REVIEW- Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice *minor spoilers*
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
Brodie's Grade: B-
Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: Chris Terrio and David Goyer
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams and Jeremy Irons
As a longtime comic book fan, particularly the stories of Batman, specifically The Dark Knight Returns which featured an epic duel between Batman and Superman which serves as the basis for the film's duel, I was eagerly anticipating this big screen venture. I've long been a fan and apologist for filmmaker Zack Snyder, who tends to favor style over substance, and even defended the much maligned Man of Steel. Unfortunately, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is not as easy to defend.
Dawn of Justice is not a bad movie. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I want to put that out there right away. There really is a lot to like about it, and a lot that's done well. It's just that there's A LOT to it. It suffers from trying to be too much, trying to do too much, and having too much stuffed into it. It's easy to see where you could have split the film into two separate films, done some tinkering with the story to adapt it around the separation, and it would have just blown everything else out of the water. It would have been perfect.
First and foremost, there's a subplot regarding Superman's overreach that's 100% unnecessary. The same goal could have been achieved using plot points already set up via Man of Steel, and gone from there. But by adding those scenes and those plot points, we've now got a bloated first half that drags out the amount of time it takes to the anticipated brawl. To the point that by the time we get to the fight, you're just thinking to yourself "FREAKING FINALLY!" Especially when you realize there's still about an hour left in the film.
Which tees up the second big problem with the fight: They completely skim over the reconciliation. They spend almost 90 minutes of the runtime building up the tension and animosity between these two titans, they have a very impressive brawl, I was excited by it. But in a matter of minutes, with no real major catalyst (there's a tiny one, but I'm not mentioning specifically to avoid spoiling it for you) to begin the healing process for them, they're teaming up to fight Lex Luthor and Doomsday, the requisite 3rd act Big Bad.
That's where the film should have split. The film could have been an hour and a half of Batman and Superman dancing around each other before the big fight, then the big climactic brawl, ending on mended fences and new friendships, with a big tease cliffhanger to Justice League, and THAT'S when we get the Doomsday battle.
Both battles work very well. Like I said, there's a lot that worked very well. Everyone, especially the rookies, did a lot of great things with their characters. From day one, I defended the casting of Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, and he totally nailed. He has a great interpretation of the character, and brings that weathered attitude to the role. Jesse Eisenberg took Lex Luthor in a depraved, insane direction we've not really seen with the character before, which was interesting, and I look forward to see where he continues to take it. Gal Gadot shined bright in Wonder Woman's big screen debut. We even got fun teases of Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher).
A lot of things were great individually, but it wasn't enough to come together and make an all around great film, like it should have been. I liked it. It was enjoyable. It was just problematic. The spectacle is worth seeing in theatres, but it's not a "RUN OUT AND SEE IT NOW!" I don't feel like my money was wasted... my time was a little bit, though. I do recommend this one.