By Michael Kaye
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (First Thoughts)
DISCLAIMER: This is not the final draft of my review. I'm seeing the film again on Saturday, and will hopefully have more concrete things to say about the movie, but there are just initial thoughts.
Everyone knows I've been a DC fan for pretty much my entire life. The idea of Batman and Superman sharing the spotlight on the big screen was a dream that first came to me roughly 20 years ago when I first saw the animated Batman and Superman crossover episodes, "World's Finest." Now that I've finally seen one of the most anticipated movies of the year, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, here are some quick positives and negatives.
1. Ben Affleck as Batman. This is the definitive version of the Dark Knight in live action. His Bruce Wayne might be even better, coming off as smooth as classic James Bond. His quips with Jeremy Irons's Alfred feel ripped right from both the comics and Batman the Animated Series, which made the 8 year old in me very happy.
2. Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Casual fans will not like Eisenberg's portrayal, and I can totally understand why. The dude is bonkers, he's completely off the rails and acts like no previous iteration of the character, especially the post-Crisis businessman persona we've seen on Smallville and in Superman The Animated Series. But personally, that's all the more reason to love this version. He was unique, combining elements from all different variations from the comics, most notably the original mad scientist version from the silver age.
3. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Did one or two of her lines come off as a little wooden, sure, I'll admit that. And her role in the overall plot is very minimal, save for the third act. But hot damn does she look the part, she kicks major ass in the fight scenes, and now I'm definitely looking forward to her solo film next year!
4. The score by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL. It's epic, not just in context of the movie, but on its own merits! This is a soundtrack I wouldn't mind listening to on repeat multiple times, with Batman and Wonder Woman's themes being the major standouts!
5. The action and cinematography. I missed you Larry Fong, you were part of what made Watchmen look as amazing as it did, and now you've returned to shoot the greatest gladiator match in the history of the world! This was one of three things that this movie ABSOLUTELY NEEDED to get right, and boy howdy did they get it right! To elaborate further would be going into spoiler territory, but let's just say the third act of this movie is the stuff made of legends.
1. This movie, unfortunately, may not be "accessible" to the casual moviegoer. Unless you're like me and you're a huge DC nerd, chances are you're going to walk out of the theater with a ton of unanswered questions. Good news is if you're invested in this new cinematic universe, then it may be worth it to revisit the movie a couple more times to fully grasp everything that's thrown at you.
2. The story is a mess, a workable mess, but a mess nonetheless. I could tell as I was watching the movie that large portions have been cut for time, and it's possible that in hindsight, some of those cut scenes might have helped the movie flow a little better.
3. Amy Adams as Lois Lane. I'm not talking about her performance, she was fine. But her character is responsible for some really dumb decisions. I've never really been that big a fan of Lois Lane in the comics, but one thing that's really frustrating about modern iterations is that the more personality she's given, the more dissonant the "damsel in distress" aspects become.
As I said, this is just a rough draft of my review. Come back on Saturday for a more refined version, after I've given this movie a second viewing...