I'm an artist, a writer, a director, a film critic and occasionally I cook. Here I will be mainly focusing on film critiquing.
The Dark Knight vs Man of Steel
Batman v Superman is a film that probably every comic book nerd, including myself, had been imagining in their head and wondered how exactly a mega event such as these two icons battling would look as a live-action picture.
And after only one movie under the brand new DC cinematic universe, Man of Steel, DC and Warner Bros. said it was finally time to have the two legendary heroes duke it out in the ring!
Only one problem with that idea: there was no Batman introduced yet to this film series… or anyone else for that matter outside of Superman, of course. No worries; this is a problem easily rectified by slowly establishing the world and its characters one movie at a time, akin to how Marvel approached the cinematic universe idea over the years.
Short on Time
Wait… I’m sorry, apparently we don’t have time to set up a cinematic universe properly or establish any characters before building up to the culmination of everything and everyone coming together into one production.
So we’re just gonna have to hit that fast-forward button and put it all into one flick. Nothing could possibly go wrong here! There’s no need for multiple installments to give every hero the proper care and development they require. Clearly that tactic is for chumps like those MCU pussies! Instead, it’s best we cram the entire franchise buildup into one title so we can catch up on that money train Marvel’s been riding all these years. Zero need to invest in our protagonists emotionally because it’s Batman v Superman, audiences will pay for that concept alone.
After the events that took place in Metropolis two years ago, Batman/Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) fears what Superman (Henry Cavill) is capable of if his actions are left unchecked, prompting the Bat to seek a deterrent if the time comes to take on the Man of Steel. Superman and all of society still wrestle with figuring out this superpowered God’s place in the world as everyone is unsure of him being the savior that the people need or deserve. Amidst Clark’s self-discovery, revelations come to light on a vigilante in Gotham, resulting in Superman to determine if Batman is a loose cannon in need to being dealt with.
Good Before Bad
Much like in my last review for Man of Steel, I would like to play into the realm of positivity before delving into the nitty gritty. Mainly because, again, I don’t particularly care for this movie as a whole, yet there are qualities within the narrative that I wholeheartedly admire and would love to pay my respects to those elements. This isn’t a great movie, but there are great moments scattered throughout the runtime. To be clear, this is largely going to be a negative review, so if there’s anyone upset that I won’t be sucking Zack Snyder’s d*ck in this critique here… Sorry?
A Beautiful Picture
As I’ve mentioned before in my Man of Steel review, Zack Snyder knows how to make a gorgeous looking picture and Batman v Superman is no exception. Although differing in visual style slightly as Man of Steel was inspired by a more documentary aesthetic, this venture sees fit to apply a graphic novel quality to its scenery. Which makes sense seeing how the movie is being adapted from darker comic book sources, only seems appropriate to yearn for a similar visual parallel. And 99% of the special effects utilized throughout the runtime are also damn good as well with maybe the occasional weaker visual effect poking its head out, but nothing ever too substantial.
Wonder Woman: Little Screen Time, But Great Performance
Much of what I’ve said about Henry Cavill as Superman can be applied to Gadot’s performance as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman; embodying everything that makes the character so iconic, but has little screen time and material to accomplish more than simply a valiant effort. Plus, add a small bit of bad-assery with a cool smirk Gadot makes when in the middle of an epic battle during the climax.
Read More From Reelrundown
Henry Cavill Has...Potential?
Pretty much just insert everything I said about Cavill in Man of Steel right here. He does his best with shallow material and shows potential to be great.
Another score composed by Hans Zimmer, therefore, no surprise that it’s great. Give the man two minutes, he can compose a symphony to make me cry.
The Real Reason to Be Optimistic About This Movie
Mother f*cking Ben Affleck as Batman is the sole reason I have to continue living. Hands down, Affleck as Batman is the best thing in this entire movie and is easily my favorite Batman since Michael Keaton! This man sinks his teeth so damn deep into the role it is absolutely delicious to behold on screen. Affleck IS vengeance! He IS the night!! Affleck is Batfleck!!! No joke, I love every single solitary second of screen time with Ben Affleck under the cape and cowl; he’s beyond perfect as the bitter and brutal Dark Knight, breaking every appendage on the criminal’s brittle body, more or less murdering a few too, while coping through the mental and physical drain by drinking and banging chicks on the side. F*ck yes, this is my kind of Batman!
Yes, you read my sentence correctly before: Batman kills. And that is honestly my favorite type of Batman, when he slaughters bad guys like he’s the frikkin’ Punisher in gloriously violent ways. Batman, in this movie, decapitates a mother f*cker with his car! I love it, I honest to God truly love the hell out of this Batman and Ben Affleck disappears completely into his terrifyingly awesome performance. Angered and paranoid by a superpowered God crash landing on Earth with the ability to destroy the entire world in the blink of an eye if he so wishes. Affleck’s performance is so good that all we need is the look in his eyes as he glares at Superman tearing through the city and we know instantly what this man’s motivations are and we feel the pure anger that drives him.
Physically speaking, Affleck looks like a beast and he damn sure fights like one too. In the mess that is this movie, there is a great Batman flick hiding somewhere in here and Affleck is undeniably the heart of it. The character depth is there in the visual storytelling from frame one, the acting and intense physicality is there, and the motives for why Batman would want Superman dead is painted clear as day. Plus, on top of all that, Affleck’s chemistry with Jeremy Irons as Alfred is pretty great. We can feel the years of connection and familial jesting between them which is just downright charming.
Can I End the Review Here?
Please? Seriously, I could legitimately conclude the review here and be perfectly content; Ben Affleck is awesome and it’s a gorgeously made graphic novel styled epic… Can that be the ultimate conclusion I come to here? Sadly nope, what I’ve described thus far doesn’t come close to covering the entirety of this colossal cluster f*ck. Without further ado, here is my review… Of this piece of poo.
Too Much & Too Long [Spoiler Warning]
As mentioned previously, this screenplay is trying to hit the fast forward button for kickstarting several franchises within one movie. Regardless of the runtime reaching approximately three hours long, and I mean both the theatrical cut and the director’s “Ultimate Edition” contain the very same problems, only the “Ultimate Edition” is even more needlessly long. Forcing in too many subplots with not nearly enough character depth to carry the cluttered mess erupting constantly.
For starters we have a sort of sequel to Man of Steel where Superman is being evaluated and tried by the people for being what he is, a plot we can’t get invested in because there’s still no time committed to developing anyone as an interesting character and basically stops before any satisfying payoff can be delivered on, Superman dealing with whether or not he should remain a superhero or quitting the life altogether, then we have the introduction and origins of Batman which is mainly badass but isn’t given enough proper dedication to rightfully supply its own full narrative, after that is the political and diabolical dealings of Lex Luther… an issue I’ll elaborate more on later.
Next up is the Diana Prince rivalry with Batman subplot, the lazily squeezed in thumb drive subplot to setup the Justice League where Luthor keeps video files of all the heroes that are basically teaser trailers with their own complimentary logos, Lois Lane investigating the murder setup of Superman and Lex Luthor’s involvement, Clark going on an investigation of the Batman himself, Perry White giving Clark Kent sh*t about investigating Batman rather than write about football, Bruce on a personal quest to retrieve a giant piece of Kryptonite, a subplot centering on a victim of the events from the climax of the first movie who is sentenced to a wheelchair for life and has a personal vendetta against Superman, Lex Luthor getting his hands on General Zod’s remains to break into a crashed Kryptonian space ship and resurrect the dead menace into an abomination he namedrops as “Doomsday”, sprinkles here and there of the actual tension buildup between BATMAN and SUPERMAN… the whole point of the frikkin’ movie we’re watching.
And then finally after over two hours of waiting for these two iconic comic book figures to duke it out, we are gifted the fight we’ve all been so excited for… which lasts literally eight minutes and then they become best friends because both of their moms’ names are “Martha.” How anti-climactic… Following that, Batman has to save Superman’s mom from Lex’s goons, Doomsday awakens to try killing Superman and Batman, Wonder Woman shows up to help the two knuckleheads battle the monster, Lois gets stupid by almost getting herself killed so Superman can save her, and to end it all off is the sacrificial death of Superman to destroy Doomsday.
Believe it or not, there’s actually even more forced into the screenplay that I’ve neglected to mention. This is a damn train wreck for a movie that should have been so simple… it’s called Batman v Superman, was it really so hard to focus on that one element alone? Did we really need copious amounts of additional padding to get a three hour f*cking runtime?! It would be one thing if any of these dozens of extra subplots had some entertainment value or something, but they don’t. It’s just a long tethered string of dissatisfying story threads that add nothing and mostly go nowhere.
If it wasn’t already cluttered enough with needless crap, the screenplay also takes us onto a five minute detour smack dab in the middle of the movie in a nightmare sequence Bruce Wayne has where he dreams about an apocalyptic wasteland being ruled by an all-powerful Superman and giant flying insect monsters. Batman has a team of soldiers and they’re betrayed by another team of soldiers baiting them with a fake Kryptonite package, Batman is knocked out in the scuffle to awaken in an underground bunker where Superman fries his men with his heat vision, unmasks the Bat, and crushes his chest. Then abruptly awakens to the Flash (Ezra Miller) bursting into the Bat cave through what appears to be a time portal warning Bruce that he was right about Superman and Lois is the key. Then Bruce wakes up again and we’re back on our main adventure as if nothing happened… This is the most pointless sequence in the movie… which is saying something. It pertains nothing to the story, easily could be cut, and confuses more than answers a damn thing. Only exists because Zack Snyder has an unhealthy obsession with style over substance.
Superman (Not Henry Cavill)
In the most blunt manner I can possibly describe Superman in this movie, he’s a God damn hypocrite. Acting wise, I have no qualms with Cavill as again he shows how much he wants to be Superman with occasional glimpses of a great performance. Setting aside the persistent issue of zero character development of Superman, this dude is an utter idiot. The whole purpose of this movie is to focus on why Batman and Superman want to fight each other, right? With Batman, I immediately understand why he has a huge problem with the man in the red cape. Why does Superman have a problem with Batman though? His reasons are supposedly because Superman disagrees with Batman thinking himself to be above the law and is even causing the death of criminals… Okay, let’s take a quick look at Supes here; a man who thinks himself above the law and also murders people.
For anyone disagreeing with me declaring Superman a murderer, my proof can be witnessed in the first Man of Steel picture as he is largely the cause of probably hundreds of thousands of innocent people living in Metropolis. Not to mention Superman is responsible for killing the entirety of Zod’s army and Zod himself by breaking his neck. Oh, also in the first act of this very film, Superman murders a man in cold blood by charging at him at Mach speeds and crashing the criminal through… not one, but TWO concrete walls! I don’t care what anyone says, the dude is a freaking murderer and any time Clark/Superman tries calling Batman out for his forceful approach to crimefighting, I can’t help myself siding instantly against the Man of Steel because he comes across as a total dick. It would be one thing if the film were playing into this idea more aware of the fact that Superman is being hypocritical about the subject, but it never does. Supey boy is just a petty douche that I should be emotionally invested in when he’s killed in action by the end, yet why should I?
Lois & Clark
There. Is. No. Chemistry. To me, this is a dead zone of romantic chemistry. Not that I believe the actors to be bad, of course not. The script just gives nothing to their characters for the actors to even remotely work with. Why are they together? Because they’re two hot people. What connects them as individuals? Because they’re two hot people. What makes their bond so special and charming? Because they’re two hot people. What scenes do they share together that feels genuinely heartwarming? I guess there was that scene with them together in the bathtub… being hot. There’s jack sh*t here and it feels near impossible to invest myself in their relationship because the script is more driven to spout out lame allegories and brood instead of bring any type of likability to their romantic leads.
Themes & Allegories
Admittedly, there are good ideas here in terms of the themes and allegories that these writers are attempting to delve into. God complexes, misjudging a demonic presence for an angelic/Jesus Christ archetype, what would or should the world do when there are individuals containing unlimited powers to save countless lives, should these individuals with special abilities be left to their own devices and decide freely how to utilize their own powers or should these people be governed so they may be harnessed for dire situations only when absolutely necessary and unanimously mandated by the people? These are great themes to explore… only problem is that these are written at face value and never genuinely developed into anything thought provoking or substantial narratively speaking. Truth be told, these ideas are perfectly explored in some Marvel properties which were released approximately the same time as Batman v Superman; the Marvel/Netflix television series DareDevil and Captain America: Civil War both explore several of these points in a way that felt engaging and legitimately defined the narratives in enlightening ways. Batman v Superman never once comes close to being nearly as clever, interesting, nor entertaining as those two other titles.
Lex F*cking Luthor
Before unleashing my sheer annoyance with the character, I do want to say first that I do like Jesse Eisenberg as an actor. Eisenberg can be funny as hell in Zombieland or he can give a unforgettably layered and borderline sociopathic performance in The Social Network, he can show plenty of range in his acting, especially in his indie ventures. With that said, Eisenberg’s Lex Luther is an obnoxiously twitchy punk that I cringe watching how cynically created this character is to feebly recapture the spirit of Heath Ledger’s Joker. Awful, this villain is truly awful and painfully irritating in every single frame he’s in with his bottomless supply of forced religious allegories only existing to make the film come across as more mature when in actuality it’s the pretentious nonsense an angsty teenager comes up with thinking he’s “so deep.” F*ck this villain and f*ck the people behind making this a thing!
Brood for the Sake of Brooding
Don’t misunderstand me, I do love a dark and bleak as hell tale. One of my all-time favorite films is Joel Schumacher’s 8MM, easily one of the bleakest and most intense experiences I’ve ever seen in film. And DC, to me, at its best can have some truly phenomenal dark tales with twisted themes to explore. However, what separates DC’s best and Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman is the energy; there’s no life to this film, no breaks in the dark and brooding tone, therefore it becomes monotonous to continue watching a one note film. The Dark Knight trilogy was undoubtedly dark and supplied their fair share of brooding, but Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer knew how to implement those dark moments with lighter ones and characters we give a sh*t about. We don’t give a sh*t about anyone here and there’s never any reason to care either. We need light to contrast the dark, whether it be in comedic levity, romantic chemistry, character personality, anything instead of simply dark all the time with no purpose or weight to it.
The R Rating
This is one of the softest R rated films I’ve ever seen and there’s no reason why the “Ultimate Edition” isn’t rated PG-13 like the theatrical version, other than to maybe earn some street cred. If a movie like this is going to go for the R, I want them to run with it, not insert a few extra CGI blood splatters in the background that I barely notice. I want some real violence going on, especially with a crazed and sadistic Batman running about Gotham, there needs to be some blood to shed and spread, baby!
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition… A title that rolls right of the tongue. This hurts me to say, but I do have some love for this movie in the most shallow of ways; Ben Affleck as Batman is mainly the reason why. He’s so good… He’s so f*cking good and he deserves to be in a great Batman movie. It depresses me to no end knowing that will probably never happen. Affleck’s one line of “Do you bleed? You will.” Is worth the price of admission alone and I remember when I saw that moment on the big screen, I wanted to scream “F*CK YEAH! BATFLECK IS AWESOME!!” Because he is. His performance is worth checking this movie out, especially for anyone with a subscription to HBO Max which has the feature ready to stream in their DC section.