in the future.

Initially I thought the movie would be more based on Frank Millers Batman universe, and although the Batman side of things mainly come from those comics they have combined some of the best bits from all my favourite DC comics. There are elements of Death of Superman, Crisis on Infinite Earths and even a few bits from DC Universe Online.

Doomsday was pretty fierce in the movie but I think it was a major bad idea to put him in that trailer. I loved the movie but the trailers really did give away pretty much everything. I was pretty happy with the Doomsday fight as I was expecting another act after that featuring an even bigger bad guy, maybe Brainiac or the arrival of Darkseid but there wasn’t anything. Not even a post credits scene leading on to the Suicide Squad. It’s all those little tricks that they missed which I think let this movie down a lot. Saying that I didn’t expect them to leave it how they did but that final blow from Doomsday did make me squeal a little in the cinema.

Other than the trailers giving too much away I think the other big thing that let this movie down it the fact it’s not as self contained as it should be. There are a lot of questions about characters when they are introduced in the movie and loads more at the end. Things like that leave people a bit unsatisfied at the end of the movie. If you want to sell a sequel, make the first movie epic. Don’t expect people to buy another ticket just to fill in the gaps. I’m not even sure which movie will follow on from this one, if it’s the next Batman, Wonder Woman or Justice League movie.

One thing that hasn’t sat well with me is how long the movie took to make. It’s a great movie but shouldn’t have taken so long and I’m wondering how much they have either filmed for the sequel or cut from the movie. Things like that American Football game between Gotham City and Metropolis which was filmed early on, I don’t recall it featuring anywhere in the movie.

Overall I’d recommend everyone to go and see this movie, go see it a few times like I intend to. It’s a beautiful live action incarnation of the comics bringing to life some of the best pages from DC comics over the last 30 years. I hope the critics negative reviews don’t influence Zack Snyder and the other people behind making the next movie as they have some good ingredients here. I think it will take a few more films for the general public and critics to familiarise themselves with the movies.

Lastly here is an old cinematic intro for DC Universe Online, it’s the official DC MMORPG. Although a lot of the story for BvS looked to come from the comics, I couldn’t help to think some of the story like the Batman vision / nightmare and the Kryptonite spear came from this trailer. A lot of the costumes and visuals look inspired from this too.


Posted by Adi Mursec on March 25, 2016

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