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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Movie Review: C+

This film is an example of why taking your time is a good thing. The amount of untapped and unfinished potential is upsetting to me as a huge Batman fan, but despite some heavy flaws the movie is still enjoyable and fun to watch.

Without spoiling anything (even though I'm only now posting this months later) the movie features the Superman we met in Man of Steel and an aged, 20-year veteran Batman who views Superman as a threat that needs to be dealt with. This is not your comic book Batman. This is a man who is jaded, angry, vengeful, and has no hope in himself or mankind. Even is Superman has done nothing to warrant being viewed as a threat, the fact that he has so much power and all the corrupt spirits Bruce has seen over the years causes Bruce to view the 1% chance Superman could be a threat as an absolute.

What ensues is awesome action and the greatest live-action Batman we've seen to date in Ben Affleck. I grew up with Michael Keaton. I was lukewarm to Val Kilmer. I hated George Clooney. I really liked Christian Bale. Ben Affleck is the best live action Batman to date.

Henry Cavill is an awesome Superman. He has the charm for Clark Kent and the imposing physique for the Man of Steel. We get a lot more dialogue and chances for Cavill to show that off in this movie, and he really is a good fit for the role.

Jeremy Irons is Alfred Pennyworth, and also nails the role. He has limited screen time but is very fatherly and witty, and actively assists in Master Wayne's bat-scapades much like his comic book counterpart.

So if the action is great and the main characters are awesome, why only a C+?

Well, not all the characters are great. I'm not a huge fan of Amy Adams' Lois Lane, and she is unnecessarily thrust into every major plot point. She is even set up to be a key future plot point for future films in Dawn of Justice. She has a pointless subplot that goes no where, just to tie her in to the overall story.

Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor is campy. He feels out of place in the film. He is quite different from his comic self (which I am personally OK with) but it feels like Eisenberg dials up the ham meter in this one. He only has one scene where he feels like he grasps Luthor and feels menacing, but it is a short scene.

Gal Gadot doesn't get to do much with Wonder Woman. Honestly you could leave her out of the film and nothing changes. I don't know if she's good or bad as Diana, because of how little we see of her and how little impact she has. Certainly, she plays a large role in the fight and we get some good action out of her, but we see very little of her as a character.

The themes are muddled. Yes, I fully am aware of the biblical implications and the talking points they were looking to generate, but they are explicitly talked about for a few minutes in one scene here or there and never brought up again, even in an implied matter.

The movie does a poor job of explaining the how's and why's. Bruce Wayne's motivations are abundantly clear and well-developed, but my wife often leaned over asking why Luthor, for example, would be doing what he's doing. If you read the comics, it's easy enough to follow but for non-readers there seems to be a flaw in the writing where things aren't well explained or defined. Some may not find this to be an issue, and simply say it's 'for comic book fans'. But when 99% of the general population isn't reading the comics the writing needs to be easy to follow for any and everyone. It's a flaw in the script or presentation thereof. It also has some plodding points, breaking up the pacing of the film.

Still, I enjoyed myself and the movie. I just felt that Zack Snyder, of 300 fame, is an ill fit for the types of human story and deep meaning DC appears to want in it's comic book films. Or they need new writers, either or. But the action was great and we saw Batman as the practiced, strategic, battleground-sculpting hero that he is. His mind is as powerful as Superman's body, and that makes this all work. I will say, though, I think Man of Steel is better and enjoyed that more, despite being a huge Batfan and disliking Superman.

Granite Score: C+

Wife's Review: Eh. Batfleck was awesome, but the movie was boring a lot of the time. It was ok. I prefer Man of Steel.