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Batman v Superman Review: Destruction & Justice in IMAX

batman v superman

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a huge film, in length, action, personalities, and ideas. I was fortunate to attend the BvS IMAX event at the Chinese Theaters in Hollywood, courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures, prior to the worldwide release, and my mind was blown! So much happens in this film, that I have to see it a second time before I form a more complete assessment of it. But after my first viewing, I give it a strong 8.5 out of 10. That being said, I’ll answer this question: Did I love the film? Yes. But do I disagree with some of director Zack Snyder’s choices? Yes. Of course, as a huge Superman and comic book fan, I support the film, encourage everyone to see it, and would like to share 25 of my initial (mostly SPOILER FREE) thoughts about this epic cinematic gladiator match.

  1. You should see Batman v. Superman as soon possible, and avoid spoiler-y people and reviews before you do. There are some worthwhile surprises, and you deserve to experience them.
  2. The most pressing question is, “How was Ben Affleck?” And he was pretty damn good, both as Batman and Bruce Wayne. I’ve already been asked how he compares to Christian Bale, but I feel perhaps its too early to stand them side-by-side in that Bale had a successful trio of films to flourish in, and Affleck is in ½ of a movie (I say that not quite literally, but he is sharing screen-time with Superman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, and Lois Lane as the other lead characters in this ensemble film).
  3. Gal Gadot shines as Wonder Woman and Diana Prince. She is a scene-stealer and showstopper, and after BvS, you’ll be anticipating to her lasso in see her own stand-alone film in 2017.
  4. Jesse Eisenberg is polarizing as Lex Luthor, I feel viewers will be split on their opinion of him. He plays Lex with a technical genius a la “The Social Network”, mixed with a millennial hipster graced with evil megalomaniacal lunacy. I want to see more of Lex so that I can better understand his motivations and psychology.
  5. Henry Cavill is given more of an opportunity to shine outside of the origin story of Man of Steel, and his moments with Amy Adams as Lois Lane are some of the best in the movie. MOS rushed from scene to scene at times with character and story tucked between huge action set pieces. BvS allows Lois and Clark to have some thoughtful dialogue, full of emotion and philosophical questions that ground the movie. batman v superman
  6. Snyder continues with the strong religious overtones in this movie that he started with in Man of Steel.
  7. The Bruce and Alfred interaction is great (Jeremy Irons delivers, I want to see more of him).
  8. The Clark and Perry White interaction is solid (Laurence Fishburne brings so much gravitas to all of his performances).
  9. One of my favorite scenes of the film involves Clark having a conversation with an uncredited character (no, I won’t say who!)
  10. My first big criticism of the film is also perhaps a compliment in some ways. There’s a lot of good stuff here, so much so that you want see Affleck in a pure Batman film doing detective-y things in Gotham, you can’t wait to see more of Wonder Woman kicking ass in her film, and you want to see more of the all Metropolis characters back in action. Batman v. Superman has so much good stuff in it, and yet, it makes you feel like you didn’t get enough. I am anxious to see the R-Rated 3 hour cut that was announced for Blu-Ray, especially due to some of the rumored scenes I have heard about that didn’t make the theatrical version. batman v superman
  11. The 1st Act is a lot of set-up, and at times, certain sub-plots and even the MacGuffin (a purposefully misleading plot device) feels drawn out or even a bit unnecessary.
  12. Bruce Wayne is shown in a breath-taking flashback (so prominently shown in the BvS trailers), caught in the mayhem of the Superman v. Zod battle from MOS, setting up the Caped Crusader’s animosity towards Kal-El.
  13. The reason Lex is doing what he’s doing throughout the film, why Wonder Woman is doing what she’s doing throughout the film, and the set-up that leads to the direct BvS brawl could have all used more flushing out in the script. But many of the unanswered questions are intentional, left to be explored in later DC Films.
  14. The Batmobile is the best cinematic Bat-vehicle since the one from the 1989 Batman, especially when you see it in action.
  15. Batman’s style of fighting, and his movement during action scenes is probably the best Batman combat we’ve ever seen on screen.
  16. There was concern over the earlier announcement of hero cameos that BvS would prematurely become “The Justice League” movie or be too much like a congested “Avengers” film, but the utilization of other DC Comics characters is smartly done, not overwhelming, and crowd-pleasing.
  17. The major criticisms of Man of Steel (“Superman didn’t save enough people!” or “There was so much carnage and destruction!”) are smartly addressed in BvS. Although, I still contend we should have seen a clean “Man of Steel 2” before a “Dawn of Justice”, where more of the Superman story could have been developed prior to setting up the Justice League series. Yet, I understand why Warner Bros. wanted to jumpstart this franchise in response to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which has released 12 films so far and is already entering their Phase 3 of programming). batman v superman
  18. What we see of Snyder’s Detroit-Gotham is a nice change from Nolan’s Chicago-Gotham.
  19. Fans criticized the trailers of BvS for giving too much away. I agree with that. But there’s a lot left to be discovered and enjoyed. The look and presence of a certain Big Bad in a trailer ruffled fanboys. Just give a shot, I say…
  20. The musical score by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL is fantastic.
  21. The cinematography by Larry Fong is captivating, and worth the watch in IMAX.
  22. The special effects are stylistic and painterly, at times beautiful, and other times, perhaps too over the top.
  23. Use the restroom before you watch this film, with a run-time of 2 hours and 33 minutes! I had to go, which I never usually do. If you have to go as well, time it for when Bruce or Lois are doing their respective investigating.
  24. There is smorgasbord of visual things in the film, an ogry of action that left my eyes and ears hurting when I left the theater.
  25. All the heroes get to be awesome in this film. But remember fanboys, Superman could just heat vision Batman and Lex Luthor into piles of ash at any point if he so chose, but of course, we wouldn’t have a movie if that happened!

batman v superman

I hope you geek out over Batman v. Superman, as I did! Just remember, for how dark and serious this cinematic world is, we get to enjoy brighter DC Multiverse stories on the small screen with Supergirl on CBS and The Flash on The CW. Snyder has given us a DC Films Universe that is very much a post-9/11 allegory, and BvS puts hot button issues like terrorism, international conflicts, and political protests and unrest at the forefront of its story. And in a dark world, Superman represents hope for a brighter sunrise in the future. Perhaps Batman will even be smart enough to realize that! And although its not on their scheduled slate of upcoming 9 releases between now and 2020, here’s to hoping that DC Films eventually follows up on the on-screen chemistry that Affleck and Cavill share and make a more buddy-cop-esque “World’s Finest” Batman-Superman team-up film, perhaps fighting a Joker/Luthor alliance? How awesome would that be!

Check out Actor/Writer/Producer Derek Easley on social media: on Twitter @fortressofderek, on Instagram @derekeasley, and at imdb.me/derekeasley.

 

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About: Derek Easley

Derek Easley

Derek Easley is an actor, screenwriter, and producer/director of independent documentaries shorts. He studied under some of the top names in Long Beach, CA, and has gone on to make shorts that went viral online YouTube and appeared in film festivals. Since 2002, he has worked various jobs in the industry, including crew jobs such as production assistant, gaffer, stunt work and bartended in many Long Beach bar.

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