Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Review

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a film that took its time releasing in theaters. Although the film was shot in 2014, it’s only now being released in theaters in 2016, including 2 different release date shifts. Many fans saw this as a sign of doom and gloom for the DC Cinematic Universe as a lot was riding on this film. After all, there aren’t that many major studio films that took this long to be released and ended up actually being good. So after 3 years of waiting since the last DC film, is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice worth the wait?

Yes and no. You see, as a comic book fan, Dawn of Justice serves the right amount of superhero goodness to whet your appetite. However, the film is wrought with an overstuffing of blatant DCCU easter eggs and, not to mention, an inconsistency in the film’s plot. But if you can get through the slow build-up to the Batman v Superman fight then you’re in for one wild payoff.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice follows the world in the wake of the devastation caused by Zod’s attack on Metropolis. Superman (Henry Cavill) is now looked upon as a god-like figure that’s both loved and feared by the public. A young tech genius Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is trying to manipulate the political figures into granting him access to the classified remains of Kryptonian machinery. Meanwhile, Batman (Ben Affleck) investigates if the seemingly invincible Superman is a threat or a hero.

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Much of the same story problems that plagued Man of Steel are still prevalent in Dawn of Justice. Much of the ideas introduced in the first act have zero influence in the third act. Dawn of Justice constantly lets viewers know of the philosophical divide between Batman’s brutal methods and Superman’s morals. Yet, by the time these two face off, these philosophical ideology divides isn’t the reason that these two fight against each other. There are other story problems in Dawn of Justice too as Doomsday’s inclusion is sloppily pieced together and seems more of an afterthought than something thought of originally. Speaking of which, Wonder Woman is another example of DC trying to forcefully bring together their DC Cinematic Universe all in one film. Granted, Wonder Woman was amazing to watch on-screen, but she had no impact in the overall storyline. She drifts in and out of the film as a mostly irrelevant presence. Much like rival Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Age of Ultron, Dawn of Justice feels more like a promo for the DC Cinematic Universe slate than a standalone film.

However, Chris Terrio should be highly credited for being the unsung hero of the entire production. Terrio’s ability to juggle multiple storylines together into one coherent film saves what could’ve been more of an utter mess. Terrio does a solid job of quickly introducing us to all of the key players, but there’s still a lot to take in. You can clearly see the good work that Terrio did on the script, but, unfortunately, David S. Goyer’s influence is still all over Dawn of Justice.

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Visual maestro Zack Snyder turns his over-the-top action up to eleven. Many may consider this overkill, but when you pit two of DC’s greatest heroes against each other you can throw subtlety out the window. Snyder doesn’t come close to the Nolan’s refined Dark Knight trilogy, but he knows how to put on a show. He finally delivers the film that Man of Steel should have been.

Although Affleck’s casting was met with much negativity, Ben Affleck anchors Dawn of Justice with his solid and nuanced performance. He may not be as good as Christian Bale’s portrayal but Affleck is up there. He’s able to seamlessly switch between Bruce Wayne and Batman and still show the emotional weariness as his many years as Batman have clearly taken a toll. Henry Cavill is solid once again as the man of steel, even more the second time around. Gal Gadot is just as entertaining and cool as the other two heroes, even though she’s only in a few scenes. Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, and Holly Hunter are fantastic in their respective roles.

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Then there’s Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Eisenberg was met with heavy criticism amongst the fans, and for good reason. Eisenberg’s portrayal of Luthor is very inconsistent. His exaggerated performance can be distracting, but his psychotic tics are scary to watch. I still can’t tell whether I should cower in fear or facepalm during his gaudy monologues.

Overall, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a much better film than Man of Steel but it still lives in the shadow of Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy. However, story criticism aside, Dawn of Justice is still the film that DC fans’ dreams are made of. Despite the blatant issues around the film, your inner child will begin to overlook that once the film reaches its exhilarating and entertaining payoff. Enjoy DC fans, your time has come.

Rating: 3.5/5
NR 3_5 Atoms - B-

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1488 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.