Sunday, March 27, 2016

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice

Year: 2016
Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter

Plot: 18 months after Superman's battle with Zod destroyed Metropolis, the world is still reeling from the man of steel's presence. Bruce Wayne, who lost several employees in that disaster, sees Superman as a threat. Conversely, Clark Kent sees Batman's vigilante tactics in combating crime in Gotham as dangerous. The two men are slowly finding their way towards one another in an epic battle, but they are unaware of two people taking a great interest in them: a devious millionaire bent on destroying Superman, and an Amazonian princess thousands of years old.

Review: The hype machine for this was huge, and it kept stirring even when the not so positive reviews came rolling in a few days before I wrote this. Everyone wants to know: Is Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice awesome? Well, yes. Sort of.

It begins the same way most Batman films do: the visualization of Bruce Wayne's main motivation in becoming the hero he is i.e. the death of his parents, which was well done actually. Then we move on to an adult Bruce watching Superman destroy Metropolis while battling General Zod at the end of Man Of Steel. As Bruce contemplates ways on getting even with Superman, Clark Kent sees Batman's vigilante style as violent and wants to put it on the Daily Planet's news, despite objections from Perry White. Then Lex Luthor, the eccentric yet brilliant millionaire takes measures to destroy Superman by getting his hands on Kryptonian technology left behind by Zod. And who is that stunningly beautiful lady watching Bruce Wayne? But of course, if you're well versed on DC storylines, you'd know what I'm referring to. And even if you're not, director Zack Snyder tells the story quite thoroughly.

One of Snyder's main strengths is his eye for action. He films action sequences quite well, and the long awaited scrap between Batman and Superman looks the best out of all the fights here. With the rain effects, it's reminiscent of Neo's fight with Agent Smith in Matrix Revolutions, minus the aerial nonsense. Coming a close second is the big battle sequence at the end involving our three heroes vs Luthor's creation, Doomsday, though it does look over-the-top at times.

Snyder also deserves credit for giving both Wayne and Clark equal focus in the film. Wayne's story involves him finding ways to neutralize Superman as his loyal assistant Alfred tries to dissuade him, while Clark starts to wonder if his actions in saving people do more harm than good, as more and more people, including a justice seeking senator, start blaming him for indirectly causing destruction.

Acting wise, Ben Affleck makes a good Batman and an even better Bruce Wayne, accurately reflecting a hero who has had enough of losing good people and has grown weary of the world. Henry Cavill looks the part of Superman and Clark Kent, but his performance is inconsistent at best. At times he nails the part, other times he seems wooden. Gal Gadot certainly plays Wonder Woman to a tee, though this isn't her film so she only gets one real moment to shine at the end. The supporting cast are solid here, with Jeremy Irons making a strong Alfred and Amy Adams being equally good as a likable Lois Lane. The weakest cast member would be Jesse Eisenberg, who as always chooses to be more like himself than his character, in this case Lex Luthor. While his eccentric attitude lends a suitable air of evil to Lex, those repetitive ticks in his movements and speech patterns were much too over the top for me to take him seriously. And yes, I'll say it again, he's still being Jesse.

As good as this film is though, Snyder fails to condense his film properly. It seems like he and writers Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer came up with a ton of ideas and couldn't decide which ones to use, so they ended up using all of them. Because of that, the first half is filled with plenty of exposition (some of it is good, but exposition nonetheless) and the ending feels like it used all the ideas they came up with. There were a handful of dream/nightmare sequences that weren't necessary and could have been edited out. Snyder could have easily put these in the DVD later. As a result, the film feels 20 minutes too long.

But still, watching the two biggest icons of DC in the same movie, assisted by their most famous female ally is something no movie fan should miss. Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice is merely a stepping stone to something greater, and the seeds of the Justice League have been planted. This film is a spectacle indeed, so do go check it out. But you'll need some patience to sit through it though. (7/10) 

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