Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice

Starring: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Scoot McNairy, Lauren Cohan, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Harry Lennix, Ezra Miller, Joe Morton, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher

Directed By: Zack Snyder

You might have heard from critics that Batman Vs Superman sucks. Well, no. It’s not a giant unwatchable mess like the Fantastic Four reboot from last year. Is it disappointing? Sure. This is the film fans have been waiting for basically forever, and it’s hard to live up to those expectations. I’m not sure Zack Snyder ever wanted to hit those expectations though, because this film is repetitive and long.

I think I was 45 minutes into the movie, and I felt like I had already been in there for half the movie. I think some of the greatest problems with the script are the continuous dream sequences that just feel like a cop out. We’re subbing actual character development for nightmares, which can work once, but we overuse the nightmare sequence on Batman. Then, we find out later that Superman has daydreams too, and it just feels like a heavy use of dream sequences. I’m surprised we didn’t get a Wonder Woman dream just for good measure.

Another thing I didn’t like, is this film felt almost like an advertisement for Justice League. Especially near the end, which took away from the gravity of the scene. Batman isn’t even sure of what the next threat is, he just wants to assemble a team just in case. But his timing sucks, and that’s why we could have used a little less Justice League promo.

Backstory. You chose to kill off Batman’s parents for the ump-trillionth time, yet gave little to zero backstory on Lex Luthor. It’s choices like that where I understand the rotten marks. Not only do we see them die once, but he flashes back to it (twice, actually, I believe), just in case the audience consists of the guy from Memento. Meanwhile, the closest we get to “character development” with Lex is a brief mention near the end of the film that his father beat him. The biggest villain in Superman history, and there’s no actual definition of WHY he hates Superman. It’s bizarre. Jesse Eisenberg does a great job playing a very unhinged Luthor, but his performance is dampened by having no backstory.

What did I like? Affleck as Batman. Gadot as Wonder Woman. Eisenberg as Luthor. All three, great new entries, and really solid performances. The returning cast does a nice job too. There were some good twists, and nice setups. Everything with Holly Hunter’s character was a series of set ups and even though I saw it coming, I still appreciated the payoff.

The special effects were good, and I definitely enjoyed the film more than Man Of Steel, by a lot. But pacing issues bothered me. The majority of the film is exposition and setup for the title fight, which lasts for about five minutes before moving on to something else. The film makes a bold decision at the end, only to waste it by saying “just kidding” right before the credits. What a waste of the last five minutes of the film.

Does the good outweigh the bad? No. Does the bad outweigh the good? No. In many ways, this film is equally good and bad, which can be frustrating for viewers. Still, somehow I would handicap the film and push it into “good” because my gut instinct would be to call the film “good” instead of “bad” if given a choice. If I was a Rotten Tomatoes critic, it would very narrowly get a “fresh” score from me, because it very narrowly deserves it.

I’m far more excited for the stand alone Wonder Woman movie than the Justice League effort though, and that should be cause for concern.

FINAL GRADE: B-

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