Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a good Batman movie, a decent Superman movie and a befuddling Justice League movie.
This film is the first to star the caped crusader since 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” by Christopher Nolan. Despite being only four years removed, this new Batman chronology is completely isolated from the Nolan trilogy.
Noted comic book aficionado Ben Affleck has picked up the cape and cowl to play this iteration of Batman and he steals the show.
Affleck’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne and Batman tell a story from the first time you see his character.
He is older, with wisdom spots in his hair, much larger, the biggest Batman we have seen in film to date and his face is full of anguish and pain, which Affleck accentuates perfectly.
Batman is a much more violent, he does not shy away from maiming his enemies and in some cases, leaving them more or less, dead.
Despite being told his origin story for the umpteenth time. I’m curious about what happened to this Bruce Wayne that has made him so cold and bitter to the world around him. Ben Affleck’s performance is met hand in hand by the performance of his costar, Henry Cavill, who plays Clark Kent and Superman.
Cavill does an excellent job at showing emotion despite being an omnipotent alien. This is extremely evident in one particular scene close to the midway point of the film.
In this scene Cavill’s acting shines as we find Superman in his most emotionally vulnerable state yet.
Director Scott Snyder has garnered my attention with Clark Kent since “Man of Steel” in 2013.
“Dawn of Justice” is no exception, the scenes with Kent and Amy Adam’s Lois Lane did not come off forced and were genuinely charming.
Unfortunately, when Kent switched into the cape everything changed for their relationship and this movie.
Lane was relegated to nothing more than a damsel in distress. I understand that’s how it works, Lois Lane gets in trouble and Superman saves her, but she was seconds away from death from what I counted, three times in this movie.
Instead of building their relationship, which they did perfectly in the Kent scenes, it just came off as a lazy way to explain why Superman was or was not here.
Other than these three, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor had the most screen time.
Eisenberg was trying a different approach as the villainous Luthor and it did not work. It felt like Eisenberg watched “The Dark Knight” and took notes on Heath Ledger’s method of playing a villain.
There’s nothing wrong with that, as Ledger’s Joker is one of the most iconic villains ever, but I don’t feel like it hit the right notes with Eisenberg and just came across as a poor duplicate.
Eisenberg stammered and fumbled through a lot of his dialogue, which helped get Luthor’s kookiness across, but it quickly got old, especially when his dialogue resulted in nothing worthwhile.
The starting and stopping of Luthor’s dialogue was matched by the editing of the film as a whole.
Too many cuts and fades to black made this two and a half hour watch feel even longer.
This was matched with a soundtrack that rose and sharply cut, which built great suspense and great cliffhangers. The unfortunate thing is that this happened way too many times and by the end of the movie it almost felt comical as it continued.
The diverse soundtrack added to the jarring effect, especially when Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman took the screen. Her Amazonian theme did not match that of the movie and felt pasted together, which can be said about the role of Wonder Woman in this movie altogether.
While watching “Dawn of Justice,” I began to wonder how much better it would be as a television series.
The cliffhangers would actually have weight and a full season would be able to give all the storylines adequate time to make them feel important.
Ultimately, that is the biggest offender in this film: It has too much going on.
“Dawn of Justice” is the groundwork for a franchise that is already confirmed to have nine movies released in the next four years, including two direct sequels.
It felt like Warner Brothers wanted to throw small teasers in this movie to promote all of those upcoming releases.
In the end I exited the theater with a lot of unanswered questions.
The teases and implications “Dawn of Justice” rolled out left me excited to get more but disappointed with what I got. It’s a solid movie that is carried by its strong lead performances and interesting characters but once you get past the two main attractions, there is very little there for the time being.