We try to respect a 2 week window, the "spoiler free zone" if you will, with any reviews we post. This one has some contextual spoilers, but nothing too revealing. Enjoy!
I had the chance to see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on opening Thursday night, and I have a lot of positive thoughts about the movie, but there were also a few drawbacks. Overall though, I'd urge anyone interested in the genre to see it, to form your own opinion, before you read a ton of "critic's" opinions about it.
Let's talk positives first. Ben Affleck is probably the best Batman on film to date. Don't believe me? Well, let's rank them. Most people would discount Adam West (too campy), Val Kilmer (Schumacher-verse curse) and George Clooner (double Schumacher-Verse curse) right off the bat. So that leaves the competition of Michael Keaton and Christian Bale. Personally, I put him way ahead of Keaton, as it's just a different time, and while we needed Keaton to get to Bale & Affleck, I think Affleck has surpassed his Bat-Forefather easily. As far as Bale goes... I'd understand the hesitation to hold off on ranking "1 hit wonder" Affleck ahead of Bale's Iconic 3 film take on the Bat, but let's just say he's ahead on the cards after round 1.
I believe Zack Snyder's vision for this movie was a "Batman" film hidden in the premise of a Justice League origin film, as the movie seemed to center around the Dark Knight. Zack brought the Batman from "The Dark Knight Returns" to life, and while I haven't seen any commentary from TDK creator Frank Miller, I'm sure he enjoyed the take on his seminal work.
Let's talk Bat-Details. The new Batmobile and Batplane are sexy. The suit is on point. The Armored Batman suit jumps right out of the pages of TDK. And the Bat-Cave looks modernized, but still true to the story.
Bat-Support: Jeremy Irons' performance as Alfred was flawless; he was funny, smart, and he even got his hands dirty, literally. He was very much in line with the newer take on the Beloved Butler that we've seen in "Gotham", or the Snyder/Capullo Bat run in the comics, where Alfred is much less of a helpless fretting companion, and much more of an active partner to Batman. With these newer takes on Alfred, you could say Alfred is the new Robin.
This may have slipped past a few folks, but the Thomas and Martha Wayne casting was also very cool. Not only did it give Jeffrey Dean Morgan a total of 8 different portrayals of comic book / nerd culture characters (most ever?) as he adds Thomas Wayne to the Commedian (Watchmen), Negan (Walking Dead), Clay (Losers, old DC war comic), a nice run on Supernatural (CW TV Show), and even bit parts in Jonah Hex (DC Movie), Angel (Buffy Spin-Off), and a Startrek: Enterprise tv appearance. Quite the nerd cred!
But to add further crossing of the streams, JDM pairs with "Maggie" herself, Lauren Cohan from the Walking Dead as she portrays Batman's Mom, Martha Wayne. I haven't seen Negan appear on TWD screen yet, but reading the comics tells me that JDM and Lauren won't get along quite as well on TWD as they did on BVS.
One final word about JDM. Why would they cast him for a 2-4 minute appearance on screen?.... Flashpoint Anyone?.... Who knows, maybe he was the second choice for the bat, so WB decided to make him the Bat-Father, in case the classic Flash story is ever adapted onto the big screen. HOW AMAZING WOULD THAT BE!!!!!
Enough about the Bat (there can never be enough...) Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was one of the other highlights of the film, I have one word, Wowwwww! I can't wait to see her in her own movie.
The score of the movie was great it kept the story compelling throughout. The story made sense in general, although it felt a bit crowded at times. The visual effects were excellent, and the fight scenes and character interaction were pretty stellar.
Let's talk Supes', Henry Cavill made me believe his Superman was losing hope in humanity, which was the point, I think. He is constantly trying his best to save the world, but the world doesn't seem to know if they view him as a savior or destroyer at times. And that provides an interesting internal character struggle throughout the movie.
I did say I had a few negatives, so here they are. One, the movie was too long, I sat in my seat for a solid two hours and thirty minutes, which could have been a good thing, if the movie was non-stop amazing, but it did seem to bog down a couple of times, and a leaner 2:10-2:15, with one less storyline, would have probably felt smoother.
I also feel like they didn't Henry Cavill enough screen time. As I said previously, and I've read countless times on the interwebs, this felt like a Batman movie with a side of Superman. I honestly wanted more Superman in the film.
And last but no least I did have a problem with Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. And I don't think I was alone. I do believe that this was unique take on this character, but it felt like Jesse would have been much better as the Riddler. With a more stoic less zany actor (DUH! Where was Bryan Cranston?), taking on Lex. Because of the way Jesse portrayed Lex, it felt like Superman was having to fight a manic teenager, and it just didn't feel very authentic or believable. I think Zack Snyder wanted his villain to be similar to Heath Ledger's Joker. But he missed the mark with Lex.
Overall as a comic fan I loved it, but as a critic I give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars as there were moments on screen that we've only dreamed about seeing, but also things I could have done without.
-Nick "The Know It All" ///ACC