Saturday, March 26, 2016

JAFFA JURY: Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice Review

"I've killed monsters before."

When Ben Affleck was named the Dark Knight for Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (BvS), I was part of the minority who loved the news, while the internet pooed their pants and hurled them en masse at Warner Bros. for doing so. After this flick, Affleck stands as my favourite live-action Bats ever, with Laurence Fishburne equally flawless as Perry White. But the director is Zack Snyder and BvS proves Zack never casts badly.

HENRY IS HOT: This Superman actually looks like the ultimate force on the planet.

As a fan, I love Snyder's style. Dark, yet highly contrasted images, with rapid short scene swaps that are perfectly at home in front of eyes used to finger scrolling through social media apps or channel surfing, and BvS is no exception. Here meaty storylines of pop's biggest EVER icons race towards each other and an inevitable impact.

Batman is haunted by more than the death of his parents. The destruction and lives lost in the Superman vs Zod grudge match that was Man of Steel and warnings from a post-apokoliptic future to save Lois Lane (Amy Adams) from her fate.

One draws Bats perfectly into Metropolis and the other is a fanboy wet dream, from the moment the omega sign is seen on the desert floor. What waters down this wet dream is that it's never confirmed if Lois's near death experience at the end of this film is the near death experience in question. Clarifying this pivotal point would've boosted the hype for the next film in the Justice League chain.

Alternatively, Superman's (Henry Cavill) path has many great angles to it. Through Lex Luthor's (Jesse Eisenberg) manipulation of the public, media and the senate, the world starts asking 'Who polices the un-policeable?' 'Why do we look outside ourselves for salvation?' and 'What happens our saviours fail us or turn on us?' among them.

DC needs to give deviantARTist Camw1n a job for this fan work!
As Kal-El struggles to find his own answers, handle expectations and tackle battlefields he can't trust to portray his intentions, Lex gains access to Kryptonian technology and thus leverage over Superman. With this he sends Kal to kill the Bat, hoping to remove a thorn from his side and reveal to the world the wolf in sheep's clothing their 'God' truly is.

When that plan backfires after the film's title bout (through a shared bond I never realised), Luthor does what any businessman would do; resorts to plan B and unleashes Doomsday. Sad thing is, it's 'doomsday' for the script as well.

Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) joins the fight, but doesn't say much - leaving her best moments to come from her previous socialite scenes and a photo which reveals the version of the amazon princess the DC movieverse is running with.

Batman helps keep the Doomsday war within the two cities (oddly Gotham is just across the harbour from Metropolis), which doesn't gel with his initial angst towards Superman. This angst also highlights why his final talk with Diana contains a mission that would make more sense if it was Diana's purpose being told to Bruce.

And the ultimate thing that rots my undies? BvS portrays Lex as insane, when he is anything but.

Lex is a man who worked his ass off to be the idol of millions, only to be overshadowed by an alien. He wants humanity looking back to itself (aka him) for salvation, not putting its hand up to a false god. With this he goes to war, aiming to remove his competition whatever the cost.

Are these flaws big enough to sink BvS? No. Sure the editing table seems to have had too many 5 cent opinions treated as gold, however teases of Darkseid, Aquaman, Cyborg and Flash are worth it all. We're finally expanding DC for the public beyond Batman and Superman! God knows it's overdue.

DESCRIBE THIS FILM IN RANDOM JAFFAS: Batman's Crossfit, Nod to Dan Jurgens, Mum knows best, Aquaman's trident, Amazons are better thieves, Batplane.


  1. Hello Dan!
    Long time no see!
    I got to bug my husband to go to the movies and watch BvS.
    I sort of loved it until the middle break. Great script, Characters motives well written. Loving Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne. And even having a sort of a girl crush on Diana.
    Even my husband was admitting to be enjoying it.
    On second part... Well i'll just say agree 100% with what you wrote. Specially about Lex Luthor, that I find nowadays, one of the most interesting characters on Justice league, and here gave me the unfortunate memory of the Riddler in Batman Forever. A no no! And even the way he is warning Batman of what's coming in the future, that "shoot me in the head" crazy approach, was very unlikely.
    Also I didn't realized the connection between Batman and Superman, until now! And I'm reading this since I can read!
    The scene of Cyborg was amazing. my kids would have loved to see him. In the end of the movie, I and four other people insisted on waiting to see if there was a final scene. For my husband complaint. There wasn't :(
    I had so see what You thought about it.

  2. Oh wow - great to see you again Aliera! You are right, Lex did seem more like Riddler in Batman Forever - good call!

    Those clips of Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg were so cool - I can't wait to see more of them, Cyborg especially.

    I waited right through all the credits too. I get that they didn't because it's become a Marvel thing, but I still had to check and be sure ;) Hope your family is well!