Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Holly Hunter, Jeremey Irons, Gal Gadot,
Zack Snyder’s highly anticipated “Man of Steel” (2013) follow-up is arguably the most anticipated film of the year. I say arguably, because for those of us with a mentality over the age of 13 this is just another day, another superhero movie. Warner Bros/DC comics have bet the Kent farm on this summer movie (although its debuting in March) to make up for their recent box office bombs. Lucky for them, movies like this are already hits before they arrive in theaters. How many times can we sit through the Bruce Wayne origin? Anyone with an ounce of common sense can predict how this “versus” battle, which has a two-hour lead in, will play out. C’mon, where is the suspense? Dawn of Justice is an absurd bombastic film that feels more like “Pacific Rim” with two juggernauts clashing. Snyder takes the notion “more is more” to a preposterous new level.
Since ridding Metropolis of Zod (Michael Shannon) and saving the world, Superman (Cavill) has become the human hero, an icon with his very own statue in the center of the city. However, Kentucky senator Finch (Hunter) debates on the hill if Superman is acting within the law, demanding the “alien” figure appear before a hearing to account for recent actions that appear to have left innocent civilians dead. Across the bay in Gotham City, Bruce Wayne (Affleck) fears Superman’s unlimited power will one day be used to destroy the human race. “He answers to no one, not even God,” a woman testifies. Wayne begins constructing a plan to take down Earth’s newly appointed savior.
An absurd bombastic film
The film is at its best when Hunter’s character explores the political ramifications of superheroes. It’s a brief segment of the 2hr 40 min film, but a legitimate and grounding few scenes that asks better questions than just “who will win in a fight”. When the film starts talking “meta humans” it sounds like something out of an X-Men script. In fact, much of “Dawn of Justice” running time is spent setting up the oncoming “Justice League” films, introducing characters who have their own solo films in the pipeline. And that’s part of the problem, it’s just as focused on what’s next as it is what’s currently playing on the screen. Oscar nominee Eisenberg feels so out of place in the casting but his wacky persona in real life only authenticates his character.
The thunderous musical score (Zimmer/Junkie XL) is the loudest, most absurd thing I have ever heard. There is no mystery, no emotion, so creativity in the score. Polar opposite to what we heard in Nolan’s “Dark Knight Trilogy” which was composed by James Newton Howard/Hans Zimmer. It’s impossible for a viewer to separate what we already know about Batman from the seven films in the last 26 years. Even Wayne’s dreams are big budget, which exist to feed the audience until the big battle scene, since there isn’t much else for Batman to do before the fight. An entire film shouldn’t be built around a single fight scene that only has one possible franchise outcome. [minor spoiler] Yet when you think “Dawn of Justice” couldn’t get any worse, when there couldn’t be anymore nuclear explosions or buildings to fall; a creature that looks like something out of a Peter Jackson film appears. Despite all the darkness, grunting, violence (there is never any blood) and brooding images shown on screen, you realize there is still an 11-year-old mentality guiding this movie.
An overhyped, overblown movie that favors overbearing filmmaking and predictable outcomes over cinematic artistry.