I’ll save you the trouble of asking… is the movie worth it? For 100% of people who started watching superhero movies because of Marvel, this movie is not for you.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice takes a different approach into debuting its much-anticipated Justice League film by going anti-Marvel. By that we mean that there isn’t much action going on and the film is mostly a slowly-paced storytelling of how the Man of Steel is dealing with the backlash of the Zod attack from that same movie with Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne now inserted into this world and is hell-bent on putting down Superman.
…and that sets the tone for most of the film being a dragging back-story
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The movie opens up to Bruce Wayne’s parents being gunned down when he was a child, a scene any Batman fan would be all too familiar with and that sets the tone for most of the film being a dragging back-story of what could’ve been Man of Steel 2, a story of how Superman deals with his apparent God-hood over humanity. A theme well-delivered by Jesse Eisenberg’s quirky Lex Luthor.
The slow start progresses to a moderate pace an hour into the film and the amount of tropes and cliches has already built-up by this time that the typical movie-goer will have that “I-knew-it!” moment right into the film’s leadup to its showdown finale’ and that’s the only real reason people want to see this movie and its mostly a poor attempt to humanize the all-powerful Superman by shoving in a highly-destructive Doomsday just to have someone provide enough of a challenge.
…this is a Superman film which for some reason is mostly about Batman.
Ultimately, the movie is a Superman film and during its inception, was set out to be one but with the intention of growing the DC extended universe, the film has since become the prelude to the 2-part Justice League film as hinted on by the Dawn of Justice moniker. And instead of weaving a story, we get a mess of characters that only hopes to give Marvel’s iconic roster a run for their money. Cavill’s Superman and Clark Kent persona are still lacking any depth and appeal, but in this dark setting of the DC universe he is mostly a side-character to Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne. Affleck’s Batman doesn’t see any action until later in the film, with most of his acts peppered in short but grim sequences that would leave some parents hoping they left their kids at home. Affleck’s frustrated and paranoid Wayne isn’t by any mean as appealing as Christian Bale’s but both share a similar dark aura with the former packing more killing intent in contrast to Bale’s non-lethal Dark Knight. All of which still have more depth than Cavill will ever have as we, the audience, are still left to wonder what this Superman is all about aside from being sad.
There’s a rich set of cameos in the film which sets it up for the larger connected universe of future DC films and it adds nothing to the film in terms of plot but as a hint of things to come. It could be that the marketing for this film could be to blame for setting expectations to different direction than what the film was going to deliver but the narrative itself doesn’t help the fact that again, this is a Superman film which for some reason is mostly about Batman.
Is it a bad movie? Not quite. For fans of the dark tone that is prevalent in Nolan’s The Dark Knight, Dawn of Justice could just be your cup of coffee providing more thought pieces rather than actual spoon-feeding of plot. Fans of the comics will still be left wondering how DC shapes up its film universe and how the upcoming Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman film will add to this film. And as mentioned in the opening paragraph, if you’re a casual moviegoer that is used to Marvel’s colorful band of heroes with brighter on-screen presence, this movie is simply not what you expect from the genre. But thanks to the superhero film hype, its still going to make big bucks and hopefully get more things done right on the next films.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a poorly-executed film that tells too many stories, takes too much time doing it but does too little to keep it all together.
And with that, what’s next for the DC Cinematic Universe?