(Note: This review contains no story line spoilers that were not obvious in the trailers)
So when Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice premiered in Hollywood, the fan reaction was amazing. People were posting far and wide about how amazing it was. That is until the critics had a say. A movie that premiered on Rotten Tomatoes at 95% Fresh (based on viewer response and is currently 71% for that same metric) only comes in at a 31% Fresh for critics. So who is right, the audience or the critics? I am here to tell you both.
Lets start with the good.
- It is a beautiful movie with a lot of very cool artistic sequences that I am positive will be translated by someone to the comics, if not other media. One particular scene at the very beginning of the movie struck me as a great twist on something we have seen many many times. Also, the scene where we show Superman’s battle with Zod and crew from Bruce’s standpoint is a sight to behold.
- Batman, while not incredibly comic book accurate, is EASILY the closest version to the comics to date. When the movie “Batman” (2020) starring Ben Affleck finally releases, I suspect it will take the place of “Batman” (1989) as my favorite Batman movie. He is dedicated, he is incredibly smart, he is a complete asshole and he beds random women. More to the point, he is a detective who has dedicated his life to fighting the bad guys. More on my opinion on that can he read here.
- Superman LEARNED from Man of Steel. My biggest gripe about that movie was how he handled the fight in it. While not directly, it is addressed in this movie. Superman IS much closer to the pillar of virtue we expect him to be.
- We introduce a female superhero and no one is screaming (or even inferring) “equality”. It does not seem shoe horned in and it seems natural that she is there. Lets face it, we need more female superheroes and believe me when I say, Wonder Woman kicks some major ass!
- The Batmobile is ALMOST as cool as the Tumbler from The Dark Knight movies, making it the second coolest Batmobile ever.
Now the bad:
- There were three sequences, all linked, that were horrible. Like actively upset me and made me want to yell at the screen type of stuff. They were all related to Batman and if they were cut I would have been MUCH happier with this movie.
- Batman killed people. That is my one problem with his character in this movie.
- There were a couple sequences where you didn’t know where someone was. Is Gotham right across the water? Are we in Metropolis now? Where are people going? What is going on? There is a lot of that in this movie.
- Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor is much better than expected. Not great, but lets be honest, we have never had a great Lex Luthor on the large screen. (Spacey did the best acting, but it was written extremely poorly).
- The pacing was done much better than most “someone vs someone” story lines. Often times those stories don’t give enough time (or too much time) to the true villain of the story.
- About three quarters of the way through the movie, a VERY obvious comic book fact is mentioned that I never realized and I feel like an idiot because it’s so obvious (and has been since 1938). By the sounds in the theater, I am not alone in not realizing it. Keep an eye (ear?) out for it.
- People were upset that Gal Godot was playing Wonder Woman. They were worried that someone with such a small frame could not play the part of a warrior. Stop worrying. She did great and looked the part.
So yes, it was a fun movie to watch, I might even go see it again, this time in 2D (as you tend to lose details in 3D). I do suggest comic book fans go to see it, just don’t expect greatness and prepare for some brief scenes that you wish weren’t there. Don’t listen to the critics, make your own decision about the movie. IMHO, this was much better than Man of Steel, and not just because Batman was in it.
I give this movie 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.