A comic trip – For the past decade we have watched a world that use to primarily be found on the pages of a comic book explode onto the big screen in a way no one expected. The Marvel Cinematic Universe alone has grossed over $9 billion during that time while DC Comics has added in a healthy $2 billion, thanks to mostly Christopher Nolan and his “The Dark Knight” trilogy. Add in the television series that have popped up lately and it’s hard not to see the impact these stories have made in a short amount of time. So it’s easy to see how producers have let their emotions get the best of them in wanting to “green light” some of these stories they have been holding onto for so long. I just wish they were a little more patient, as it just felt a little too soon for “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” a film that could have been a lot better.
The story here…begins some 18 months after the battle between General Zod and Superman leaving Metropolis in shambles. While the city has been on the mend, Superman (Henry Cavill) has continued his plight to save anyone and everyone he could. Only problem is, some people didn’t believe in him as they once did after the destruction and mass casualties that took place. One of those people was Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), who watched his very own Wayne Enterprises building collapse to the ground that same day. Wanting his revenge of the man who appeared to be getting a “pass” for a lot of bad things he was a part of, Wayne or Batman (Ben Affleck) set a plan in motion to take him down. Only problem was, he wasn’t alone in that plight as one Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) of LexCorp also had Superman in his sights. Seeing this as a possible advantage, Wayne starts to look into Luthor some more and winds up uncovering some interesting intel on other metahuman entities like Superman. But, as he quickly finds out, that was just a sidebar to what Luthor was planning as this story of revenge was turned on its head once kryptonite entered the frame leading to a wild conclusion that never seemed to end.
Who was in it? For those that didn’t see “Man of Steel,” stop reading this and watch it or you will be spoiled by parts of this film. Back as the man himself was Henry Cavill, who is definitely embodying a Superman we have never seen before. Looking and acting a bit more comfortable than last time, Cavill added even more emotion and depth in moments you wouldn’t expect to see it in. That’s big if this series does indeed move forward like I think it will. Figure, he was opposite a guy like Ben Affleck, who was actually really good as Batman. Acting more Bruce Wayne’ish than we have been used to lately, Affleck managed to keep the attention focused in the right places. His back and forth with Jeremy Irons, who played Alfred Pennyworth, was great and exactly what fans of Batman would want. Figure Irons is so good that you almost don’t even notice.
As for the newcomers Gal Gadot and Jesse Eisenberg, sadly only one made the impact you would hope for. Playing the ruthless Lex Luther, Eisenberg was out of place and really did nothing to solidify his character within the story. He was forgettable, which I bet is what a lot of hardcore fans of Wonder Woman wanted for Gadot, given some of the backlash she has taken since signing on as WW. Well, I think they might have to eat their words as she was pretty slick as the 5,000-year-old Amazonian princess here. What a job in limited time and one that fans should feel encouraged by given her titled film will be here next year.
Too much, too soon – Let me start off by saying I am huge fan of director Christopher Nolan and what he did with his “The Dark Knight” franchise starring Christian Bale. I know that was the past, but it’s important to note just how good those three films were before “Man of Steel” was introduced. Liking the predecessor as much as I did, I felt this franchise was in good hands now with Zack Snyder in charge barring some monumental collapse. Figure with Academy Award winning Chris Terrio revamping the script, what could possibly go wrong? Call me crazy, but it just felt a little too soon for Batman to be in a film again. I realize this was Snyder’s idea, as he was trying to figure out who Superman could fight next after his epic battle with Zod, but Batman?
Come on Zack, let’s wait for that one and get to know our new “Man of Steel” a bit more. I swear, it’s almost like they just wanted to find a way to get Batman in a film again despite it only being four years since the last time we saw the Gotham vigilante. Sad thing is, I really like Snyder and his vision with these films from behind the camera. His style is like no other within this genre, so I firmly believe he is the guy to take this series forward. I just think he and Chris Terrio tried to get too cute with this one and add in one too many superheroes. We already were getting Wonder Woman in the mix finally, so to then have Batman too seemed like overkill despite the indirect story that helped get us there. So while there were some neat special effects and action spread throughout this film, it only prolonged the inevitable feeling that this just was not up to par like it could have been.
Bottom Line – It’s hard to gauge where a film like “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” should be ranked in the overall DC Extended Universe. It was too long, running at over 151 minutes, and at times seemed to be a bit misguided despite good intentions. So for a film that was supposed to help setup what comes next, I can’t help but think it fell short.