Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – Should Snyder Really Direct the Justice League?
When it was announced we would be getting a Batman vs. Superman film, it was easily one of, if not the most hyped movie for the coming years within the comic book film industry. Fans raised their hands to the sky and thanked God we would finally get to see this incredible story come to life on the silver screen. WB could do no wrong at that point. But then things quickly began changing. The film was moved up from its original May 6th release date, which at that time also had an unnamed Marvel film opening we now know is Captain America 3: Civil War, to its March 25th date. A move many questioned instantly. Was DC scared of Marvel? Was the film not going to be as good as we’d hoped? After all, this is a major blockbuster summer flick! Not some early spring rom-com. And of course, as time went on, fan boys either praised or bashed every little bit of information we got about the film, but that’s to be expected. The first trailer premiered and many haters shut their mouths. But then trailer #2 premiered and we pretty much saw the whole movie. Many fans were left wondering if this was DC’s way of trying to show us the movie will have everything we want in it. There was no mystery left. And now here we are, opening day and critics are destroying this film. It currently has a 30% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. To compare, Man of Steel has a 56% rating. But what’s weird is more fans seem to have criticized Man of Steel than are currently talking bad about Batman v Superman. So what exactly does it mean when fans love a film more than critics? Well, it’s just an average superhero film.
I’ll be honest; I literally went into this film worried it was going to be absolute trash. It had so much going for it at the beginning, but then it seems as if the carpet was ripped out from underneath. I was fully ready to hate this film, much like I did when I rented Fantastic Four (yes, I did watch that insult of a comic book film). However, I enjoyed this film much more than I thought I would, but that could be because I went in with ground level expectations… So here goes nothing.
In case you live under a rock, Zach Snyder has returned to helm the next DC film Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, which takes place 18 months after the events of Man of Steel when Superman and General Zod utterly destroyed Metropolis and killed many civilians. This event, as seen in the trailer, is the initial reason why Batman/Bruce Wayne hates Superman and feels he must be stopped. Meanwhile, the government is trying to bring Superman down as well. Eventually, Batman and Superman begin fighting until they find something else to fight: Doomsday, again as seen in the trailer. The rest of this will be as spoiler free as possible, promise.
Batman has had his fair share of films, so has Superman for that matter. They are two of the best known comic book characters in the world, and yet for some reason, we always seem to repeat information we already know. Yea, yea I get it. New audience members need to be told what’s what. But come on. If you didn’t know Bruce Wayne’s parents were gunned down when he was a boy, you probably should be watching other movies. And yet, it’s all we see in the opening credits. The only scenes in the past we need to see were those of which involved Man of Steel to help connect the two films together.
This is the second film in the new DCCU and first to show our new Batman. I have to say, this is by far the most brutal Batman we have ever seen on film. What’s great to see is the
fighting style. It is everything we’ve wanted in his movies and exactly what we’ve seen for years in the video games. But the character is darker and meaner than I ever would’ve thought. He now brands the bad guys he fights and beats with the bat symbol. And there are multiple scenes of Batman using guns during his fight scenes, much like you’d expect in a Jason Bourne film. These parts had my mouth ajar saying, “No, this can’t be so.” I’m sorry, but Batman does not kill people!
Meanwhile, during all of this, we have Lex Luthor, played by Jesse Eisenberg. This was a character I was hoping to fall in love with. Unlike many people, I am a fan of Eisenberg and most of what he has done. Overall, his portrayal of Luthor was interesting, but nowhere near the level of good I was hoping for. But I don’t blame Eisenberg. The writing for the character simply was not there. Luthor is a methodical character, always thinking, always planning. But his motives in the film are terribly unclear and when it got to the part when we were supposed to have a twist, it was thrown at us with a one-liner very quietly. However, where Batman’s fighting and Luthor’s characterization suffered, Affleck succeeded. I always liked they casted Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne and I am a fan of much of his work, especially his most recent films. He is an interesting, strong, and intelligent Bruce Wayne and it is shown throughout. But he is nothing without Alfred, performed this time around by Jeremy Irons who brings the tough and sarcastic Alfred we know so well from the comics and video games to life. Irons is great as Alfred and they portrayed him well in the film, assisting Bruce with his escapades in one way or another. I only wish we could’ve had more of him.
As for Wonder Woman, well, I had no idea what to expect. It’s a character I know almost nothing about and only that Gal Gadot got crapped on majorly for being casted as her. However, Wonder Woman totally steals the scenes she’s in. She’s the only character in the film to get applause from my audience and although she doesn’t do much, she was very enjoyable to watch. I hope her solo film brings even more to the table.
The movie itself has pretty terrible pacing. I have no idea what they were thinking for the first hour of the film, but the scenes were incredibly choppy and it took way too long to actually get to any of the actual storyline. It came across as trying to play catch up, when really, we already knew most of what was being shown to us. The beging of the film also has multiple dream sequences, all of which had my rolling my eyes at. They did absolutely nothing to move the plot forward and only slowed the scenes down. They were completely unnecessary in every way.
What’s worse is there is so much in this film (and it baffles me that there could’ve been even more in it), it almost seems as if we don’t see enough of Bruce or Clark. I wanted to see more of Batfleck in his business world and more of Clark being a reporter. But that’s just me. They did, however, do a good job shoeing how Clark constantly questions himself and handles his internal struggles with who he is. It’s something that was mildly touched on in Man of Steel, but for once, I actually felt bad for Clark. He tries to hard to be good and helpful, yet struggles with so much. It was also great to see how his relationship with Lois Lane had grown since Man of Steel.
A major complaint I had about Man of Steel was that the fight scenes all seemed to be at 100 the entire time. The movie reached its major plot point and never let up until the end. It was exhausting and definitely got old fast. However, in BvS, the fight scenes weren’t all like that. Yes, there was lots of fighting going on, but all at different levels of intenseness, which was a good thing. The scenes are very CGI heavy, but it’s to be expected if we want them to be what we got.
As for the music, I am a huge fan of Hans Zimmer. He is my favorite film composer and I own most of his CDs. Somehow, they managed to bring him back for what is not his fifth DC film and much like Man of Steel, the music was nice and had some pretty moments but underwhelming when compared to the Nolan films. Snyder also decided to add Junkie XL into the mix, someone I’ve never heard of, but I also don’t listen to that genre of music. His contributions to the film, although enjoyable from a music stand point, they are completely jarring when all you’ve heard is Zimmer for two hours. I get it, Wonder Woman appears, new superhero, new theme, but her music was so drastically different, it took my out of watching the film and I questioned what we were listening to. This was a majorly poor choice on Snyder’s end. Just another part of this film that seems to have been chopped together with all sorts of different pieces, even with three years of development.
Truth be told, the name is such a cop out and that’s something many thought from the very beginning. This film should not have been called Batman V Superman. It should’ve either been titled Dawn of Justice or World’s Finest. **SPOILER ALERT** Batman and Superman really don’t fight each other very much in the film. It’s a few fight scenes and they’re little in comparison. Then, after all of the conflict between the two, they buddy up for one of the dumbest reasons ever! The title clearly was a scheme to get people in the seats, much like Transformers 4: Age of Extinction did with the Dinobots, which we saw for a whole 10 minutes of the 2 ½ hour film. It’s a shame really because any movie with both Batman and Superman in it will get fans to come see it. That’s just a fact. No need to trick us with a long, silly title. **End spoiler**
In the end, the film has some really great moments in it, but some truly awful ones. There are some really good references to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns comic. We also get some fun cameos and hints at what we can expect in future DCCU films. But thanks to trailer #2, there were no surprises in it. We saw all three acts of the film in a 2 minute trailer; a major mistake on WB’s part.
I’ve never been an overly big fan of Snyder’s films. I thoroughly enjoyed 300 and it very much put him on a good path in Hollywood, but I wasn’t over the top thrilled with Watchmen. I credited that to not having known the source material of which it was based on. Fans of it praised Snyder, so I let it pass. Then I saw Man of Steel and it was another disappointment for me for one reason or another. I truly hoped Batman V Superman would be his return to good fame, but I don’t believe it will be and WB should definitely be weary of keeping him in the director’s chair for the Justice League films. One thing that makes
the Marvel films so successful is the fact that they constantly bring in new directors and new views. Although every film is connected in one way or another, they all have their own tone and style. That is something DC/WB could really stand to learn from Marvel. It’s ok to be serious, and great to be dark and gritty, but when the style is dry and tiresome, it’s time to switch it up. Snyder has directed two DC films now, both with major characters and both slammed by critics and fans alike. Do we really want to risk the Justice League films with this man? If DC continues on this path, it could be the very thing that ruins the DCCU. It is clear Snyder doesn’t fully respect or understand these characters, and they deserve better, don’t you think?