I know that the “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” film has received a ton of hate from the beginning, particularly with the casting, and as someone who was an initial naysayer, I have to put out there for the record that we were all wrong.
The film runs for two hours and forty-one minutes, which, can seem long (if the movie is shit, pardon my French). It’s a fantastic thing that this film did not have that problem. It gives the audience this brand of rapid fire storytelling, relying on assumed, basic knowledge of the source material. Even if one knew nothing of Batman or Superman, it does a good job of covering who these two are, how their stories [and cities] intertwine, all the while without losing the audience or the audience’s interest.
The film opens from Bruce Wayne’s point of view. We get a replay from the ending of “Man of Steel,” but from a regular person. Well, Bruce is of course no ordinary person, but from someone who was actually on the ground. The devastation is wide spread and horrific as we see buildings collapse and set aflame. The sequence has a very 9/11 feel to it, and, I imagine if two, flying super-beings with laser eyes were fighting above Downtown, it would be quite like that. In fact, the universe here is rooted in the real world, even showing us clips with real personalities and networks (CNN, MSNB, PBS, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Anderson Cooper, etc.), and having Holly Hunter’s Senator June Finch giving interviews on the “issue of dealing with Superman.”
Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne is tremendous. While harkening back a bit to Keaton’s Wayne/Batman, he still offers a fresh take on the character by having him be deliciously unhinged. He has random hook ups with no shame, drinks like a horse on his down time, and even takes medication (depression? Anxiety? Unsure). In fact, even in the opening, it sounds as if he is talking to a therapist.
“And in the dream, they lifted me up into the light. It was a lie.”
And yet, he still maintains successful business in both Gotham and Metropolis, can keep up with his alter ego [who, he sees as a criminal—clearly one with a hero complex], all the while by staying tight and right at the gym. This dude is on a serious regimen.
Still, we also get Superman’s side of thing. In fact, Clark Kent is more relatable here than in his own film. He clearly carries the weight of the world, trying to please everyone while [of course] failing at that impossible task.
I don’t know what it is about this film, but Henry Cavill’s Superman works perfectly here (though I was fairly cool on him on Man of Steel). We learn what his true Achille’s Heel is here, and I promise it’s not Kryptonite. We learn of Batman’s as well, and they’re kind of in the same boat. These two should really have had a sit down and discussed life. I think it would have been interesting.
This story doesn’t go into a long, drawn out origin reveal for either Bruce Wayne/Batman or Wonder Woman/Diana. The audience knows enough that the flashes that they give us does not diminish our intelligence or hinder the story.
Gal Godot—I was more than skeptical of her casting, but she did a fabulous job. She didn’t look petite standing next to Affleck’s titan frame, and was not dwarfed on the screen when battling with Batman and Superman. I anxiously await to see the Wonder Woman standalone film.
Jesse Eisenberg—he gives a very different spin on Lex Luthor as a genius, trust fund kid with “daddy abused me in some shape or form” issues. It was intriguing; I felt like he came out of an ep of Law & Order: SVU.
At the end of the film, the audience applauded. I must report that I too applauded. It was just well done, and the ending left me wanting more.
I was so sure there would be a post-credits scene. I guess the MCU trained me well. But honestly?
This film didn’t even need that. I am anxiously awaiting the sequel anyway.