“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” was released in the United States Friday. Although the movie brought in more than $166 million opening weekend, breaking the previous March release record, it has been met with mixed reviews. “Batman v Superman” only received a 29 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and many critics tore the movie apart, claiming it was too dark and lacked focus. However, the film has been met with unfair criticism. The movie is nowhere close to perfect, but it is not as bad as many critics make it out to be.
“Batman v Superman’s” greatest strength is its well-done characters. Ben Affleck is arguably the best movie Batman ever. He portrays both Bruce Wayne and Batman flawlessly. Where previous movies introduced us to a young, idealistic Batman, this one shows us a grim, gritty, older Batman who has become disillusioned with the world after fighting an endless battle against crime for more than 20 years. It is implied the Joker killed Robin years ago and time has only made this Batman’s inner demons stronger. It is clear that at least part of him has snapped, and the caped crusader has given into his sadistic side, fighting with a brutal violence a younger Batman would not think of.
Actress Gal Gadot stole the show as Wonder Woman. She effortlessly exudes an air of nobility and confidence that is quite fitting for an immortal warrior. Although only in costume briefly, Wonder Woman held her own during the final fight scene, and fans are excited to see her standalone movie which should release sometime next year.
Jesse Eisenberg’s interpretation of criminal mastermind Lex Luthor polarized critics and audiences. Eisenberg’s Luthor differs from the comics, and he oozes an unsettling mixture of arrogance, brilliance and awkwardness. The result is an entertaining and compelling villain.
One complaint against “Batman v Superman” is that it is too long. The film can afford to shave about 40 minutes off its runtime, but to be fair to DC, they are playing catch-up with Marvel. For whatever reason, Marvel comics was able to get a significant head start over DC in terms of building a cinematic universe. “Batman v Superman” is setting up for the Justice League, DC’s equivalent of The Avengers. Marvel had years of movies including “Iron Man,” “Thor” and “Captain America” to lead up to the first Avengers movie. Since DC is racing the clock, it had to fit a lot into just this one film. Some scenes certainly should have been cut, but when you account for the time crunch it becomes clear why so much was jammed in. Nevertheless, “Batman v Superman” did an excellent job setting up for the Justice League. Many of the characters were introduced in a cool and creative way.
Thanks to director Zack Snyder, the fight scenes in “Batman v Superman” were superb. Snyder is known for impressive cinematic fights, previously directing the hit movie “300,” and his expertise shows in this film as well. The fights were brutal, excellently choreographed and well shot. The camera angles showed the action in the best way, without jumping around too much and making the audience lose their bearing.
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is not a perfect movie by any means. However, it is a fun, dark and action-packed adventure, which is what one wants when watching a movie based on DC comics. When one looks at what DC is trying to accomplish in future movies, “Batman v Superman” is a slightly faltering, but not terrible, start. The characters who have been introduced are excellent, and it will be exciting to see where gritty Batman, heroic Wonder Woman and the rest end up in future movies.