Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) is part breathtaking Epic, part beautiful Mess Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) is part breathtaking Epic, part beautiful Mess
A bombastic experience that will divide the audience. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) is part breathtaking Epic, part beautiful Mess

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

directed by: Zack Snyder

starring: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons

Just returned from a screening of Batman v Superman and still trying to digest a lot of the stuff I just witnessed, so I decided to simply write down some random impressions.

There are a few (very) mild spoilers ahead, so if you want to see the movie completely uninfluenced, scroll down to “Verdict” for a spoiler-free overall impression.

The Plot

I won’t go too deep into the plot details, that’s what imdb and wikipedia is there for. Or all the trailers.

Basically, it’s about Bruce Wayne/Batman being really suspicious of Superman/Clark Kent in the aftermath of the destruction of Metropolis (in Man of Steel), while the latter one doesn’t really approve of the Bat’s methods which become more and more brutal with his increasing age and bitterness. Meanwhile, the young, possibly psychotic hotshot billionaire Lex Luthor develops a dangerous interest in Kryptonian technology and an unexpected ally arrives.

Good v Bad

Batman v Superman’s main virtue can be described with one adjective and that’s “excessive”. Which is both the biggest strength and the very crux of the movie.

From the very beginning, the atmosphere is compelling and the experience is immersive. We are immediately engrossed into the epic that unfolds on the screen. Okay, we did not really need the nth version of the Wayne’s death scene, including pearls dropping into the gutter in slo-mo. But the following scene of Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) trying to save his employees in Metropolis during the fight between Superman and General Zod is pure adrenaline already. Which is owed to a big part to the driving synth- score by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL.

I am not sure if it’s still legit to call the DCU the more “grounded” one of the two big cinematic comic book universes. Everything is larger than life in this movie: The action, the heroes and the emotions. Operatic even, sometimes outright pompous and not without the tendency to enter the realm of silliness here and there. There are no traces of any remaining subtlety either. Bruce Wayne’s inner struggle for example is now not depicted not via acting, dialogue or symbolism, but through dream sequences filled with FX, jump scares and action. Not saying this isn’t entertaining though. Ben Affleck’s incarnation is a bitter, aged Batman, determined like none of the movie Bats before him, possibly with an alcohol problem. He’s the most jacked Batman so far too, as apparently working out by clobbering a truck tire with a big hammer leads to the best results. This Batman has the best bat-cave of film history so far and the second-best vehicle, which ranks at a close second place behind the Tumbler.

ben-affleck-batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice

Henry Cavill’s Superman still gets no break in this sequel, wild accusations and high expectations tear him apart. At least as Clark Kent he can make out with Lois Lane in the shape of Amy Adams. Gal Gadot as the new Wonder Woman with an undefinable accent is a welcome addition, her character is much better integrated into the story than I expected. The campiness of Jesse Eisenberg’s interpretation of the villain Lex Luthor is baffling initially, but in the end it somehow works. Jeremy Irons as Alfred gets all the best lines. Sadly there is barely any room left for scenes with Amy Adams, who brings some dearly needed heart to the monumental happenings.

Expectedly, the movie doesn’t hold back with glossy visuals and action scenes that fire from all cylinders, as promised in the trailers. Snyder thankfully abandoned a lot of the annoying stylistic shenanigans of his filmic past and he also finally added a few more earthy tones to the colour palette of the movie. At some points, Snyder’s direction shows a hitherto unknown, very welcome elegance that adds some class.

One of the biggest upsides of this film in my eyes is the thick, cinematic atmosphere. You instantly get the feeling of being transported into a living, breathing and fully formed universe.

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But the exuberance comes at a cost. There is so much story, personnel and mythology to be included that the movie is running risk to break at times. Christopher Nolan’s influence (Nolan was producer and co-writer of Man of Steel) is missing a little. Nolan might be a tad too obsessed with structure, exposition and spelling things out, but some of that might have helped to glue the individual parts together. The way it is, some parts of Batman v Superman feel disjointed and in the worst cases clunky. Which is too bad, because the foundation of the story is pretty well thought out, with attention to detail. The way the plot builds on the repercussions of the events depicted in its predecessor is comparable to how the Dark Knight trilogy handled it.

The emotional beats are hit and miss. Batman’s motivation for fighting Superman is clear and compelling, his (mild spoilers) reason for a change of mind later on feels unearned though and is hard to swallow (mild spoilers end). I found the relationship between Clark Kent and Lois to be believable.

Ironically, a lot of the flaws that plague Batman v Superman are the same that haunted the mediocre Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), but the former is at heart a far more daring and uninhibited affair. It crashes through walls burning while Ultron is boxing itself into tiny little boxes. Batman v Superman is often a mess, but a glorious one.

Verdict:

If you didn’t like Man of Steel (2013), Batman v Superman will probably not change your mind and it could even divide its fans.

It’s a movie that starts out great and it doesn’t know when to stop (which isn’t always a bad thing). It’s part epic and part hot mess, but both parts are very impressive in their own way. Its relentless grandiosity makes up for its obvious shortcomings, true to the motto “where we go, we don’t need no restraint”.
Batman v Superman is often ambitious, occasionally ludicrous and always epic.

Author Image

DetectiveDee

Detective Dee reviews movies and sometimes TV-series. He likes to indulge in the Asian cinema, exploitation flicks and the horror genre but is no stranger to Blockbuster culture either. He writes whatever he wants, but always aims to entertain.

  • I’ll take that recommendation.

  • Dominique Sings

    Did you like Man of Steel? I don’t remember.

  • Sagamanus

    I don’t like Man of Steel. But I would not let that influence whether I liked this one or not. No I’m not a fan of Snyder, but maybe something shines through here.

  • Sagamanus

    Wonder Woman has 16 lines in the film? That’s what I read somewhere.

  • Dominique Sings

    Could be.

  • Sagamanus

    Great review Dee. Everyone is saying that Luthor is really a weak link in it. That’s a euphemism for what they’re actually saying.

  • Dominique Sings

    I can see why people don’t like his interpretation, but I thought it worked.

  • Foster Breadford

    Didn’t you quit?

  • Roughly 12 hours until I see it, so I’ll read this after that, regardless of how spoiler free this is.

  • I_am_better

    I’ll say what I said since I saw the first trailers:

    I’ll wait for the torrent.

  • CoolHandJuke

    I want a kingdom come movie, so I know there’s a super hero movie with come in the title…

  • Dominique Sings
  • KilliK

    The problem with this movie is that it has some good moments overshadowed by some very bad ones.It surely doesnt deserve the 30% RT especially when other turds with the same flaws, like TFA, have been overly praised.

    the good: Batfleck, WW, Alfred,Holly Hunter, some cool scenes directly taken from the comics.
    the bad: the style, the tone, the story, Luthor, Doomsday, maybe fat Lois, Superman’s characterization

    WB/DC really needs to get rid off Snyder and Goyer, bring in some real talent who understands the comics (Timm/Dini) as the architects of their entire franchise, hire competent directors who are skilled in both action and storytelling, focus on the good parts of this movie and move on from there. Otherwise there is not going to be much of a future in their cinematic universe.

  • KilliK

    yep. very limited screen time. she talks a little with Bruce in the middle of the movie, we dont see her again until the final battle, when she arrives as a deus ex machina to help the two heroes against DD.

    WB/DC’s hastiness to create their own cinematic universe has hurt the movie.

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    Nice review. I’ll catch it over the weekend so I can join in.

  • Tarmac492.1

    I skipped what might be spoilers, but, from what I have heard, Eisenberg is a weak part. Which you get from the trailers. As far as Snyder. I think he has more talent than some give him credit for. His problem might be too many toys and he gets carried away. I liked Watchmen(most of you know I ain’t a comic guy), disliked 300. My fave is his remake of Dawn of the Dead(wish he would go back to stuff like that). Anyway will check this out, so I can read the rest of Dee’s article as the dude knows how to write. Good job seeing this Dee!!

  • Tarmac492.1

    From the trailers, he looked like Carey in the Val Kilmer poopfest. Others have said that, as well. He is a good actor. Will wait and see.

  • Tarmac492.1

    not sure I need to hear her speak.

  • Tarmac492.1

    I am looking forward to the Battfleck directed Batman flick, personally. If he could take some of that griity, Dennis Lehane vibe he gets down pretty well would be cool.

  • KilliK

    it’s not his performance, the problem. it’s the characterization of his role. this is not a good Luthor iteration, regardless of the actor. Eisenberg should have played Riddler or Toyman though.

  • Stalkeye

    Sounds like a fair and balanced (Unlike FOX News. LOL) review to me. Superb as always Dee and I shall see this tomorrow Morning!

  • Stalkeye

    Watchmen and DOTD 2004 sold me on Zack. While Sucker Punch wanted to make me give him a sucker punch to the Jaw.

  • Stalkeye

    “He never gives up, he”l stay till the fight’s one-Detective Dee is there..”

  • Stalkeye
  • Tarmac492.1

    What is the best iteration of Lois Lane, as compared to the comix? Hotness wise I liked Kate Bosworth with the dark hair. Never really spanked it to Terri Hatcher for some reason, but I guess we should be talking about character traits, not physicality.

  • Toruk_Makto

    Wait, I thought they got rid of Goyer for this one? That’s why I was kind of rooting for it to be good.

  • KilliK

    they only made rewrites to his script. so essentially, a lot of his crap was already there.

  • Tarmac492.1

    there are some broads on that channel I would like to shoot my fair and balanced load on. I’m looking at you, Ainslee Earhardt, Anna Kooiman and Jo Nosuchinsky. You might go repub for as long as it takes to bang them 😉

  • Conspiracyin559

    I’ll go see it asap before I totally pass judgement, but its always seemed like WB was trying to do too much with a single film.

    One question I have going in though; does the sun ever really shine in Metropolis?

  • Foster Breadford

    Dee wishes his analysis was as biting as this.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Dee? I thought the man had sadly left us for good.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    He is awful; about as threatening as a wet tampon. But they left the fate of his father ambiguous, and I’ve a feeling that was intentional so that they can bring in Lex Sr. as the villain for further movies in his place.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Mr. Myxzptlk?

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    He’s only good for playing fey, annoying hipster douchebags – ie. himself, and that’s not an appropriate choice for Luthor’s characterization. Eisenberg’s performance in The Social Network was great because it was a perfect match of character and actor. But he seems to have no range.

  • CoolHandJuke

    i’d fuck margot kidder on her worst day over amy adams, american hustle version…

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    That’s one of the worst problems with the movie: I couldn’t tell Gotham and Metropolis apart. I had no clue about the location they were supposed to be fighting in at times.

    There are no contrasts in BvS: either visually or narratively. It’s the movie’s biggest failing.

  • KilliK

    good idea. although they ll probably cast Dinklage for that role.

  • KilliK

    what happened with Dee?

  • Toruk_Makto

    I must say…in recent months the power of the internet has truly impressed me.
    Jem and the Holograms, Ghostbusters….now BvS.
    (where were you for TFA you cads???)

    Movie producers, actors, directors are so intertwined with the public through apps like twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc. putting them face to face with the ‘common man’. Which is all cake when everything’s lovey-dovey…but
    when a revolt hits. It’s the equivalent of stage actors of old being pelted with eggs and tomatoes.

    The honest reaction of lashing back is equally hilarious. Who wants to be told ‘you suck’ 100 times in an hour? As the public more realizes the power they have I shudder to think what lies ahead for despised productions…and those who make them.

  • KilliK

    Margot Kidder is the best Lois Lane as comic goes. not a definitive version, but close.

  • Dee Light

    I am still here, but in a smaller capacity.

  • Dee Light

    Haha, serves them right. I was never a fan of a too close connection between artists and consumers.

  • Dee Light

    I don’t like any of his stuff apart from his Superman movies, to be honest. Watchmen missed the point of the source material with 100% accuracy.

  • Dee Light

    Tell me what you think then.

  • Dee Light

    So what did you think?

  • Dee Light

    Slaps for everyone who upvoted this.

  • Dee Light

    Reports of my death are highly exaggerated.

  • Dee Light

    Me too. Much more clever than it gets credit for.

  • Dee Light

    Still here, I have less time though.

  • Dee Light

    Fair enough. I was maybe a little sick of the original Luthor already. Although it’s actually a great character. Glover as Luthor’s dad in Smallville is underrated.

  • I_am_better

    “Dee Light”?

    Just one calorie?

  • Orcus

    Why the name change?

  • Orcus

    Orcus is going to check this out in a few weeks when the crowds thin a bit. In the meantime TFA is still in the theaters might as well ride that one out:)

  • CoolHandJuke

    i rode it out across Rey’s tits…

  • Dee Light

    different account, at my parents’ house

  • Bop

    I felt suckerpunch by Suckerpunch. You have a bunch of good-looking women together that should do some asskicking and then you fuck up the movie.

  • Captain Genius

    not even if you got helen slater to dress as supergirl and sit on my lap and whisper naughty stuff in my ear would i see this. ok….maybe. but that’s about what it would for me to see this. maybe elsa hosk dressed as supergirl. and daphne joy as baroness. maybe

  • Awesome.

  • Loved it. I may have to do a pseudo-review as well because the vast majority of the complaints I’ve read are fucking stupid. It’s all a bunch of “I didn’t want this, I wanted that” childish fanboy bullshit. And yes, that includes critics. They wanted or expected a “familiar” adaptation, got something they didn’t expect/want, and are too lazy to critique it for what it is, instead spouting God damn nonsense about how it sucks because it’s not this easy peasy point A to point B junk they have bouncing around in their thick skulls.

  • Toruk_Makto

    Never saw suckerpunch because I heard it was one of those “all in their movies”.

    I hate movies like that. Even more than torture porn.

  • Dee

    You mean kitchen sink movies?

  • Toruk_Makto

    shit. edited it.

  • Captain Genius

    please do a review

  • Why? All you need is to know about TFA is to re-watch A New Hope again, with the benefit that’s actually a good movie.

  • That’s my boy. And i’m not talking about the video.

  • Yes.

  • Frimmel

    Dana Delaney would be my choice character wise. There is so much that animated series got right. Erica Durance for both character and the easy on the eyes factor.

  • Orcus

    BAH! Bah! and UltraBAH! After living with the prequels for a decade, TFA is a veritable breath of fresh air. Yes it’s derivative. Yes it’s the same beat with a different rhythm. But guess what? Orcus really likes this movie even though it falls apart during the final quarter.

    This is on the same level as playing Metallica’s “Four Horsemen” and comparing it to Megadeth’s “Mechanix”. It’s the same damn song but with different lyrics! And Orcus enjoys both version even knowing this.

    Granted, Dave Mustaine was part of the original line up for Metallica and does have a writing credit for the Four Horsemen so he just repurposed it for his new band.

    Besides, it is one of those rare alignment of stars where a new SW movie and gobs of free time intersect. When shit like that happens, you take advantage of it.

    Also, check this out:

    http://sploid.gizmodo.com/a-side-by-side-shot-comparison-of-star-wars-the-force-1767103596

  • Conspiracyin559

    Her face and legs are the main attraction there: So long and toned, I’d have her lift them up, drizzle them and watch it run down like creamy frosting running down a churro.

  • Toruk_Makto

    When Batman, not Bruce Wayne, Batman is the comedy relief in your Superman movie..there might be a problem in the writing department

    Just saw it. Give it a B-…mostly because it’s taking a beating critical-wise out there and feel kinda bad for DC.

    The good:
    Batman rescuing someone special
    Wonder-woman fighting

    The bad:
    Characterizations – I just can’t get into the dour versions of these characters. I miss Christopher Reeve’s Supes. The room lit-up when he walked into it. He had witty banter. Charisma. You felt like everything was gonna be alright.
    Poor Cavill. He has to look like he’s going to a funeral all the time..that or his boots are really, really tight.

    He just looks like he wants to kill everyone….maybe he does.

    Meta-human cameos – no offence..watching those videos I felt like I just stepped into an episode of the Flash. Might have gone about that in a different way.

    Killer Batman – for shame

    Lex Luthor – Umm…no. Just. No.

    The Ugly:
    Doomsday – Oh boy. Some movie folk tick me off because they always want to grab the BIG MOMENTS from the comics.
    -The Phoenix Saga
    – The Electra Saga
    -The Dark Knight Returns
    – Doomsday vs Superman

    They want to grab these stories toss them into the abridgment blender and mix em in expect magic to happen. Only the ones who don’t get it try to do this. The ones who don’t get it try to do this because they don’t understand that one of the crucial factors that make these stories great…was time.

    Time for the characters involved to have established themselves.
    Time for the events in question to unfold.

    Comic book movies are abridgments…they’re summaries. You can’t do justice to those types of stories in a summary. You just can’t. So to try to do two in one movie is just…well, foolish.

    At any rate, it wasn’t great. Far from the worst (I’m lookin at you Singer).

    My suggestions to the guys going forward…try to put a little fun the movies…holy smokes…I haven’t been in a theater that quiet since Schindler’s List.

  • Toruk_Makto

    Live action…Margot!

  • CoolHandJuke

    Just saw it. Damn fine movie…

  • Dee

    You’re not really making a strong case.

  • Orcus

    Orcus wasn’t planning to make a strong case. It was flawed and one had a sense of DejaVu watching it. Orcus fully admits to this and guess what, Orcus still liked it

  • Sagamanus

    That’s why expectations are a disease. Whether I like the film or not when I see it, it’s definitely not because what I was hoping it would be. Although don’t let Doomsday get beaten to a pulp in 30 seconds. That might stop my heart.

  • franks_television

    Very interesting. I guess I’m going to have to see this for myself.

  • franks_television

    I need to go see that again before it’s gone.

  • Orcus

    What was interesting was that at the AMC25 in NYC, it was in a smaller theater with 60 seats for a while and then it got upgraded to one with 100+ seats. That made no damn sense if it’s leaving the theaters but then again Orcus was catching the matinee’s. Gotta start the day off right before torturing souls you know.

  • I was kind of Meh about it. Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it.

  • If by fresh air you mean a fart directed by JJ Abrams’s ass directly to the fans’ faces, then by all means call it fresh air. You can even call it the smell of roses while you are at it.

    What i find it funny is the desperation people have in liking TFA despite the type of flaws i have seen people tear apart other movies for even lesser problems. And not just because this is a supposed SW movie but because it’s from fan anointed savior Saint Jar Jar Of Abramsburgh. Where this movie made exactly as it is by Brett Ratner or Len Wisemann it would had be completely demolished and tore apart and the director vilified and dragged on the streets of shame, but since it’s JJ it’s automatically decent and worth of excusing all mistakes and bad decisions just because he’s JJ your friendly neighborhood hack.

  • Stalkeye

    The way it is, some parts of Batman v Superman feel disjointed and in the worst cases clunky. Which is too bad,” Most definitely!
    Eisenberg still doesn’t get a pass for playing Luthor but I did like the “Jar of Piss Tea” and “Wheelchair/court ” machinations. It demonstrated how cunning and ruthless he is capable of being.

  • Orcus

    We’re gonna have to agree to disagree on this one then. What showed was JJ was a fan of the original SW to the point of copying it. As far as Orcus was concerned, it was a legit SW movie, it was hitting all the right notes up until the finishing scene with the Flight of the Falcon. After that you got into nitpick territory. What was interesting was the scene where Han was running away from the Rathtars, it turned into a Raiders movies. When the group entered the docking bay where the Falcon was parked, listen for the “Market Chase” music for Raiders, it was really weird. Just imagine Harrison wearing a fedora during all of this. So apparently JJ didn’t limit himself from picking a choosing from SW movies

  • Toruk_Makto

    One of the interesting things I noted while perusing the BvS “is it crap or great debates” online was that the defenders (arguing against Marvelites) would occasionally lob side attacks at TFA in order to attack Disney. (crappy rehash, paid reviewers etc.)

    Not so much Marvel movies (although AOU seems to be the goto flick when that does occur) but TFA -> Star Wars.

    It’s fascinating that to these debaters, Star Wars, is considered the weak link in the Disney Empire.

  • Dominique Sings

    It is. I liked Age of Ultron more than Star Wars…

  • Seems like the debates are just a bunch of disorganized talk about, with no real direction behind them. It’s just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks.

  • Dominique Sings

    more like 30 minutes

  • Sagamanus

    That’s more than MoS fight. There has to be complaints about that?

  • Dominique Sings

    there sure are

  • Todd and I will be talking about it on the next Imaginarium, but I just saw it today and disliked it to the point it made me angry.

  • I was expecting Dee to tear this “director” a new ass…….

  • although the show sucked the life out of me, Id totally let Lois from Smallville suck out some more.

  • Dominique Sings

    No, I really enjoyed it.

  • I gathered as much from the review.

  • Dominique Sings

    I am no fan of Snyder outside his Superman movies, by the way. But he seems like a good fit for superhero films.

  • I am of a different opinion .

  • Kylo-Kenchun24

    Good review Dee, and I agree with pretty much most of the positives/negatives – save for Eisenberg – I just don’t like his acting (never have before bvs either) or how this Lex was written, and much I really dug – loved Ben, Irons’, Gal, Mad Maxman scene, Gal again) and so much I scratched my head at (the decision to merge three important DC stories featrring these headliners into one, the pacing/editing, the actual fight/movies for BvS.

    And yet, I’ve seen it three times, so the good keeps bringing me back even though the movie frustrates the heck outta me.

    But, as a lover of Snyder’s Watchmen DCut I hope the coming 3 hour 5 min DCut of BvS negates some of the issues of this theatrical release.

  • Kylo-Kenchun24

    Agree on both accounts…, never liked Eisenberg, didn’t like this EisenLuthor, but that scene rocked. So much of this back & forth in BvS lol

  • Dominique Sings

    It was overstuffed for sure.

  • Stalkeye

    MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

  • Stalkeye

    No love for Watchmen? Wassup with that? (0:<

  • Stalkeye

    “You have a bunch of good-looking women together that should do some asskicking and then you fuck up the movie.”
    Yeah, with shit that was some chick’s imagination in the 50s plus a take on Moulin Rouge. FTS!

  • Dee

    That’s a movie that was totally beside the point of the source material! Maybe I write about it one day.

  • Stalkeye

    Funny, I was contemplating adding the director’s cut for a future cutting floor segment but feel free to go at it!

  • Dee

    why can’t we both write about it? Especially as we seem to have differing opinions.

  • Stalkeye

    True dat.

  • Bop

    FTS is something I should use more because there are lots of FTS to give.

  • Bop

    I haven’t seen the movie and don’t feel like seeing it. But the reason Batman and Superman stop fighting makes me retch.

  • Stalkeye

    You mustv’e heard about “Martha”. Oh Lawd, I had to elbow my friend while laughing in the theater about that shit.

  • Bop

    You are right. 🙂 I heard the “Martha” shit. Capital S, capital H, capital I, capital T.

  • Bop

    Btw, Banshee rocked. Not happy with what happened with Rebecca.

  • Stalkeye

    Damn. That came outta nowhere!! WTF?!!?
    Kal mustve had something to do with her murder.
    That actress is sooo Hawt!

  • Bop

    It was a big WTF?!!?
    The actress is definitely hot.

  • Stalkeye

    The plot thickens!