Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice – DC’s Bold Cinematic Statement
Surprisingly, the critics are right about one thing: Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice is at several times a mess of a film, not the least of which is the epic 3rd act: a feast that can, at times, overwhelm the senses.
It’s a tremendous COMIC BOOK film. And it absolutely succeeds in doing what it was created to do: not just open the door to the upcoming slate of DC Films, but completely obliterate said door with the release of a fantastic follow-up to 2013’s Man Of Steel, all the while introducing the gateway to a grander DC Cinematic Universe. A cinematic universe that will give us, the fans, the Justice League on the silver screen for the very first time.
Quite frankly, Marvel could learn from this very idea that DC has had: produce a single film that introduces the audience to their iconic characters while teasing a bigger team, rather than just spoon-feeding us several excellent character films (Iron Man, Captain America: The First Avenger) along with others that just didn’t work (Iron Man 2, Thor: The Lost World).
Now…enter The Batman: approaching retirement, beleaguered and jaded, Bruce Wayne witnessed Metropolis come crashing down in the finale of Man Of Steel, as Superman failed to protect innocent lives while trying to end the onslaught of General Zod and his World Engines. Batman then spent the next 18 months trying to find a deterrent for Superman; misidentified as an enemy, Batman would stop at nothing to ensure Superman could be contained, even if it meant the brutal interrogation and torture of countless criminals throughout Gotham City at his own hands in order to get what he so desperately needed.
The film spends nearly 2 hours pitting Batman against Superman without much of a physical conflict (“Consider this MERCY” – exactly, because Batman stands zero chance in that scene – Clark could END HIM then and there on the hood of The Batmobile). We bear witness to a complex game of chess that unfolds all according to plan, with the pieces being placed by Lex Luthor on both sides of the board. This is exactly how this story should be told; and from a comic fan’s point of view, you could hardly ask for much more!
Lex Luthor, master manipulator? Check. Superman, alien figure of public mistrust while continuing to perform countless feats of heroics worldwide? Affirmative. Batman not trusting an alien he doesn’t know, and using any means necessary to try and gain the upper hand, and stop said alien? You got it. The fantastic introduction of Wonder Woman to the silver screen? You’re damn right. And bringing to cinematic life one of the greatest comic book narratives ever told, 1992’s The Death Of Superman, AND keeping it under wraps from fanboys and girls across the world until the film premiered? You bet your ass!
As a fan of comics and comic book films, there’s just not much here to genuinely dislike. Dawn Of Justice is the perfect setup for DC to cinematically unveil its Justice League in the very near future – a deed that is far long overdue. But with Dawn Of Justice the setup has been done with such love and detail that it will take years for critics and skeptics to come around and warm up to this film…but they will. Upon second and third viewings I find myself loving Cavill’s performance more and more, and I was sincerely afraid he couldn’t follow up his Man Of Steel portrayal: a film that is widely criticized and often completely underrated by many. But he does follow it up, and then some. And what kind of Justice League would there be, if we don’t have an exceptional Superman to lead us? Never fear, because it’s done. Snyder and his team have put it all together for us.
Affleck’s Batman is THE Batman fans have been clamoring for – he’s an extension of Christian Bale’s redefining turn as The Caped Crusader, only now more jaded, and absolutely unafraid to do exactly what needs to be done to achieve his desired results as the entire world, not just Gotham, hangs in the balance. This is something that he had avoided in becoming in over 20 years operating solely in Gotham, until now; he is brutal, relentless, and most importantly guiltless…and he must stop Superman at all costs. This is The Batman at his most dangerous.
And while there are certainly those who don’t understand Eisenberg’s eccentric Luthor (he’s Lex Jr., by the way) or those who question Amy Adams limited role as Lois Lane (plot tool…hardly – she vigilantly holds Clark together, like she always does in the comics, and reminds him to press on despite his mounting self-doubt). Their performances will become better appreciated as time goes on, as BvS:DOJ becomes a film for the ages: transcending those few truly great comic book films that have come before it (Marvel’s The Avengers, Superman, The Crow, The Dark Knight).
So squash all the naysayers and their Marvel-loving hatred of this grandiose and foundation-laying DC project; just go see this film. Is it dark? Yes. Is it fun? Absolutely. Is it as bad as they say? Not even close. Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice is a complex film with some very big ideas and commentary…with even grander execution. It’s a film that reminds me why I am a fan of these very two comic book heroes, and why I am a fan of cinematic film. And this work is exactly what we should expect from a tale pitting the two most legendary comic book characters ever created against each other, all the while changing the face of the comic book film genre forever!
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