MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ is flat out bad

batman v superman feature

Film: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg, Ben Affleck

If I were to take Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s text verbatim, then I’d be led to believe that a group of people with supernatural capabilities hold the power to defending the world from annihilation. Well, that’s all well and good but they have to get over their petty quarrels first. Batman still hasn’t gotten over the fact that his parents died, so he broods and exacts vengeance (with guns this time!). Superman can’t quite get over the fact that he isn’t making a lick of difference in the world (okay, that’s a bit more like it). So with that being said, why doesn’t any of it work?

Push the discount store philosophy, superhero world-building obligations, and “epic” action scenes aside for a second. What’s left is a hollowed-out husk of a movie, owing more to headier projects like Nolan’s Dark Knight films than it’s willing to cash in. This is the dudebro equivalent of comic book filmmaking, constantly struggling to smarten up the dumb concept of having two muscle-laden behemoths measure dicks. These characters take themselves to be of some Proustian intelligence but they’re closer in line with Tucker Max.

Clark Kent/Superman (Henry Cavill) is struggling to come to terms with his immense power a couple years after obliterating Metropolis. Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) realizes the devastation Supes can cause and vows to stop him with Kryptonite. In comes everybody’s favorite megalomaniacal interloper, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg). Luthor pits the two heroes against each other for his own personal benefit, primarily in a bid to rule the world (or something else; his personality changes with every scene). Will the two heroes settle their differences in time to save the world from whatever Luthor is cooking up? Find out in the next movie! I’m only half-kidding.

Batman v Superman starts out on a pretty interesting note. Young Bruce Wayne rises from a well filled with bats like the phoenix rose from the ashes; the billionaire speaks of loss and his fear that someone with so much power can’t be trusted. Well, sure, he’s not entirely wrong. The movie then shifts over to good ol’ boy scout Clark Kent who is dealing with killing yet another person to save his love, Lois (Amy Adams). He questions his power and the effect (or lack thereof) that it has on the world. Two men bittered by the times. Who doesn’t like a little bit of nihilism with their comic books, right? So, what’s the big deal? What is the force driving Batman to loathe Supes? Well, what if I told you it’s because Batman feels inferior to the red-caped marauder?

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The movie is almost always at odds with itself. Every moment something of relative interest pops up (like how the US court system would handle the immense power of Superman), yet it’s dashed away in favor of some incomprehensibly ugly action scene that needs to take place to speed things along. That’s Batman v Superman’s biggest trespass, it actually fails at being a coherent movie. Action movies are cool, especially when they’re well designed and have something to say beyond the norm. But when they try to pretend they stand for something totally different than the rest of the tripe in the genre, that’s when things get a little hairy.

Lex Luthor turns a painting upside down to drive one of his points home. The painting being of angels descending from heaven to fight winged demons from Hell. Luthor says, “The real demons come from above.” Ruminations like the one above are shoved in front of the viewer’s eyes, like the movie itself is begging for validation from scene to scene. When Luthor isn’t being maniacal, Batman isn’t sad, Superman isn’t detached, Lois isn’t in danger; the narrative just devolves into the normal third-act, blow-em-up hogwash. Except this time, it’s uglier than sin.

There seems to be a common misconception from filmmakers trying to make their comic book movies taken more seriously. Just because you wash out every color, throw a sepia filter on every scene and sling darkness onto the screen like mud doesn’t mean your project will be taken more seriously. It’s fakery, egregious fakery. Taking the pop art that you adapt verbatim is fine, but don’t try to pretend that your stake-raising is genuine drama. It’s a folly to get to an endpoint, or in most cases, another fucking movie.

Okay, yeah, back to talking about the actual movie. Eisenberg, Cavill, Affleck, Adams and the countless other talented performers starring in this seem lost in the material, consistently having to be shaken awake by the thwaps and bams of looming danger. For a movie so busy to get to a conclusion (seriously, it’s two-and-a-half hours of setup with nowhere to go), each character barely gets any time to say anything before getting whisked off to whatever broken down warehouse is housing villains next.

Make no mistake, more time is spent lingering on Batman’s mom getting shot in the face than Superman actually dealing with an existential crisis. Zack Snyder fancies himself to be an optimist. Well, you won Zack. Your dumb movie already has t-shirts to sell to scene kids at Hot Topic. Hint: they wish they had no parents, unlike Batman.


Sam Cohen
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2 Responses to “MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ is flat out bad”

  1. James Cox says:

    i saw it last night, its freaking asesome. the last hour was so freaking epic. That is a super hero movie. Enough of batman, he had no chance of participiating against such an epic foe in the end. Superman!!

  2. Mike Jackson says:

    Just saw this movie here is my opinions:

    1. Everyone was great in there roles EXCEPT JESSIE EISENBURG UGH TERRIBLE!

    2. Wonder Woman was a badass mother fucker, probably best thing in the movie.

    3. Ending with doomsday was actually pretty damm good.

    4. Musical Score and background music was GOD AWFUL

    5. Editing and story flow was pretty bad like Fantastic four bad

    6. Lots of things made no sense at all like batman instantly becoming friends with superman lol?

    7. This could have been a great movie, serious rush job, too many errors too mention

    Ill give a 5 outta 10 cause wonder woman so awesome.