I saw “Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice” last night.
Were the critics right? Well, I could give a short answer, but that would seem very out of character for these write-ups.
I’m not certain what film the critics were watching, frankly. It’s possible that they were expecting something lighthearted and goofy like ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ which is a great movie (I thought), but that’s just not the tone of a Batman/Superman film.
The dialogue is great, as is the characterization of the various comic icons that we’re seeing on-screen. The film is pretty dialogue-heavy for the first act or two, which might throw some people off, but…stick around. Trust me.
The film looks fantastic. The visuals are rich, often leaning a little noir (particularly during the Batman segments), with striking detail and bombastic special effects. The costumes are wonderful- I assume you all saw the ‘Dark Knight Returns’-inspired armor that Batman is wearing in the trailer, with the glowing eyes? The clunky style that Frank Miller put onto paper back when he made the comic is transferred onto film with remarkable success.
Hans Zimmer did the score. Hans Zimmer does great scores (apart from whatever was going on with ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2. That was pretty lame.). This film, therefore, has a great score.
The acting is great. I already knew Henry Cavill wore the red cape with pride and power, and the movie hasn’t been made where Jeremy Irons isn’t the best thing ever, but Ben Affleck surprised me by turning in what might very well be the best live-action portrayal of the Dark Knight I’ve seen, though MIchael Keaton may well still be on top there. Jesse Eisenberg played Lex Luthor as a half-cracked eccentric, which was a fresh direction to take the character, and one that I very much appreciated. My favorite performance, though, might actually have to go to Gal Gadot as Diana, who has one reaction during a battle with the (no spoilers here) big bad guy that topped my list of favorite moments during the film- it was a brief, fleeting facial expression that captured the character perfectly and elegantly. Beautiful work by the whole cast.
The action is stellar, once it gets going. I had the same reaction during the fight scenes that I did watching ‘Creed:’ involuntary exclamations whenever a particularly devastating punch lands.
The opening credits are as good as those of ‘Deadpool.’ Not as funny, of course, but simply and elegantly catching the audience up to the backstory of Bruce Wayne, with some truly impressive visuals.
Zack Snyder’s hand is pretty obvious in a few dream scenes, but unlike when such scenes appeared in ‘The Revenant,’ they’re not contrived (they’re representing enormous stress, or possibly a revelation by a third party), and they’re not stupid. Indeed one of them, right in the middle of the film, is going to make the DC nerds really excited, and confuse everyone else until their DC nerd friends explain it to them.
All in all, I’m having trouble understanding what the critics were talking about. This is a buildup movie, sure- like ‘The Avengers,’ only the dialogue is better and the characters aren’t shackled by having to be funny. (I quite like ‘The Avengers,’ but I’ll stand by what I’ve said) And yes, this is a more serious film, but I’m not sure why that’s a strike against it- not every movie is a comedy, and this one in particular would have been weakened, were they to throw more jokes into the script.
It’s beautifully acted, subtly written, and has truly great visual and musical backing. It is one of the greatest superhero films I can remember seeing, and you should definitely go and see it, unless you’re one of those people who hates DC films. In that case, I’d tell you not to hold ‘Green Lantern’ against DC- no one’s holding ‘Fant4stic’ against Marvel.
Go see it. It’s brilliant, and it made me terribly excited for the unfolding DC cinematic universe.