Man Against God: “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice” Review

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I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to seeing a Batman Vs. Superman movie. The idea of seeing two classic superheroes duke it out on the big screen is something I thought would never happen in my lifetime. Director Zack Snyder, for better or for worse, has made that dream a reality with “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice”.

Following the events of 2013’s “Man of Steel” the film deals with the aftermath of the destruction that befell Metropolis during Superman’s battle with General Zod. With the revelation that a god is now amongst them, humanity wonders if Superman is truly a savior or if he will bring doom upon them all.

Bruce Wayne, who lost friends and workers during the Metropolis battle, decides to take it upon himself to take on and destroy Superman, believing that one day the Kryptonian will turn against the world he protects.

That’s really the simplified version of “Batman V Superman” because there’s lots of story crammed into this 151 minute film. The plot ends up being the film’s biggest weakness. What should be a simple premise, Batman and Superman engaged in glorious combat, gets bogged down with philosophical and political themes of what it means to have a superhero living in our world. This sounds interesting and at times it is. But the film doesn’t take the time needed to flesh out and go in depth with the ideas it’s presenting. Eventually the film drops them completely, leading the viewer to wonder if there was a point to any of it.

Where the film shines brightest though is with its portrayal of the dark knight himself. Ben Affleck for many seemed like a questionable choice to play Batman but does he deliver. He plays a more brutal, violent Batman and the result leads to some spectacular action sequences. Watching him clean house with a group a bad guys with stealth and precision is a joy to see.

The film focuses more on Batman than it does Superman and it’s better for it. Henry Cavill, despite looking the part, is wooden as Superman. It’s not his fault though due to it seeming like he’s not given proper direction on how to play his character. You have the feeling Snyder told him “be serious and brooding” and while that works for a character like Batman, it doesn’t for Superman.

And that’s where most of the problems come from, Snyder’s direction. He can’t seem to balance all the stories that “Batman V Superman” is trying to tell. The film is all over the place, sometimes being an action movie, other times a political thriller or some moments a drama. On their own these parts work but they’re not tied together smoothly. So much so that if you were to remove certain subplots, you’ll find that they don’t affect anything at all.

Snyder does know how to make the film look pretty though and that’s the biggest strength next to Batman himself. Several scenes look like they’re ripped directly from a comic book page and it’s a visual marvel. The opening which details how young Bruce Wayne lost his parents is both haunting and beautiful to watch.

There is enjoyment to be had with “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice”. When it does focus up and you see these heroes pummel each other, it’s a spectacle that’s a joy to see. Is the film a mess, yes it is. Is it a fun mess, yes also. It may not be a perfect beginning to what DC has in store for us, but it does leave one entertained and curious to what’s to come in the future.

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