It’s finally here! After an excruciating 3 year wait, Batman v Superman will finally hit theaters in two days. It’s been a long road leading up to this point. I remember it like it was just yesterday when it was first announced by Harry Lennix and Zack Snyder at San Diego Comic-Con in 2013. Harry appeared on stage citing a quote from Frank Millers The Dark Knight Returns announcing the Man of Steel sequel would be a Battle Royale between The Dark Knight and the Man of Tomorrow. He spoke the words “I want you to remember” and remember we shall. Man of Steel wasn’t a masterpiece, but it was an incredible Superman film, if not the best Superman movie in my own eyes. Fans have been debating with the quality of that film for three years. So, when this was announced, the people that didn’t like Man of Steel were very critical of everything that came out about this film. Batman v Superman was hit with a lot of scrutiny based on numerous casting decisions. When Ben Affleck was cast as Batman the internet went mad with rage. Many people thought that the guy who starred in a bad Daredevil film and the atrocious Gigli could never be a good Batman. I for one was a little apprehensive about the casting at first, but after viewing Argo and The Town my mind was totally changed. Then they announced Gal Gadot and Jesse Eisenberg were cast as Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor in the film and everybody freaked again. This time I didn’t budge. I had absolute faith in their casting choices. Filming began, stills of each star in costume came out and the criticisms still remained. Until DC rocked the house with a jaw dropping teaser at SDCC ’14 and an amazing trailer for SDCC ’15. Time went on and DC dropped one bad trailer and then regrouped with some really great TV spots at the NFL playoffs. Now the wait is finally over for me because Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice premiered in New York City on Sunday at Radio City Music Hall and I was one of the very lucky people to attend.
Warning Possible Spoilers Ahead!
Batman v Superman is a film that meets all of my expectations. Besides the awkward pacing in the first act during the scenes of Senator Finch, the film delivers everything I thought it would plus a few surprises. Upon second viewing my issues with the pacing were unnoticed. It might’ve been game day jitters causing me to find something wrong. But, back to what matters, I believe Ben Affleck is the best Batman/Bruce Wayne ever. He was literally ripped from the comics. His suit looked amazing in action. His neck could finally move fluidly in his cowl and he was a brawler who destroys criminals in battle. Now on to my minor negatives. I think the “Knightmare” scenes may be a little dark for young children, but Batman is supposed to be dark. His interactions with Jeremy Irons’ Alfred reminded me so much of Bruce Timm’s Batman: The Animated Series. Alfred was such a sarcastic Smart Aleck, but he also grounded Bruce and tried to convince him not to fight Superman. Henry Cavill stepped it up for me this time. In Man of Steel he was a rookie making mistakes. Now he’s a bit more mature and coming into his own as Superman, but there’s a lot of growing that he still has left. This film basically pokes at all of the mistakes of Man of Steel and smacks you in the face with solutions to all the problems. It had Superman doing Superman things. Things like preventing global catastrophes and taking his fights out of populated areas. His portrayal of Clark should not be ignored. I read an interview with Henry, before I saw the film, where he said this is Clark Kent from the comics and boy was he right. Clark is always missing at the Daily Planet and when he was there he was chasing a story that he was specifically told to let go. Clark just wanted to stop Batman from violating the civil liberties of criminals.
The other performances in the film were off the charts. Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor was great mix of psychotic, intelligent and evil. He’s the puppeteer of the entire brawl between our heroes and he knows a little bit more than he lets on. The way his character hides his psychotic persona in public and shows it off to Senator Finch completely sold me on Eisenberg. The enraged finger thumping, the red capes are coming, the tour of his father’s office shows you who he truly is. Amy Adams was solid, but she’s solid in every thing to me. Her relationship with Clark was just how I imagined it and she’s still one of the boldest journalists ever. Her first scene in Africa was a perfect representation of what her character is. My favorite line of hers is during a scene when she interviews a terrorist and he points out that she’s a woman and Lois says “No, I’m a journalist”. I loved Snyder’s interpretation of women. They were all strong. Holly Hunter’s Senator Finch was absolutely spectacular. Her interactions with Lex were done terrifically. Her position on Superman was justified and you even have to ask yourself “Must there be a Superman?”. The supporting characters did their jobs really well. Perry White was often the comic relief, Harry Lennix was back in stride as General Swanwick and Scoot Mcnairy absolutely nailed it. Martha Kent also plays a pivotal role in the conflict of the movie, which I’ll discuss in the plot. But, the show stealer, star, main event, whatever you want to call it was Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. The crowd went insane, cheering for her first appearance on screen. When her theme “Is She With You?” Starts playing amps the crowd up even more. Gal Gadot delivers her every line. Her fight sequence was beautifully done. She showed her Amazonian fighting spirit, enjoying every minute of the battle with Doomsday. Other than that The Trinity had amazing chemistry together. The fight was a bit rough and showed they had zero experience fighting together, but that’s what made it great.
The film opens with an incredibly weird, but good sequence that gives us another look at Bruce Wayne’s parents death and gives us the perfect introduction to the DC Extended Universe’s Batman. At the end of it, young Bruce is in a cave of Bats levitating and It’s basically a metaphor of his ascension to becoming The Batman. The story isn’t the strongest I’ve seen, but it does the job if you pay very close attention to every piece of the puzzle. I loved how they set up future movies and even made you want to know more about the backstory of certain characters. The Batman story made me want to see him in his prime taking down criminals brutally in Gotham. Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex is the glue that holds this entire story together. He is the puppeteer, the man controlling everything and it works extremely well. He is the reason why they fight. His actions are so heinous, what he does will make you hate him. When Superman goes to fight Batman you’ll be hit with a few surprises. The fight was beautiful. I won’t tell you who will win, but I will say that everything comes down to one character, Martha Kent. The cameos from the Meta-Humans were perfect and opened the floodgates to the entire DC Extended Universe. Wonder Woman made the movie ten times better and it didn’t feel like she was shoved in there “just cause”. The explanation of why she’s there and what she’s looking for ties into the larger universe as a whole and I feel the general audience and DC fans will be excited for what’s to come in her solo adventure. Superman is Superman in this movie. He’s saving cats out of a trees, kids from fires, astronauts from from deaths, families from natural disasters and most importantly he tries to prevent damage by taking the fight into space. My only issues with Man of Steel were that he didn’t do any of that and to see him do it in this makes me praise Chris Terrio’s script. Not only did they get Superman down, they nailed Clark. They showed you his emotions on how the world views him. He has to stand idly by and just watch them talk badly about him. His relationship with Lois is a key point in this entire film and the ending will break you. This was his story, this was his movie, this was his world.
I thought this was the perfect start to the DC Extended Universe. I had a tiny issue with the pacing in the first act, but a second viewing and the second and third acts make me forget my issue entirely. I love this film so much. The story is very complex and you need to pay very close attention to every detail. For certain things you’d really have to know DC Comics lore to understand. Especially the “Knightmare Scene” and that surprise cameo by The Flash. I wasn’t too sold on Affleck until seeing this film. He is the definitive Batman and his performance blew me away. Wonder Woman is the star of this movie and the entire crowd agreed by screaming each time she appeared. Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor was the perfect mix of insane, evil and downright brilliant. Jeremy Irons was a great Alfred and was the perfect comedic presence in the film, if you like sarcasm. Last but not least, Superman. Henry Cavill gave us one hell a performance. They redeemed Superman. This film is everything you want it to be and then some. You will laugh. You will cry. Go see it. Grab your tickets and take your kids. They will love it. I know I did. I’m taking my nephews this weekend!
Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.”
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters this Friday March 25th, 2016!!