Thursday, March 24, 2016

Batman v.Superman Dawn of Justice Review: Brave and Bold!

Superheroes have played a role in film for quite sometime and the popularity this genre would may not be where it is today if were not for two names: Batman and Superman. Both of these characters have had several films over the years, from Richard Donner's Superman to Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight, and their individual franchises have helped to pave the way for the ever growing superhero genre. Yet of all the films that have featured these icons, not one as featured the Dark Knight meeting the Man of Steel. Yet after years of hoping and speculating this idea is finally a reality as at long last these two heroes meet on the silver screen in the newest blockbuster- Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Directed by Zack Snyder, Batman v.Superman would not only mark the first celluloid confrontation of these two heroes but the film will would also kick off DC's very own Cinematic Universe. With so much riding on this film, the question on this Film Adventurer's mind is a simple one: is Batman v.Superman a new dawn for superhero movies?

Following the events of Man of Steel, Batman v.Superman centers on the stories of Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) and Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). Seeing the destruction of Metropolis first hand, Batman fears that another incident created by the Man of Steel could lead to a worse event. So the Dark Knight does everything in his power to find a way to challenge Superman. An opportunity presents itself when Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) discovers a mineral that can weaken Superman. This revelation leads to Batman finding the kryptonite so that he has an edge over the son of Krypton. However the Dark Knight's objective only falls right into the sinister plans of Lex Luthor.

From my initial viewing of this film, I found the plot to be very ambitious. The plots was broken into three narrative: Batman's conflict, Superman's dilemma and Lex Luthor's plan. The direction in the story was quite interesting, but it could also be kryptonite to the movie's presentation. Each plot point was easy enough to follow; but because so much was going on, it made the overall story feel a bit sporadic. This issue was definitely disconcerting, but I still found this movie's plot to be engaging. While the movie does have a lot to its story, each part was still centered in the film's themes; and when they did converged with each, the plot points could easily coincide with each other. This led to a last act that certainly made the story's sporadic nature worth it as the film's finale was enriched with excitement worthy of any superhero film. So I can safely state that Batman v.Superman's plot did not play out in a manner that I am used to; but that did not make this superhero story a bad one.

While many will object, I did like the characterization of Superman in this movie. There was a practical sense behind Superman's development as the dilemma that centered on him seemed for the hero; and everyone affected by him. I also liked Henry Cavill's portrayal of the Man of Steel as it brought out the character's humanity. Ben Affleck as Batman was another matter entirely. Bringing his A game, Affleck's interpretation of the character was quite possibly the grittiest, and yet most fitting, portrayal  of the Dark Knight. Though their scenes were limited, Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill had fitting chemistry together as every time Superman and Batman were partnered on screen, it felt like something out of the comics. Along with the two portrayals was a fairly well balanced cast. The likes of Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane felt appropriate in their respected roles. Yet of the additional cast members, the two that stood were Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Gadot's time on screen was brief, but she made every moment count as Wonder Woman by making the heroine an engaging supporting character. Jesse Eisenberg,on the other hand, played the most unique take on Lex Luthor that I have ever seen. Eisenberg's portrayal was very eccentric, and yet he managed to capture the maniacal and methodical aspects behind the classic villain. In the end this cast was one that felt fluent and, in its own way, faithful to the DC Comic characters as well as the movie's tone.

Batman v.Superman's technical elements were ones that were fitting of any superhero blockbuster. The likes of cinematography and effects could be jaunting at times, but both managed to compliment the enticing tone behind this movie. The score from Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL was another highlight to the movie as the music complimented the movie's more thematic moments. Last and certainly not least was the action. Despite the film's concept, Batman v.Superman was not as action oriented as advertised. Yet when the aspect did appear, it made the film all the more worth whiled to see as the action was thrilling and creative. This direction was prominent in the third act with the finale's action rivaling some of the most prominent sequences seen in superhero movie history.

Batman v.Superman: Dawn of Justice is not a typical superhero film; nor is it your everyday blockbuster. I would go as far to say that Dawn of Justice is the most ambitious comic book film that Warner Bros, DC and Zack Snyder have ever created. From the narrative to the direction, this superhero film came off as something different; and while its ambitious nature did hinder the movie's presentation, it did not prevent the movie from standing out. This film may not have been what I was expecting, but Batman v.Superman debuted the DC Extended Universe in a dynamic fashion as this blockbuster was indeed a rare cinematic experience.

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