Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ★★

Here with Batman v Superman Zack Snyder has once again created a very divisive film. It gets a fair amount right and actually reaches greatness for a few scenes, but it is marred by incoherent storytelling and one of the worst final acts, in an otherwise ok film, that I have ever seen.

So in terms of the good side of things, it is stylish and certain action scenes are a joy to watch. The few scenes we get of Batman oriented action are fantastic, the most satisfying we've yet to see on the big screen. The actual Batman vs. Superman fight is a lot of fun, I liked how it progressed even if the way it ends comes off a little silly.

The visuals are pretty good and distinct, not Zack Snyder's best, but has some great shots and composition nestled in the runtime. The cast has some great additions. Ben Affleck was a solid Batman/Bruce Wayne and Jeremy Irons was great as Alfred, though he isn't given much interesting to say or do. I actually really like Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, it's refreshing to see a villain that isn't completely one note in a superhero film and his awkward charisma won me over. Though it's worth noting that his motivations are a bit of a mess.

On the not so great side however, the film is almost entirely without focus. Scenes cut right into one another with no sense of pace or establishment. The fact that we get a painful rendition of Batman's origin at the very beginning was an eye roller for me, I would've maybe preferred a Watchmen style opener cycling through Batman's vigilante career until the present.

It also has some story decisions that just end up flat. Amy Adams as Lois Lane has so much screen time where she is left to run around doing nothing productive. Her role in the final act, which I'll get to in a little bit, is also laughable. It reminds me of when Emma Stone shows up at the end of TASM2, only it's even worse here. The stuff with Scoot McNairy as a Wayne employee who loses his legs due to the conflict at the end of Man of Steel, is just... what even was that? It goes absolutely nowhere despite setting up a potentially interesting dynamic.

Then onto the final act, up until the arrival of Doomsday I was actually fine on the film, I'd give it a solid 6 out of 10. But then they go ahead and fuck that all up. The final act is complete and utter trash, consisting of mindless, overblown Man of Steel esque action and not much else. It's also where Wonder Woman joins the brawl and she really could've been left out, since she adds nothing but audience recognition to go see her solo movie next summer. I'm fine with Diana being included in the film, but once she suits up it feels entirely pointless.

There is also the E-mail scene. This happens shortly before the final act, but it is so forced and comes out of nowhere to break the already dodgy pace before we get to the titular confrontation. Could they seriously not find a better way to set up the Justice League than have Wonder Woman read her E-mail??? It is worse than anything in Amazing Spider-Man 2, in terms of forcibly setting up other franchise films.

So it's a mostly ok film that is let down by a garbage final act. It's an improvement over Man of Steel in my opinion, though not better enough to renew my hope for future DC films. I'll probably give that 3 hour R-rated cut on blu-ray a go when it comes out, though I'm not so sure aspects of this film can be salvaged as Snyder managed with Watchmen. It ends up another failure, but it's an intriguing failure that I don't regret having sat through.

ALSO! This is a more minor complaint compared to the larger issues the films has, but what is up with the amount of real life television personalities that get cameos as themselves? It takes me out of the film when Anderson Cooper or Neil deGrasse Tyson show up on TV screens to talk some bullshit. Like what does it add to the film that they are also TV personalities in the real world as well as this fictional world. This is some serious multiverse shit that I'm not sure I need to deal with.

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