By Drake Vittitow
I really wanted this movie to be special.
I missed seeing this movie in 2016 and after seeing the horrid reviews, I was conflicted on even watching it. I am writing this review after watching the ultimate edition of the film, which includes about 30 minutes of extra footage.
There were some things I loved, some things that left me scratching my head and some things that left me wanting to throw my shoe at the television.
Let’s talk about the characters first.
Firstly, Batman or Wonder Woman not getting an origin story before this movie was a gutsy move that did not pay off. I think fleshing out these two pivotal characters before introducing them to one another is something that is necessary when trying to create a shared universe because it sets up their motivations on why they do what they do, and it also helps the audience connect with them.
That being said, I think that Ben Affleck as Batman is a great choice for a caped crusader. He brings a dark and brooding aspect to the character that Christian Bale or Michael Keaton did not. It really works with the dreary tone of the film and is a side of the dark knight that is not often showcased in film.
Henry Cavill returns as Superman and is good in the film, but the script makes him seem like nothing more than a patsy. The writers completely smudged him of what makes Superman great. Some of that greatness is unlocked in the final act of the movie, but at that point, I had stopped caring about him altogether.
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is homerun, but sadly, her presence in the movie is unnecessary. The only reason she was shoehorned into the movie was because Warner Bros. Studios wanted to create a shared universe as quickly as possible to contend with the MCU, and in doing so, created a lot of useless characters.
Wonder Woman was one of the scapegoats.
Lois Lane, played by Amy Adams, suffers from the cliché damsel in distress role for the entire third act and the movie struggles to find a proper use for her besides being Superman’s love interest. There is a particular instance where she throws away an important item, then she needs to go back and find said item, and after not being able to find it, she must call for help while there is fighting going on. When a movie struggles to make its characters relevant, it’s apparent that not much time was spent expanding upon the crucial details of the story.
The villains were not much better.
Jesse Eisenberg was a disaster as Lex Luthor. He was about one maniacal laugh away from being The Joker, and that is NOT a good thing.
Lex Luthor is not some twitchy and frail man who stutters when he talks. He is a strong and calculating villain who can get the job done by himself if needed. But in the movie, instead of donning his famous purple and green battle suit, he decides to fuse his blood with General Zod’s (the villains from “Man of Steel”) dead body and create Doomsday.
No, I promise I am not kidding. That really happened. This movie is a mess.
Doomsday seemed like a great addition because of what he seems to accomplish in the third act, but because of safe writing, the ending of the movie completely undoes everything that Doomsday did. Because of this, he just becomes a disposable character just like the others.
Not only were most of the characters a lost cause, but some of the story choices were poor as well.
First things first, I enjoyed the first half of the story, which focused on the political side of having superheroes inhabit our world and the cost that comes with it. It is a dynamic that, at the time, had not been explored in superhero movies (besides the 2009 film Watchmen).
It is not until the second half of the film in which things start to crumble fast.
One could argue that the entire second half of the movie was focused on creating the Justice League. For a movie that has nothing to do with the Justice League, then why would you dedicate a significant portion to it?
But Drake, surely the setup was legendary right? How exactly did Batman form one of the greatest teams in all of comics?
They did it through email.
If you were to tell me that the Justice League was going to be formed through email, then not only would I have not believed you, but I would be laughing in disbelief at the same time.
Not only does Batman begin setting up the Justice League in this movie, but he kills people in it too.
Now, for anybody who is even the slightest fan of Batman, then they know that a big part of his code is that he does not kill anyone, no matter the circumstances. I am not a purist by any stretch of the imagination, but if a movie is going to rip out an important aspect of a superhero’s mythos, then that film should do the character justice by telling the audience why they made that creative decision. BvS does not give us any explanation as to why he kills people.
One thing in this movie that gave me chills was the fight scenes. When Batman and Superman finally face-off, it feels like a scene ripped straight from the pages of “The Dark Knight Returns.” Watching Batman pummel Superman and vice versa is something that remained in my mind long after the flick ended.
“BvS: Dawn of Justice” serves as a reminder that good things come to those who wait. DC became so enveloped with catching up with the MCU (who was 2 months away from releasing the stellar Captain America: Civil War) that it forgot to focus on its own movie. What resulted was a shallow and half-assed serving of a movie that would not only tick off comic book purists but movie lovers alike.