Batman v Superman: The Dawn of…Not That Much, Really

I will start off with saying that viewing any superhero movie in a movie theater will always be an enjoyable and memorable experience, even if the movie itself is not anything to boast about. When I waited in line for the Friday afternoon showing, I was filled with anticipation. I mean, how often do we get to see a movie that showcases two of the most iconic superheroes of all time duking it out on the big screen? While waiting, I continued to wonder: Is the movie really going to be about just Batman fighting Superman? Also, I struggled to figure out how the movie was going to present two superheroes that are on completely different ends of the power spectrum actually having a good fight. Well, let’s just say that the movie makes it work, and you will at least be entertained with the showdown between the legendary caped crusaders.

To start off, I thought Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice did a good job with the concept of the story. One thing that needs addressed is that this is a movie that will be very touchy with the fan base because it has the potential to do so much right or wrong. With this franchise immediately being released after the Dark Knight Trilogy, it is no doubt that fans are going to be excruciatingly critical. I am here to say that if you expect it to be as good as the Dark Knight Trilogy, then prepare to be disappointed. The movie has good things, but it ultimately falls short compared to Christopher Nolan’s legacy. I will begin with the cast, which is actually pretty solid. Jesse Eisenberg did a great job at depicting the crazed villain Lex Luthor. And yes, I thought Ben Affleck was a good Batman. I am not yet ready to say who my favorite is, but I can tell you that he is fit for the role. Also, Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Henry Cavill (Clark Kent), and Jeremy Irons (Alfred) did do a great job as well. So as far as casting, I cannot find any flaws here. I guess I would have to admit that I do miss Michael Caine playing Alfred, but one has to imagine how tough of a replacement he would be.

    The overall mood of the film was a dark and noir type of feeling similar to Nolan’s Batman series once again. It was so dark that I hardly remember laughing…at all. I think director Zack Snyder may have been trying a little too hard to imitate Nolan’s dark style that he may have forgotten to throw some comedic lines in there. Every superhero movie needs some king of comedic relief in it in order to remain effective, even if it is intended to focus on one of the darkest heroes of all time. I don’t want to do this due to unfairness, but The Dark Knight is a perfect example of how the dark humor complements the dark story. Jesse Eisenberg was funny but perhaps I was looking for something more. But then again, maybe I am a little biased toward the film, being that the ridiculously satirical Deadpool was still fresh in the memory.

    Without giving too much away, the story of the film is more straightforward, which is good to a degree. It is more toward the standard and conventional side for a superhero movie, not really revealing any truly shocking details about either superhero or their past life. Its predictability is its most disappointing factor, especially when so many superhero movies have been released the past few years. Audiences are searching for that superhero movie that breaks off from the beaten path, and this movie stays pretty rigid to that path. There are not many moments where you really question why this character did this or why this happened when it did.  One thing I enjoyed about Star Wars: The Force Awakens is that the movie leaves you with many questions about various characters and events at the end of the movie. I did not want to leave the theater because I wanted my questions answered. Batman v Superman on the other hand did not really leave me with an urgent need to stay in the theater. I watched the movie, shook my head a few times, and walked out when the credits rolled.

    To summarize the review in a few short sentences, I would have to say that overall the movie shows us the basic elements of a superhero conflict in a movie where fans really wanted to see something extra. It is entertaining and fun to watch two famous superheroes fight to the almost death, but I kept wondering how awesome the movie would really be without this. The performances are solid and the CGI looks great, but the movie falls short based on two main reasons. One reason is that when comparing this movie to The Dark Knight, it is an embarrassing difference of greatness. While I think audiences will enjoy the movie, they will leave the theater with not much to think about. The second reason, and if there is anything I want you to take away from this review, it is this: Batman v Superman does not really have any “wow” factor. There was not a time in the movie where I was about to soil myself because of what just happened. And that I think is its biggest weakness. Especially with a title like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, audiences are expecting huge surprises and spectacular events, and the movie just does not quite live up to the hype. I do hope this review has not scared you away from the movie, because it is overall enjoyable. I just want to make sure that when you do see the movie, you won’t be expecting Lex Luthor to reveal that he is Superman’s father.

Aaron’s overall grade: B-

While the movie suffers from predictability and conventionalism, it is worth checking out because of the solid performances and showdown of Batman and Superman.

Aaron Miller
aaron@titlerace.com