Batman v Superman hits theaters this weekend, so we’re taking a look at the best and worst moments from the movie which is set to start the stories of half a dozen solo superhero movies.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has received a very mixed response so far, with critics almost universally panning the film, and fans being somewhat split. After seeing it Thursday night, I have to say it didn’t quite live up to expectations.
I decided to look back through the movie and pick out some of the worst moments from the movie, along with some of the best moments. There are certainly some great moments, especially ones like the fight between Batman and Superman, which fans will love, but then we’re reminded that the people behind Dawn of Justice haven’t spent years learning how to interweave multiple superheroes into a coherent story. Spoilers are included in the analysis of the film below.
Ben Affleck is a solid Batman/Bruce Wayne
Something we all kind of expected after the original outrage from Ben Affleck being cast as Batman was that he would actually end up doing a good job. Affleck does a fine job as Batman, he looks massive on screen as the caped crusader, and it’s not all braun either for the brilliant superhero.
We believe he’s the intelligent detective that Batman has always needed to be to fight against physically stronger opponents, such as Superman, and we see that in many ways in Batman v Superman.
While it feels like he’s thrown into the thick of it pretty quickly, it’s nice not to go through his entire backstory, although we are shown most of it through very quick flashbacks. He ends up being a solid, if not good, Batman and we imagine if anything happens with these superheroes in terms of solo movies it’ll be Affleck doing (and possibly directing) a solo Batman movie.
Jesse Eisenberg was a terrible Lex Luthor
Possibly the worst part of the movie was Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. I want to start this off by saying I’m a huge Jesse Eisenberg fan, and when literally everyone was questioning his casting for Lex Luthor, I thought he was going to surprise everyone with an epic portrayal of the character.
His character was so bad that people literally groaned in my IMAX viewing when he would come back on screen. His frantic behavior was the furthest from the character he could possibly go, which wasn’t that big of a deal, but it was so poorly acted that I have to wonder if Jesse had an idea in mind and had to finally gave in and do what Zack Snyder told him to do.
It felt like he thought he was playing the Joker and then realized he was actually playing Lex Luthor. It’s such a huge shame that his character didn’t work, because it looks like he’ll be a part of the Justice League universe in the future (if there is one).
Batman’s mechanical suit worked on screen
Many people were concerned about Batman having a mechanical suit, because we’re already very familiar with another billionaire who wears an exciting mechanical suit in the Marvel universe. But I never once thought of Iron Man when Batman finally put his on to battle Superman.
The suit felt entirely needed to withstand a battle against Superman, and the mechanical voice actually went over very well. When Christian Bale’s “I am Batman” line would get laughed at, Ben Affleck’s very rough mechanical voice sounded intimidating and that felt like a big part of selling the suit to the audience.
It was even more interesting when Superman started to damage the suit, and you could see a huge handprint on Batman’s chest where he’d gotten pushed by Superman, and by the end he’s been thrown around and hit so much that his suit’s helmet/mask has been severely damaged.
I thought this worked well, and showed that Batman can stand up in a fight against more powerful characters, which should help in the future when he goes up against other nefarious villains in solo movies. Hopefully he’ll get Alfred to repair this suit and we’ll see it again in future films.
Doomsday is a disappointing villain
Lex Luthor had a lot to do with Doomsday being a poorly created villain, but it mostly goes to the CGI department. Either the studio farmed this VFX work out to a shack in India, or someone needs to get fired. He was supposed to be a reincarnated Zod with Lex Luthor’s blood poured on his face, but what we ended up getting looked a lot worse.
Doomsday couldn’t have looked worse if an eight year old with paint created him over a short weekend. It was one of the worst CGI jobs I’ve seen in the last 10 years of film. If you’ve yet to see it, think of something we saw in Clash of the Titans, if their budget had been cut by 90%.
This character was always going to be difficult to put on screen, and on one hand I have to give Snyder credit for even trying, but if he was going to let icons like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman team-up for this fight, it should have been against an opponent which was truly worth fighting (and dying) for.
Gal Gadot is an amazing Wonder Woman
As I walked to the exit after the film ended, I heard many people talking about Wonder Woman, and how epic her entrance was, and while she only appeared in a few scenes she was easily the best part of the superhero cast. This wasn’t entirely surprising, as we’d heard from early reviews that those who had seen the film early were praising her character.
Henry Cavill continues to be an empty shell as Superman, and while Affleck was a solid Batman, with some backstory and more screentime it’s easy to tell that Gadot’s Wonder Woman may end up being the only solo movie to be a success in the huge line of superhero movies lined up for release.
She gives us hints that she’s not from this world, and reveals later in the movie that she’d given up hope on humans over 100 years ago, it all lends itself well to exploring her past and future in the upcoming solo movies. If I’m excited about any of the future DC movies it’s without a doubt Wonder Woman’s films.
Dream sequences felt poorly introduced
Batman v Superman had many dream sequences, which I actually thought would be interesting at first, but as they came and went it honestly felt like they were just distracting. I’ll have to wait until I see the film again to decide if they were entirely useless, but they felt poorly edited.
We’re thrown from a story we’re trying to get a handle on, which includes quite a few storylines, and into a dreamworld where sometimes it felt like I (along with people I went with) couldn’t tell what was real and what was actually happening.
There’s a difficult line to toe when including dream sequences, and it just felt like the majority of them didn’t work. Although, there was the one scene (or dream?) with Ezra Miller’s The Flash, which was hard to understand what he was saying, but it looked incredible.
We see The Flash looking like he’s traveling from the future trying to explain why Lois is the key to something. While it’s a pretty interesting shot, due to all the other dream sequences, it felt difficult to decide what was real and what wasn’t. I’ll have to see the film again to decipher what actually happened in a few of these shots.
Batman and Superman’s fight was epic
This was something that was guaranteed to be great, and the less footage you saw from clips and trailers the better. The way Batman had planned out the attack on Superman was incredible, and is probably the highlight of the movie. They could have spent a little more time showing Batman planning the attack, but it was nice to be completely surprised by all of his tricks.
I think a lot of Batman and Superman fans are going to feel like this movie is saved by two things. One is going to be Wonder Woman’s memorable scenes, and the other is going to be the incredibly thought-out fight between Batman and Superman.
While the buildup is lacking, heavily, the two really do seem pissed at each other by the time they fight, and that makes it feel like they really wanted to kill each other. It’s an exciting fight, and would have left us feeling more excited if we didn’t know both of them would team-up by the end of the movie. This is where I feel the promotion for the movie failed, they simply showed too much footage from this fight.
Superman’s senate hearing was a letdown
The trailers always made it feel like the hearing that Superman was going to have to attend was going to be a great dialogue between him and actress Holly Hunter’s senator Finch. Sadly it’s all cut short because Lex Luthor didn’t feel people hated Superman enough yet.
Lex gives an explosive wheelchair(?) to an incredibly underused Scoot Mcnairy, and he blows up as the hearing is literally about to begin. It was possibly the most anticlimactic part of the movie. Mcnairy’s role isn’t developed, all we know is he lost his legs during Superman’s final battle in Man of Steel.
We don’t know if he wanted to blow Superman up (not possible) or just make it look like he killed more people, including senators and hundreds of innocent bystanders. It’s more likely that he wasn’t aware at all about the explosive, and Lex was just setting up Superman to be hated even more.
There was a good scene, where Superman is shown standing exactly where he was prior to the explosion, with the building crumbling around him. It was one scene where Henry Cavill showed a little promise, and you can tell he’s disappointed in himself that he didn’t find the explosive sitting about 10 feet away from him.
Bruce Wayne’s working relationship with Alfred
Bruce Wayne’s butler has always been more helpful to the Dark Knight in past stories, but when Chris Nolan’s trilogy came out Michael Caine’s Alfred was more of a caregiver and Morgan Freeman’s character became the one who helped Bruce invent his fun superhero tools.
In Batman v Superman we see that Alfred is back as the inventor and creator of Batman’s superhero tools. Jeremy Irons does a great job portraying the butler/inventor, and we could see them having an even more interesting relationship in a future solo Batman movie.
When Bruce is seen working out and getting ready for his fight with Superman, we see Alfred working on something literally every time he’s shown on screen. While it would have been nice to get some more dialogue between the two, it was exciting to see Alfred back in the role of truly helping Batman survive his battles with villains, and of course Superman in this movie.
Batman had more gizmos than we’ve probably ever seen him have on the big screen before, and while he’s most likely built up an arsenal over the decades of being Batman prior to this movie, it seems Alfred is the man behind all of his exciting gadgets.
Superman’s death and burial isn’t believable
After the final fight against the cave troll from Lord of the Rings, I mean Doomsday, Superman gets impaled through the chest due to the fact that he stabs Doomsday with a kryptonite spear which was actually created by Batman. Wonder Wonder helps Batman get Superman down and he clearly looks injured, if not dead already. This felt like director Zack Snyder was trying to get fans to tell other people that, “Superman dies in this movie, so you have to go see it!”
The problem is that we all know Superman isn’t going to die, because they’re literally just starting the Justice League movies. There was never any way that they were going to kill off Superman in this film, which makes the entire thing feel awkward and drawn out by the end of the movie.
I felt like this was one of the bigger disappointments in the movie, because when you play with the fact that a major character can die and come back, you lose the possibility that one of them could actually die in any future movies forever.
After what felt like a very extended funeral sequence, where we go from Superman’s burial in the city, to Clark Kent’s burial at home, we see Lois Lane throwing some dirt on Clark’s coffin while wearing an engagement ring he had mailed to his home so she wouldn’t find out.
After Lois tosses some dirt on his coffin, we hear a few thump-thump sounds, and then as the camera focuses on the dirt, it begins shaking and then floating — proving that Superman never died and he was simply regenerating — before the end credits roll. This “cliffhanger” was anything but a cliffhanger, since everyone knew that he wasn’t going to be killed off in this movie, making the final act of the film feel a bit empty.
Overall, Batman v Superman had good moments and it had some bad moments, and while expectations were incredibly high we’re curious to see what everyone else has to say about the movie as they head to the theaters to see it this weekend.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is set to bring in over $300 million this weekend alone, so the numbers are there, but will all the ticket buyers be happy about the first attempt of including multiple superheroes into one film by Warner Bros. and DC?