Other Media Review

Movie Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the DC blockbuster that’s been hyped since forever it seems. Redheadedgirl and I went to see it and we had thoughts. Be warned, we spoil the hell out of this movie.

Elyse: So that happened.

RHG: Ugh. It really did.

Elyse: I think this movie didn’t know its audience. We got a lot of backstory–Bruce Wayne’s parents getting killed, him falling into the bat cave as a kid, etc, which is for people who don’t know the franchise (AND WHO THE FUCK DOESNT KNOW THAT STORY AT THIS POINT?). Then we get the dream sequences of a post apocalyptic future which is more for the hardcore comic book fans. So are you making a movie for people totally new to the franchise or people who are already invested? You have to pick. The result was sloppy and too long and focused in on the wrong stuff (everything not Diana).

RHG: Much as I hate to be like “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG, SNYDER”…. YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. Like, in the past 27 years, we’ve had SEVEN Batman movies, six of which did pretty well at the box office. SEVEN. Batman is in the zeitgiest, we didn’t need the origin AGAIN.

So, like.

Stop. Adam West’s Batman didn’t need to give the origin story, AND it gave us the Batusi.

Elyse: Yeah, there were all these allusions to the comic books there–like Robin’s suit encased in glass. Make the movie for the fans, they will get it. Other people will see it and if they have questions, that’s why there is Wikipedia. They needed to leave a lot on the cutting room floor.

That said, this movie wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. And Affleck did a good job, so people need to quit bitching about him being Batman. He was a dark, fucked up Batman, but he did it well.

RHG: As discussed in Glen Weldon’s The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture, people bitching about the casting of Batman has been happening ever since they cast Batman in a thing. Ever. Always. It’s part of the process now.

I thought most of the actors did well. Affleck was a good Batman and a really good Bruce Wayne. Holly Hunter as a Senator was good, Amy Adams always does her job, Jessie Eisenberg was having the best day of his LIFE. Gal Godot is fantastic and I want MORE. Hey, even Kevin Costner gets to show up.

Cavill…. He’s okay, I guess, but his method for Superman seems to be “furrow my perfect brow like I’ve got a migraine.”

Elyse: Sooooo much of this movie was men breaking shit and women showing up to save them or offer the voice of reason.

 

SERIOUS SPOILERS START HERE.

 

 

 

NO not kidding!

 

 

SERIOUSLY SPOILERS HERE THEY BE!

 

 

 

OK, off we go!

 

 

Holly Hunter: trying to figure out how to navigate a world with a Superman in it and stay safe and reasonable.

Lois: Trying to be a good reporter and keep Clark off the ledge.

Martha: Reminds Clark that he doesn’t owe anyone shit.

Wonder Woman: LITERALLY SAVES EVERYONE.

The only exception was Mercy.

RHG: Wonder Woman’s entrance got actual applause in my theater. Martha got the only laugh at ALL: “I’m a friend of your son’s.” “Yeah, I kinda figured.” Mostly, this was JOYLESS. There’s no heart; there’s just destruction porn. No fun, no light, just boring angst.

And like, one of the BIG criticisms of Man of Steel was, “okay but like thousands of people died in the final fight though” and Snyder was like, “shrug don’t care!” And now he’s saying things like “Well, if Darth Vader can kill thousands of people, why can’t Superman?”

BECAUSE SUPERMAN IS A HERO AND DARTH VADER IS A VILLAIN DUDE WHO ARE YOU.

UGH.

Elyse: It is destruction porn and I don’t need to go to the movies to see buildings fall down unfortunately. I think I’m burned out from that.

Basically Wonder Woman was everything. I need more of her. And I’ll take some Aquaman on the side too.

What did you think of Lex Luthor?

RHG: Oh he was fine, I guess? Eisenberg was having the time of his life. His motivation didn’t make any sense, and I have no idea how he got all that metahuman info (my bet is Snyder doesn’t either) or how Bruce got Diana’s email address, or anything but this plot was just a disaster from start to finish.

Basically it was a 2.5 hour long trailer for Wonder Woman.

Elyse: I felt like he was playing Mark Zuckerberg turned evil.

The plot was a hot mess. I had so many questions. Why was the alien ship left in the middle of Metropolis? Wouldn’t Superman move that so people couldn’t fuck with it? What exactly does Diana do all day? Swan around going to parties? Why does Lois need to be saved on THREE SEPARATE OCCASIONS?

I did think it was interesting that both Superman and Batman have sex lives (so apparently Clark and Lois can get it on without him…you know, killing her). Alfred trying to get Bruce to settle down and have Little Batbabies was a delight.

RHG: THREE FUCKING TIMES LOIS NEEDED HER ASS SAVED. WHAT THE FUCK.

I don’t think any of the various women in this movie (three named?) talked to each other at all. I don’t know why Lois and Clark had to have a heart to heart while Lois was nekkid in the bathtub. I don’t know how Bruce got Diana’s email. I don’t really understand what the point was.

I kinda liked seeing Batman be the World’s Great Detective by doing actual detecting. The fight scenes looked like they’d actually been choreographed, so they did make sense as a fight scene (I’ll give Snyder that, but only that. He’s better at fight scenes than Michael Bay, but he wishes he were as good as Guillermo del Toro).

My main meta-concern (other than the fact that Metropolis and Gotham – apparently across the bay from each other? Don’t actually get any direct sunlight, ever?) is that DC is trying to introduce too many concepts that comic book nerds won’t get. There’s a “Knightmare” that Batman has that might be a vision from an alternate Earth or something and like, the glimpses of the rest of the Justice League were cool and all but there’s so much and the frame of all of this was just so pointless.

Elyse: Am I the only one who thought Cavill’s default Superman facial expression was “just smelled a fart”?

So let’s talk about the big thing: Superman dies. Clearly he’s not going to stay dead, but I was surprised they went in that direction. I can see it as the moment that unifies the other meta-humans to form the Justice League and gives the series some traction, but it still surprised me. If Cap dies at the end of Civil War it’s going to be a bleak spring for superhero movies.

RHG: I thought it looked like “I have a migraine.”

Of course Superman died. For a minute, and he’ll get over it, but the “DEATH OF SUPERMAN” was a big deal in the comics in the 90s when like, everyone died. It never sticks and uh….

Don’t get too attached to Cap, cuz he died at the end of the Civil War arc in the comics, too. (Also the photographer killed off in the beginning of the movie? Jimmy Olsen, so…. Thanks, Snyder.)

My biggest problem is that Snyder does not seem to get Batman OR Superman. Superman isn’t sad. Batman doesn’t kill (I mean yes that’s kind of complicated and something the movies haven’t been great about, but one of the constants of the Batman character since not long after his creation was “I don’t kill, not even the Joker, who I should have probably killed a couple of times by now, because it would have saved a lot of lives.”). Snyder doesn’t care about the core of what makes these characters endure the test of time. He just wants to smash things.

I’d give this a D, and the only reason it doesn’t fail is because Wonder Woman is awesome.

Elyse: I was waffling between C- and D. Honestly, I really really loved Affleck as Bruce Wayne. I’d watch an entire movie of him just as Bruce Wayne. Same with Jeremy Irons as Alfred. Basically give me a movie with the two of them puttering around the Bat Cave snarking at each other. And the little glimpses of Wonder Woman we got were AMAZING.

But the movie was too long and there were too many things that didn’t make a ton of sense, and the senseless destruction of EVERYTHING was needless. Like is there just a giant hole in the center of Gotham/ Metropolis now? I can’t see that shit and not be affected by it now, even if it is fantasy. So yeah, D.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is in theaters now and you can find tickets (US) at Fandango and Moviefone.

 

Add Your Comment →

  1. 1
    AnA says:
    +4

    “My biggest problem is that Snyder does seem to get Batman OR Superman.”

    I suspect there’s a “not” missing in there. If so, I agree.

  2. 2
    Lostshadows says:
    +2

    I saw someone discribe this as having less joyfulness than Schindler’s List.

    I think I’ll wait for the Wonder Woman and solo Batman movies.

  3. 3
    +1

    I haven’t seen the movie, but everyone I’ve talked to seems very underwhelmed by it. Plus, I wasn’t that impressed with Man of Steel, especially Snyder’s visual style in that movie. As much as I’d love to see Wonder Woman, I’ll probably wait for the DVD.

  4. 4
    Kim W says:
    +3

    Most terrible thing I can say about this movie: I enjoyed Fantastic Four more than this.

    I actually dozed off for about a minute in this movie. It was so dull.

  5. 5
    Crystal says:
    +3

    I don’t get why Henry Cavill is so charmless as Superman…he was pretty much the definition of charm as Napoleon Solo. So I know he can do that. And Superman can (and should) be charming. See under re: Christopher Reeve. See also Tom Welling.

    If I watch this, I’ll mostly be watching for Diana. I’ve been waiting for a long time for a movie to show up and get her right. Not that Lynda wasn’t right, but that was also 40 years ago.

  6. 6
    Sarah says:
    +2

    I thought that Lois having to be saved made sense- she was in a very very sticky situation, did she make the right choices- meh jumping into a flooded basement when titans are going at maybe not smart but I thought that she recognized what was needed to save the day was cool.
    Diana- need more agree with you guys on that!!!!!

    So much darkness overall in the film- I also didn’t realize that Gotham and Metropolis were that close( non comic book reader, so if so why doesn’t superman save Gotham more often!!!)
    There were some fun one-liners, and some awful dialogue, and I enjoyed the dark older batman, hes done stuff and he isn’t new and shiny.

  7. 7
    Redheadedgirl says:
    +6

    Honestly my suggestion is to wait until someone puts up a supercut of all the Wonder Woman stuff (and only the Wonder Woman stuff) on YouTube.

  8. 8
    Maz says:
    +2

    @Crystal : If your main reason to go see BvS is Wonder Woman, I’d say it might be better to wait for DVD/digital release or go see it during matinee.

    Without spoiling much, she’s not in the movie nearly as much as the trailers made it look like. (FTR, I knew this going in and I was still disappointed).

    That said, she’s the BEST thing about this movie.

  9. 9
    Maz says:
    +1

    THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THIS COMMENT!

    (For reals)

    I went to see this movie opening day (but didn’t pay for my ticket so yays!). Lowered my expectations as much as I could yet I was shocked at how much I ended up hating it.

    Mostly, this was JOYLESS. There’s no heart; there’s just destruction porn. No fun, no light, just boring angst.

    EXACTLY. I get that DC has a SRS BIZNESS or grimdark vibe, but there were very few bright spots in this movie. And all of those were when Diana Prince/Wonder Woman was onscreen. Coincidence? I think not!

    This movie is a mess because the studio tried to cram 1518154 plot lines into one movie. I dunno if it’s that DCEU is trying its hardest to ‘catch up’ to MCU or what, but it resulted in a lot of disjointed scenes.

    Since this movie couldn’t make up its mind as to what exactly it was about (Superman dealing with the consequences of his battle with Zod? Batman hating on Supes while dealing with his almost broken mind? Lex trying to destroy things for reasons?), I couldn’t connect to any one character emotionally.

    Also, the reason why Batman doesn’t kill Superman was so IDIOTIC that I snorted so I wouldn’t laugh outloud.

    I do have to say that the theater (made up of about 60% dudes) clapped enthusiastically whenever Wonder Woman was on the screen and/or kicked ass. So I was pissed that her total screen time was less than 30 minutes. Snyder and co. did her wrong.

    If anything, I plan to go see the Wonder Woman movie next year and that’s pretty much about it for DCEU and me.

  10. 10
    YotaArmai says:
    +2

    TL/DR We want more Wonder Woman

  11. 11
    carolinareader says:
    +2

    I enjoy superhero movies, I love the marvel stuff, however I have no desire to see this movie. Batman has always seemed like a rich guy with fancy toys and little sense of humor. As for superman, I still remember watching Christopher Reeve on TV in first grade. It made such an impression that I automatically always find every other superman lacking.

  12. 12
    the eleventh hour says:
    +1

    I think if they ditched Snyder as the director for future movies, they’d be okay. He’s a truly terrible director — great visuals, but his stories lack coherency, emotion and any kind of logic.

  13. 13
    Karen H says:
    +1

    Thanks, RHG. I can’t unsee the Batusi.

  14. 14
    Lostshadows says:
    +2

    @carolinareader- If you can find the 60s Batman show with Adam West, it will give you a different view of him. 🙂

    (It’s showing on Saturdays on MeTV if you get that. They’re also showing Wonder Woman the same night.:D )

  15. 15
    carolinareader says:
    +1

    Thanks Lostshadows, I remember Adam West’s batman and I enjoyed him but, as bizarre as this sounds, I never think of his batman and the batman we see in movies today as being a portrayal of the same character.

  16. 16
    chacha1 says:
    +1

    So, it sounds like Snyder’s direction is not much loved, but without having seen this (or “Man of Steel”) I would be inclined first to blame Warner Bros and second to blame the credited screenwriters. Director/producer come a distant third on the “who to throw rocks at” roster.

    Cause here’s the reality: writing a coherent superhero movie is actually possible. It’s not even difficult, if a) you are meant to be a writer at all and b) you have ever seen a movie. If you cannot turn out a coherent screenplay then please, do everyone a favor and go back to writing ad copy.

    No doubt there was a truckload of crap that WB insisted on having in the picture. The writers had to shoehorn all that crap in. There had to be the Wonder Woman introduction/setup. OK OK OK. But honestly … there is no way I would pay to see this in the theater, after this review.

    I don’t need any destruction porn in my life.

    btw, Batman: The Movie with Adam West is available to stream from Amazon. It is ridiculous and hilarious. 🙂

  17. 17
    jimthered says:
    +1

    I really hated this movie (full review up at http://thearmchaircritic.blogspot.com/2016/03/batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice.html ) not because of the story line (though it did have numerous problems), but to the relentlessly grim visuals and tone of the movie. (

    I thought it was far too long, the action was far from convincing (not hard to see how Zack Snyder went from full CGI in 300 to this), this Luthor could be the weakest one yet (neither a mad scientist or brilliant businessman; and what was with that awful public speech? and how did he know Doomsday wouldn’t simply kill him?) and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. I think Gal Gadot could be good in a Wonder Woman (with a better script and director) but otherwise I was severely disappointed.

  18. 18
    Kate says:
    +3

    For me, the definitive DC Comics version is the animated Batman/Superman/Justice League shows, and the accompanying movies, that were made during the 90s and early 00s. They’re fun, exciting, hilarious, and clever, with multi-season plot arcs and character development, and I can SQUEE about them for hours. There is also an animated Wonder Woman movie starring the voices of Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion (Mal from Firefly!), which was directed and written by women, and it’s great. I’m looking forward to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, but honestly, I feel like a great DC Comics movie franchise already exists.

  19. 19
    +1

    Seconding [email protected] re: the animated DCU. It’s great fun and my household has been consistently fans of its continuity across Batman, Superman, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited. I also direct attention specifically to “World’s Finest”, a three-parter in the Superman cartoon which had a delightful meetup of Bats and Supes. The DCAU was in fact my first real introduction, outside of movies, to the characters of the DC Universe in general. Certainly my first intro to Green Lantern.

    Seconded as well on the animated Wonder Woman movie which is also great fun! It’s called simply “Wonder Woman”. Also recommended: Justice League: The New Frontier, which tells a post-WWII-era Justice League story, with a focus on the origin of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern, and David Boreanaz voices Hal.

    I haven’t seen BvS yet, but I’ve been reading a bunch of reviews and I’m now aware of most of the major spoilers. And honestly, I’m glad I’ve read the reviews, because if I’d gone in not knowing what the movie was doing, I’d have come out pissed off. And I don’t need that in my life.

    Nor do I need 2+ hours of grim grim darkity dark dark darkness in my superhero movies. I mean, for fuck’s sake, DC, you guys seem perfectly happy to give us some actual heroes on TV, not to mention _actual color_, so what gives? I mean, The Flash is fun! So is Supergirl!

    So yeah, I’ll be over here watching those. And probably breaking out more of the DCAU for my Superman mileage. Possibly also Christopher Reeve and season 1 of Lois & Clark!

  20. 20
    jimthered says:
    +1

    Following up on Kate’s comments, if you want a really good Batman-Superman meet movie (which DAWN OF JUSTICE was most definitely *not*), check out THE BATMAN SUPERMAN MOVIE: WORLD’S FINEST. It has amazing voice talent (Tim Daly as Superman, Kevin Conroy as Batman, Mark Hamill as the Joker, Arlee Sorkin as Harley Quinn, and even Lisa Edelstein as Mercy), a good plot (the Joker steals a Kryptonite statue and offers to kill Superman if Lex Luthor pays him a billion dollars), and a very original wrinkle on the Clark-Lois-Superman love triangle. And most places have it around $5 (or less, if it’s bundled with another movie). My full review is at http://thearmchaircritic.blogspot.com/2011/04/batman-superman-movie-worlds-finest.html but suffice to say, this is a movie that will restore whatever you feel you lost in sitting through BvS. (And I just checked, and it is on Netflix!)

  21. 21
    +1

    [email protected]: HA! I was typing my comment just before yours got in. Great minds, etc. 😀

  22. 22
    +1

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are once again the only dissenting voices. Everyone in my family loved the movie and I was just bored. So very bored.

    I liked where they’re going with Wonder Woman, but we didn’t get enough screen time of her.

    {sigh}

    I was just disappointed. And did I mention bored?

  23. 23
    Danielle says:
    +1

    I don’t really get everyone’s giant *BUT* that Wonder Woman saves this film. I saw it for her, and her alone – and the way people were speaking up Gadot’s portrayal as this beacon of charisma and feminism I had high hopes … but Diana is in it for, like, seven minutes and even then it’s mostly sultry over-the-shoulder looks in slinky dresses. And a scene in which Bruce Wayne literally loses concentration to say “Wow, pretty girl,” as she walks by. REALLY?!

    Yes, Wonder Woman’s appearance at the end felt kinda electric – but it’s a sliver. And I did feel like Snyder thought “We’ll give them Wonder Woman, and they won’t care that Lois Lane is damseling again”

  24. 24
    K.N.O'Rear says:
    +1

    My feelings for this movie can be summed up as the good moments were really good( for instance , although Jesse Eisenburg was a different Lex Luther he was really good) and the bad parts were really, really bad and there were were bad bits than good. Joyless is a good way to describe the movie.

  25. 25
    S.Moore says:
    +1

    Hi! I’ve been a lurker on this site for a while, I loved the review. I’ve been waffling on whether or not to go to this movie, but now I know that I will definitely go…Only to see Wonder Woman. I’ve never been a fan of destruction porn, but I can suck it up for her, Alfred, and Martha. Just pray for me because according to this I will be wanting to slap the crap out of every one else at some point or another. Also, Gal is going to play her in the 2017 live action release of Wonder Woman with Chris Pine as Steve Trevor! I’m so excited!

  26. 26
    +1

    Am I the only one pissed by the porn star poses they made Wonder Women do during the fight scene? Anyone else notice that? It was like she all like, ‘I’m Wonder Wonder and ooh so sexy’ which was annoying it was obviously male fan service though it was cool how she appeared to swoop in and save the guys. Not to mention Lois could not get the freaking spear! I mean come on she had one job! One job and Superman still had to save her ass and get the spear he shouldn’t have even been able to touch. I can understand why Superman would need to save her those two other times but the third was ridiculous. Wonder Women could have easily used that spear to kill the monster no problem. The movie was nothing compared to the animated film and the Justice League animated series. I hate how they made Batman brand and kill criminals in prison that’s not what Batman is about! Batman has way more honor and class than that.

  27. 27
    Lovecow2000 says:
    +1

    1) I’m tired of the whole nerds want to destroy the world thing because of reasons (largely they were picked on, etc). So this Luther really didn’t resonate well with me.
    2) I’d have like a little more demonstration of how smart Bruce/Batman is. The focus here was more psycho Batman. Maybe a comment from Alfred about PTSD wouldn’t have hurt. It would certainly put his dreams, alcoholism and detachment in a better light.
    3) My most important point: Does anyone else think that they chose this plot line to derail Civil War? In many respects it’s very similar: Nerd/Tech vs. Jock/Uberman, warring ideologies, jock dies?

    Side point: I wanted to give Clark some fiber or exLax.

  28. 28
    SB Sarah says:
    +3

    @S.Moore: You are so not alone. I have tentative but definitely fierce hopes for the Wonder Woman movie, too!

  29. 29
    +2

    Relevant to this conversation AND to those of us who are fans of the DC Animated Universe: I just realized this morning that everything I’ve heard about this movie as well as Man of Steel says Justice Lords to me, not Justice League.

    Context, if you haven’t seen the relevant DCAU episodes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_Lords

    Now I almost wish the movies were setting up the Lords instead of the League. I don’t think they’re actually doing that, but I’d almost respect it if they were!

    And now I totally want to see the fanfic where the JL from a much better universe shows up and goes “WTF?! You guys are MENTAL.” 😀

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