So I’m writing this fresh off of watching Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. In summary; the critics were wrong (go figure right?). I’ve always said that those who can’t do, critique. You could say that I’m doing the same by dropping in my 2 cents, but I’m no critic. I’m just a guy with a laptop and a list of thoughts to write down, that people can ignore if they choose…or troll me in the comment section, whatever floats your boat.
There have been parts of Batman v. Superman that have been almost universally raised by even the smarkiest of critics, some of which are justified. The film suffers from pacing issues and has more cuts to black than a Sopranos supercut. But, that’s where the major problems end, and people start getting nit-picky, ie: desperate.
Henry Cavill’s Superman and Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor have both been heavily panned by critics, calling Cavilll “wooden” and Eisenberg “insufferable.” Well, Cavill may be a little stiff, but he’s far from wooden. At the most intimate moments of the film, Superman’s humanity is reflected to a brilliant extent. No small feat, seeing as the aforementioned Man of Steel is basically indestructible. Eisenberg is also the furthest thing from insufferable. He brilliantly portrays Lex Luthor in an increasingly more psychotic light than audiences are used to, making his unpredictability a contributing factor to the character’s purely evil nature.
However, the most divisive casting has come from Ben Affleck as Batman. Personally, I place Affleck on-level with Christian Bale as one of the best actors to don the titular cowl (the best is clearly Adam West, but these two follow suit!). Batfleck (as he’s most affectionately called) presents a fresh take on Batman, offering a grizzled warrior edge to enhance the character’s cold and calculated nature. Jeremy Irons’ Alfred complimented this perfectly, offering a comedic tone to the otherwise intense Batman sequences. I was also a big fan of the new, more comic book-esque batsuit, and Affleck’s beat-em-up sequences in the film flow like a caramel drizzle on a chocolate cake.
The nominal fight is a highlight of the film. Any critic that dismissed it as “boring”or a “schoolyard dispute” should really go and get their eyes checked. It may have been slow at points, but it was NOT boring. Everything from the Batman training montage, to the introduction of the enhanced suit, to Batman’s tactical implications to the environment in order to weaken Superman were all thoroughly appreciated.
Probably my favourite moments, were when Superman regained his strength and went full-on Son of Krypton on everyone’s collective arses. The combination of flight, super strength and heat vision were everything the comic book nerd in me could have asked for, making up for the film’s earlier pacing issues with an octane fuelled fight sequence. Seeing Batman combat this with Kryptonite based weaponry and enhanced tactical options made the films aforementioned gladiator match a true clash between the Justice League’s titans.
What secures Batman v. Superman as a great film though, are the moments of humanity displayed by the eponymous heroes. Superman’s true weakness in not wanting to be universally viewed as a murderer/monster are portrayed brilliantly by Cavill, reflected best by his sadness following the senate explosion and his mountaintop excursion for solitude. Affleck’s Batman also witnesses such moments, largely at the conclusion of the Superman bout, discovering that his and Superman’s mothers shared a name and unlocking the sympathy of an otherwise seasoned and ruthless vigilante. And of course, everything turns up gangbusters when Wonder Woman turns up to bail them out and help the two battle Doomsday (Gal Gadot is an absolute beast by the way…just saying).
We also got our first glimpses of the new Justice League members, as well as full acknowledgements of their existence, tying together a DC Cinematic Universe for the first time. We pretty much witness Cyborg’s origin, and also get to see brief moments of Jason Mamoa’s Aquaman and Ezra Miller’s The Flash in action. While I’m normally the first to bash Aquaman, I also find it hilarious that critics are already slating Mamoa, despite the fact that he was in the film for about 5 seconds.
The film’s conclusion (don’t worry , I won’t spoil it) had me surprised and dropped enough lines to keep me interested in the franchise. Especially the upcoming Wonder Woman flick and the inevitable solo Batfleck outing. Was this film DC’s answer to The Avengers? Of course not. Nor should be. Man of Steel was the flagship film, and this was meant to serve as the introduction to the DC Universe. I think they did okay.
On the whole, I went into Batman v. Superman with an open mind, expecting neither a redefining of the genre nor the biggest comic book flop since Halle Berry’s Catwoman. I left both impressed and fairly happy with how the film built itself and the DC Cinematic Universe. However, the most prominent feeling was me thinking – “critics think THAT was the worst thing they’ve ever seen?!” I honestly could not see what all of the fuss was about, and by the looks of things neither could most audience reviewers.
Obviously go and see the film and make your own mind up. Don’t take my word for it. I’m just a comic book nerd who saw a chance to write about the positive points of a movie he enjoyed. I will say this though. In the great words of Batfleck:
“Don’t believe everything you hear, son.” – Bruce Wayne to Clark Kent, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)