Movie Review with Jeff McCullough: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

By Jeff McCullough on April 10, 2016 from Movie Review via

In the last couple of years, the DC Cinematic Universe has been on the painful side of a serious butt whooping. While Batman vs. Superman is the second film in the series, Marvel is preparing to release its 13th. An 11-film head start is nothing to shake a Batarang at, and DC knows it. How does the famous comic company plan to catch up? Apparently by saying the heck with it, and just making their two most famous characters punch each other in the face. It’s perhaps not the most elegant of solutions, but it had the effect of getting people into seats.
And while Dawn of Justice has numerous, and at times crippling problems, this is still a pretty darn fun movie. I mean, it’s Batman and 
Superman fighting to the death; man vs. god, Dark Knight vs. Man of Steel, the blackest night vs. the brightest day. This should be one of the greatest grudge matches in comic book history.
And from a purely visual perspective, the fight, and the action in vs. as a whole is spectacular. It’s a bit of a stretch to think anyone could beat up a man with laser vision and supersonic flight, but with the power of plot holes and Deus Ex Machina, Batman holds his own, with both titans firing on all cylinders.
But unfortunately a number of choices hamstring the film’s two-hour plus running time, primarily a lack of contrast between Bats and Supes. The two are supposed to be polar opposites, but in the film both are tortured, dark characters. Batman is actually pretty fantastic, with Ben Affleck making his performance of the character the darkest yet put to film. He brands, guns down, and blows up criminals with no abandon, with a brutal touch that fits the more violent DC Universe like a glove.
Less successful however is Superman; while I’m open to new looks at old characters, the Boy in Blue is supposed to be a symbol for truth, justice, and the American way. Here though he’s nearly as dark as the Bat, with a tendency towards brutal punishments and anguish. But with both heros so similar, the fight isn’t Day vs. Night. It’s more like Dark Evening vs. Dreary Dawn.
That’s another thing a lot of audience members might not dig; while I didn’t mind it, this film is a pretty joyless affair. You’d think laser eyes and flight would be fun, but Superman is actually pretty depressing, beginning to see his abilities as a burden, a curse rather than a blessing. While it’s interesting seeing a more grounded look at how the world would really react when faced with a being of godlike power, it has the consequence of making Batman vs. Superman not very fun.           
In the end, despite its flaws, Dawn of Justice isn’t a bad movie. No, it doesn’t live up to the best of the genre or the potential an idea like Batman and Superman really slugging it out holds, but it’s also not the epic disaster that many people are declaring. It’s certainly at least worth a watch.

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