Those who know me personally know that I have a few passions. Christian Films, Ben-Hur… these are the reasons I started this blog. However, these are not the first things to come to mind if you know me personally. I am a huge Superman fan. In fact, there have been a few times that my love for this ambassador of Truth, Justice and the American way has gleaned some negative reactions from members of churches I have ministered at. Usually, if they take the time to hear about this passion they will find that my love for Superman and my love for Christ are interconnected. It is for this reason I decided to post a review of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice on this blog.
This will be a non-spoiler review. I would hate to ruin the surprise ending of this film for anyone, like it was ruined for me…. That’s right… I already knew the outcome of the film before I saw it.
I don’t really even know where to begin… maybe, the beginning? The introduction to the movie is basically a retelling of Batman’s origin. It’s only about 3 minutes and is assuming most people know the fuller story. Personally, I thought it was one of the most beautiful and heartfelt retellings of the Batman Origin I had ever seen. No dialog, but yet so much emotion saturated the images. It took an odd turn at the end but it all makes sense in a few seconds. Yeah, I was diggin’ the first three minutes.
We then enter Bruce Wayne’s story that parallels what happened during Man of Steel. You see it all again but from his perspective. It was intense! It was well told! It sets up Batman’s motive for the rest of the film real well! For these first 20 minutes I was really diggin’ it!
Then they fast forward 18 months…. And the movie…. Falls apart! From this point on the film becomes such a mess! Some critics say it recovers in the last hour… I didn’t feel it recovered at all!
Don’t get me wrong, within that mess of story and images and subplots I still found a lot to enjoy. Several very cool ideas! I mean, my feelings about this movie are all over the place. Maybe I need to see it a few more times before I pass judgment on it but I won’t be able to get back to the theater to see it again so I will need to wait for the Blu-ray. I really feel that it was the presence of all these fantastic ideas that helped me still enjoy this film… and it was the presences of all these fantastic ideas that where never given appropriates follow through that is the bases for the hatred I have for this film!
Within this film are grand and spectacular ideas for at least three films, each being extremely wonderful but… instead of being in their own films, they are thrown together into this huge mess. I mean, imagine, you like chocolate ice cream. You like spaghetti. You like Sweet Tea. Now, throw them all into a bowl and stir it around. Yummy?
Within this film is the spark of an idea for a Man of Steel 2 that could have been the best Superman movie of all time. A U.S. Senator asks the question “Does the world need a Superman?” There is a court hearing. What transpires there…. COULD HAVE BEEN FANTASTIC! I mean… wow… the places they could have gone. Seriously, this film put Superman in a position he has never been in before… and the ramifications of it barely even register on the rest of the film. What should have been a 8.9 Earthquake felt more like a plow passing by my house at three in the morning. It woke me up. I had trouble falling back to sleep after. But it didn’t even have me getting out of bed. If this scene was poured as the foundation for it’s own standalone film it could have been fleshed out and done real justice. But, why flesh out a good story when we have so many more great ideas to introduce to you and not flesh out!
The film eventually gets to the place that the title eludes to. A showdown between The Man of Steel and The Dark Knight. For fellow comic book fans, this portion was almost a panel for panel retelling of one of the most beloved stories by Batman fans… and one of the most frustrating stories for Superman fans. For what it was, it was ok… I will go into more into that later but it was short and I don’t think earned the title of the film “Batman V Superman.” Because… why dwell in this story… there’s more we want to shove in this film!
You see, the Director of this film, Zack Snyder is a huge comic nerd. He knows his comics. The writer of the first draft is also a comic nerd. He has written several comics. In Man of Steel they took portions of some of my favorite stories and cherry picked their favorite parts and knit them back together into a new story. I loved that! This film they took great ideas in the beginning, mashed them all together, then told one of Zack Snyders favorite stories… then, I guess he figured we just told a Batman fan pleaser, we need to tell a Superman fan pleaser. So they took one of the best Superman stories ever written AND COMPLETELY BUTCHERED IT! A story arch worthy of a multi-movie arch and they TACK IT AT THE END and held it on with bubble gum and shoe laces! That isn’t to say, I didn’t really enjoy some of the moments but they didn’t earn those moments! So I am left with emptiness….
The movie came with a very hefty share of wonderful Christian Symbolism! Something I was extremely pleased to see but the weight of it could have hit so much harder if they had only taken the time to earn the moments they tried to force upon the audience. Instead of earning these moments they rely more on emotional manipulation, using imagery and yet another great score by Hans Zimmer in an attempt to get the audience there faster.
Lex Luthor – So bad, I hated him. And not in the way you are supposed to hate the villain. He was corny, over the top… and not Lex Luthor at all. Instead of a cunning genius who is completely self-absorbed. Or instead of the genius sociopath who hates Superman because of how humbling Superman is to Lex… we have a cartoon. He’s crazy. He’s over the top. He’s more of a Batman villain from the 80’s than Lex Luthor.
Doomsday – later down the road, this film will be compared to Spiderman 3 and it’s very poor use of Venom, one of Spiderman’s greatest villains.
Some of the positives. I loved this Batman, I want to see more of him. I want to see a standalone Batman film starring Ben Affleck. (I would also like to set the record straight, I was not against Ben Affleck playing Batman because I thought he would do a bad job… I thought he would be fantastic. The reason I was against him was because we were told Superman was the first hero in this universe, which was great because he was actually the first Superhero in comics. Casting Ben Affleck told me they were going with and older Batman which bothered me… because I figured they would go… well… the way they did.
Wonder Woman! Bring on a solo Wonder Woman film! I want more of this Wonder Woman! If I had a daughter I would be so excited. Finally, a strong female Superhero who can throw down with the best of them!
RATE THE FILM ALREADY!
This film left me angry at missed opportunities… yet somehow, it left me excited for the future of the DC Cinematic Universe (Which they call the DC Extended Universe) I think that might have been part of the problem. They spent too much effort in setting up the future… I wish they gave a greater effort in telling a good story here. I want a Justice League Movie and before that, I can’t wait for the Wonder Woman film coming soon. However, I would really prefer Zack Snyder step down as director. I like him looking over the direction of the entire DCEU but not directing it’s individual films.
I sadly, and with a very heavy heart… give this movie a 5 out of 10. Should you still see it? If you like comic book films and you like DC Characters, see it, you will want to for future films. If you don’t, there isn’t much here that is going to make you a fan…. But ultimately you will need to make up your own mind because every single person I talk to has a different view of this film… it almost like not a single person agrees. Who knows, you might be one who likes it.