**Disclaimer – This is just how I perceive the film, not the ‘correct’ way, or the way that everyone should.
This what I, CorduroySams, liked and didn’t like about Batman v Superman**
** Also… SPOILERS! **
So when this film came out, I dropped that it was a 7/10 – all darkness and no fun. The amount of people messaging me with “When are you going to review BvS?”, “Why did you like it so much?”, and “WHAT?! A 7/10?! WHAT, DID YOU THINK IT WAS ANT-MAN?!?!” and I reply to them “Soon”, “I just enjoyed the fucker”, and “No, I didn’t think it was Ant-Man, did you see a 3/10?”
So I thought I’d write up a ‘small’ review. I will also explain my scale to people in the first paragraph, so you understand why it sits at a 7 out of 10 for me. Since people now believe 7 is a “FUCKING MASTERPIECE”, I think a scale of 1-10 needs to be spelled out to them… sadly.
Firstly, my scale. My scale actually goes to 12. I’ll explain 1-10 first.
1 – Shit
2 – Not so Shit
3 – Below Average
4 – Under Average
5 – Average
6 -Above Average
7 – Over Average
8 – Close to good
9 – Pre-tty, Pre-tty, Pretty Good.
10 – Good.
At this point you ask, “So explain 11 and 12, Sams!” as I will:
11 – Great, Fantastic, Amazing
12 – Masterpiece, cannot be topped.
A rating of ’11’ is kind of common. During the year there will be, on average, 3-5 films that I see that, to me, are astonishing. And then there is the sacred ’12’ rating which is a rarity. It’s not so often I will give a film a ’12’. And there’s only been two films I believe are worthy of my 12/10 rating: 12 Angry Men and Whiplash (and maybe When Harry Met Sally). The only two films ever, for me, to kneel at cinema god-like. Now saying that, I know there are more out there that reach this level; I just haven’t seen them yet. If you can’t tell, this system was inspired by This Is Spinal Tap.
Okay, so how does Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice get a 7/10 from me?
Let me explain.
There are some things in this film that I goddamn adored, and have never seen or heard in a lot of other comic book movies. And then… there are other things that make me sad. Given that the list of things I liked is a lot longer than the list of things I didn’t like, I’ll be flat out honest in this piece. So I’ll start with what I loved.
Easily the best thing in this movie is the cinematography. You have scenes in BvS like the origin scene of Batman right at the start which are shot so fucking beautifully that it’s amazing. The storyboard was a comic book that Snyder brings to life to the screen, would love to see the storyboards on this film, it would look just like a comic book!
You have scenes in BvS like the origin scene of Batman right at the start which are shot so fucking beautifully that its amazing; the close up shot of pearls of Martha’s neck breaking as the gun shoots a bullet into her skull. Fucking beautifully shot, and again something that has been missing from… I would say 8/10 comic book movies. Now I know in defence of this you may say: “Sams have you not seen Whedon’s shots in Avengers?” and I say to you Yes. I have but they are NOT as frequent as the works of Snyder and Larry Fong (DOP on BvS). This movie plays like a comic book and that has been something missing from this genre. As someone who has shot on cinema quality cameras and tried my absolute most to make shots look as perfect as they can be on a screen, this film’s cinematography is something to appreciate as art. Purely the greatest thing in BvS – Marvel, take notes.
Now, not the best score in a film, but I goddamn adored it. It’s Han Zimmer’s best for a comic book film. So much heart, and so much effort is in most of these tracks, especially the character themes. And the music drives a lot of the scenes more than the movie itself. With the help of Junkie XL (what a name), who was also the composer for Mad Max Fury Road, and Warner Bros., you took mad advantage of that. This is one of the most phenomenal soundtracks featured in any comic book film to date.
Characters & Actors
Even if you hated this movie, if anything, you cannot diss the acting from Affleck, Cavil, Gadot, Irons, and I will include Eisenberg because the motherfucker was just so evil, which brings us to…
Now firstly, anyone who said Ben Affleck would suck as Batman/Bruce Wayne are probably eating their words now! Ben’s acting more than makes up for that assumption, and now you’re biting your words for this. I’ll admit the character side of Batman was unusual; to see him straight up kill dudes in it, but he has in comics before and after fighting crime for 20 years, the guy is starting to get sick of people’s shit. By the end of the movie he realises it’s not the right way to do it, and should be a better vigilante.
Also, one thing that makes me happy, Bruce and Batman is a detective more in this than ANY OTHER Batman film, going back to the roots of the character in the original comic book. Seeing elements of Batman that we never got before on the big screen, and really giving him so much more depth than ever before.
Not a big fan of Superman in general but Henry Cavill is the only actor since Dean Caine to make me excited to look at the character again. Superman in this one is being challenged by everyone in a world where he just wants to help protect it from itself and other threats. I stand by saying that BvS is a solid Batman film, but they don’t ignore the Superman character or Clark Kent. There are times where I found parts of this… slow, to say the least. Having said that, I am not the biggest fan or most learned of the character. So for what I saw, I enjoyed. For the most part.
As far as villains go, fuck me, Lex is evil. Yes, nothing like the comics, and more like the Joker if anything. But the motherfucker wants power more than anyone else I have seen in a DC film. He literally despises anyone with a shred of more power or access than himself more than anyone else.
My assumption of the character is that Lex Jr is that he has grown with power for the last 20-30 years of his life, and growing up with that power has also grown his greed. Not for money, but to be more powerful than anyone else in his family. And when his father is out of the picture he becomes obsessed with being that powerful. Until a God enters the picture, and when he does his greed becomes stronger than ever. He wants a God to kneel before him, and eventually he does. Evil, cynical, and just a straight-up prick. Eisenberg made the character so strongly memorable for me, and for those things I loved his portrayal.
When you give a thin character like Lois Lane a lot of screen time in a movie, it just doesn’t work out. Amy Adams shows this really hard with only one scene being performed well, which is only four words; “It’s his mother’s name”. It’s hard when that’s all she says, and actually acts those lines.
The issue is here the film is huge, and the most lacking part of the film for me is that the relationship between Lane and Kent is… lacklustre and forced. We have to like this because it may be promised. Also, Lane comes across as your classic Mary Jane, a Damsel in Distress. She’s not. Lois Lane is a powerful female character from the DC comics that really can stand for anything… but in BvS she is a tool used to get Superman’s attention, which reveals him as Clark Kent more obviously than his fucking glasses.
Wonder Woman (a.k.a. Diana Prince)
I’ll be flat out honest. I have no understanding or knowledge of the character of Wonder Woman/Diana Prince. It was just a character that never excited me. Next to Superman, I’ve always been a hardcore Batman fan. But I loved Gadot’s performance as Wonder Woman/Diana. She stole the screen every time she appeared. I felt myself slapping my legs to the beat of the drums when she appeared in that badass outfit. She’s powerful, confident, and smart and strong… and this just makes me more excited for her standalone film coming out next year.
The casting was a fitting choice, although I still think Wonder Woman should be more of a brute, but still not complaining about it. Gadot makes the Amazonian Princess the warrior that everyone knows and loves (me as well now). I’m not 100% sold on the character because, yes, not a lot of screen time in this film. But remember it is BATMAN v SUPERMAN, she is only a side character in this movie. I want more, and I’m sure that was Zack Snyder’s, and Warner Bros.’ intention with her character.
Jeremy Irons’ relationship as Alfred to Affleck’s Bruce Wayne was great. It reminded me more of Earth One Alfred, and not the servant that did things for Master Bruce because he was afraid of being cut out of the will, but instead wants to help him and make sure he is in the right direction. Even with his decision-making he guides Bruce in the right way, by not suggesting, but outright telling him that Superman might not be the villain he has come to suspect.
This character relationship between the two makes me keen and excited for the standalone Batman flick. Finally we dropped the fragile and campy Alfreds from previous instalments and gained the man that trains Batman to be strong.
So, where do I stand on Doomsday? I didn’t hate it, if that’s what you mean. He was scary, and big, and the whole destruction porn doesn’t faze me for one reason. Shit isn’t real! Doomsday for me was entertaining and actually frightening. The idea of the trinity taking on a character like this as their introduction to each other? Well talk about a mother-flipping challenge!
What I don’t like about Doomsday? The fact it was given away in a trailer. Why fuck that up, WB/DC?! Did you not see how Terminator killed Genisys?? You give away the biggest deal of the film, and instantly you have nothing to hide from your audience. I know you were nervous but fuck me if you had hidden this you would have been fine and stable for at least a bit. You left nothing for the audience to guess. And if you had hidden this from us, it would’ve worked better. But you screwed that up… didn’t you?
So, that’s it for the acting/characters, went on a streak but I felt some of the performances had something to be said. So sue me.
I gotta say this, I can’t contain my love for the opening scene. It’s not needed at all, we’ve seen it and heard it all before! BUT FUCK ME! It has never been told this perfectly, with only one word in the whole scene. The cinematography is so beautifully done that you forget you’re watching a movie and literally think you’re watching a motion comic book. Now I know, it’s not down Crime Alley/Park Row as the legend is said of the location of Martha and Thomas Wayne, but man, I do not care. Synder knows how to make moments of history of this world come alive; and this is the greatest example of it. Everyone I know to have seen the film once or twice says the same as each other: “Man, we do not need another Batman origin story. But fuck me, it was worth it.”
I’ma add one more thing to this. A little point of the scene if you will, in this scene you watch Thomas Wayne defend his family by standing in front of his Wife and Child to the gunman. And he swings a punch but the gunman shoots and kills Thomas . That is the last thought that Bruce has of his father; a strong man who never stopped. That moment shapes Bruce into the Batman he is in this series.
** SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT**
BvS is a dark film. Which I like. Some say it’s too dark and no fun. Which I loved. I wanted a dark superhero movie because I’m sick of how bright and happy it is in the Marvel cinematic universe. I’m just over this ‘fun’ logic they give us, where no one dies, everyone is always a friend in the end — 10/10 how civil war will end; just watch both Avengers movies and you’ll have Stark and Cap holding hands saying “sry bro, will miss you!” — Whereas DC brings in a character like Doomsday, and gave it away horribly (shit marketing team there) which made fans say, “Well, that’s pointless ’cause they will never kill off Superman”.
And the fuckers did.
They killed off superman.
An attempt at something Marvel has gotten scared shitless over, even with a small side character like Phil Coulson. In a desperate attempt to keep the fans on their side they will bring him back to keep everyone happy; but will fuck up a character like the Mandarin. And please, do not mention Quicksilver in Age of Ultron. Introducing him, and killing him off in the same film! What is this, the same writing staff as AMC’s The Walking Dead?
DC, you grew balls! Big, brass, mother-fucking balls, and I love you for it! Thank you. Thank you, for growing these beautiful plums, in a beautiful bluish hue. (Three people, if they had read this far, will lose their shit at that).
BvS also uses modern terrorism in an attempt to make both Superman and the American government look like the bad guy by using Western terrorism and the terrorism of the Middle East. Example of Western Terrorism American president without saying no decides to nuke Doomsday without thinking of what it will do to Superman who is trying to do the right thing by helping them, which if he did his plan would of worked and the world would of been safe. Also looking at terrorism of Superman/Kryptonians destroying cities and monuments as aliens with no respect for humans, and in a modern way to get the modern audience on the side of understanding the best thing to do is to use what our real fear is in this world at the moment; being terrorism.
BvS is getting a lot of flack for these two things. As someone who takes pride in his own editing and grading, I can honestly say I feel that BvS is on the ball. The grading is great. It matches the tone explained above and has the warm feelings for Superman, the cold feelings for Batman and the gritty feeling for Doomsday. I love a well-shot and graded film. Doesn’t at fail at any point in making you feel what it wants you to feel, just by colour alone, and makes you believe those moments.
The editing is getting heaps of shade. I feel the issue here is people are getting it mixed with ‘pacing’. Now there’re a lot of fuck ups with pacing, that if the scenes were placed in the correct order, it would actually solve a lot of people’s issues. Some being that Lex changes suits in one scene because the start of the scene was a flashback and the end of the scene was bullshit and fucking confusing. Granted I didn’t notice it until the second viewing but still if those issues were fixed, we would have a lot of things sorted out. But please don’t hate on the editing. The film was well cut. The issue is in the screenplay…
Look I followed the plots happening in this film and didn’t find it confusing. But man, I can see why this pissed people off. The amount of subplots in this film would make anyone that is new to this universe, or a Marvel expert (from the films, not the comics) hate this film. It’s too much for some to be able to pay attention.
But for me, knowing the characters and this universe I didn’t think that was the bad thing about the screenplay. For me, it has to do with being based on my favourite comic book arc, The Dark Knight Returns. It only has one fucking scene from the comic, and puts it in there with hopes that it’s enough. It’s not enough! I get that Batman doesn’t trust Superman, but geez there are 2 books that set it up in TDKR. Where the fuck is that!?
And the immediate turnaround of the multiple ‘Martha’s??? — I admit guilty pleasure as a mama’s boy I dug this — still isn’t as strong as the comic. Batman should’ve kicked Supe’s dick in and said “Remember, I can kill you when I want. So be cool, dick”. Rather than freaking out over a name coincidence. Look I enjoy the emotion in the scene but its so thin in reality. Bad Goyer and Terrio. BAD! *Slaps hands*
Also, stop giving Snyder shit for the script. Yes, it’s a bad one. But his job as director is to present that script in the best way possible and he does make it a lot more bearable than it would be on the page, so give the mother fucker a break. Instead write your tweets to David Goyer and Chris Terrio. Again, I will defend this. The script is not all shit. There is some well-written dialogue for example:
“What we call God depends upon our tribe, Clark Joe. Because God is tribal. God takes sides. No man in the sky intervened when I was a boy to deliver me from daddy’s fist and abominations. Mm. I figured way back: If God is all powerful — he cannot be all good.
And if God is all good, he cannot be all powerful. Just like you.”
— Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg)
Some of these lines of dialogue are written and performed with so much heart and in context of the character they are based on. It is one of the things that holds the film together well, whether it’s wit, or emotional writing, in some scenes it’s pulled off. Especially how Eisenberg pulls them off, chews the scenery and at the same time steals the show.
One thing that shits me with the film is the geography. What the fuck? Gotham is across the pond to Metropolis? Now this may be realistic in the comics and such, but even then, what the fuck?! Then, why does Gotham have Batman when Supes could probably decimate the crime in Gotham in one night? This makes no sense. I guess it makes sense in the world building but I always had this idea that Metropolis was like Vancouver in Canada, more towards that side of North America, and Gotham was like Chicago/Boston/New Jersey. How did these end up so close together? I… I just can’t even try to defend this. Im sorry. I failed you BvS, you’re on your own for this one.
Admittedly there is not a lot that annoyed me about the film that should. Comes down to the pacing of the screenplay and the geography of this new DCEU that really pissed me off. But, this isn’t the worst Batman movie to come out — yes, I said Batman movie, Batfleck’s moments were a lot stronger than Superman’s, so it’s a Batman movie to me and for a lot of other people.
Clark and Lois’s moments are really boring to a lot of people and some were not even needed. We need to take Amy Adam’s screen time and give it to Gal Gadot. Whether she be playing Wonder Woman or Diana Prince. Whatever, Adam’s part in this is not needed as much as it is made out to be, and that time would be better spent developing Diana Prince’s character.
When it comes down to it, it’s painting a huge fucking picture in 2-3 hours and it doesn’t do too bad a job of it. I know that there will be a fan edit of the film to take out some unnecessary scenes, and probably rearrange scene order and then people might respect it. But I can’t hate this movie. I’ve seen it 3 times now and each time it doesn’t slow down for me, it excites me and I notice small things I missed in the background and such. For me I got what I wanted/predicted: a dark Batman movie. And I am excited to see what comes next of this DCEU. Suicide Squad looks like it will have the fun that everyone is so upset about. That’s the Marvel Effect — comic book movies can’t be dark… THEY HAVE TO BE FUN!
If anything, this isn’t a perfect film. But what fucking comic book movie is? Hardly any will make it to a solid 10/10. They’re all above average and then Deadpool comes around, which has content we don’t get often in the comic book genre and we lose our lids! TEN-OUTTA-TEN FROM EVERYONE! Comic book movies have come a far way since Raimi’s Spider-Man — there were others before that, but fuck it, that’s the one where everyone started to care about this genre — and realistically since then, there has only ever been two comic book movies that reach a solid 11/10 on my scale: Dredd and Spider-Man 2.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is an epic at nearly 3 hours long (whether theatrical or the upcoming extended cut) and has a whole lot of shit going on. It’s a world building exercise and shows a lot of potential for the series of films to come. From what I have seen from negative reviews, both fan and critical, it’s that BvS is something they doesn’t match what they’ve seen in the Marvel films. So you will hear a lot of “It’s too dark, not funny, and not fun”. Translation: “It’s not a Marvel film”; which really doesn’t even discuss the film itself. Yes, there are a lot of subplots in it that cover the range of drama, action, political and some romantic, but it gives this film and the characters in it a whole lot more depth than ever before.
For me BvS had what I wanted to see, which was not a Marvel movie. PERFECT! It also has elements that don’t get used to powerful effect as they should in Marvel movies: Cinematography, Colour Grading, Score and ballsy moments. That’s what I wanted to see. I gave it a 7/10 because there are flaws in this movie, but what movie in the comic book genre doesn’t?
In a world where people defend how great the Fast and Furious franchise is or expound on Michael Bay movies, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is not bad, it’s just different to what the Marvel audience and critics wanted. You want a bad comic book movie? Feel free to watch The Punisher with Dolph Lundgren. Because how the fuck can you hate one of the best fights in any superhero movie you have seen or will see:
Batman fighting Superman
Which was fucking awesome.