Summary: Fearing that the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs.
Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer, Bob Kane (Batman Creator), Bill Finger (Batman Creator), Jerry Siegel (Superman Creator) and Joe Schuster (Superman Creator)
Stars: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot and so many more!
This was one of the most controversial movies of 2016. Of all the things that could stir a crowd up, this superhero movie managed to surface to the top and create a splendid furry among the masses. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was the most anticipated movie that was hyped up like nothing before to propel the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) in a beautiful and graceful forward momentum. Taking place after the events of Man of Steel, this movie explores the chaotic aftershock among individuals upon realizing that Gods walk among Men. Integrating the city of Gotham into the equation, another God is also fitted into the puzzle as a nemesis that will do whatever it takes to keep the threats away from his people. While the story dives simultaneously into multiple oceans, it also manages to interweave all the storylines together and deliver a dark and riveting tale filled with dazzling destruction.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was initially released in theaters after multiple scene edits. This has reduced a 3 hour movie into something with a much more reasonable screen time. It has also taken away parts of a whole that did nothing more than enhance the overall understanding of the stories being told, cut additional information on several key players and trouble the flow of a movie that had a brilliant comic book-inspired story to tell. While the movie’s direction could’ve taken a different path and focused solely on some, and not all of the sub-plots, Batman v Superman remains a fantastic and captivating addition to the DCEU. It’s main purpose lies within its introduction to a series of events that will reunite a set of characters that will later star in their own respectful movies. It also examines the relationship between individuals who see in Superman what they all deeply desire or fear. People who have not seen this film for themselves and decide to overlook it because of the relentless reviews of countless critics who did not appreciate the tone (far different from the Marvel Universe, I tell you) should check out the Ultimate Edition of this movie and judge for themselves. It is by far an even more complete and tantalizing edition that will leave you mesmerized at the sight of three of the most famous heroes in DC Comics.
Justice League (2017) will hit theaters on November 17th, 2017 and assemble Gods to face a dark and powerful threat to come. Are you ready?
Let’s be honest here. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was an attempt by DC to catch up on lost time. The movie itself held together a lot of stories that could’ve each easily been explored in separate, full and amazing movies. While the publicity behind it made it seem like the spotlight would be on a new-born rivalry between Batman and Superman, people will be surprised to see that Zack Snyder and company had other plans for them. The team behind this movie have rather decided on touching upon a much more different array of stories at the same time to engulf us in a universe that will quickly grow in the cinema landscape. After viewing the Ultimate Edition (might have been my third or fourth viewing by now), I can definitely admit that the whole Doomsday segment could have been scratched out of the story. This would’ve given them less reasons to cut 30 minutes of the original movie and to even focus the plot around the main villain. You know. The one that inherited Lex Corps. There was definitely plenty of content to work with, but the motive behind this movie was lost during the production. Does that really ruin the movie? Absolutely not.
The best part of this movie was Ben Affleck. This man proved a huge fanbase wrong by putting forth one of the best Bruce Wayne/Batman performances of all time. All I’d need is one more movie starring this man (either Justice League or The Batman movie that Ben Affleck will be directing) to confirm that Ben Affleck is the best actor to have played DC’s billionaire playboy and the Dark Knight. A lot of people felt confused by the way Bruce Wayne/Batman was portrayed and had plenty of question marks on his methods and principals. I, on the other hand, thought this was the most logical and the most perfect depiction of the Caped Crusader. What we have here is a Bruce Wayne who just witnessed an alien cause immeasurable chaos while fighting off General Zod. At first glance, he knew that this was an individual that could take down the whole planet within seconds. There’s no surprise that an inner turmoil was ravaging his soul.
Nourished by the pains of the many who have suffered and perished during that fight, anger and hate fuels Bruce Wayne to keep a close eye on the Man of Steel. To top things off, the character isn’t in his early days of crime-fighting. Over 20 years of fighting off clowns and countless criminals without ever seeing a ray of hope for Gotham have passed. One of my favourite lines of the movies is when he explains that criminals are like weed. “Pull one out, another grows in its place.” This is coming from a Bruce Wayne that has tried to bring criminals down by avoiding to take their lives away. This is coming from a Bruce Wayne that knows that hope has costed him a partner (the death of Robin) and that standing around and maintaining the same methods and tactics that have yet to show him change will lead him nowhere. Watching him drown in sorrow and wrecking havoc on criminals by tearing them to pieces was simply beautiful. His new bat-branding methods also add another level of complexity to the character by showing a vigilante that has been pushed off the edge of the cliff. Playing the judge, jury and executioner as he sends bat-branded criminals to jail (a place of redemption turned into an instant plain field for execution) just adds even more depth and mystery to a character that has simply had enough.
Let’s not forget about the action scenes involving Batman. The warehouse one at the end was one the best highlights. Holy f*cking shit! You can tell that they drew inspiration from the Arkham video games and I absolutely loved it. It was raw, sinister and brutal. It was on-the-moment split-second decision making action sequences with clever use of the environment. That scene alone showed us a refined and aged Batman who has went through much worse in the past. And then there’s the famous Batman versus Superman scene. Yes. I know. The scene that everyone had payed to see. It definitely doesn’t take place during the entire movie. It was a condensed and intense 10 minute sequence that was absolutely satisfying to my taste. I never expected their fight to last long, based on their encounters in comic book stories. I also know that that they would never go as far as to kill each other. They were made to be friends. Does that mean that 10 minutes was too short? Hell no. That fighting scene was brilliant. Inspired slightly on The Dark Knight Returns, every single punch, shot, kick and stomp had me on the tip of my seat. I absolutely loved the part where Batman repeatedly hits a kryptonite-weakened Superman on the jaw and you slowly see Superman regain his strength. When Batman started to back up in fear, I was mind-blown. It’s these little moments that just make everything so much better. Just imagine a Batman telling himself “Fuck.” I know one thing for sure. That’s my cue to laugh out loud.
Of course, this leads me to talk about the more infamous Martha moment. The number of times I’ve heard people dismiss the entertainment, coherence and pertinence of this movie because of that one sequence is astonishing. I’m ready to bet that half the people that complained about it didn’t even realize the coincidence. I for one did not think that was a dumb scene at all. Throughout the movie we’ve been shown Bruce Wayne having recurring nightmares about his past and his incapacity to stop the robber from taking the lives of his parents. As Batman is on the verge of erasing Superman from the face of the Earth, he’s put into a roller coaster of memories and emotions at the simple mention of his own mother’s name. To top it off, he’s also told not to let her die. A treacherous set of words that simply reminded him of his own troubling past. Tell me you wouldn’t have a moment of hesitation and deep interrogation when reminded of the one thing that has been troubling you for the past years, months, weeks or even days. Batman isn’t a creature with psychopathic traits. Deep inside he once had golden intentions and aimed to rid the streets of Gotham of all the petulant criminals by taking justice within his own hands. Is it so wrong to think that the Martha sequence brought light to this slowly-dying light within him and brought him to make a promise to Superman (saving his mother by trusting him?).
As you might have noticed, Batman was clearly my highlight of this movie. Was he the only character that impressed me? Not at all! Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was absolutely stunning as well. Beautiful and classy as Diana Prince, yet blood-thirsty and fiery as Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot was another actress who had remarkable screen time (even if it wasn’t often). Henry Cavill also continued to portray his character with flair and charisma; although it did feel like he didn’t bring anything new to his character or deliver the greatest performance of all time. Can’t blame the guy. Batman basically overshadowed him, to some extent. The strength that Superman showcases in this is still bewildering, but its his battle to please the population and fit in that remains the biggest attraction. His presence among humans and the fear that he installs in people brings a whole political climate on the forefront and shows us what our society would be like when dealing with the unknown. Being able to see good in others or planning two steps ahead to avoid catastrophes, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice does an excellent job in portraying a climate of unease paralleled with veneration to a godlike figure. I do have to admit that Cavill did not get as much lines in a movie centered a lot on his actions and consequences, but I still thought that they succeeded in delivering the message through his emotions and actions instead of his words.
Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of Lex Luthor was however one that was sort of badly digested by fans. On my first screening of the movie, I thought that his portrayal of a villain (Lex Luthor) who was much more emotionally-controlled and who expressed his dominance through his posture and his criminal intellect was oddly transformed. My second screening brought me realize that this was supposed to be the son of Lex Luthor and that a change in the usual characterization of the character isn’t so bad. Although he sounded and acted a lot like the Riddler, I came to admire the originality. It’s when you watch the Ultimate Edition that you get an even better idea of how much of a criminal maniac he is and how much planning went into his actions. I also liked how some of his lines were quite clever and added to his more poetical manner of speaking and seeing the world (remember that scene with the angels and demons portrait?). For example, he says “The night is here.” when he’s on the roof of the building right when he’s about to confront Superman and make him fight Batman (who had just turned the Bat signal on). Or even when he talks about the wheelchair as a “hot chair”. Yep. The same one that blows up. Lex Luther Jr. was an interesting twist to the original character and Jesse Eisenberg’s performance merits at least some applause. A brand new villain was born thanks to him.
The movie also adds in a glimpse of the other metahumans that will soon be united for the Justice League (2017). The sequence was definitely epic and plenty will surely say that this could’ve been done in a much better and different way. I won’t disagree, but what we got felt quite satisfying. They were quick snippets of the powers that each of the soon-to-be heroes possessed. The one that I felt the most awkward about was definitely Aquaman. They might have had a little too many seconds of face time for him. I couldn’t really see any expression of disorientation in his face as he tries to understand what’s going on around him; which was probably the objective behind that video sequence. The Flash was also introduced rapidly, where he stops a hold-up without his suit on. However, this particular hero also appears in the movie by hinting us his future role in a movie with a much bigger threat. In fact, we got to see him time-travelling and attempting to warn Bruce Wayne of trouble, as well as telling him where the key to everything is. I honestly loved that he had a mechanical suit on, as if he had just tried out one of his first prototype suits that help him keep control of his energy as he attempts the impossible. This is also probably why his armor looks odd in the future DC movies. I strongly believe it’s taken directly out of the Injustice comics, for those who were curious.
The “knightmare” sequences were also brilliantly incorporated into the movie. I especially loved that they hinted with neon lights at Darkseid with the giant omega symbol printed into the sand. If your focus was on the moving vehicles, you might have actually missed this. They also gave us a glimpse at the parademons. To some extent, you could wonder if that particular “knightmare” was a dream or even a glimpse into the future. In the end, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a beautiful, artistic and massive installment in the expanding DC universe. While clearly many would have preferred a much more coherent order to the release of these movies (stand-alone movies of each heroes, before the dawn of justice and the justice league), this movie still remains one of the greatest comic book movies to have released to date (of course, it’s nothing like Nolan’s Batman trilogy). Teasing us for the bigger picture and giving fans a comic book dose of ass-kicking, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is definitely a movie that should be judged for yourself. The mystery that is encrusted within each characters and the birth of a new future filled with superheroes are reasons alone to check out this movie. The Ultimate Edition containing the extra 30 minutes that were cut from the theatrical edition is without a doubt the version that everyone should watch. There’s no better feeling than having the whole picture, right?