Movie Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

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It’s the year of Superhero versus Superhero, and the first to grace our silver screens is the slug-fest between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the 2016 offering from DC comics, and will see the two titular heroes come to blows as Henry Cavill reprises his role from Man of Steel as Superman, and Ben Affleck takes the mantle of the mysterious Batman. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth and Amy Adams as Lois Lane (also reprising from Man of Steel) round out the ensemble cast. Strap yourself in, because for better or worse, the film is going to be a wild ride. It is God versus man; day versus night; Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham!

+ Ben Affleck is a good Batman, and separately an okay Bruce Wayne, but never really felt like the same person. This may have been intentional, because of the ‘Batman and Wayne are different people’ thing the comics often portray
+ Henry Cavill is, physically, the second coming of Christopher Reeve as Superman, although he is still not quite the Clark Kent we deserve. His acting is best when he is angry, because he still doesn’t quite have the ‘bumbling’ style of Clark Kent down properly
+ Gal Gadot, in her very limited screen time as (an unnamed) Wonder Woman is one of the best parts. I am not above admitting I was wrong, and after my strong displeasure of Gadot’s casting, I can admit she was significantly more enjoyable than I would have guessed. I’d actually have preferred a bit more of her
+ Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Wayne’s butler and confidant, was severely underutilised

– Lex Luthor was the single worst part of this movie. He acted more like a Heath Ledger Joker understudy than anything representing either a comic adaption or any other live action portrayal. I am all for trying new things, but this was a wild swing and a monumental miss
– the pacing is all over the place, with far too many scene changes to ever get invested in what is going on. A few random ‘what if’ scenes are seemingly slotted in with no other connections, all leading to (I assume) the upcoming Justice League theme. Even the bigger teases, cool on their own, feel incredibly out of place
– action is sluggish and boring, and there is little weight (both physical or emotional) behind anything. There was a single, solitary moment when I thought things were about to get real between the two titular heroes, but even that amounted to nothing
– the music (bar one song) is horrendous, almost coming across as a parody of superhero themes, and did not fit the moments whatsoever. Lex Luthor, young and erratic, should not have an Imperial March-esque theme
– Doomsday looks like a cheap Lord of the Rings troll knockoff and aside from the story consequences of having Doomsday appear so early in Superman’s history, the battle never felt like a real test for Superman, though the way it ends may surprise you.
– some of the character decision, which I can’t go into due to spoilers, are just mindbogglingly bad. The fact someone had to sign off on these decisions makes them even crazier

> there are a couple of cool cameos from some other famous DC faces

Shoud you see this film: As it is right now? No. Don’t waste your money. I am eagerly awaiting the promised Extended Blu Ray, with over half an hour of new footage, and it might then be worth your time. But at the moment, literally anything else would be a better choice.

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