REVIEW: BVS: Dawn Of Justice
Ok, this is how were gona do this! I’ve purposely not posted this review until now as I’m fully aware of all the negative reviews coming out regarding Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and since viewing it I thought it would be very easy to jump on the bandwagon and just repeat what everyone else has been saying, but seriously, what’s the point?
All anybody who hasn’t seen it wants to know is it as bad as everyone’s been saying? I can categorically say the answer is “NO”!
The film has suffered from years of over-hype and anticipation that it clearly wasn’t going to deliver on all levels and because we’re dealing with possibly the two biggest characters in the history of comic books, how on gods earth was it going to satisfy everyone?
The only way I can explain what type of film this is…its a Zack Snyder film. If you liked Man of Steel then you’ll love this. If you like his interpretation of comics to screen and the way he handles action set pieces then your basically in for a treat. If you don’t like his style then I’d advise you not to bother watching!
Every director has their own vision and I admire Snyder as a filmmaker. I think he truly is visionary, but he is more style over substance. His remake of Dawn of the Dead was very good indeed. 300 was bold and camp, but bloody good fun and even though I regard Alan Moore as possibly the greatest comic book writer of all time, I actually liked Snyder’s take on Watchmen. For all Snyder’s weaknesses as a filmmaker the guy takes risks and has balls. He’s not afraid to take on characters that may cause uproar with its fans, but it doesn’t put him off.
Looking back at Snyder’s Man of Steel the first two acts were outstanding. Snyder nailed reinventing Superman by surrounding the main character with fantastic actors and delving deeper in creating a mythology unlike any other Superman film we’d seen previously. What let MOS down was its over the top third act were Snyder morphed into Michael Bay territory. The action spiralled out of control with Snyder trying too hard in giving the audience a Superman movie were they actually saw a man doing super feats. The controversial backlash of the destruction of Metropolis was justified I thought and clearly affected Snyder. He addressed his mistake head on and wrote it into the start of this movie, as a jumping off point, which is very clever. Its actually one of the best scenes in the movie that sees Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) at ground zero racing through the streets of Metropolis as Superman is fighting off against Zod. It’s whilst witnessing this destruction that Wayne is not only traumatised by this incident, but becomes obsessed with Superman and the threat he poses to mankind. So far so good me thinks?
Snyder’s casting of Affleck was one of the most controversial aspects of the whole shoot. Fans were out with their pitchforks in reference to Affleck’s horrendous turn in Daredevil, but they can put those forks away as Affleck is one of the films high points. Based on Frank Millers Batman from The Dark Knight Returns, Affleck is the older, cynical Batman that doesn’t ask questions, but just crushes skulls. The very brief segment we get of him in action in Gotham City is a joy and Snyder hits it out of the park. Batman is a phantom that lives in the shadows and has criminals quite rightly terrified of him. He doesn’t think twice of smashing your face in. Now that’s the Batman we all want to see! Unfortunately apart from a few other brutal fight scenes we don’t really see him in all his glory. As Bruce Wayne, Affleck’s got more of a swag about him than previous incarnations. He’s more in the style of James Bond and the bat-cave and all his toys have become fantastical again than the very serious & grounded Christopher Nolan version.
The character of Superman is the darkest part of this movie. He’s not happy throughout as he’s not accepted by the human race and the whole issues of acceptance and a God living amongst us is quite refreshing. Superman (Henry Cavil) plays second fiddle to Batman though and I doubt anyone will enjoy the character here as he’s almost a second thought. Always moping around and constantly justifying himself, its not a nice outing for the Man of Steel, I on the other hand quite liked it. On reflection although I’m not a massive fan of the character in comic form I did have some sympathy for him on screen.
Another controversial casting was (Jesse Eisenberg) as Lex Luther. Snyder has gone for a younger more tech-savvy villain that should have somehow been more relatable with current audiences. His portrayal is twitchy, animated and all a bit strange. I’m still not sure weather I liked it or not, but I applaud the director and actor for attempting something different.
Sandwiched in between the mighty two is (Gal Gadot) as Wonder Woman. A feature on all the publicity promo and trailers, but she’s barely in the movie, so how anyone can judge her, good or bad is beyond me? A really annoying thing that got me was the unveiling of Wonder Woman’s first appearance on screen. It should have been an event, but unfortunately the first time she appears in the actual movie is what’s seen in the trailers?!
The supporting cast of (Amy Adams) & (Laurence Fishburne) are excellent as always and a nice touch of having (Jeffrey Dean-Morgan & Lauren Cohen) playing Thomas & Martha Wayne should make Walking Dead fans happy.
What has let BVS down big time is its poor marketing. The trailers gave away far too much and the showing of Doomsday along with the Wonder Woman introduction was virtually the climax of the film, which ain’t good really. It’s title is extremely dated and should have simply been called ‘Dawn Of Justice’. The design of Doomsday was so poor in the trailers I honestly thought it would be better in the actual film, but Nope it’s worse. The concept design and delivery of it is so technically bad it looks like CGI from ten years ago.
As the film progressed from an enjoyable first act to a so-so second, so did Snyder’s inability to truly learn from his mistakes. The pacing of the film starts to become extremely erratic and rushed. Too much is thrown in too quickly and not coherent.
The film’s eventual climax is reminiscent of Man Of Steel’s with buildings being blown to smithereens and enough explosions to make your eyes bleed, so for someone who’d managed to recover from his previous failing by using it as a plot feature just basically repeats himself again!
I said I wouldn’t jump on the bandwagon with negativity as I’m not trying to follow any crowd in just slating the movie like some people were with the latest Star Wars. I’ve just tried to be as honest as possible, but I’ve got to critique parts that just weren’t good. Without these parts I believe BVS could have been one hell of a movie as it does have some killer scenes and visually you can’t knock it. It’s a total spectacle and its $250 million dollar budget has certainly been thrown at the screen. Snyder does think outside the box and does take risks, but DC have taken the biggest risk by handing him huge control of the franchise. For fans who dig him it’s fine, but for those who don’t, well you’re best not heading to the cinema to see your favorite DC heroes for the foreseeable future.
All in all BVS is fun and over the top and works on a few levels. Unfortunately it lacks in story and character depth and falls into the same traps Man of Steel did ultimately.
Snyder for all his strengths in comic book lore still drifts into Tranformers-esque filmmaking from time to time, although he certainly doesn’t deserve the amount of flack he’s been getting. I guess if you wish to grab some popcorn and switch your brain off for two & a half hours and wanting a ‘gung-ho’ movie experience, then BVS is right up your street.