I know how the internet works. Some of you read the title of this article, lost your mind and put your fist through your computer screen in a fit of rage. Well, for those readers, I have two things to say: First, why would you put a fist through your computer? They’re so expensive! And second, I’m flattered you read something I wrote – thanks!
Enough jokes, though. We’re here to talk about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, after all, the most serious take on justice dawning ever committed to the silver screen. I keep up with the silly and Ben Affleck’s Batman will likely creep up over my shoulder and drop a sink on my head.
See? It’s an easy film to make fun of. It’s a movie that I myself hated when I first saw it the day it premiered way back in March 2016 (a simpler time). I had no problem criticizing it – and let’s be honest, there’s a lot to criticize. From Batman’s love of murder to the least-exciting introduction to the Justice League one could ever dream up, this is far from a perfect film.
But then, two things happened.
First, Warner Bros. released Batman v Superman: Ultimate Edition, an extended cut of the film that did away with much of the sloppy editing that made the theatrical version so unappealing, allowing the story to breathe. Second, the movie seemed to be on HBO every time I was on the couch flipping through channels. Like passing by a car wreck, I couldn’t help but slow down and look. Again, and again, and again.
Something was happening to me. I was falling in love with Zack Snyder’s ultra-violent, super-gritty superhero epic. And on a recent trip to Target, I finally bought the Ultimate Edition of the film on Blu-ray (it was on sale). I rewatched it with the intention of going public with my new respect for the three-hour flick.
So for those of you who are still with me, I present to you the reasons why I now like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Say what you will about the overall Snyder’s film experience, but there’s no denying the director knows how to create a pretty picture. Okay, so maybe “pretty” is the wrong word, what will all the death and destruction. Point is, we go to the movies to see something we can’t see in everyday life. Filmmakers like Snyder deliver.
This film is loaded with stunning visuals that reflect the type of images fans used to only be able to see in the pages of a comic book. From young Bruce Wayne being lifted through the air by bats to Superman punching Doomsday into space before a nuclear missile slams into them – epic!
Composer Hans Zimmer provided soaring melodies for Man of Steel, but I wasn’t sure how he’d do crafting new music for Batman, following Christoper Nolan’s trilogy. With an assist from Junkie XL, I think he more than succeeded with the powerful, pounding beats we hear on tracks like “Beautiful Lie” and “Men Are Still Good – The Batman Suite.” And then there’s Lex Luthor’s theme, with its mix of piano, harpsichord, strings and more. A truly sinister theme for one of fiction’s greatest villains.
The Mature Feel
Zimmer and Junkie XL’s score certainly helps make Batman v Superman one of the more mature superhero movies we’ve seen. Overall, Snyder’s movie feels very adult. I love Marvel’s efforts, but they can’t seem to go very long without cracking a joke. Here, Superman isn’t making quips about Beyonce, he’s arguing about journalistic integrity with Perry White. I know DC heroes can have just as much fun as Marvel’s, but the story being told in Snyder’s universe is too important to stop to make sure the audience is having fun (and when there is humor, it’s natural, not forced). The audience needs to chew its popcorn, sip its soda and let the filmmakers tell their story. They’re going to take their time, and it’s going to show in a very confident take on some of the world’s most popular characters.
Jesse Eisenberg’s take on Superman’s greatest nemesis is polarizing, I know. But, it’s also quite mesmerizing. And, he’s very quotable (he truly has the film’s best lines). Marvel villains are either not developed enough or so humanized you want to hang out with them (or cosplay as them in Loki’s case, apparently). Eisenberg’s Luthor is pure evil, and he doesn’t care how you feel about it. He’s weird and menacing and gets under the skin of every character he encounters. Just look at the sheer joy and self-satisfaction he feels when flicking photos of a gagged Martha Kent at Superman. Pure evil from a human who could never best a Kryptonian in physical combat. “Martha, Martha, Martha … Mmmm.”
I think the one thing even this film’s haters can agree on is this is the best Batman’s ever looked on the big screen. Of course, I’m not talking about when he’s firing a gun in the future-dream sequence or murdering everyone in his path in the Batmobile – none of that was very Batman. But his costume – his fighting style – all amazing! Just as audiences were like, “That, is Spider-Man” in Captain America: Civil War, the same was said as Batman took down a legion of goons on his way to rescuing Martha Kent.
A lot of people say Wonder Woman was the best part of this film. I don’t agree. I find her theme song pretty annoying and I don’t think watching her watch video clips on a computer is very interesting. But what I did find awesome was watching her battle Doomsday alongside Batman and Superman. The type of scene you see in your average DC comic book has finally made it to the big screen. I’m old enough to have seen films like Tim Burton’s Batman and Stephen Norrington’s Blade in theaters when they came out. It’s been a long, long road to the current golden age of superhero cinema. I do not take moments like the final battle in Batman v Superman for granted. It was awesome to watch, and hopefully Snyder can top it in Justice League with the Flash and Aquaman in the mix.
So there you have it – the main ingredients that make me love Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Does it even matter? Probably not. But, if you’re still angry at a movie that came out over a year ago … um, there’s much more important stuff happening in the world to be upset over (and no, I’m not talking about Hydra Captain America).
And now that I’ve mentioned Hydra Cap, any reader who hadn’t put a fist through the computer just did. You’re welcome, computer sellers!