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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Coming Soon

Alright, so this review is of the longer variety but it’s not quite as long as the theatrical version of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Hmmmmm even the title is long. Talk about foreshadowing…oh and more importantly there are zero spoilers here assuming that you have at the vaguest idea of what this movie is about. Time to get to it.
A man with god-like powers has risen above the rest of humanity and while most revere him, one in particular wants him held in check. Why? Before getting into all of that it’s important to know what has lead to this breaking point. In 2013 Zack Snyder took a gamble in creating a much darker version of the savior of Earth who earned the name Superman in Man of Steel. The edgy vision that Snyder brought to theaters divided audiences into separate factions. There were those that cringed at the seemingly amoral actions and destruction unleashed upon Metropolis and its inhabitants. Then there were the ones that embraced the new, more mature path the film took and rejoiced the updated storyline. Playing it safe is something that Zack Snyder and his writers will never be accused of. Its modest financial success wasn’t anything that would cement a sequel but thankfully Warner Bros. saw a bigger picture, a MUCH bigger picture in fact. And bigger is exactly what the follow-up movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, would become.
In the chaotic aftermath of Kryptonian titans battling it out and Metropolis being the unfortunate backdrop to an intense game of Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots, the collateral damage is astounding. With this destruction comes dire consequences. The dominoes that began falling on that day would come to shape the future in a way that most couldn’t imagine. While Kal-El (Henry Cavill) aka Clark Kent aka Superman (shhh that identity is a secret so please don’t spoil it for others) blindly fought off his adversaries, another subplot was unfolding. This Superman caught the eye and ire of one Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) who also happens to fight bad guys who deserve justice but, for whatever reasons, have avoided the grasp of traditional law enforcement. Bruce vows to bring this Superman to his knees as he believes no one man should hold this much power. In order to do this he’ll need to use all of his resources and he’ll have to do it as is secret alter-ego, Batman. As these two caped crusaders face off while focused intently on each other, someone far more insidious awaits in the shadows. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is full of surprises.
The concept that started off as a simple sequel to Man of Steel has evolved into so much more. Warner Bros. allowed Zack Snyder and his writers to go back to the drawing board many times before getting to the version of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that we see before us today. This has also allowed the cast to grow immensely as it clearly will serve as a springboard to launch DC Comics into the ensemble superhero arena. The Justice League is already slated for a 2017 release which means that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Other actors reprising their roles from the 2013 movie are Amy Adams, Diane Lane and Laurence Fishburne. The new characters is where all of the fun is located. We get to see bad boy Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) as well as Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) who always seems one step ahead of the boys. And of course you can’t have Batman without Alfred (Jeremy Irons). I could go on with more names but I’ll save a few surprises for your discovery.
Some critics were quick to pile on Zack Snyder for reducing much of Metropolis to ruins. Well those same critics will still have probably have their Superman undies in a Kryptonite bunch over this one since there’s more of the same. For whatever reason, the stakes feel higher and focus is laser sharp on what path Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice needs to take. It’s not pretty and it’s not feel good fairy tale-ish. Necessary. In a word, necessary comes to mind when thinking of how to describe the profoundness of the events that take place. The tone continues on its dark path from Man of Steel so don’t look for cheeky back and forth banter like some other ensemble superhero movies.
My personal biggest reservation coming into this movie was the casting of Ben Affleck to pull off such a pivotal role. It’s not like his performance in Daredevil (2003) was a screaming endorsement for how these types of roles should be played. Well I have to give it to Zack Snyder here. He created a Bruce Wayne/Batman that Affleck could thrive in playing. Who knew a cynical bitter 20-year veteran bat vigilante would be the best way to take his character? Shocker! Seriously. Having said that, given that he’s almost 44 years of age they might want to speed up the production on these next several DC Comics movies because there’s only so much special effects can do. Jesse Eisenberg is extremely compelling as Lex Luthor, think Mark Zuckerberg on LSD. Just because of how he behaves audiences will either love him or absolutely hate him.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice can hang its hat on the fact that even though it’s long (151 minutes) there’s a ton going on. Lulls are few and far between, so good luck on finding time to get a concession refill or a restroom pit stop. With so much going on it feels a bit jumpy and rushed at times but I’d rather have it be that way than being too slow and methodical. The larger problem with this approach is that with its pace there isn’t really room for dramatic build ups. If a car is continuously driving 85 mph in a straight line there comes a point where it no longer feels fast. Shifting gears and making sudden turns makes for a more thrilling ride. This analogy fits the plot and pace perfectly. As for spoilers, you’ll find nothing here but I’d suggest getting to theaters much sooner than later unless you don’t mind cats being let out of the bag left and right. The internet can’t help itself when it comes to movies like this. The same goes for social media, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. I do recommend seeing this movie, which I never thought I’d say. If you want some balls to the wall fighting and chaos this is your ticket. Those looking for something deeper and more thought provoking may want think twice. And if you can even fathom it, by the time it reaches Blu-ray and HD digital there will be an addition 30 minutes of worthy material to enjoy. Whoa!

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

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