Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Review

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Posted by Turtlestack (1 posts) - - Show Bio

Spoiler warning! The below won't discuss specific plot points, but will discuss the film in some detail. Stay away if you're spoiler averse!

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a film that refuses to smile. It's relentlessly dour, taking the strict tone of its predecessor Man of Steel and doubling down on its bad mood. Blood seeps from tombs, children are borne aloft on the wings of a thousand bats, hundreds die in horrendous attacks, and slow motion sequences run rampant. It's all very, very serious.

But amidst all of its aggressive frowning are moments of unfiltered light, of imagery ripped directly from the best comic book splash pages and transformed into wonderful cinematic popcorn. There's undeniable glee to be had in seeing superhero titans Batman and Superman finally throw down, and in watching DC's Trinity of Supes, Bats, and Wonder Woman finally sharing the same screen. It's been a long time coming, and the pay off--if you were to measure it purely in geek spectacle--is impressive.

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If only the film wasn't so eager to always remind you of its stern nature. Dawn of Justice is almost oppressively downbeat. It doesn't allow a moment of joy for any of its characters, seeking to impress at every turn just how larger-than-life and mythic these characters and their struggles are. This is film that juxtaposes a montage of Superman saving people from across the world against a ponderous voiceover questioning the hero's trustworthiness. This is a film that shows a Batman so jaded that he's resorted to using lethal force against his enemies.

This dour tone leads to a film that's a chore in many stretches to get through, particularly in its slower-paced first half. It starts off well enough--we flash back to the devastating battle at the end of Man of Steel, with Bruce Wayne racing through Metropolis, avoiding raining debris in an effort to save employees located at one of his buildings. This street level view of the havoc created by super-powered people is haunting and affecting, and effectively sets up the animosity that Wayne/Batman carries against Superman for the rest of the movie.

What follows is an almost action-free first hour, punctuated by some heavy handed posing of the film's central theme: can absolute power (in this case, Superman) be trusted? Batman is firm in his belief that Superman's potential disastrous impact must be curtailed. The US Government for its part is becoming increasingly alarmed at Superman's unilateral, globe-spanning heroic efforts, and has begun a series of Senate hearings to investigate the unintended consequences from Superman's various actions.

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The rest of the film's major characters suffer from muddled motivations. At the end of Man of Steel, Superman had come to terms with his role as the hero of Earth, but Dawn of Justice brings him back to the previously mopey, unsure version of himself. Superman--one of the comic book world's most morally absolute, firm characters--spends most of Dawn of Justice in a wishy-washy state of funk. Lex Luthor--the film's main antagonist--is similarly clumsily handled. His reason for manipulating the two titular heroes is foggy at best, and you'll have to make several huge logical leaps to understand just how Luthor's master plan was carried out (and what it's ultimate aim was). Comic book Luthor is manipulative, sly, but above all he's brilliant, and is always steps ahead of his foes. Dawn of Justice's Luthor falls far short of that benchmark.

It's left to Batman, then, to carry the film's weight, and Ben Affleck's portrayal of an older, gruffer Batman/Bruce Wayne is impressive, easily making him one of the best to ever put on the cowl. As well as showcasing the fierce, calculating intelligence of Wayne, Affleck shows off the physicality of the Batman better than any of his predecessors, with a huge set piece near the end of the film being a magnificent showcase of this particular Batman's ferocity and brutality. Affleck's Batman is simply unafraid to just straight up hurt people, and the various ways he punches, slams, throws, stabs, and shoots enemies makes this action sequence the best Batman fight put on film yet.

It's no secret that Wonder Woman makes her big screen debut in Dawn of Justice, and it's almost guaranteed that her first big reveal in costume will be one that will have audiences cheering. Wonder Woman is simply a powerhouse here, although she's more cipher than defined character, earning applause through our assumed knowledge about the Amazonian superheroine than anything that happens within Dawn of Justice. In fact, all of the other Justice League tie-ins and character appearances that happen in the film feel similarly rushed. Yes, you do get your first glimpse at the Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman, but their brief time could have easily been excised without any detriment to the overall film.

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What's left, then, is the action, and for its last hour, Dawn of Justice becomes an almost non-stop flurry of over-the-top brawling. Stirring, exciting moments abound, and the extended brawl between Batman and Superman lives up to its star billing. The final battle, however, isn't as emotionally involving given the nature and late appearance of the new characters involved, relying more on heavier and meatier explosions and punches to sell its stakes.

All of the explosions and carnage of Dawn of Justice's second half seem like white noise by the end, blending into a formless mash of extreme audiovisual stimulation. Of course, there's a lot to be said about the value of spectacle, and Dawn of Justice certainly delivers on its promised load of ooomph. But as an overall experience, the baser joys of seeing Superman swat Batman away like a fly, or Wonder Woman using her sword and shield like a badass warrior, is overshadowed by the dire, clunky weight of the rest of movie. Joy isn't a prerequisite for a superhero film, but a smidgen of hope can help elevate the most serious of situations. Hope is what makes all the struggles, all of the sacrifices of its characters seem worthwhile. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is determined not to let you feel any.

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#1 Edited by CaptainMarvel4Ever (9890 posts) - - Show Bio

Seems I made the right choice skipping this (not that I'm surprised)

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#2 Posted by The_Kidd (12329 posts) - - Show Bio

A 3 star from CV? Well damn.

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#3 Posted by DarthAznable (16928 posts) - - Show Bio
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#4 Posted by Squalleon (9994 posts) - - Show Bio

Smart move, not mentioning the reviewers name ;)

My favorite reviewers didn't rate the film high...so I guess it is what I expect it to be :P

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#5 Posted by the_stegman (40312 posts) - - Show Bio

Whoever wrote this sure loves big words and poetic description.

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#6 Posted by BR_Havoc (1756 posts) - - Show Bio

Damn so what your saying is they learned nothing from Man of Steel and how the tone effected peoples enjoyment of the film. Really disappointing....

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#7 Posted by Wilbertus (535 posts) - - Show Bio

http://www.metacritic.com/movie/batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice/critic-reviews

Ouch ouch ouch.

I will still watch it and probably really enjoy the action scenes, but it's really disappointing that it seems to offer little else.

@br_havoc said:

Damn so what your saying is they learned nothing from Man of Steel and how the tone effected peoples enjoyment of the film. Really disappointing....

Exactly my thoughts.

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#8 Posted by Slayz (2236 posts) - - Show Bio

Ah, yes... The worst negative thing a film can do.

"Be serious".

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#9 Posted by MadeinBangladesh (12493 posts) - - Show Bio

YEP.....

So disappointing that the movie is not good for all the reviews

Critics are tearing this apart.

Poor DC and for shame Warner Bros.

~MiB

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#10 Posted by Black_Arrow (10286 posts) - - Show Bio
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#11 Posted by McBig (152 posts) - - Show Bio

It sounds like everyone feels the same. I'm still excited though. Can't wait to see it Saturday.

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#12 Posted by Squalleon (9994 posts) - - Show Bio

@slayz said:

Ah, yes... The worst negative thing a film can do.

"Be serious".

You can be serious and thought-provoking. But that needs a vision and talent that Snyder just lacks.

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#13 Posted by Black_Arrow (10286 posts) - - Show Bio
@slayz said:

Ah, yes... The worst negative thing a film can do.

"Be serious".

haha

Smart move, not mentioning the reviewers name ;)

This made me LOL.

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#14 Posted by SilverPool (4562 posts) - - Show Bio

How can this happen to MEEEEEEEE

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#15 Posted by Squalleon (9994 posts) - - Show Bio

@squalleon said:

Smart move, not mentioning the reviewers name ;)

This made me LOL.

It was the first thing I noticed and I laughed so hard :P

Imagine the dimension online arguments about DCCU have reached if you need to hide your name!

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#16 Posted by DarthAznable (16928 posts) - - Show Bio

@squalleon: Zack isn't completely devoid of talent. Just needs more structure. A movie like this needed more than one guy manning it.

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#17 Posted by tensor (8577 posts) - - Show Bio

I will wait an watch it for myself this weekend. Turtlestack first I am hearing that name must be new.

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#18 Posted by Black_Arrow (10286 posts) - - Show Bio

@black_arrow said:

@squalleon said:

Smart move, not mentioning the reviewers name ;)

This made me LOL.

It was the first thing I noticed and I laughed so hard :P

Imagine the dimension online arguments about DCCU have reached if you need to hide your name!

Well the writer knew that he would have been call a Marvel Fanboy until the day he died If he put his name on the review. It's hilarious that this is the only review I have seen on this site that doesn't have an author.

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#19 Posted by redmanta (605 posts) - - Show Bio

i saw the movie and i love it

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#20 Posted by Paragon_Sean (72 posts) - - Show Bio

I can't say that I am altogether surprised by this score. Snyder has an incredible knack for imagery, but just can't seem to find his footing as a storyteller. With talent like Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer, I was hoping he'd be able to produce something both mentally & visually stimulating. Man, I really wanted this film to be great...

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#21 Posted by FearTheLiving (8837 posts) - - Show Bio

@black_arrow: When they talk about it on Super Massive no doubt they'll say who wrote the review.

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#22 Posted by Squalleon (9994 posts) - - Show Bio

@squalleon: Zack isn't completely devoid of talent. Just needs more structure. A movie like this needed more than one guy manning it.

Definitely not. But his best movies (or at least his best rated ones) are the ones he goes for spectacle. His "thought-provoking" ones tend to not go well for various reasons.

I feel that if the MoS matter didn't escalate so much, to the point that no one will admit that they were wrong, and that didn't carry over to BvS, you would get much more objective reviews and comments from critics and fans alike.

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#23 Posted by DeathpooltheT1000 (18984 posts) - - Show Bio

Is time to say it, The Snyder Experiment should be over.

Snyder is great at visuals, but even his fight scenes and action scenes have the same problem.

STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE.

Snyder should be working with other directors, not being the director of this films.

Also 3 Star from this site, well DAMN!!!

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#24 Edited by tensor (8577 posts) - - Show Bio

@black_arrow said:
@squalleon said:
@black_arrow said:

@squalleon said:

Smart move, not mentioning the reviewers name ;)

This made me LOL.

It was the first thing I noticed and I laughed so hard :P

Imagine the dimension online arguments about DCCU have reached if you need to hide your name!

Well the writer knew that he would have been call a Marvel Fanboy until the day he died If he put his name on the review. It's hilarious that this is the only review I have seen on this site that doesn't have an author.

The Author is turtlestack this is his first post an review.He must be new.

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#25 Posted by knightofthechronicle (1396 posts) - - Show Bio

I hate how the film is getting beaten down because of how serious it is. I was expecting a serious movie from the get go. I'm going to enjoy the heck out of this movie when I see it (might see it a couple times actually).

I am disappointed by how people are treating this though. Maybe Justice League will be lighter in tone and people will finally be happy (if that's ever possible)

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#26 Posted by jorgeareizaga (483 posts) - - Show Bio

at least we still can enjoy Batman and Superman´s crotchs and butts

=(

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#27 Posted by Squalleon (9994 posts) - - Show Bio

@tensor said:
@black_arrow said:

Well the writer knew that he would have been call a Marvel Fanboy until the day he died If he put his name on the review. It's hilarious that this is the only review I have seen on this site that doesn't have an author.

The Author is turtlestack this is his first post an review.He must be new.

Its a fake account!!!111!!!1!!

Lol. We are just kidding around.

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#28 Posted by Doc-Holiday (3850 posts) - - Show Bio

Not at all surprised. The trailers gave WAY too much away with showing just about everything.

I may still see it but have little to any expectations.

I still feel they picked the wrong person for Wonder Woman, mostly on her body, Superman and Batman are both huge and yet Wonder Woman has stick-thin arms and barely looks to weigh 50lbs and we're supposed to believe she is as powerful as Superman?

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I'm with those who thought Gina Carano (from Deadpool) would have made a great Wonder Woman

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#29 Posted by Stahlflamme (5849 posts) - - Show Bio

@squalleon: Zack isn't completely devoid of talent. Just needs more structure. A movie like this needed more than one guy manning it.

No, he's got talent, but its very unrefined. I don't think I've seen a truly great film from him. For the most part I think he is pretty much style over substance and in case of 300 the visual style made it unwatchable for me.

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#30 Posted by Stefano (2562 posts) - - Show Bio

http://www.metacritic.com/movie/batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice/critic-reviews

Ouch ouch ouch.

I will still watch it and probably really enjoy the action scenes, but it's really disappointing that it seems to offer little else.

@br_havoc said:

Damn so what your saying is they learned nothing from Man of Steel and how the tone effected peoples enjoyment of the film. Really disappointing....

Exactly my thoughts.

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#31 Edited by deactivated-5967bf6197d40 (2560 posts) - - Show Bio

Totally gonna catch this movie on TV, when I'm sitting at home Friday night and there's nothing to do. These people don't deserve my money. How the heck do you manage to screw this up?

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#32 Posted by viin (953 posts) - - Show Bio

So this site gave Man of Steel 5/5 but gives this a 3/5?

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#33 Posted by captain_batman_FTW (8905 posts) - - Show Bio

Whoever wrote this sure loves big words and poetic description.

Exactly what I thought.

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#34 Posted by Squalleon (9994 posts) - - Show Bio

@viin said:

So this site gave Man of Steel 5/5 but gives this a 3/5?

The site has plenty of reviewers.

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#35 Posted by Petey_is_Spidey (11700 posts) - - Show Bio

@viin said:

So this site gave Man of Steel 5/5 but gives this a 3/5?

They gave MoS a 5/5? SOMEONE GAVE MAN OF STEEL A GOOD STORE?!??!

I don't believe you.

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#36 Posted by StarBrand1 (661 posts) - - Show Bio

@captainmarvel4ever: why do you always do this? Instead of reading and watching things and forming an opinion, you literally let this site dictate what you do.

4 star movie, the complaints i have read here are ridiculous.

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#37 Posted by DarthAznable (16928 posts) - - Show Bio

@stahlflamme: Watchmen was close. I think it's pretty great but it has its flaws like all movies.

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#38 Posted by fables87 (1781 posts) - - Show Bio

I didn't like Man of Steel at all, so my expectations for this movie are low. I might see the movie just to see how they do Wonder Woman, but still not as excited as I should be.

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#39 Posted by the_stegman (40312 posts) - - Show Bio

@knightofthechronicle: Well, Chris Terrio said JL will have a much lighter tone than MOS and BvS, if that helps.

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#40 Posted by StarBrand1 (661 posts) - - Show Bio

the same people giving it bad ratings are the same people who didn't like the movie 3 years ago, before it even came out

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#41 Posted by CaptainMarvel4Ever (9890 posts) - - Show Bio

@starbrand1: I probably wasn't going to see it anyways, now people who were more interested than I was are saying it wasn't great, why should I spend two and a half hours on a movie I don't want to watch?

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#42 Edited by SpitfirePanda (2573 posts) - - Show Bio

I still plan to see this and enjoy it.

Edit: Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 38% but the audience score is 84%. Honestly, I tend to trust the audience more than the professional critics.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/batman_v_superman_dawn_of_justice/

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#43 Posted by Petey_is_Spidey (11700 posts) - - Show Bio

So it seems that 95% of people's main gripes are that:

  • It's "TOO SERIOUS" (Whatever that means)
  • Too "Philosophical"
  • Too much CGI (a legitimate complaint, but not a major one)
  • Pacing issues towards the end (again, a legitimate complaint, but seeing as I loved MoS, and people said the same thing about that, its not a biggie for me).
  • Is "messy" (I will have to wait and see the movie for myself, but honestly, I RARELY ever have a hard time following the plot of a film, so I doubt I will with this one).

It's funny, this is like MoS ALL OVER AGAIN. Very divided. It currently has an 8.6 on IMBd, 3/4 on Rolling Stones, and other great reviews, but also has some trashy ones. Also, as a side not, it has an 86% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, compared with 76% of Man of Steel, 91% of the Avengers, and 94% of the Dark Knight.

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#44 Edited by Bl00dwerK (958 posts) - - Show Bio

Good. I hope it bombs at the box office and DC figures out this gritty BS isn't what people want...

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#45 Posted by deactivated-5967bf6197d40 (2560 posts) - - Show Bio

@petey_is_spidey: Don't forget that Superman apparently isn't even a character here and the villain's plan makes no sense. And that Batman comes off like a jealous brat and Superman like a pompous above it all jerk

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#46 Posted by Petey_is_Spidey (11700 posts) - - Show Bio

@petey_is_spidey: Don't forget that Superman apparently isn't even a character here and the villain's plan makes no sense. And that Batman comes off like a jealous brat and Superman like a pompous above it all jerk

The bolded part I could tell from the trailers.

Everything else I have to see for myself. People said that Superman was a murderer and reckless in MoS, but that was entirely false when I watched the film. So I am going to see it for myself and form my own opinion.

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#47 Posted by Petey_is_Spidey (11700 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow, I have never seen so many people who WANT a movie to fail...

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#48 Posted by Claymore1998 (16541 posts) - - Show Bio

I am actually excited for the movie after reading the review. I do prefer darker movies. Personal preferences I suppose.

But from the sound of it we get to see very little of Doomsday in the movie that is sort of disappointment. I would have liked to see the character evolve and explained. It's such a cool concept, an ultimate killing machine with no other purpose than destruction. It would also be cool to see Luthor's reason for creating it and how it looks and feels remarkably different compared to a Kryptonian.

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#49 Posted by Slayz (2236 posts) - - Show Bio

@doc-holiday: Except most reviews literally state that the trailers do a poor job of portraying the film, and that they excluded most of what was in the movie.

So that whole, "Trailers spoiled the movie!" BS? Yeah, not even close.

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#50 Posted by wrucebayne (568 posts) - - Show Bio

3/5 sounds extremely generous given the overall negative review.

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