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[Joint Review] – ‘Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice’

 
 
Overview
 

Release Date: 25 March 2016 [USA]
 
Director: Zack Snyder
 
Writer: Chris Terrio - David S. Goyer [Screenplay] - Jerry Siegel - Joe Shuster [Created Superman] - Bob Kane - Bill Finger [Created Batman]
 
Cast: Ben Affleck - Henry Cavill - Amy Adams - Jesse Eisenberg - Diane Lane - Laurence Fishburne - Jeremy Irons
 


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Posted March 24, 2016 by

 
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Kevin’s Perspective:

This review is coming quite late only because I write to you as someone who’s seen the film to understand the unbridled hate that surrounds it. So without further ado and with no spoilers, here goes.

I’m a fan of the comic series and like every other DC fan understand that DC is well known for writing great narratives sometimes at the expense of their character development. There’s only so many times you’ll read about DC characters getting reinvented. While I’m not aware entirely of the current situation as it stands on the comic. I am, for the most part, know if there’s anything that got me on to Batman, it was The Killing Joke and Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, of which the latter is what the film is loosely based upon and I say that it’s fast and loose

This is a classic Zack Snyder film; this is more watchmen than anything else. CGI is glorious, dream sequences, a vague sense of direction as far as narrative goes. Okay I’ll bite there were problems but stay with me here, there’s some good that’s here in Batman V Superman that you could empathize with as a fan, which explains the varied mixed response that’s bordering on the negative.

Man of Steel was far from perfect, it was glorious disaster porn that could have been spent on what makes Superman, super. We’ve seen Hollywood try it twice already with little success and this is after referencing and looking over at Superman 2, which is still my favourite Superman film. There’s nothing wrong with Henry Cavill as Superman but it seems in this day and age that more effort is being put through the CGI department to make superman look good as opposed to making us see why we should find Cavill to be the superman we want.

Not the case with Batman which left us with some greats from Michael Keaton, Christian Bale and now, Batfleck, which brings me to my first point of observation. Ben Affleck is a great Frank Miller Batman, beaten and worn down and calculatedly destructive. Full of regret and apprehension on how he views Superman generally. He’s won fans over and personally, for me, it was rather refreshing to see a more action oriented and less brooding version of the great detective Batman that’s vengeful.

Batman V Superman is an exercise in caution that wanted to avoid the débâcle of Man of Steel and with Snyder addressing all the complaints and can only say how much of my expectations were in order. The hype and marketing that surrounded on what we should expect in the film. Not to mention the fact that several of the trailers were instrumental in spoiling some key plot points in the film. With nothing left to surprise me, it’s a safe bet to say expectations were low but halfway through the uneventful first half of the film, we begin to look at what heroes mean to people, the idea that power turns good men insane, all of this in the grand scheme of things, I admit, could have been executed better which would have made the clash of the two DC titans much more satisfying to watch.

In order to retain some things Snyder couldn’t resist from, concessions and explanations, hardly subtle were seen all over the film. We could have a destructive scene one second only to be told later, there were no casualties, as the area was unoccupied at the time. I couldn’t help but feel amused at what they had to do. Therein lies the problem, this is a Batman movie that goes into the scene following the events in the previous film, but wait, it’s also a superman movie so we see some minimal Clark Kent development too. Tones don’t seem to diverge, it’s dark throughout which you wouldn’t want to see between the dark knight and man of steel and this clash of viewpoints muddles things up. I could see Snyder trying, one a rich man who’s plagued by xenophobia and other where Superman is revered as a god by the masses. You’d almost think Snyder wants Superman to look better than Batman.

And what about Lex Luthor and Wonder Woman? Here’s the thing, Jesse Eisenberg plays Alexander Luthor not Lex Luthor Sr. I tolerated his cacophony but I could see why some may not associate insanity with someone who portrays what would normally be an intelligent man that’s calm, composed but paranoid. About Wonder Woman? She steals the show with what little she has to play in this role. Gal Gadot develops a strong character throughout her brief appearances which are unfortunately reduced to mere filler. Amy Adams continues to play damsel in distress Lois Lane and Jeremy Irons as Alfred seems to have given up on Master Bruce.

The final clash? The pivotal fight between Superman and Batman and for what everyone wants to see is not the defining moment of this film. From what’s already revealed in the trailers, the defining moment is when the trinity comes together without them knowing it and also a slight nod to future heroes who we’ll eventually see come together during Justice League.

Zack Snyder has mashed together what could have been a great introspection that channels what made Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight, so good. Instead, we don’t see a comic book adaptation from source material, not that it should matter, DC’s cinematic universe has never actually tied itself to the comics faithfully which is why when the film worked towards setting up the fight like a UFC title championship, it got lost in translation completely.

It isn’t objectively bad, no not completely. Fans are divided over this, Hell I’ll say it like it is, I’m happy to see a Batman with Ben Affleck as a solo film and it would be gritty and intense.

This is a film that if given a chance may allow DC to give us the vision of heroes that fans always wanted to see, something that will at least make an effective mark alongside Marvel’s big hitters but by borrowing from Man of Steel it also borrowed some of its greatest sins and DC and Warner Brothers knew the risks they took. For that they got more than a slap on the wrist. So now it solely depends on how they’ll answer and comeback through it all and for that I’m really being generous and give credit to the movie for more than it is worth because it exists to set up the sequel.

Written By:

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 19.29.45

Kevin Sebastian
@NoxVoyager
Freelance Contributor

 

Michael’s Perspective:

During the Battle of Metropolis, Bruce Wayne witnesses the destruction caused by Superman and General Zod’s duel. Fearing for the safety of the entire planet, the Dark Knight embarks to take on the Man of Steel.

Spoilers Ahoy!

BvS opens with yet another retelling of Thomas and Martha Wayne’s murder and the inception of the Batman persona, which involves a young Bruce in a whirlwind of bats, ascending divinely out of the well. From the onset you know you’re in for something less plausible.

The script gives the impression of a child trying to write a serious, adult topic. Un-spoofable is the dialogue, difficult to dumb it down further. Any promise of a soul-searching debate is literally blown up.

Superman is framed by Lex Luthor for several heinous unSuperman-like crimes and Bruce Wayne is swept up by the public hysteria. The Dark Knight is a legendary detective and we’re led to believe Wayne falls hook, line and sinker for Lex’s scheme? Said scheme is also nonsense. He has some unresolved daddy issues apparently.

Cavill has the easier job, Superman never being the most complicated of superheroes. It is difficult to judge Affleck when he has such terrible material to work with. Neither of them do much talking, instead scowling a lot. It’s Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor that won’t shut up. His performance raises the question,

“What the hell was that?”

He’s crazy, though not the morbidly fascinating, Joker-esque “What will he do next?” way. He’s the crazy you cross the street to avoid. The equally hyped Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is reduced to a mock-enigmatic presence and then some vapid tough-looking poses. The better sex is poorly represented all over here. Lois Lane has to be rescued three fucking times.

The two best performances come from Jeremy Irons’ Alfred and Lawrence Fishburne’s Perry White. Irons wears a weather beaten cynicism, seeming thoroughly pissed off with the whole affair. Fishburne gets the movies funniest lines. In a show filled with emotionless heroes, an exasperated, short-tempered human brought some joy.

From watching BvS, you may think Snyder and DP Larry Fong has never heard the phrase, “Every Frame a Painting”. Closeups, closeups, closeups. Nothing gets to breath. The camera is jammed in everyone’s face for any dialogue. If much work went into building the Batcave, pity because you don’t see much of it.

The special effects are truly terrible. The Batmobile chases down a truck convoy. Most of the chase is in darkness, punctuated by gunfire. When you do glimpse the Batmobile, you will ache for the Tumbler. The Bat/Supes showdown is during a heavy rain storm with lightning like strobes. This fight was what the people have come for. Why has it been made so difficult to watch? Also, a little colour wouldn’t hurt. Tonally dark and visually too dark. As for the finale, everything explodes and you’ll be past the point of caring.

How did this happen? BvS had a budget of a quarter billion dollars, more than The Dark Knight Rises. It has been in development since Summer 2013. The people have made it known; practical effects are back. The Dark Knight Trilogy, Mad Max Fury Road, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Did the BvS team take none of this on board? When reviewing the script, did no one think it sounded rubbish? Honestly, what happened?

Most disheartening about all of this is Batman v Superman will profit. Profits speak louder than reviews. This kind of massive, cross-universe superhero premise can work. Joss Whedon has done it (twice if you feel like arguing). Zack Snyder is already in line to direct the Justice League movies. Difficult even to praise the movie’s ambition, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is an utter mess. Here’s hoping it’s not the beginning of something continually awful.

Written by:

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Michael Keyes
Silences Band
@mkjk1990
Full Contributor

 

Jonathan’s Perspective:

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is kind of the Hot Pocket of current cinema. Most of us realize this is unhealthy and bad stuff. And yet, there are some diehards who will keep scarfing them down right up until that massive coronary. For those of you who rage at the critics who have lambasted Zack Snyder’s latest, fire up your tablets and get your Twitter fingers ready, because I’m about to eviscerate it.

Batman v Superman is bad on so many levels that I’m tempted to do a How Do I Hate Thee piece. Let’s see. How might that go?

It is phenomenally boring. That’s because the screenplay by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer is almost all set-up. There are loads of flashbacks and fantasies and characters speaking in portentous whispers about what has been and what may be. But for all that, there is precious little action.

The screenplay does a very poor job of establishing the central premise, which as you know by now, is that Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne just can’t seem to get along. I don’t think anyone associated with the movie ever figured out a coherent rationale for the confict. They just thought up a cool “what if” and tried to finesse it into a confrontation. The best rationale for the conflict would have been professional jealousy. After all, these are two extraordinary egos. But that might have required giving one of the two heroes the moral high ground, and Snyder was not prepared to do that. So he tries to play it down the middle, with both costumed crusaders expressing genuine concern over unchecked power (with regards to the guy in blue) and vigilantism (with regards to the Ben Affleck one). By trying to make it all about a simple misunderstanding of the other’s true motivation, it leads to unsatisfying and very forced contrivance.

Finally, when they do fight, it’s not all that exciting, and is over rather quickly.

The moment they see eye to eye, which you may know by now even if you haven’t seen the movie, is really kind of silly.

The battle between the two giants is NOT the climax of the movie. As I said, their conflict ends rather easily and then we are on to the actual third act – a battle in which two previously unseen characters show up in time to play major roles. This is almost always the sign of a concept that has run out of gas before reaching the finish line. I mean, for God’s sake, the movie is called BATMAN v SUPERMAN. It’s not called (SPOILER ALERT) Batman, Superman, and Wonderwoman v the Zod Monster.

This movie has a bunch of things that don’t make sense, and one truly awesome logic flaw. (ANOTHER SPOILER ALERT) Lex Luthor, the smartest guy in the movie, who orchestrates everything, builds two “weapons” to destroy Superman. OK, he doesn’t actually build the first one because Bruce Wayne hijacks it and builds it himself, but it’s all Lex’s doing. As it turns out, the first weapon is the only thing that can stop the second weapon. Had Lex built one or the other, he probably wins. But because he built both, he loses. In other words, the smartest guy in the movie sabotaged himself. Or in more other words, the screenplay is a contrived mess.

There are so many characters that none of them register. Potentially intriguing presences like Scoot McNairy’s angry amputee and Holly Hunter’s tough-talking Senator, are gone before they can really do much.

And there ought to be a special place in development hell for directors who are fortunate enough to have actors like Laurence Fishburne and Jeremy Irons in their movie, and then give them absolutely nothing to do. Irons, in particular, is painful to watch. One of the best actors of his generation is reduced to sitting behind some space age electronics and muttering snidely ironic one liners to Bruce/Batman.

The script uses my current least favorite line of dialogue “If I wanted it, you’d be dead already.” And then, a short while later, it throws in “God have mercy on our souls” for good measure.

It’s two and a half hours long. It feels like two and half days.

All right, that’s enough. I think I’m beating a dead bat. The acting is not terrible, given the screenplay. I actually like Jesse Eisenberg, who at least tries to add some life in his role as Lex. At least he doesn’t sternly whisper all the time like our two main men do. I don’t really understand most of what he says, but hey, that’s far down my list of complaints.

I suspect that passionate fans of the earlier DC movies – especially fans of Snyder’s 2013 Man of Steel, might be in a better position to enjoy the new one. The movie assumes some knowledge of who the characters are and where they come from. But I have seen all the precursors and I still felt like I was missing a lot in this one.

And you know, I never feel that way after eating a Hot Pocket.

Written by:

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 15.23.06

Jonathan Eig
@rockynrudy
Huffington Post
CurnBlog
Full Contributor

 

Alston’s Perspective:

While non comic book fans watched three years of their lives flash by with job commitments and watching Donald Trump lecture us about the importance of loathing one another, we comic-birds waited patiently for the arrival of Warner Bros’ follow up to Man of Steel. The announcement of ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ at 2014’s San Diego Comic Con left us hoping we don’t flatline after getting hit by an ambulance, getting a stroke right before you pop your cherry or get shot by an aerial tennis ball launcher so we can witness this epic uprising on the big screen for the first time. Let’s take all that back.

This poorly title sequel expands the DC universe’s story by picking up after two years from the events that took place in Man of Steel. The world has accepted Superman amongst them but begs the question as to whether it really needs him. On the side, Bruce Wayne has decided to take him down as believes he poses as a threat to mankind.

Zack Snyder is a man of many talents and while he has graced us with breathtaking movies like Dawn of the Dead, 300 and Watchmen, he has to make us weep with Sucker Punch, Man of Steel, and now, the greatest round up of superheroes on screen of all time. Warner Bros have chosen to believe he is the right man for the job after years of unsuccessful follow ups, which is a horrible call considering they have brought us great stuff which include the one of a kind ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy. On the other hand, there’s still something worth salvaging beneath this wreckage of a movie.

As much as it is an atrocious movie, it deserves some admiration, so lets hit the jump from a good boy’s perspective. Righting all the wrongs of Man of Steel was its main agenda and does so from the very beginning and gives proper grounds for Wayne to hate Superman, and not because he’s prettier. Its slow pace allows it to focus on a realistic view of today’s world where everyone is accountable for their actions, especially for beings with extraordinary powers and cooks up your emotions, allowing you to feel towards all those who lost their loved ones in Man of Steel.

Within this gloomy hero-tale lies one of the most outstanding and beautiful comic imagery you have ever seen and has Snyder’s slo mo feels stamped all over it thus making it a visual success. He pays homage to Frank Miller with his grim Batman who shares mind whopping action sequences with an interestingly constructed Batmobile that will take you on an  explosive ride which eventually leads you to the ultimate face off, one that manages to satisfy every comic lover’s obese appetite. It’s quite clear Snyder understands the needs of these characters and how they must emerge from their private rooms. With the IMAX experience visually transcending the movie, it will let you fully appreciate DC’s world onscreen and what it has in store.

Henry Cavill’s second crack at the sexy alien seems to have gotten worse. He carries the weight of a superhuman’s problems but comes off acting like a brooding teenager with trivial problems that stem as far as girl worries and pimple insecurities. He has proven himself as a great actor in movies like Man from UNCLE and the Tudors TV series, yet does little to convince you as Clark Kent, which is something you look forward after Man of Steel omitted the need for him. All this is in abundance thanks to the lack of a light hearted storyline which was needed to let him carry himself well on screen.

On the other hand, Ben Affleck takes full advantage of the dark tone of the film. While initially being cornered by negative reactions, he surpass expectations, and manages to fully embody both Bruce Wayne and Batman’s personalities. His Bruce Wayne resembles that which we have seen in the comics, while his Batman is the most terrifying one till date and who definitely carries this entire movie. Another shocking addition was Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman who received the same reaction from fans out there, whose comments ranged from her being physically flimsy to her lack of globes. She personifies everything that surrounds the idea of peace, by personating an elegant, graceful and fierce warrior. Other A list additions to the cast include Jesse Eisenberg’s Alexander Luthor, the son of the famous Lex Luthor, who is as sinistrous as his hair locks. Pre conceived notions led to everyone’s disliking towards him as they thought he was Lex all this time when he is a new character entirely. Eisenberg brings a very interesting personality to junior., which is definitely an acquired taste. The movie also reprises Amy Adams and Lawrence Fishburne as Lois Lane and Perry White along with Jeremy Irons as Alfred who proves he knows how to use, his hands.

It’s evident they were compensating for the movie’s lack of big boy pants by marketing it. Coughing it up ‘write’ from the get go, was an expected and flawless script by Argo’s screenwriter. Sadly, its unintelligent story comes off as a brain teaser for kids and a a horrible Dumb and Dumber sequel with flying heroes to adults. Like that complication wasn’t enough, we are blinded by bright explosions and problematic areas that can be questioned by a drunk person which changes the movie from a hero drama to a Frankenstein’s monster flick with poor CGI, making it look like a horrible live action animated movie. This leads to the heroes fighting, leaving you stretching your mind to see that underwears over suits are acceptable so that it can match up to this movie’s mindless momentum

Batman v Superman flies low and right into the darkness, leaving you begging for a take back. While Warner Bros have managed to produce the next Batman & Robin after giving an arm and a leg to fund this bad compilation of the world’s most beloved characters, it’s bearable and has its moments. The only thing you can do is hope for a better, more humor filled DC world, which will happen if someone takes Snyder’s place. Sure, it’s not as bad as they say and it would be wise to not follow all the negative talk, as it deserves a fan’s opinion rather than critique from a critic. With all that said and done, a better name is in order, preferable something along the lines of ‘Dawn of Injustice’. Yes, go ahead and a take a moment. Everyone is left grief-stricken, so you’re not alone.

Catch Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice atleast in IMAX once in a theatre around you!

Written by:

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Alston Rodrigues
Instagram
The Artsypant – Facebook Page
Behance
Freelance Contributor

 

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