Directed by Zack Snyder
Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck)
Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman (Henry Cavill)
Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot)
Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons)
Lois Lane (Amy Adams)
Martha Kent (Diane Lane)
Senator Finch (Holly Hunter)
Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenburg)
Finally! Three years of anticipation and seventy-five years in the making, and here we are! This movie was in fact pushed back a year, but if you ask if it was worth it, it most definitely was.
Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice is the second film in the DC Cinematic Universe, and the story follows Bruce Wayne’s quest for redemption against Superman, who inadvertently destroyed a Wayne Enterprises building in Man Of Steel, and who Wayne sees as a threat to the whole planet. In the meanwhile, Jesse Eisenburg’s Lex Luthor is scheming his way around Kryptonian technology to create a threat far greater.
That’s the only plot synopsis I’ll give because I’ll head into spoilers otherwise, but let me tell you that the story in this movie, though it is vaguely what’s mentioned above, is something I did not expect. And this is an absolute compliment, because while I expected a simple enemies-then-friends story, the way the story is in this movie is mind-blowing, with many other elements tying in, and the way Wonder Woman is used is pretty smart too. I can’t stress this enough: This story is really good, and I have to give credit to the screenwriters and Zack Snyder for coming up with a story like this. It draws inspiration from The Dark Knight Returns, , and even looks out into the further DC universe and possible Justice League futures, but it only picks up little things from the sources mentioned above. Overall, it’s a unique story in itself, and what a compelling one. It could have been generic, and maybe even under all its skin, it is, but the way it’s told is enthralling, and really even the setup to everything in the first act had me hooked. Amazing.
Another thing about the story is that it chose to show Batman’s origin story (again). Because, you know, the original origin, Batman: Year One, Batman Begins, Batman: The Animated Series, something from the old Batman movies and Batman: Arkham Origins weren’t enough, it needed to be shown one more time, and even though it did show it, it was done right at the start of the movie, basically in the opening credits. That was a really smart move. It was followed immediately by showing the audience Bruce Wayne’s motive in this movie in the first place, and then, the real movie kicked off. Incredibly clever, that. Let the audience know what they need to know, and let’s get going. Right there, I knew that my biggest fear about this movie wasn’t going to ruin it – origin stories. Bruce Wayne’s was just a few minutes before present-day events even began, Lex Luthor’s is done in the way of him telling people, and Wonder Woman doesn’t really have one, which would be told in the Wonder Woman film next year. The issue of overcrowding was chucked out the window, and it allowed a lot more time for the fantastic story. Even the cameos from The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg (not really spoilers, everyone knew)! They’re handled so well that I could applaud the way they were done, and the main story, once again, wasn’t effected.
Now I’ve come to the performances, and this movie is littered with controversial casting choices. Henry Cavill as Superman pretty much silenced all his critics in Man Of Steel, but the other two lead actors, as well as the main antagonist, didn’t receive the best of responses upon being cast. On the topic of Superman, though, his character was great. He tries to deal with all the issues surrounding him, and you can see in his heart of hearts that he’s a good person. That right there is Superman.
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman wasn’t received well because she ‘didn’t have the look’ for it, but regardless, she can act.
The alter ego is really completely different to the super-heroine, and although that might be a cliche, Gadot really nails it down on displaying both differently. And as I’ve mentioned already, the way Wonder Woman is handled is ridiculously good. Not just the absent origin story, but every time you see Diana Prince, there’s a different, eerie kind of music that plays, and I love characters having their own unique music to them, while at the same time it made her character really feel like it’s something special.
Ben Affleck’s casting as Batman wasn’t met with as much backlash as it was laughter (and I am one of those people), but as time went on I saw him as the Bruce Wayne, and let me tell you, he is. In terms of live action Batmen, nobody has really been as complete as him. Michael Keaton was good, but he had issues (one being he was a cold blooded killer); Val Kilmer was mediocre at best; George Clooney was… George Clooney; and Christian Bale’s Batman was really good, but there really wasn’t much of him actually fighting, and although it’s there, you don’t see much of the World’s Greatest Detective side of him either. Affleck’s Batman has everything. No Batman has fought like he has on screen, and throughout the whole movie he’s basically sleuthing around for ways to bring Superman down, one of them being with help from this suit, which is straight out of The Dark Knight Returns.
Now even Bruce Wayne in this movie is great. Never on screen has Bruce Wayne been as old as this, and he hasn’t been this much like the source material either. He has so many nightmares in this movie, and he’s clearly in a very dark place, and even then he’s pretty cocky as well. One character can be hard to be made so diverse in a film where there are so many other main characters, but it’s marvelous, really, both his performance and the way the character went.
Jeremy Irons’ Alfred really surprised me. I like Michael Caine and all, but Irons was hard, determined, and yet really funny, and genuine humour is hard to come by. I didn’t think I’d say this, but I have a new favourite Alfred.
Amy Adams was never anything special as Lois Lane, but she isn’t bad either. She’s certainly the best Lois Lane we’ve had on screen, so she deserves credit for that.
And also, you’d be pretty surprised to know that Diane Lane’s Martha Kent has an important role in this movie, though I won’t reveal what it is, and she does a good job of it.
And finally, Jesse Eisenburg, the most controversial casting choice for this whole movie (which is really saying something).
Now I wasn’t one of the people that had a problem with this. I like Jesse Eisenburg, and I was really interested to see how he’d do in a villain’s role, and he is astounding. There will still be people who have a problem with it, much like the appraisal of Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man, but I am not one of them. Eisenburg was exceptional in portraying Lex Luthor, and I can’t wait to see how he does in future DC films, because every second he was on screen, I didn’t want him to go away.
Another thing I really didn’t expect from this movie is how good it looks. I mentioned that I wasn’t a big fan of the colour scheme and general cinematography in Man Of Steel, and I had a similar worry with this considering it has the same director. But I am so glad that I was wrong. Sure, some CGI seems a little bit dodgy at the end, but it’s not bad, not bad at all. This movie really surprised me on every account, and honestly I couldn’t be happier.
Now of course, it isn’t a perfect movie, and there are issues I found, like a plot hole or two, or the CGI that I mentioned, and maybe there could have been a little more of that first part of the title, but who cares? This movie isn’t going to be an Oscar grabber, and it was never meant to be, but it is such a fantastic movie. I avoided reviews as far as possible, but I couldn’t sneak past headlines, like IGN saying ‘It wasn’t fun’. Is that meant to be a joke of some kind? At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave Captain America: Civil War a bad rating because ‘Heroes are fighting heroes’. This wasn’t meant to be a stroll-in-the-park, happy-go-lucky movie, if that’s what they were expecting. This is everything it needed to be, and much more than that.
Also, touching very little on the ending, which of course I won’t spoil… I knew that’s what they would do, with the inclusion of a certain somebody, but I didn’t think that’s what would actually happen, but once it did, people were unhappy (trust me, I could hear), but that’s only because it’s not what they came to see, but it happened, and the movie really had some nerves doing that.
This is the comic book movie that every comic book movie strives to be. It’s not worth making a comparison to Marvel, because Warner Bros. and Marvel really make different kinds of films, but I will say that in order to compete, Marvel really need to step up their game, because this isn’t child’s play. But I’m sure Marvel will. And then, in turn, will DC. And the chain goes on. And the only true winners, because of the perks of competition, are the fans, and the future looks really bright for comic book movies.
So as March draws to a close, I welcome to the world the movie of the year, and the movie that people will forever associate with 2016, and talk about for years to come. I welcome to the world the greatest spectacle in cinema since The Avengers, which would be right up there with the biggest movies of all time. And I welcome the world into an era of comic book movies that are bound to get better and better as time goes on, and to the DC Cinematic Universe, which expanded beyond anyone’s imagination in this movie.
On a scale where M is the lowest, and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:
Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice: MIHIR