Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – A review

The Beat is not so prestigious that our reviews show up on Rotten Tomatoes, but if this ever did then here is the little synopsis they could use: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice licked balls but didn’t totally suck ass. It was a truly mirthless experience, and a complete mess of a film.

I’m so fucking sick of Zack Snyder. I’m sick of his super long movies. I’m sick of his use of slow motion. I’m sick of his shitty, super serious Superman. I’m sick of his washed out, colorless DC Universe. I’m sick of his humorless DC movies that are just not fun at all and instead rely on ponderous commentary and are full of characters that all talk like the weight of the entire world is on their shoulders. He should not be allowed to make the Justice League movies. Or any movies ever again.

There is a lot wrong with this movie, so let’s get the positives out of the way first.

Ben Affleck’s Batman was awesome. Full disclosure: I am a Batman diehard. My earliest memories in life are of watching Batman Returns, my dad wearing this sweet Batman t-shirt, and my brother and I playing with the toys. Maybe this means I can’t look at Batman objectively, or maybe it means I’m able to accurately judge Batman since I have nearly 25 years of dedication here.

Either way, I loved Batfleck. Affleck was great as Bruce Wayne, and a complete animal as Batman. People will complain about his brutality, but these same people are lying to themselves if they think Batman is normally this nice guy. With the exception of Adam West and George Clooney, Batman straight up murders in every movie he is in. That is a fact. So Batfleck being a brutal, brutal man isn’t that big of a deal.

People wondered why Batman looks so sad here. Turns out everybody is sad in this movie.
People wondered why Batman looks so sad here. Turns out everybody is sad in this movie.

They completely nailed Batman here. In every way. Bruce Wayne comes across as suave when he needs to, and can flip that switch into menacing and brooding so well. And Batman is perfect. The suit looks amazing, the new Batmobile is totally groovy, he’s got cool gadgets, and his entire presence is exactly what you would want as a fan. He feels like a big, mythic ass kicker lifted straight out of the pages of a comic. His fight scenes are spectacular, but unfortunately you have to endure the laborious task of sitting through two hours of this movie before you get to what might be the single greatest Batman fight scene ever put to film. And whenever there is a Batman highlight, you feel like it is gone so quick. There’s just not enough.

Wonder Woman definitely seems cool. Unfortunately Gal Gadot is given very little to do before the final battle, and even then she just feels thrown in out of nowhere. Her appearance feels more like a teaser for her movie next year rather than a natural piece of the film.

Sadly this image accounts for about 90% of the time we actually see Wonder Woman in action.
Sadly this image accounts for about 90% of the time we actually see Wonder Woman in action.

At least she has great chemistry with Affleck, who seemed to have great chemistry with everybody he interacted with. Jeremy Irons was good in his limited work as Alfred, and his scenes with Affleck have you looking forward to the eventual standalone Batman movie.

Which leads to this movie’s biggest issue. Batman was so awesome that it felt like they just wanted to make a Batman movie. People will pin  a lot of the blame on Warner Bros. for demanding Snyder include more of the Dark Knight because he’s a box office guarantee, but Snyder clearly gave more of a shit about making Batman look cool here than he ever did about making Superman look good in two attempts now.

Snyder’s heavy-handed approach to Superman as this god among us with so many philosophical and moral questions about how he should act just doesn’t work. It is an interesting concept, but Snyder is a hack who can’t actually put together an interesting enough movie to address that concept. He just wants to blow shit up or have people move in slow motion.

So for two movies now we have a Superman who stands around looking very solemn and gloomy. He just mopes about for a while then gets in massive fights that level entire cities. Then he mopes about some more and looks mad or sad when he has to. Snyder clearly doesn’t understand or give a shit about what makes Superman great.

In the comics and cartoons, Superman’s relationship and repartee with Batman work because Batman is the dark, super serious guy who feels like he’s constantly at war, and Superman is the boy scout. He is the light, a symbol of hope and humanity at its best. They’re opposites, so their characters jell.

Henry Cavill is using one of two facial expressions he's allowed to use. There is 'serious' and 'angry' and that's it.
Henry Cavill is using one of two facial expressions he’s allowed to use. There is ‘serious’ and ‘angry’ and that’s it.

Superman doesn’t work when he’s just a sad, miserable guy. They say he can be this symbol of hope and stuff, but it feels boring because humanity at its best isn’t a big jacked guy looking sad. In this movie, both he and Batman are just two sad guys. Great. Two mopey motherfuckers fighting. Fun.

Speaking of their fight, that scene was actually way cooler than expected. However, it falls apart when the fight ends in the most preposterous fashion imaginable. I won’t spoil it, but I will say I bursted into laughter in the theater because it was so fucking cheesy and stupid. You could ask somebody to list 20 ways they think the fight between Batman and Superman ends, and this would never even come to mind.

Speaking of cheesy, the opening moments of this movie are a flashback to Bruce Wayne’s parents being murdered, and young Bruce falling into the cave and getting surrounded by bats. THEN THE BATS SWARM HIM AND PICK HIM UP INTO THE AIR AND HE FLOATS TO THE HEAVENS IN A JESUS POSE. SURROUNDED BY BATS. This comes  less than five minutes into the movie. It was at this point I turned to my friend Ryan and said, “Yo this movie sucks.”

Cut to the first of many decisions in this movie that make no sense. Motivations are so unclear across the ungodly run time. Here, we see Bruce Wayne showing up in Metropolis during the final battle from Man of Steel. It is established that Gotham City is right across the bay from Metropolis. For some reason never explained and probably incapable of being explained, Wayne shows up in Metropolis in a helicopter, gets into a Jeep and starts driving toward the huge battle. He does this for no reason other than to see buildings fall so he can be mad about it. Like seriously, this guy flew across the bay and drove into the heart of the city just to call people in his building on his cellphone to say they need to evacuate.

  1. They probably could see they need to evacuate when they looked out the window and saw the huge fucking spaceship laser.
  2. Why the fuck couldn’t you just call from Gotham?
Oh dear lord. I tried to forget Suicide Squad is coming out but this movie just had to stick a random Joker reference in there for no reason other than to show Batman is really mad about stuff.
Oh dear lord. I tried to forget Suicide Squad is coming out but this movie just had to stick a random Joker reference in there for no reason other than to show Batman is really mad about stuff.

This movie makes no sense. At one point Superman has to do something really fast since the clock’s literally ticking. Instead of acting quickly, he mopes around for a few minutes and goes to find Lois Lane to tell her where he’s going. There is no real reason for him to do this other than to give her that info so she eventually follows him. That puts her in the vicinity of his quarry to tie into something later. It’s pretty silly. He puts an emergency on pause to drop a hint to Lois to set up more ridiculous stuff later.

And I’m not entirely sure why Lex Luthor is mad. He’s simply here because he’s Lex Luthor and he’s Superman’s nemesis in the comics. And Jesse Eisenberg was fucking terrible. They tried to put a new spin on Lex, but it didn’t work. I’m not sure what his motivations were other than he doesn’t like Superman because…? And he doesn’t like Batman because…?

Luthor orchestrates the big fight between Batman and Superman. I need to see the movie again to verify, but I thought he dropped a line that basically stated he knows Bruce Wayne is Batman, but it is never brought up again so either I’m tripping or the storytelling here is so shitty that this plot thread is completely left dangling. I’m putting my money on the latter.

The cameos of Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman were all totally random and shoved into this movie for no real reason. A character is collecting information on them, but it is never really explained why.

Holly Hunter was utterly useless as Senator Finch. Amy Adams is a phenomenal actress who always does a wonderful job, but there really wasn’t a lot of important stuff for her to do here so she’s kind of whatever. They’re just thrown in so there’s more stuff in this movie.

Douche
Douche

This movie had so much going on and was so confusing. The first 20 minutes take you to like 7 different cities across multiple time periods. Things move so quick that you feel like no scene has time to breathe. You’re never given the chance to get into a scene because you’re whisked away so quickly. You’re perpetually like “Huh? What?” Zack Snyder sucks.

The big final battle we saw hinted at in trailers sucks. Doomsday is all crappy CGI, and while they act like they aren’t repeating the destruction of Man of Steel by having Anderson Cooper (yes) and Batman both say the areas of the city they’re in are empty at the time, that’s simply impossible when you look at the sheer level of destruction that took place. No way did they totally avoid collateral damage. The battle is more Transformers-style destruction porn. I wondered if Batman is going to try to destroy himself now because of all the carnage he was a part of.

And the ending. I won’t spoil it, but what the fuck? This movie was a slog, loaded with very serious dialogue and so many serious situations. The movie ends on such a down note, but not an exciting down note like The Empire Strikes Back. It ends on such a note that you’re like, “What is the point?” And I don’t just mean the story is a downer, I mean everything about this movie is a downer. Why bother making a Man of Steel sequel if you’re going to shit all over Superman? Why even bother getting invested in this bleak, faded out world Snyder has established if all that’s left after the big final battle is more serious moping about?

If somebody didn't make this meme, there would be no humor associated with this movie.
If somebody didn’t make this meme, there would be no humor associated with this movie.

Also worth noting – Snyder thinks the audience is so dumb he literally spells out one entire scene so unnecessarily. I can’t say anymore without spoiling a big detail, but you’ll know you’ve just had your intelligence insulted when you see it. And then you’ll laugh because it is so dumb.

It was clear early on this movie was going to suck and be bloated right from its sucky, bloated title. That was exactly the type of movie we got with it. In one movie they tried to launch an entire universe to catch up to Marvel, but completely missed everything that has made comic movies successful these days.

DC shouldn’t try to be Marvel, but there’s nothing wrong with having a colorful movie with some heart and humor. Including that stuff isn’t ripping off Marvel, it’s making a movie that is fun for families and really everybody in general. Instead DC is sticking with this bland, ridiculously serious approach that just beats you into submission since everything is just so heavy and important and serious. What fun is there in sticking with that?

Oh and the score sucked too. Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL made a whole bunch of loud bullshit. Zimmer clearly isn’t putting in any effort, instead giving us music that makes you think he’s wishing he was still working on the Christopher Nolan Batman movies.

Not even Khal Drogo as Aquaman for 20 seconds could save this movie.
Not even Khal Drogo as Aquaman for 20 seconds could save this movie.

The most positive thing I can say after this is that I’m looking forward to the Wonder Woman and Batman movies since their characters were interesting and Zack Snyder isn’t directing those. Again, people will try to defend Snyder and say Warner Bros. wanted too much in this, but when you can’t tell a coherent story and use as many shitty techniques as he does, it certainly feels like he’s the problem.

This was a bad movie and there is simply no reason for that. The movie was delayed for nearly a year and was still an absolute shit show. That 3 hour, rated-R cut coming out later will either be a vast improvement or it is going to be an even bigger pile of garbage with even more convoluted nonsense.

Batman v Superman is a turd that you should not pay to see. Batfleck keeps from utter disaster, but it is still not worth it. Wait until it is on TNT or something. Don’t even watch it on HBO since you’re going to need to commercial breaks to get sweet relief from the incessant heavy-handed and confusing storytelling.

It was better than both Amazing Spider-Man movies, X-Men 3, Spider-Man 3, and Daredevil at least. Whatever that means.

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