Review: BvS: DoJ

Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

By: Dave Clark

There isn't a movie out there that I've been waiting to see more than Batman v Superman. To have not just Batman and Superman on the screen at the same time but introducing Wonder Woman to the live action movie universe made my Geek spirit soar! Waiting nearly three years to see the movie that was announced at SDCC was like being a kid waiting for Christmas morning to open all those lovely looking wrapped presents. Now, it's finally here! Was the wait worth all the speculating and the premature internet anger? Let's find out! WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

I'm gonna break this down by character to start with. Let's begin with Superman. If you listen to the Atomic Geekdom Podcast at all, you might already know that I'm not a huge fan of Superman. I didn't think Man of Steel was that good, didn't hate it, but wasn't blown away by it at all. However, I tried to stay objective during this movie and I can say honestly that I really enjoyed this portrayal of Superman. Cavill did an astounding job at conveying the struggle that Kal-El finds himself in when his adopted world has seemingly all turned against him. After the attack in Metropolis, the government and many of the world's citizens fear what Superman represents. He's an alien with God-like abilities and extremely dangerous enemies. Throughout the film he's confronted by politicians, fearful humans, and of course a very angry Batman. He's forced (by Lex Luthor's devious plot) into a violent confrontation with another hero who does not share his ideology when it comes to handling criminals. I found myself sympathizing with Superman as he struggled to decide whether or not to give up being a hero at the cost of doing what is right.

Next let's talk about Wonder Woman. I don't think I could've dreamed of a better debut for Wonder Woman, than what they did with her in this film. Diana isn't the focus of this film, but when she's on screen, she's all you want to see. Gal Gadot did an amazing job bringing Wonder Woman to life for the first time on the big screen. When Bruce uncovers the truth about her identity and we all see the photo of her in the Wonder Woman costume and the score hits the theater speakers, goosebumps covered my body. And when she finally joins Bats and Supes in the final fight, the crowd I saw the film with cheered and it was a well deserved moment. She stood up to Doomsday and stood tall alongside her future League founders. The trinity standing together was a moment I wanted to see ever since I read my first Justice League comic book and I wasn't disappointed in that moment. I cannot wait for Wonder Woman's solo film.

And now it's Batman's turn. In a piece of brilliance, the movie opens with a Bruce voiceover. Felt very much like a Batman comic book. When Batman fights crime in this film, its extremely violent and also very frightening. They positioned his battle with crime to be more like a scene from a horror film than from a comic book movie, which I also really enjoyed. His interactions with Alfred were also great, and when Affleck portrayed Bruce, I felt it was a great performance. It was how Batman fought that really upset me. This is the part of the movie I disliked a great deal. Batman has been branding criminals before leaving them for the police. This brand acts as a message within the prison and most inmates with that brand end up getting killed by fellow inmates. Batman also clearly has no issue with killing his adversaries. There are numerous times when he uses the Batmobile's guns to mow down bad guys. During a car chase scene he even uses other cars as weapons, clearly killing the occupants of two different cars as he throws one car at another using a grappling hook attached to the back of the Batmobile. Batman has killed in other movies. His vehicles often times have guns. I've made peace with those weapons being a sort of bark before the bite and not so much used to inflict pain.

Another part of Bruce's story was all these fever dreams he begins to have during the film. He has one while visiting the tomb holding his family's graves. Blood begins to pour from one of the tombs and when he touches it a very dark and demonic bat creature attacks him and bites him before he wakes up. The other nightmare involves a sequence that's very much like the beginning plot of the Injustice video game and companion comic book series. Superman clearly blames Batman for the death of Lois and ends up killing him, much like in Injustice when the Joker kills Lois and their unborn child and this sends Superman down a dark spiral. Within this same nightmare we get what looks like a lot of glimpses into a world ruled by Darkseid. His Omega symbol is burned into the ground and creatures that look like Parademons are flying around and fighting on behalf of Superman. Somehow, perhaps he's being a glimpse into the future? More on that later....

Finally, I want to look at Jesse Eisenberg's take on Lex Luthor. I loved it. It was different, it was modern, and it was great. Was it over the top at some points? Sure, but at the same time, Eisenberg got the character perfectly. I loved how rooted to his father that Lex was and how he held a lot of what his father had instilled him as both important and something he can mock. There's a subtle craziness within in Lex, notably when he gives a speech near the middle of the film and begins to stumble over his words. And at the climax of the film when he's taken both Lois and Martha Kent hostage, the true villainous Lex comes to the forefront. And even after he's imprisoned he has a warning for Bruce that someone is coming (Darkseid?).

So, in this film we were introduced to Batman, Alfred, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, and Doomsday. We got to spend some more time with Lois, Martha Kent, and Perry White. You'd think that'd be enough for one movie right? Wrong. We got brief glimpses at Aquaman in action, Barry Allen stopping a robbery at a convenience store while he's getting some milk, and the origin of Cyborg being created using what looked to me like a Mother Box. But WAIT! There's more! In what could have been brushed off as another of Bruce's fever dreams we see a man in red armor appearing from this weird portal, telling Bruce that Lois is the key, that Bruce was always right about "him", and then he begins to question if he went back to far. He also mentions that Bruce has to find them and bring them together. To sum up, it's Flash from the future wearing a very armory version of his suit (similar to the Injustice costume) with a helmet and visor. Perhaps he's from a future in which Lois has died and Superman has gone off the deep end? Or maybe he's just coming from the future to prepare a version of Bruce for the oncoming Darkseid attack? It was a fun little Easter Egg that acts as post credit scene and helps to tease us all along for future films in the DCCU.

There were parts of this movie I absolutely loved and then parts that I was extremely disappointed with but at the end of the day I have to ask myself did I like the movie? I did. I can say with certainty that I didn't hate it. Were these the characters that I grew to love from reading the comics? Not exactly. And really, they shouldn't be. This is a cinematic version of these characters and they're being told by people who didn't write the comics. Sure the people at DC Comics have their hands in the creation of these films, but the vision of these films will differ from the source material, and they should to some extent. Am I saying we should just settle and be okay with this because it's the first time we've seen the Justice League in a film together? Not at all. But, this is a work in progress. They're building something and this is the second piece of that puzzle. I wasn't a big fan of Man of Steel, but after seeing this movie, I have a bigger appreciation for the groundwork that was laid in their first DCCU outing. Batman has always been my favorite hero. This wasn't entirely that character that I grew to be an obsessed fan over but that's okay. This Batman was older. He had been doing this for a long time and he's lost sight of his true mission. The death of a man he had original wanted to destroy drove him to realize that he needed to better. And I think going forward we'll see a different Batman.

I love all of these characters (yes, even Superman). I enjoyed this movie for what it was, a movie. I was able to sit down and enjoy a film with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman with glimpses at a future world with the entire Justice League! I'm excited for the future and I'm looking forward to seeing this film again and maybe getting another perspective this time because the little kid waiting for Christmas morning has already opened his presents, and now he gets to play with them.

But what did you guys think? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you thought about the film!