Friday, March 25, 2016

Review: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

         'Batman v. Superman' Offers Popcorn Action Mixed With Surprising Humanistic Themes

     Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice continues the story of Superman (Henry Cavill) as he finds himself going toe to toe with the Caped Crusader, Batman (Ben Affleck). But a much bigger enemy comes in the form of Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) who has bigger and more diabolical plans for the dueling heroes.

      One thing that I really liked was the opening when we get the climax at the end of Man of Steel but from Bruce Wayne's point of view. It was smart of them to introduce the film that way because it shows us why he wants to take down Superman and views him as a threat.

      Another thing that I really liked is how they keep having the characters ask questions about Superman like whether he is a hero or sign of God or because he could easily destroy the world in 5 seconds, is he a threat? Such questions are a demonstration of the main themes the film has to offer. To me, the film is about fear and how people like Batman fear what they don't understand. It is also about hope because that is what Superman can bring to those that view him as a hero.

    Next is the actors. While I liked Henry Cavill as Superman as well as Amy Adams as Lois Lane, I'm going to discuss one of the film's bigger question marks: Ben Affleck as Batman. Does he deliver?! Of course, he does. I say of course because he's always good. So if you still have any preconceptions about him in the role simply because he's Ben Affleck, I say give him a chance. While he still didn't exactly disappear into the role, that's mainly because he's such a recognizable face that at first glance you see Ben Affleck, the star. So, it's more circumstance than anything else. Lastly, I really liked Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Even though she had a handful of scenes, one of the reasons I can't wait for the new Justice League movie is because of her.

   I also loved the cinematography by Larry Fong. One of my favorite scenes that was extremely well-shot is the scene where Superman is coming down from the sky to rescue flood victims. As he is coming down from the sky, the Sun is beaming down on him as if he is a being or angel sent down from Heaven. Another scene that was well-shot is when after Superman rescues a girl from a burning building, a bunch of citizens slowly reach their hands out to him, showing how they see him as a figure of hope. The score by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL was also very harmoniously done.

   To me, the film's biggest Kryptonite is Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Now I like Jesse Eisenberg and think he is a terrific actor. But he was very miscast as Lex Luthor and I thought he chewed the scenery like it was nobody's business. I'm guessing they wanted to offer a different take on the character, but it just did not work and it almost felt like a paycheck performance from Eisenberg. But hey, these movies do pay well.

   The film also had a bit too many endings. Without spoiling anything, I'll even say they didn't need to include the very last one they had.

    Overall, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is an almost incredibly well-executed entry in the latest DC Cinematic Universe. The acting for the most part is terrific, it has intriguing ideas, and even its technical aesthetics are well-executed.

Grade: B