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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Film Review)

A Warner Bros. Film, Directed by Zach Snyder

Released: 25th March 2016

Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter and Laurence Fishburne.

Review: What if Batman was real?

A figure so traumatised by a childhood event that he dresses up as a devilish creature and administers his own brand of ‘justice’ to those he feels deserves it. He would be brutal, unrelenting and focused; he would have a complete disregard for the lives of those he pursues.

This is definitely the case in this milestone superhero movie epic. Batman takes down criminals with a brutality akin to his fighting style in the Arkham Knight game and its predecessors.  His fight choreography is both beautiful and harsh. It works well, until the film gets to its titular battle, at which point all that brutality is focused on Superman. At which point you’re once again reminded just what you’re watching: Something unpleasant.

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At no point was this fight fun to watch

Batman v Superman was a film that held a lot of promise. It was meant to be, as Lex Luthor states “The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world”.

But in DC’s desire to match Marvel’s cinematic universe, it went too far; failing to focus on what the film actually should have been about. On paper, the idea that Superman, a godlike figure who could destroy the world if he wanted, would attract scrutiny from men like Batman and Lex Luthor, makes for a good film. But Zach Snyder ham-handedly throws in Justice League cameos and irrelevant dream sequences (one of which is somehow orchestrated by the Flash?) which add nothing to the plot and are more confusing than helpful.

Not only is it plagued with unnecessary storytelling, but the direction itself is something rather tragic. The film jumps about from Clark in Metropolis, to Bruce in Gotham, to Clark in the Africa, to Lex in Metropolis, to Bruce having another unnecessary dream, to Wonder Woman wandering around, to etc. etc. with no real time spent to trying to justify what’s going on. And if Snyder’s jumpy film-cutting hadn’t already put you off, all the laser-beams and explosions that completely blot out everything that’s going on will.

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Guest starring a troll from Lord of the Rings

The writing is also a mess. Whilst characters like Jeremy Iron’s Alfred and Laurence Fishburne’s Perry White offer humorous little breaks from the rather maddening plot-line and begin to bring the film back to reality, other characters like Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne and Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor stop that in its tracks, speaking in unnecessary and unbelievable grandiose styles that really don’t fit the piece.

And then there’s Wonder Woman, who doesn’t really say much. She’s suggested to be a mysterious bad-ass, but then barely features and has all her appearances drummed out by horrific rock theme-music.

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Keep an eye out for W.W. rocking the 1910s garb with Chris Pine

The messiness of the film is at its most apparent right at the end, where they orchestrate the ‘Dawn of Justice’. Throughout the film, the Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg are seen ever so briefly, and at its conclusion, Bruce states that they must find the ‘others’ as he knows there is a greater threat coming than Superman or Doomsday.

Why is it Bruce deciding this? Because obviously he’s pretty much the main character. His Batman is efficient, his motivations drive the narrative and his quest is told in full. Meanwhile, poor Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent is naught but a side piece; a ragdoll for Batman to fling around after exposing him to Kryptonite.

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He’s had a pretty bad day

If you’re a fan of Superman, I’d warn you to stay away from this film. People thought Man of Steel was bad (although I for one quite liked it), but this film basically should have been advertised (if you’ll excuse my use of expletives) as ‘FUCK SUPERMAN’.


 

This review comes from my website in progress, newtocomics.com.

It’ll be filled with comic book suggestions, news, reviews and character bios to get you up to date. If that strikes your fancy, then follow me on Twitter for progress on when it goes live. And if it doesn’t strike your fancy, please do it anyway because it’s for my MA project and I’d love you forever.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2016 in Comic Books, Film & TV

 

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The Justice League Movie Slate, Part Two: Overkill

So here we are again; I briefly talked about Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad in part one.
In part two, I’ll talk a bit about the other eight DC films coming to the silver screen, before capping off with my thoughts on what this means for superhero movies in general.

2017 follows through with Wonder Woman and Justice League, Part One.

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Now Wonder Woman, I’m not so sure about. It’s a must, that’s for sure. Wonder Woman is part of DC’s trinity; she’s easily as important as Superman and Batman; she just hasn’t had her time to shine. This movie needs to be made, and bringing it out before Justice League is important, I think. I also think it’s smart that DC have preempted that Wonder Woman doesn’t have as strong a following as Batman or Superman, and so have decided to introduce her in their joint flick. It gives the audience a chance to know what they are getting themselves into. And I think painting her as a child of Zeus is pretty cool too; it gives her a greater air of importance and highlights that she’s pretty powerful in her own right. She’s not just Superwoman with a golden lasso. Unfortunately, the only thing I’ve so far seen Gal Gadot in was Fast and Furious 6, and whilst I enjoyed it, the acting wasn’t exactly something I was wowed by, so this one remains a ‘wait-and-see’.

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Justice League however, I am much more excited about. I remember when Avengers Assemble came out, and for the first time, the world was treated to a superhero team-up film that had brought together separate characters who could all carry their own pictures. Essentially, what is happening now is that we’re doing that again, except this time Batman and Superman are in it. Don’t get me wrong, as I said before, I much prefer Marvel, but even I can acknowledge that Batman and Superman are infinitely more important in popular culture than Captain America and Iron Man. It’s a shame. But it’s true. They’re awesome. Even if it completely flunks, it’s still going to be the biggest, most iconic comic book movie, like, ever.

2018 gives us a break from Justice League-y stuff (sort of) by presenting Aquaman and The Flash.

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Out of the two, Aquaman is the one I would say I’m the most curious about. I don’t know too much about either character, but I remember finding the hooked, bearded Aquaman in the old Justice League cartoon to be particularly interesting. Or I probably just thought he was badass, because I was a kid, and that’s how I measured things back then; badass-ness. And to be fair, I think going in the direction the DCCU seems to be, that’s what Warner Bros. are aiming for. Not a prance-y orange Aquaman that everyone seems to think the character is, but an awesome, hulking brute who does whatever he wants, because he’s the King of the majority of the planet. And who better to portray that than Jason Momoa. He doesn’t look anything like Aquaman. And that’s important. It’s a shame people can’t seem to realise that Aquaman isn’t just a joke, despite his weird name, costume, and most obvious powers, but if Warner Bros. are going to change public opinion, Jason Momoa is the way to do it. He was Conan, for chrissakes.

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I don’t really have much to say about The Flash if I’m honest. I didn’t think Ezra Miller really looked the part, but as I just detailed previously, that’s not especially important. One thing I’ve always thought when thinking about the Flash is that he’s the youthful member of the League, whether that actually be the case or not, and Miller definitely shows that. I’m going to try to figure out more of an opinion later though; might watch The Flash TV pilot after this is all done.

Getting near to the end, 2019 returns to Justice League-dom with Justice League, Part Two and Shazam.

And reading those two, my anticipation for 2019 sky-rockets.

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I don’t know whether it was a mistake on behalf of CBR, but I feel like that ‘Part Two’ is the most important part of the whole announcement, as it obviously indicates that the Justice League is a two parter, rather than a film and its sequel. In my opinion, that in itself shows that this whole Justice League plan isn’t going to be as rushed as everyone thinks it is, because it means that essentially, DC are taking three films to tell the story of the Justice League’s formation, rather than just one. Dawn of Justice see’s the League beginning to unite, Part One brings up the threat that unites them, and Part Two rounds them out as the World’s Greatest Heroes. Or so I assume. Either way, it’s one to watch.

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And then there’s Shazam! with Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam. Again, Shazam isn’t a character I know too much about, but from what I do know, he could be one of my favourite DC characters. More importantly, however, this film will most probably be the biggest detour from the dark, gloomy route that DC is taking with their other films, seeing as Shazam/Captain Marvel is a kid/teenager. You’re not going to have a superhero film starring a child end with a villain having his neck snapped. It just wont happen. It’s just bizarre that Shazam is so late in the game, seeing as Johnson has already been cast…

Finally comes 2020, which is where the slate starts to lose me somewhat, finishing off the decade with a rebooted Green Lantern and Cyborg.

I don’t have too much to say about either of these, really, except that I wish they came earlier on, so DC could save the best until last, which definitely isn’t the case here.

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Green Lantern will be interesting purely because it, hopefully, will be a big sci-fi epic, rather than your standard super-hero film, which was one of my favourite things about Man of Steel. It was the sci-fi film that I had been waiting for all of 2013, and the one that Star Trek Into Darkness turned out not to be.

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Cyborg, however, is the biggest disappointment in my eyes. It’s a good move because it means DC is giving a black super-hero a film before anyone else (not counting Hancock here), but that’s about it. I know Cyborg has been a founding member of the Justice League for three years now, but his inclusion means a lack of Martian Manhunter, one of the true founders of the Justice League, way back in nineteen-whenever. Martian Manhunter is one of the Leaguers that near everyone grew up with. The only way he isn’t is if you only got into comics in the last three years, and read exclusively new material, which is a shame. I’m not saying Martian Manhunter could carry a film better than Cyborg, I just think neither of them could do better than someone else, say Hawkman. There are other films I’d much rather see, especially seeing as how in my mind, these two are the Black Widow or Hawkeye of the Justice League. They should be in the League only, without a solo film. Better yet, take a few steps back and put Cyborg back in the Teen Titans where he belongs.

If DC want diversity, they can just use John Stewart for Green Lantern rather than Hal Jordan. After all, it’s not a new universe.

The biggest problem with all of this however is that there’s no way that comic-book movies won’t outstay their welcome so much quicker now.

Marvel and DC both have at least two films a year scheduled to 2020 and 2028 respectively, and then on top of that you have one or two films from Fox and Sony. And then there’s the unannounced Batman and Superman sequels. Oy, it’s just too much.

“This is the [Film Schedule the world] deserves, but not the one it needs right now”

God, how awesome was The Dark Knight trilogy. I miss that.

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2014 in Comic Books, Film & TV

 

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