Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) Review | 100 Day Film Challenge – Day 23

*NOTE* I watched the Unrated Director’s Cut of the film (shout out to After End Media for hooking a sister up!).

WHAT. A. BEAUTIFUL.MESS. Those are the first words that are conjured when I reflect on this film. Directed by Zack Snyder and starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, and Amy Adams, this film had potential. Unfortunately, it squandered it.

The film is tonally all over the place. It constantly flits from one location to the next, with little to no explanation. Also, I found myself alternately bored and entertained with this film. The first twenty minutes were spectacular. I was gripped, and excited to see what was causing Superman to act so erratically. Then, BvS lost me. The titular showdown doesn’t even occur until the last 45 minutes of the film. That said, the smackdown was fantastic. The environmental destruction was awesome, and Affleck and Cavill gave their all pummeling each other.

Let’s discuss the performances. Affleck was BATTACULAR (I made that word up) as Batman. Perfectly tuned between brooding and caring, I was genuinely invested in Batman the entire film. Cavill looks the part of Superman (COME ON, the man is gorgeous. You can’t deny that), but he doesn’t bring much emotional depth to the character. Gal Gadot was a pitch perfect Wonder Woman, but I wished they would have fleshed out her character more in this film. She felt shoehorned in, almost like an ad for her solo film debuting next year. Don’t even get me started on Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. I have no idea why they decided he should be a twitch, anxious villain, but the character grated on my nerves. Also, why was so much of this film devoted to Lois Lane? She didn’t add much to the film, and Amy Adams (usually fantastic) was not on top of her game.

I do have to admit that this is one beautiful (albeit literally dark) film. I regularly ogled the scenery, and the special effects were fantastic. Well, besides Doomsday. He looked like a giant, naked Ninja Turtle.

I did enjoy the little Easter eggs and nods to other characters from the DCEU. The nods to the individual films of Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg intrigued me, and the nudges toward the Joker have me majorly craving Suicide Squad.

Overall, this film is a beautiful mess. With performances of varying strengths, gorgeous cinematography, a simple yet exquisite soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL, and an extremely lengthy running time, it’s hard for me to recommend this film to anyone who isn’t a die hard DC fan (even if you are a die hard fan, it’s still not an easy recommendation). I wanted to love (hell, even like) this film, but I just couldn’t enjoy it that much. I’m crossing every joint of my body that the upcoming slate of DC films majorly improve on this entry into the canon.

Verdict: 3/5


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