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Review: Batman v Superman Dawn Of Justice

Batman_v_Superman_posterLet’s start by saying that the reviews from critics sent me into this movie expecting to be upset at something.  I was bothered by a couple of things, but before coming to conclusions on someone else’s word, go see the movie yourself.  Many of the complaints out there are flat out wrong and made by people who either weren’t paying attention to what was really going on or just like to cause problems by hating on something; or they just need to complain like so many do.

With that out of the way I will say that the movie could have been better, but by no means did it even come close to being bad.  What I thought would bother me actually surprised me in good ways, so let’s get down to my breakdown of what went on per character.  Yes, there will be spoilers, so if you want my numerical rating without knowing what will happen, then scroll down to the last paragraph.  Here we go:

Batman/Bruce Wayne: Ben Affleck is the best Batman and Bruce Wayne combo I’ve ever seen.  Yes, I dare say it is even comparable to Kevin Conroy’s animated character.  He embodied everything the character should be from extraordinary fight skills, personality, intimidation, detective work, and gadgets.  People complained that they didn’t like him using guns and murdering in cold blood.  Those people obviously didn’t watch the movie.  He did not once murder anyone.  Yes, there were a few guns he’d used while grappling with thugs, but it was in their hands, and it didn’t look like he was shooting to kill.  Even the guy he stabbed was still alive and you could see that.  There was a dream sequence in the dessert where he was using firearms, but it was also a nightmare of a future (similar to that in the Injustice Gods Among Us video game) where drastic measures had to be taken.  The bat armor and suit were perfect visually and integral to the story.

Superman/Clark Kent/Kal El: Henry Cavill picked up the character right where we’d seen him last.  You saw his struggles internally and that was important to the whole picture.  There were similar complaints with him which blows my mind because he chose the path Superman always chose.  He wanted to do the right thing.  Even when it came to the hero duel, he was trying to convince Batman to help him.  I was shocked at his death, but I’m glad it went down as it did.  I will post my thoughts on where that will take us towards the end of the article.

Lois Lane: Amy Adams seemed more like Lois Lane in this one than in Man of Steel.  It shows how important she is to the mythology, and my issues with the way Man of Steel was handled with her were rectified.

Lex Luthor:I was probably the most skeptical person going into this.  I never liked Jesse Eisenberg as the choice to play the villain, and while many people compared him to Heath Ledger’s Joker I’d say they just didn’t get it.  He is completely different than the Joker in every way.  No, he is not the Lex we’ve gotten used to since the Superman animated series in the 90s.  He is more of a cross between the scientist he originally was in the comics, and what Gene Hackman did in the original movies.  I am now in a position of wrong because my skepticism was blown away.  Eisenberg did an outstanding job and I am sold on this new/old take on Luthor.  Can’t wait to see more of what he will do.  My complaint would be that his overall plan (although well thought out) didn’t make total sense.  Did he have a backup plan if Doomsday beat Superman?  How would Doomsday then be stopped from destroying everything else?  It wasn’t explained, and there I see a fault.

Alfred Pennyworth: Like Affleck, I feel Jeremy Irons fully brought Alfred to life.  I’m eager to see the universe unfold as the older characters have already dealt with Batman’s rogues (as evidenced by references in the movie).

Anatoli Knyazev/KGBeast: although this was more of a glorified cameo, it was worth noting in the review.  He wasn’t exactly like his comic counterpart, but what was there was all that was needed.  Anything else would have been overkill.

Diana Prince/Wonder Woman: Is anyone still complaining about this casting because Gal Gadot kicked ass!  She was written into the plot well, and utilized as necessary.  Without her the whole movie wouldn’t have had the same outcome.

Perry White/ The Kents/The Waynes/Senator Finch/Mercy Graves: Small roles, but integral to the world.  I like that Perry was a bit grumpier than he’d been in MOS.  It seemed more his part.  The killing of Mercy was a shocker for me, but it shows Luthor’s determination to meet his goals regardless of the cost.

Doomsday: His origin may have been altered, but it was only done so slightly.  In some parts the CGI looked a bit off, but overall he made the perfect villain.  Here is my major issue with the film though.  The fight was superb, but the emission of those nuclear type blasts were overkill.  Doomsday is powerful enough, but Zack Snyder decided to demolish everything in existence.  The mass destruction is understandable, but it was too much this time.  Doomsday doesn’t need eyebeams and explosive pulses.  I did however really enjoy the character’s evolutions.  It could have utilized 1 more just to make him appear exactly like his comic book self, but I might be getting too picky there.  Despite my complaints I think he was done well for the most part, and by him killing Superman it made the whole struggle throughout the movie make more sense.

Summary: Both sides of the argument for and against Superman’s god like power were presented evenly.  The buildup to Justice League was paced out well.  The Easter Eggs galore weren’t unnecessary and thrown in there, because they play into the whole picture.  People need to realize that there is over 70 years of material to work with.  There have to be creative freedoms in making such a movie.  Even with that freedom, I don’t think Snyder strayed too far from source material (The Dark Knight Returns, Injustice GAU, Death of Superman, etc etc.)  If anything I’m more eager now to see where it goes.  Aquaman and Cyborg look awesome, and I can’t wait to see them.  Ezra Miller is a terrible choice for the Flash in my current opinion, but that could change.

Theories on where it could lead: I have many thoughts on where everything is going, and I could be wrong, but from a writing perspective I think this would be wise.  We know Wonder Woman’s outing will be a WW1 setting.  It’ll be good to have that back story.  Cyborg was definitely created with a Mother Box, not to mention the Parademons and Omega sybmbol in Bruce’s dream, along with Lex’s dark predictions inevitably lead to Darkseid being the villain for at least 1 part of Justice League.  How?  Did you notice at the end the soil rising from Clark’s casket as if some antigravity field occurred?  I feel that Darkseid may be using Superman’s body as his earthly host.  This would make sense as it is strong enough to withstand the evil being.  It would stray from the comics, but would work for the movies, and is a way to ultimately bring back the good Superman for part 2.  Who would part 2 involve?  Brainiac.  If you noticed inside the Kryptonian ship there were not only three circles of light in a formation, but the ship said that it contained knowledge throughout the universe.  Brainiac is already on Earth.  It just is a matter of time.  Flash was in Bruce’s dream as well.  The breach of time and dimensions has been addressed in DC’s tv universe.  It only makes sense that at some point DC’s answer to Marvel’s Infinity War would be to make a Crisis movie.  Crossing over ALL DC properties would blow minds and be a huge way to even the Marvel/DC competition.

In the end there are many ways this could go.  Dawn Of Justice could have been better in very few ways, but it also could have been much worse.  I give it an 8 out of 10 on my rating scale.  What were your thoughts?  Theories?  Complaints?  Comment below so we can discuss.



Review: Man Of Steel

man-of-steel-logoI woke this morning on Father’s Day with a special gift from not just my kids and wife, but my brother as well. They took me to see Man of Steel, because as my daughter and son say “Daddy, you’re the real Superman.” While I love their passion for seeing their dad as a superhero, I’m not sure I can live up to that comic book icon. That being said, I will always try my best. Now that the sentiments are aside, let’s get on to the movie. Be warned THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. If you want to know my rating, skip to the last paragraph. AGAIN, YOU ARE WARNED. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.

This movie begins on Krypton, and honestly, I think I could have watched an entire movie the way this was done. A two hour war on Krypton movie might not appeal to the major audience, but the way that Zack Snyder and company portrayed this race of beings and their planet was so outstanding and exciting. We finally got to see some creatures, the way they lived, and their technology. Russell Crowe in my mind was a far superior Jor-El than we’ve ever had before. Don’t get me wrong, Marlon Brando was great when I was growing up, but the comics always made me think of Jor-el as something better, and Man of Steel gave it to us.

Once we get to earth, there is a lot of flash back sequences that just jump right in, and while complaints so far are that it is hard to follow, my response to that is that those people really haven’t ever paid attention to a movie. There were perfect transition points, and I am glad that they went this route. I didn’t want to see Clark growing up for a third of the movie. I got that on Smallville. No, this was a smart origin movie that focused more on the dilemnas that a man of steel would have to face. It was a moral and ethical presentation, and for that I am happy.

Along the moral lines, I understand that many people are upset that Superman killed Zod at the end. WTF is wrong with you people who complain about that? Have you ever read a Superman comic? No, he didn’t kill, but there were plenty of times where he went berzerk. Prime example? In 1992’s Death of Superman story, he tried to kill and succeeded in killing Doomsday. Of course this was retconned, and they ended up reviving the creature for further story, but that was the case. Also, in Superman the animated series, he went crazy after Darkseid killed Detective Turpin. He tried to kill Darkseid. This doesn’t mean that he was not the hero he is known to be. Look at the other factors on screen here. Superman’s battle with Zod was a losing one. Sure, he had Zod in a headlock, but look how many people already died at his hands. If Superman didn’t kill Zod, the family before him would have died as well. Superman had enough. He would not allow another death if you could help it, and one death was better than five more. He cried before doing it, and once he finally snapped Zod’s neck, he mourned more. The look on his face showed his sorrow for this, and I feel it is the perfect closing to the whole “finding his place in the world” theme. He knows now, what it is like to kill, and will make sure to never do it again.

The story was action packed and compelling, albeit a few one liners that were just out of place or really bad dialogue, but those were few and far between. Amy Adams as Lois Lane would not have been my first pick mainly because of hair color, but I’m so glad I was wrong on my first impressions. She gave a fresh take on Lois, and now we won’t have to deal with her being so dumb not knowing Clark was Superman all along, because she knows up front. (I don’t think we will be seeing a kiss like in Superman 2… that was a stupid film power that made me lose respect for the Donner films at that point.) — don’t worry, I still love the Chris Reeve films, but Henry Cavill was more convincing. He literally looks like the comic book Superman, and I hope he does Clark Kent justice in the sequel as well. I want to see him portray the clark we all know and love.

Faora and the other Kryptonian baddies were done well also, and were shown for their loyalty to Zod. I am curious as to what Snyder’s vision of the Phantom Zone is however. It was mentioned, and not that Clark knows about it, this will be interesting to see if it ever comes back.

Visually, I had two issues. Although I’m glad they were unique in the heat vision portrayal, I didn’t like that it looked like fire coming from their eyes. The glowing eyes were good enough, and that optic blast beam seemed too much to me. I also hated the shaky handheld camera in spots. Other than that, I had no problems.

The entire cast, which is too many to mention, really did a superb job, and the acting seemed flawless for me. I also really enjoyed the easter eggs. I saw the LexCorp fuel truck, as well as the Waynetech satellite, and I’m not sure if that was the intent, but Zod’s ship really looked like Brainiac’s ship, so I’m wondering if his computer’s name was in fact Brainiac. Only time will tell. I also hear that there was a Booster Gold easter egg as well, but I personally missed this.

Sequel? Well they could go many ways. I see them bringing in Lex Luthor, but I’m hoping as a man that pulls the strings. I don’t want to see the Lex’s we’ve seen in the past. if anything, the only Lex done right, was in the animated series and parts of Smallville. Brainiac? Bizarro? Those could all be taken from this movie, but who knows. Only time will tell.

I do NOT want to see them follow the exact same format as Nolan’s films. While they have their own place in history, I hated what they did… origin story, his main nemesis, and then the final film being far from comic book continuity.

We have an origin story here with Man of Steel, and he doesn’t have a name yet, so I’m assuming Lois will call him Superman in the sequel. Lex will most likely be in the sequel, but as I said, I want to see him in a new way. Don’t make him the main villain. Make him the one behind it, and only Superman knows this. Done right, this could be better than most comic book series of movies.

It is rare when I give a movie a perfect rating, but I’m giving it to this one. 10 out of 10 stars from me for this movie, and I dare say that I enjoyed it as much if not more than the Avengers. Chime in with your thoughts below. I’m eager to hear what you all think.