Tuesday, 12 April 2016

'Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice' Review

This review WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS for the film to be discussed, if you do not want certain plot points or story spoilt, please do not read further.

What can be said about this film that hasn't been said a dozen times over by other reviewers, critics and audience members?  'Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice' is a terrible movie.  It's plot is dull and unimaginative, with moments that make no sense either individually or as part of a whole.  The characters have little to no development and make bizarre choices.  The action is dull and the effects that accompany them are bland at best.

I like the DC universe, it's got some of my favourite characters and stories, but this film fails to capture any of the things that make the comics great in exchange for a shallow film that is more concerned with establishing its own universe before it's ready.  

If this film was just a focus on Batman and Superman then perhaps it would have been a lot better than it was, but with the plot being focused around establishing the Justice League and giving hints of the franchise's villains it's overly bloated and without focus.

The basic idea of Batman feeling threatened by the power that Superman has and could one day use against people makes sense, though the degree at which he pursues his vendetta against Superman makes very little sense.  We know that this is a Batman long into his career, who has lost at least one Robin, but to see a depiction of Batman that is so ready and eagre to commit murder is still jarring to watch, despite previous versions of the character having done so in film before.

On the reverse side, we're given a Superman even more grim and unfriendly than in Man of Steel.  Superman is one of those heroes who isn't human, but has so much humanity and caring inside of him that he's the best of all of us.  In this film we're given an aloof, standoffish god who seems only mildly interested in saving people, who's happy to float in the sky and watch people calling for help or allows people to flood around him in worship.

This version of Superman fails to capture any of the essence of the character in any way that even the Clark Kent scenes (all of about three of them) give nothing extra to the character.  The scenes with Lois have no chemistry between the two of them and feel awkward more than anything else, and it's impossible to tell anything about his role at the Daily Planet.  Is he a good reporter?  Does he get the freedom to explore his own stories like Lois?  Is he well thought of?

There's no character development for the man at all, he's reduced to being a plot device.  His role is to be the target of Batman and Lex's anger throughout the film, and the thing that drives Batman to assemble the Justice League.  He's not a player in this story, he's just a pawn being moved around the board to be sacrificed for the greater goal.

The most meaningful thing that Superman does in this film is to get himself killed just to motivate Batman, and even that comes from a stupid decision.  He knows that Kryptonite weapons weaken him, but chooses to use to go up against Doomsday rather than give the weapon to Wonder Woman, someone who had already proven she was more than competent to take on the monster.  But that just highlights my point, Superman is allowed to make a poor choice because it allows for his death, which allows for the next part of the studios plan to build their own movie universe.

The plan that Warner Brothers seems to have makes no real sense either though, rather than imitating the Marvel method of introducing each team member in their own films, to build up their characters before bringing them all together they're doing it the other way around.  I can't see this working, it means that rather than just bringing together characters we already know and setting up a big villain before the climax, they have to do all of that plus introduce at least three characters with very distinct and separate characters to the audience.  I can't see it working at all.

The scenes with the flash forward or premonition to a world destroyed by Superman and Darkseid might be visually interesting, but they feel out of place here, especially in the middle of the film.  It's like they accidentally put the post credits scene in the wrong place.  The Parademons look great, but other than that these scenes did nothing to excite me, and the Flash looked so terrible that at first I didn't even realise it was supposed to be him.  It says a lot about a film when the tv version of a character looks better than a big budget counterpart.

The film had some issues with it's villain too, namely the fact that Lex Luthor is absolutely terrible.  The casting of Jesse Eisenberg is just stupid, he plays the character as annoying and at times downright idiotic.  The scenes at the library benefit and the speech he gave were so cringeworthy and off-putting it made me hate a character I usually love.  Seriously, what the hell was the point of the jar of piss?  A jar of piss!

The whole film was just a terrible experience from start to finish, with no redeeming qualities.  It tried to shoehorn in as many different characters and ideas to the point that the film feels cluttered and bloated but with no actual substance or real story.

I find it hard to understand how some people are giving this film positive reviews as I have failed to find any redeeming feature in it what would make me want to give it a second viewing, let alone a positive review.  Warner Brothers have made a very serious mistake with this film, and it's one I'm expecting them to keep making as they make more DC movies.


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