By Poyraz Akay
A couple days ago, I finally watched Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice,” one of the most anticipated movies of the year. It is the movie every superhero fan has been waiting for: Batman and Superman finally share the big screen for the first time in movie history. The producers spared no expense and even spent $150 million just for the marketing, so not just comic book fans got excited to see that movie and now it’s out, now it’s here.
The movie is a follow-up to “Man of Steel” and introduces the audience into the DC universe (present time).
It starts off right where “Man of Steel” left off—in the middle of the fight between Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod (Michael Shannon), this time from Bruce Wayne’s perspective, played by Ben Affleck, who witnesses countless people dying. This event leads to Bruce Wayne returning from his retirement as Batman. Months later Superman is held responsible for the destruction of Metropolis and Gotham City, which opens the question if this world needs a Superman. Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) uses this discussion in order to trigger Batman and Superman into a fight. Luthor wants to eliminate both superheroes and creates a threat that might be too big for Superman or Batman.
Long before the movie came out there have been major concerns about the cast, one question came up over and over again; will Ben Affleck play a good Batman/Bruce Wayne? Yes, he did. Affleck gives Batman a whole new touch; he is older, more experienced and darker. The motives behind his actions are believable and reasonable. Do I want to see Affleck’s version of Batman again? Absolutely!
Henry Cavill already presented his portrait of Superman/Clark Kent in “Man of Steel,” this time you can really see Superman’s struggle finding his place in society. He is new to this world, is he a hero or a threat? Cavill delivers Kent’s issues trying to figure out what the right thing is.
Jesse Eisenberg gets an “A” for effort for his portrait of Lex Luthor. He was trying too hard; his performance was over-acted. But in his defense, he gave it a shot and presented us a young version of Superman’s archenemy, who, similar to Superman, still tries to figure out what he really wants.
Gal Gadot’s version of Wonder Woman was quite impressive; she was also criticized at first for her skinny looks and lack of acting experience. Gadot plays a great warrior and gets people excited for the actual “Justice League” movie.
Let’s talk about the movie itself. First of all, we need to look at Zack Snyder, a visionary director who is known for his realistic and violent graphics (“300”) and also for transforming comic books into movies by sticking close to the source material (“Watchmen“). So yes, there are great action scenes and incredible special effects.
The next important thing you need to know before watching this movie is the title: “Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice.” While the trailers promise a Batman vs. Superman movie, it isn’t. It is a setup movie for the “Justice League” and it introduces the main characters from the DC Universe, which is dark, filled with crime, corruption and vigilantes.
Based on that it can hardly be said what the main message of this movie is. It feels like you are watching several movies in one; we have a sequel to “Man of Steel,” dealing with the question “do we need a Superman?” We have a Batman movie, that deals with moral and vengeance. And we have a Justice League movie. So basically we see a whole lot of plots that somehow try to connect, but at the end fail to do so. It seems like a bunch of scenes mashed together in one big movie.
Based on that you can’t tell if it is a good movie or bad movie, it has great scenes; such as the first meeting between Clarke Kent and Bruce Wayne that builds up the tension, or awesome action sequences such as the fight between Batman and Superman and maybe one of the most entertaining Batman fight scenes ever seen on the big screen.
The problems are around those scenes, such as the motive behind the fight between Batman and Superman, which seems forced. The way the fight ends seems cheesy and underdeveloped. The conflict between Batman and Superman gets interrupted by forcing more members of the Justice League into the picture, which is done poorly and so lazy that it is unnecessary presenting them in the first place.
In conclusion, “Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice” is a decent set-up for the “Justice League,” but can’t survive on its own because of its overwhelming plot and lack of structure. It is a waste of potential with great moments, which are worth watching.
I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the DC universe, definitely every Batman fan and any action fanatic even though it is only PG-13, there will be an R-rated version. Ben Affleck might become the best Batman we have ever seen.
My rating: 3 stars