[Movie Review] Justice Is Served In ‘Batman v Superman’
Born in 1975 and raised with Super Friends sheets on my childhood bed, Justice League of America cartoons on Saturday mornings, Christopher Reeve in blue spandex in theaters, and Linda Carter in red boots and “holy” Adam West one liners on TV, I am what comic book fanboys would call a “DC guy”, so for me, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is an event I’ve waited 40 years for, and it doesn’t disappoint.
While Marvel (owned by Disney) redefined what a blockbuster movie franchise looks like, with interweaving mini-franchises and one-off films all populating the same interconnected cinematic universe, the comic book giant’s longtime rival DC (owned by Warner Bros.) is just now getting into the fight, with an impressive slate of the most iconic superhero names of all time scheduled to arrive consecutively in theaters for the next decade.
The “DC Extended Universe” officially started with 2013’s Man of Steel, though production on that film was actually finished before DC’s current cinematic plan of attack was unveiled. When Man of Steel director Zack Snyder announced that he would return to helm Batman v Superman next, the excitement within the genre community shot through the roof.
When the subtitle was revealed to be Dawn of Justice, we all knew that this would be the true start of DC’s own shared movie universe, setting in motion the events that will ultimately bringing together the members of the Justice League for the first time ever in a live action film.
I’ve heard plenty of criticism toward Dawn of Justice, some complaining that it’s “too dark” or “too serious”, but I have to wonder just what movie these critics thought they were going to see. I have to say that I absolutely LOVE Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, seriously one of the best comic book based movies I’ve ever seen.
I was loving it before the opening credits even finished, as Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne somberly recounts a necessarily brief recap of the Batman origin story we already know, except it culminates with young Bruce being literally lifted out of a bat cave by the power of thousands of bats swarming around him. No, this is not like any Batman movie that has ever come before it, and it’s better for it’s occasionally trippy drifts in and out of Wayne’s tortured head.
My heart was pounding, literally on the edge of my seat for the entire two and half hours that followed.
I was not sold on Affleck going in, but he really did win me over with an understated, older and angrier version of the Dark Knight than we’ve ever seen before.
I was also quite skeptical about the casting of Jesse Eisenberg as the new Lex Luthor, but he too won me over as a much younger but no less diabolical take on the classic villain.
Henry Cavill, returning from Man of Steel, remains the perfect Superman, and while his new friends may get all the press, this really is essentially a sequel to Superman’s excellently executed origin story presented in Man of Steel, so it’s great to see Cavill own the role even more here.
Gal Gadot is absolutely the right choice to play the mysterious Diana Prince, exuding exotic beauty and ancient grace, and her first appearance in costume as Wonder Woman is easily the most applause-worthy moment in the film.
I thought the entire cast, including Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Diane Lane as Martha Kent, both returning from Man of Steel, provided great performances all the way around.
The Marvel movies are definitely more lighthearted, funny, and brightly colorful, but the DC movie universe is not supposed to look or feel the same, and Snyder does an amazing job of incorporating many iconic motifs, scenes, and blink-if-you-miss-it shots that are drawn directly from the source comic books that collectively inspired these timeless stories.
While some of the dialogue in the commercials and trailers made me cringe, it worked much better for me when seen within the context of the film, which packs a ton of epic punch into its lengthy running time but doesn’t seem nearly as long as it is.
When The Trinity of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman finally stand together, ready for battle, for the first time in movie history, I got chills and could not stop smiling, because the Dawn of the Justice League is finally here, and Batman v Superman is everything I hoped it would be.
Official Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by: Matt Artz
What did YOU think of this movie? Write your own review in the comments below!
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (rated PG13) is now playing at The Pioneer Theatre in Manteo (through May 5).