Man of Steel was and continues to be a very divisive film. So much so that many people will decide to close this window with my next sentence. I loved that film. No, it wasn't perfect and there are some aspects I very much disliked but it was the first Superman movie I enjoyed and the first time I cared about the character. It was also the first time we saw him truly fight at this power level and that was a joy to behold. I mention all of this because those that hated that film are ready to hate BvS mostly due to Snyder. Well let me tell you as a big fan of Man of Steel... I was not a fan of BvS. While it has a lot of great scenes and sequences it is also mess mired in itself.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is not a sequel to Man of Steel and I appreciate that. However it does deal with its direct impact on their world and thereby serves as the introduction to their world at large.
From the top, it opens with a very classy retelling of the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents. Very little is changed and one could argue no one really needs to see this again but the way it was filmed was fantastic. It might be one of my favorite parts of the movie to be honest. Afterward the movie continues to be very Bruce centric as we are shown the Metropolis incident from the eyes of Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). He's on the ground, trying to get to a building he owns to get his people out off there while the World Engine is pounding the city to dust. Hoo boy, from the perspective of the people on the ground I can totally understand a hatred of Superman (Henry Cavill). If you had issues with the 9/11-ish imagery from MoS you will have a fit in these sequence. It is very visceral, very disturbing. Bruce Wayne running around in it is great because at no point do you think "Look at Ben Affleck go!" No, this dude was born to play this role. That's right, suck it, haters! Ben Affleck is perfection and I couldn't be happier with this casting choice... but I digress. This scene plays out to show us why Batman wants to take a fight to Superman's door. From here I'll go spoiler free but know that from here the movie starts to get stuck in it's own mess of plot strings.
So let's hit on the big players. Superman/Clark Kent isn't much different from the guy we saw in Man of Steel and that's not ok. It was fine when he was starting out and was entirely unsure of who he was and what he was doing but now he's out there being a good guy and he's still 100% unsure of himself. Rather mopey and there's next to no growth of character between films. This left me entirely disinterested in him and his love affair with Lois Lane (Amy Adams). Though I still love her as Lois, I have to admit. We also get a bit more of Perry White (Lawrence Fishburne) and he was a joy to watch.
Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman is... interesting. In civilian clothes she looks entirely unassuming. Just Diana Prince here, attractive rich woman... or something. However when she shows up as Wonder Woman in full armor it is game on! She was a true warrior and loved the fight. She's perfectly at home in combat. So was she the perfect casting choice? Almost. She can't deliver a line to save her life. Some might avoid saying this because of her accent but I was one of the people that was happy to have a WW with an accent. However her accent is what you'll pay attention to as she delivers all her lines with zero emotion other than guttural yelling in combat. She has a film coming up and now I'm more than a bit worried about it.
So how was Jesse Eisenberg? Another huge point of contention among fans. From the trailers I thought I would love him. Turns out not so much. Have you seen the videos of Weird Gamer Guy, Onyx the Fortuitous? If not hit that link. Lex was like that guy but toned down a bit. I expected quirky but I didn't expect this. Yes, he was a scheming Machiavellian super villain and that was great, but he was also that guy and that was not great at all. It was entirely not a good way to go with him and it turned me off quite a bit.
As stated I won't spoil the plot but there is a lot of plot going on. A hell of a lot of strings to pull at, some makes sense and some make zero sense at all. It's not hard to follow but it's not fun to do so either. It's a convoluted film that isn't just introducing us to the universe it's trying to tell a really bizarre story while introducing plot elements in order to give reason for the scenes they want to make. Knowing WB this was certainly a film outline written by committee with others brought in to string it all together. I went in ready to love this movie and left struggling to like it.
Superman with no growth, Batman with a lack of moral center, Wonder Woman with a terrible actress, Lex that needs meds and a convoluted script. Well... the effects were great and the action was fantastic. However this leaves me far less enthused about what they've dubbed the DC Extended Universe. There was a ton of effort put into this movie and I don't think it really pays off. Opening weekend will be great but I expect a huge drop off after that.
[easyreview title= "Review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" cat1title="Rob's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="2.5" overall= false]