Spoiler Alert

8 reasons Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is not what anyone expected

8 reasons Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is not what anyone expected

First things first: This list is full of spoilers! So if you haven't seen the movie yet, bookmark this and buy your ticket.

Cool?

OK. Now, this is a list on how Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice surprised audiences both in a good and in a bad way, so I'll try to keep it as objective as possible.
Let's get this started.

1. The cast and characters

Starting off, Ben Affleck's Batman. A lot it's been said about his casting.

There are a lot of fans out there who fully trusted Affleck with the role, but let's face it, he couldn't fit properly.

His portrayal of Bruce Wayne, especially in the first scene, is far better than when he puts on the mask. He's stiff... You simply can't imagine someone like him doing all that he's supposed to do. He lacks the physicality to be a great martial artist. To me is simple: Who would you bet your money on a fist fight? Bale or Affleck. 

Aside from the casting, the concept of Batman is very ambiguous throughout the movie. We get a character who is brutal, demented and above all tired of the world he lives in. He doesn't mind killing and still he cares so much for humanity. Inconsistent.  

And maybe that could've been a great concept to develop. Maybe he no longer cared killing and that's what caught Superman's eye in the first place. That could've been the great conflict. It would've made for a great arc that could perfectly introduce Alfred as a voice of reason.

Another character introduced to this cinematic universe is Wonder Woman, and here I must say I was surprised in a good way. When Gal Gaddot was first announced I certainly felt she couldn't bring the passion of her character to the screen. But I was wrong. She delivers a perfect incarnation of the core of the character: A woman, a lady who's perfectly capable of kicking your ass. Let's hope she'll deliver the same on her upcoming solo film. 

Moving on to Superman, I must say we got exactly what we bought from Man of Steel. And in a way, that's a bad thing. We didn't get to see how Superman's character had changed. He's still lost in this human world and we never see him fighting for anything other than Louis Lane. Two movies for a character to discover his place is way too much.

Another pleasant surprise was the take on Lex Luthor. Genius, unstable and with a clear goal in mind. Perhaps the only downside to this character is him knowing everything about everyone. That leaves the franchise on a very dangerous tipping point. 

Finally, the only surprise on the supporting cast was Jeremy Irons take on Alfred. He really looks like someone who's totally worn down by years and years of supporting his maniac boss. 

2. The conflict

The whole idea of this movie was to see Superman and Batman fight. We all went for this. At least in a certain level. 

The real main motivation was to see how this fight would eventually lead to the creation of the epic bond between these two characters.What could possibly be so important as for to both of them to drop whatever they hold against each other and finally join forces?

As it turns out, simply having a mom with the same name. A "Save Martha" was all it took.

And I know there's this whole "He got his humanity reflected on the alien" thing but still it's quite a lazy way to portray a change in a character. With a character so messed up like Batman, we wouldn't expect him to let it be just like that, especially since at that point he was willing to sacrifice one life to save humanity. 

Talking about the fight, we got to sit through a two and a half hours movie to get like 8 minutes of the main event. Even though it was aesthetically good (not perfect) we could simply not buy it. Perhaps the highlight is that when stripped of his powers, Superman is simply no match for Batman's fighting skills. I really liked that. 

3. Motivations

And now we reach why this is not a good a movie: Motivations.

Every good story is driven by it's characters motivations and how we relate to them. A great story sees two great motivations clashing. And this story delivers none.

Batman's motivation is to stop every alien menace before it's too late, but being the greatest detective ever he fails to see how Superman actually fought to save humanity and could actually be his only big gun in case of a full-sized invasion. But let's say he doesn't mind that. That he thinks he can take on whatever comes next. With such huge motivation is hard to think that having a mom with the same name might make him change his mind and even consider "the greatest threat to humanity" his friend in just 8 minutes. Like I said, lazy screenwriting. 

Lex Luthor's motivation is maybe the most grounded in the whole movie. Even though it relies on quite a few coincidences and breaks of lucks (lazy screenwriting) at least we know where he stands and he consistently tries to achieve his goal.

But the worst comes with the man of steel himself. He doesn't stand for anything. He's not good guy and certainly he's not the moral icon we all know. He sees a fight and he jumps right into it. He saves the girl on that random "Dia de Muertos" scenes but he might as well just have saved a cat like in the first Superman movie. It's a very, very slow arc at the best.

Having said all that, it's no surprise that the whole movie lacks motivation. Could someone tell me what's the actual plot of the movie?

4. Cinematography

Let's say it: Zack Snyder is just another Michael Bay. Good at what he does, a great action director and great at bringing comic books to the screen. But that's that. 

The first half of the movie could've easily lasted a lot less if not every single shot were in slow motion. It was OK with 300 but this ain't that kind of movie.  

I remember that while watching Watchmen for the first time I thought "that guy" could make an awesome Batman movie. Gritty, dark, violent. But it may seem like he's lost his touch since then. Just take a look at the Batcave: It's industrial but clean. It's dark but full of life. I really don't know if it's a concept problem or art direction taken way too lightly. 

The only sequences that really caught me were the first scene and when Batman goes to save Mrs. Kent. The first one was action packed and it was really cool to see all the action from Man of Steel from a different angle, especially since most of it was at street level. The other scene was actually a fully Batman scene taken straight from the Arkham video games. But... We had already seen in the trailer, and that's another big problem: You can actually -totally- get the plot and highlights from the movie just by watching the trailers. Way to go WB.

5. WTF moments

Here I'll simply list some of these moments... 

  • Batman's "knightmare": It was a cool sequence (That we had already seen...) but just imagine someone who has no reference at all as for to what that Omega symbol is or who are those wing creatures. Sidenote: You can't have those "flying monkeys" and still make a direct reference to The Wizard of Oz in the same movie. Sorry. 
  • On the same sequence: Why Batman moves that way? He looks so weak. It's just a big choreography gone terribly wrong!
  • And even more on that sequence: As a comic book fan I totally get Flash sending a message from the future, but my mom will not. Guaranteed. 
  • Aquaman: I really like the looks of Jason Momoa as Aquaman, but is it just me or it really looked like he can't actually swim?
  • diana(at)wonderwoman.com: OK, I assume Batman's actually a really good hacker and that he had no problem getting Wonder Woman's email. But why (oh why!) would you have the conversation be over a dramatically scrolled email? Lazy Screenwriting. 
  • Jimmy Olsen gets killed: Yes, that photographer was Jimmy Olsen. Fun Fact: Jesse Eisenberg initially auditioned for this role (Bryan Cranston was to be Lex Luthor at that point!) since Snyder wanted a well-known character played by a well-known actor to die early in the movie. 
  • Superman gets the blame: The whole plot circles around Superman flying to save Louis Lane from those "terrorist". But he actually gets blamed of all the killing that was done by guns... 

And my favorite:
Louis Lane doesn't know what to do: It was really lame the way they HAD to have Lane on the "Big Fight" but even worst that they had her throwing the spear to the water just to have her realized "Oh shit, I shouldn't have done that". Granted, this took us to a nice Superman reference with Superman drowning, but still...

6. Dawn of Justice (League)

We all know this movie is just one big teaser for the upcoming Justice League movie. But that doesn't mean it had to be only that! The success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that they consider each movie as exactly that: A movie. It must work as a movie and still feel connected to a greater universe. They've slowly built on that and the one time they rushed things with Age of Ultron the movie failed to deliver.

It may seem like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a reverse engineered product, starting with the assumption that these 3 great characters had to join forces and be best buddies. 

But even thought I didn't like the "Security Camera" approach to introducing future Justice League members, I did like the characters look.

I like Flash being just some dude, nothing especial. Aquaman will surely look like someone who can beat Superman and the Robocop feeling on Cyborg is something really cool. 

And on the Cyborg scene: It was a cool easter egg to have the cube there without making a great deal about it. 

7. Is Superman dead?

Yes, that was the big secret WB didn't want you to know before paying your ticket.

It was a bold move but not totally unexpected. Some of us may have seen it coming if you show Doomsday on the trailer (duh!). A bold move but not as bold as it should've been. You killed Superman! (Good). We all know he's not gonna stay that way for long (Good) but then why have this few frames of dirt rising hinting he's just about to resurrect there! Let him be death for a while! For those who are not all that familiar with the story of Superman's dead!

8. Is the franchise dead?

And that's the money question.

WB's effort to keep Superman's dead a secret may be the only way to hide their real purpose on all that massive marketing: They didn't want this to leak for they knew that initial reviews would (and did) trashed the movie. They knew from the start that the movie wouldn't live up to the hype and they needed to guarantee the initial box office. 

And with Suicide Squad later this year and Wonder Woman coming the next one, WB is really betting big time on this. Production on Justice League has already begun and I'm guessing some tough calls are being done right now. 

Let's remember Ben Affleck is already signed to star and direct a Batman solo movie. But let's also remember that Affleck was offered to direct this movie and that he passed due to his lack of experience on a CGI blockbuster. He actually stated that he went to the set to learn everything he could from Snyder....

Overall, Batman v Superman did manage to create a universe and an aesthetic feel for what's to come, but with a movie so weak and so many heartbroken fans it will take twice the effort (and money) to lift the franchise. 

With all of this, I'll like to leave you with a video that completely embraces the current state of WB's Justice League Franchise:

Published on: March 2016
More about this Movie
Batman v Superman
Batman v Superman
Release date: March 25th 2016

Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

Director: Zack Snyder

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality)

Screenwriters: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer

Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot, Lauren Cohan, Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Genre: Action, Adventure

 

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