Film Reviews

Batman V Superman

 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
One man’s personal opinion and review

Given the choice between Marvel and DC I would, 99 times out of 100, pick Marvel.

comics-1239698_1920

I’ve always preferred Marvel comics over DC comics: the characters, the story, the writing. It’s just what I prefer. Yet it was DC that first introduced me to superheroes since I was a young kid. From seeing Adam West putting on the Bat suit, to the Gotham City streets in the DC Animated Universe. DC is where I started my love of the Super Hero. This film is my 1 in a 100 chance to pick DC over Marvel because my seven year old self demands it.

So naturally when they announced that the “World’s Greatest Detective” i.e. Batman would square off against the “Man of Tomorrow” i.e. Superman, there was no choice but to see this film. These two super-icons have never met in a live action medium and this could lead to potentially endless possibilities. This could be DC’s answer to creating their own extended universe in a new and explosive beginning.

So there is my backstory… Now let me begin by telling you this film has been panned by other critics, it has been ridiculed by fans and it has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of a meagre 28%. And let me follow that up with ‘I wonder if we even saw the same film’. I thought this movie was excellent!

The film I saw was one of the best superhero movies in recent years, right up there with the likes of the Avengers and the Batman movies. The characters, the writing, the acting, the effects were top notch. So let’s look at why I love a movie that most people seem to hate.

Warning, I am spoiling the plot of this movie, I will highlight the spoiler parts and warn you beforehand in case you have not seen the movie. Not that there is much to spoil, the trailers give practically everything away apart from the last 7 minutes.

The film opens with a very visual take on Bruce Wayne’s origins, and gets you up to date on the most important moment of his life. Cut to the ending of Man of Steel, now from Bruce Wayne’s point of view, with 9/11 imagery littered throughout the sequence. It was ‘Man of Steel’ that showed us how devastating a Superhero battle can really be from the eyes of the on-lookers. Seeing the look of anger Bruce has in his eyes whilst looking up at Superman’s battle brings out why Batman would hate Superman. It was a brilliant cinematic moment.

batman-1293525_1920

It’s here where I have to talk out Ben Affleck, Ben is my favourite Batman after Kevin Conroy. Being an older and a more worn Batman, showing the weariness of over 20 years of vigilantism. He’s more in line with the comic book version of his character. He has less leniency on using lethal force on his foes which makes him feel more of a “Dark Night” than other Batmans before him.

We also see Superman doing what Superman does best, saving Lois Lane from danger. Lois is in Africa trying to get an interview with a dictator, only for it to be a trap whilst disguised mercenaries shoot up the place. We cut to a testimonial where a woman talks about how after Superman left, the surrounding area was attacked by the dictator’s goons as revenge. This sets up that the world isn’t all trusting of Superman. That there are people who see him as a danger to mankind and this feels like a more modern world for these characters to inhabit.

Wes for Publicity

Photo Credit – Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2016, Warner Bros

Lex Luthor. As played by Jessie Eisenberg is bound to be a character of controversy. His demeanour and way of acting will definitely put many people off this film. The way he demonstrates his power and cunning makes him seem more like a Mark Zuckerberg rip off (fitting due to Jessie playing Zuckerberg in the Social Network movie) than the ruthless business tycoon he’s been portrayed as since the mid 1980’s. In my opinion he does an ok job as this interpretation of Lex, as a more modern version of the character. Is he my favourite? Good lord NO, Clancy Brown makes a more intimidating, more interesting Luthor, but Jessie gets the job done for this movie, has just enough unpredictability in him to make him an adequate evil villain.

So now follow a number of dream sequences, with cinematography straight out of the comic books. Batman dreams of a world dominated by Superman and is overwhelmed by his guards and PARADEMONS. The fact that there is a movie which features Parademons is to me (a nerd who has read a lot of DC comics) incredibly exciting.

The fight scenes between Batman and Superman are visually very interesting and most of all, short. Unusual for a super hero film, and perhaps quite welcome in the age of endless fight scenes in some Marvel movies. But the sequences set up the strengths and weaknesses of our protagonists quite aptly. Batman fights in a similar way to the Arkham games and comics, without the absolute realism of Nolan’s trilogy, without the stiffness of the Burton-Schumacher films.

With some obvious set ups to future franchises on the way by, perhaps heavy-handedly hammering home that there are some justice league films already on the horizon, we shall turn to Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman is one of the best characters in the entire movie and her entrance is nothing short of glorious. With a Hans Zimmer boom she enters our world in a truly unique take thanks to Gal Gadot. As Diana Prince she shows elegance but restraint, as Wonder Woman she is a true warrior. Gadot embodies both sides of the character and also, she smiles! She seemingly enjoys the battle with Doomsday as if she has found a worthy advisory and it’s refreshing to see someone who enjoys what they do. Gadot makes Wonder Woman fun, she is a warrior who enjoys the excitement of battle.

Now here is the spoiler…

caution-943376_1280new

The decision to kill Superman, as one of the main characters, is a brave choice. And it’s sad, and inherently predictable, that they nervously question this choice at the end of the film. This is sad, as we know timelines can extend in a multitude of directions in a comic book universe. I wonder if they had stood by their decision if I wouldn’t have rated this film even more highly.

What I really like about this film is that it doesn’t try to do what Marvel does. There’s no post credits sequence, the humour is very light and when it’s there it is different. There are minor problems, Luthor isn’t the best, men still save women, but it is a new direction for DC films. The scenes looks like they came straight out of a comic book and DC are carving out a new franchise. If I’d have wanted to see a Marvel film I would have gone and seen one.

Overall I highly recommend this film to everyone. A DC film for the DC fans.

80%