Shane O'Gorman's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
16 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Let me begin by stating that I am one of the people who is unashamed to declare "Man of Steel" as a good movie. It was good. Hardly perfect but far from terrible. I enjoyed how they represented Superman as the outsider figure, the action was phenomenal and musical score was also exemplary. I do recognize that film's questionable plot choices (I.e Jonathan Kent's "maybe" speech and Supes snapping Zod's neck) but they came up as nothing more than minor nitpicks for me. From when I saw it opening night up until rewatching it a few days ago, it still garners a positive response as far as I'm concerned. A "good" movie. Nothing more and nothing less.
Nearly three years after and DC/Warner Bros has unleashed this massive smorgasbord of a superhero smackdown. "The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world" as the film's antagonist Lex Luthor states (and we will touch on him later, I promise you that). With the addition of Batman and the promise of this being the launch pad to a much larger cinematic universe assembling all of DC's most prominent characters, this flick has a lot to bear on its shoulders. For that, I went in with expectations in check. This film has a lot to do considering what the future plans are. However, as trailers and plot details leaked out, some concern began to arise that this would end up being a muddled final product. Even so, I still maintained a positive (albeit, still cautious) approach to the film as I entered a packed cinema to watch these two larger than life superheroes go at it. Because even if the narrative ends up being jumbled and fails to establish what they set out to do, seeing Superman and Batman in the same film together is bound to at least provide a good time at the movies.
No. It doesn't.
"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" is a monotonous, boring, inconsistent and at times even unpleasant movie. To give credit where credit is due, I do honestly find the first fifteen minutes or so to be genuinely great. The retelling of Batman's origin story and then subsequently showing tying in the cataclysmic of the destruction in "Man of Steel" was a smart way to open the film. Again, many people were bothered by the violence in that film's climax and although it didn't bother me (as seriously, what the hell do you think would happen if two god like people fought in the middle of a city. Stuff would go 'boom', get over it) I was happy to see them address it here as a terrible situation. After this however, things go unbelievably downhill as the narrative swamps itself in nothing but dour atmosphere and incoherent plot structure.
My problems are a laundry list but to avoid being here for as long as the movie's painfully long runtime, I will summarize my biggest gripes with the movie (as spoiler-free as possible):
-As stated, the pacing and narrative are a jumbled and inconsistent mess. Up until the fight sequence which the movie is named after, nothing really matters nor creates any true dramatic weight. Scenes snap by so quickly, with so many shallow and empty plot lines being tossed at the viewer that it inhibits any ability to let details sink in or develop properly.
-Speaking of the fight between Superman and Batman, it did nothing to change my mind that it was never a plausible battle to begin with. I don't buy a man with no powers taking on this superhuman figure, ESPECIALLY considering how powerful he is established to be in this film and the preceding one. I do vocally advocate that there should be a "suspension of disbelief" with these kinds of genre flicks, but the fight amounted to nothing more than each combattant landing a few good hits then calling it a day. Furthermore, the entire fight between them could have been avoided had they just had a conversation about what was causing their tension. Again, a "suspension of disbelief" but the stupidity in their reason for fighting is so blatantly center stage that it's hard to overlook. On top of this, their reason for putting aside their differences was beyond moronic and I didn't buy it one bit. After nearly two hours of them building up to wanting to punch each other's jaws off, to show that all it took was *spoilers* for them to suddenly kill all motivation for engaging in this bout (particularly on Batman's part) rendered the entire story up to this point completely and utterly pointless.
-Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. No. Was he meant to provide comedic relief amidst the grim tone of the film? If so, it failed miserably. He was annoying, obnoxious and came off as an idiot. His so called "reason" for wanting these two to fight was unclear and I can't understand what he expected to gain in the end.
-An iconic and what could have possibly been a heart-wrenching comic storyline, was rushed and butchered into the final twenty minutes of this movie. It was painful. There was no true build up to it and considering the final shot means that this moment in the movie doesn't MATTER ANYWAY squanders something that could have been done very well.
-People are praising Batman as the highlight of the movie but I'm not sure if I can even agree on that position. While the costume and batmobile are wickedly cool and I liked how they made him this scary entity in the eyes of criminals, I just can't get behind a Dark Knight who tortures and brands his victims. Yes, this was an adaptation much closer to Frank Miller's take on the character so he would be more brutal and uncompromising...but this was too much. This Batman shows no mercy and kills people. While this would be interesting, it sets him up as a complete hypocrite for hating the Man of Steel. He labels Superman as a killer and sadistic force that can wipe us all out YET AT THE SAME TIME HE IS GOING AROUND AND SENSELESSLY BUTCHERING PEOPLE.
-A defense for this movie is saying that it "was a movie purely made for comic book fans". What the hell does that even mean? First off, I can't buy that statement due to how depressing and dark this movie presented these characters. There was no soul or heart behind their motivations or actions. Secondly, this is a movie first and a comic book adaptation second. A film should stand on its own merits with good storytelling, character development and clarity. The comic aspect should be there to help elevate the strength of the writers and directors, using fun references and the comic lore as a plus to what is already established. Not just shoehorn things in here and there, cramming in as much as they can by picking and choosing what might please fans the most. The same problem can be seen in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" where Sony forcefully tried to set up a Sinister Six movie instead of focusing on the movie itself. Fan service is fine, just so long as it serves a purpose or isn't extremely distracting from whatever pacing the movie already had.
-The Justice League "setup" was pitiful. I'll leave it at that.

There is so much to say about this movie but I don't feel like ranting on and on. To close, I will say that despite all my negatives (and there are way more than the ones I have listed) there were little gems and moments in this movie that I found to be pretty neat and would have loved to see built upon or established someplace else. Unfortunately, they are muffled in the loud, brainless and anti-climactic disaster that is "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice".