Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice Review and Retrospective

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice Review and Retrospective

Michael Fanta, Staff Reporter

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a film that has been hyped and extremely anticipated for many years.  First announced as a Batman/Superman movie at San Diego Comic Con in 2013, it’s been the thing fans of comic book movies have been waiting for. Well, sort of. There were many who were very skeptical, and they weren’t wrong.  You see, once the reviews initially came out from critics, it had around a 40% on Rotten Tomatoes (now, it sits at a 29%).  This discouraged many anticipated fans, though this didn’t stop them.  Just because someone else doesn’t like a movie doesn’t mean you can’t like it, right?  That is very correct, and what many fans held onto to keep the “hype train” going.

Personally, I was in the middle for this movie.  I was pretty excited, but I kept myself grounded, and kept my expectations in check.  Because of that, I walked out satisfied when I left AMC The Quarry on March 26th, a day after the film came out.  (Movie tip: On opening weekend for a big movie, always go around an hour early to get a great seat.  This film was packed).  So, what was good and bad about this film?  Why do critics hate it?  Let’s find out.  Also, disclaimer for those who may not have seen the film: This review may contain minor spoilers for the film.

The movie starts off pretty strong, showing Bruce Wayne’s parents being murdered in an alleyway.  Though we may have seen this scene a million times already, it still was an interesting scene, with great cinematography.  After that, we’re shown Bruce falling down a well, and being lifted out by bats.  It’s kind of weird, but luckily it turns out to just be a vision of sorts.  After this, we’re introduced to both of our present day heroes, with Batman doing vigilante work, and Superman fighting crime and just living his life.  We’ve seen Superman in Man of Steel, so we know his part is played well.  However, how is Ben Affleck as Batman?  Surprisingly to many people, he was great.  He played both Bruce Wayne and Batman very well, and made me believe he was really Batman.

The introduction is great, though a certain subplot with Superman involving terrorists is slightly out of place.  With that aside, the plot gets straight to the action, and gets Batman angrier and angrier at Superman.  Of course, this leads to the titular fight.  But why, you may ask, would Batman fight Superman?  Well, both are being manipulated by Lex Luthor, played by Jesse Eisenberg.  Luthor sets everything up so they must fight, or consequences will happen.

Also, Wonder Woman gets entwined into the plot, and while her character is great – albeit not very important to the plot – it does feel slightly forced to get straight into the Justice League, instead of fleshing out the characters a bit more.  Speaking of the Justice League, all of their members are teased here, which was pretty interesting.

Overall, Batman v. Superman has a slightly odd plot, and some scenes feel a bit misplaced at times.  One I recall is a specific nightmare sequence, which seems to be there just to set up the future movies.  Where the movie really shines is the action.  It looked amazing, and is choreographed very well.  Batman’s actions scenes were especially great, and he even has a scene where he takes on over 20 men, and it’s great.  A fair rating from me, a fan, would probably be a 7/10, however if I weren’t a fan and went in blind, it may be a bit lower.  Another thing to note about the movie is that it is two and a half hours.  While that sounds extremely long, the Director’s Cut of the movie is  going to be three hours, and a lot had to be cut out, so maybe that’s why there are so many plot holes.

So, that’s the review part of this.  Now for the retrospective.  As of today, Batman v Superman sits at a 29% on Rotten Tomatoes.  Though, the fans liked it much better, as the audience approval sits at a solid 70%  Despite that, the film has grossed 685 million dollars.  It’s obviously not a box office flop.  This raises a question; how much does the opinions of critics matter?

For some films, they’re essential.  A more niche film may need those rave reviews to get someone to go see it, and for it to be successful.  Others just need some cool trailers.  And, an even smaller group, usually made up of sequels or superhero movies, just needs to have a cool title to be extremely successful.  Batman v. Superman fits that last group, and that’s probably one reason why it made so much money.  Most people probably made up their mind to go see it when the movie was announced back in 2013.  Critic reviews wouldn’t stop them, even if it sat at a 0%.

With that said, will the negative reviews hurt Batman v. Superman?  Of course.  Though it’s already a box office smash, that doesn’t mean it’s not losing a lot of money from the people who are on the fence about it, and decided not to go see it because of critics panning it.  After talking to many students at RB, the response was mixed.  A few said they loved it, whereas most either really didn’t like it or thought it was so-so.

The million dollar question: Did Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice live up to the hype?  No, not really.  However, even as a critic failure, it’s a box office success, and there’s still a large group of people that like it, despite what the critics say.  Should you go see it?  Unless you really dislike superhero movies, then yes you should.