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Batman v Superman: Dawn of a Mediocre Film

image credit: Warner Bros

image credit: Warner Bros

Warner Bros

Casey Wells, Club Editor

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a 2016 American superhero film directed by Zack Snyder. It stars Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill as the title characters, as well as Gal Gadot as fellow superheroine Wonder Woman, Amy Adams as journalist Lois Lane, and Jesse Eisenberg as maniacal billionaire Lex Luthor.

But let’s face it. You don’t need me to tell you any of this. It’s Batman v Superman, for crying out loud! Two of the greatest and most beloved characters of all superhero-dom together, for the first time, in a feature film! Even if you don’t like superhero movies, you have to feel at least a twinge of excitement at the thought of these two heroes coming together in what is touted as the greatest gladiator match in history. What could be better?

Turns out… a lot.

As of now, the movie has a “rotten” critic rating of 29% on the movie rating website Rotten Tomatoes, as well as a modest “fresh” audience rating of 70%. This is not what you’d expect of the first side-by-side appearance of two of the most popular superheroes of all time. While Dawn of Justice is not a necessarily bad movie, it certainly does not live up to expectations.

Let me preface this by saying that no one wanted this movie to succeed more than me. Superman? Great. Batman? Awesome. Batman versus Superman? Glorious. On paper, it was magnificent. In reality, it suffered from poor execution.

The movie skimmed over a lot of important plot details, which somehow gave the impression of moving too quickly yet dragging at the same time. Little origin is given for Bruce Wayne, who is said to have been Batman for twenty years by the time of the events of Dawn, which makes the story feel a bit disjointed at the beginning. This is especially awkward because it seems as though Batman is appearing suddenly for the first time, despite an apparent two decades of fighting crime. Either the press is terrible at doing its job or Batman is amazing at his. Another issue is that Wonder Woman seems to be present simply for her to be there rather than for her to serve any integral purpose to the story. And the “cameos” for other superheroes were done with such a blatant heavy handedness that they took away excitement rather than built it.

The movie was much more Dawn of Justice than Batman v Superman; it feels like an ill advised game of catch-up to match Marvel’s Avengers with DC’s own Justice League. Using Dawn like this is a missed opportunity. Rather than being made into a great movie in its own right, Dawn was used mainly as a vessel for setting up future movies. This was seen clearly in Batman’s odd and seemingly semi-prophetic dreams, which make little sense to the average viewer.

Still, that’s all not to say that you shouldn’t go see Batman v Superman. I’d hate to discourage anyone from seeing it. I know a lot of people deeply enjoyed the movie, and please, don’t let me detract from your happiness. I really do wish I shared in your excitement. The movie simply didn’t unfold in a way that I found to be a realization of its full potential.

There are certainly saving graces to this movie. For one, casting fears are unfounded. Ben Affleck nobly takes up the cape and cowl (even gaining the wonderful nickname Batfleck), and Jesse Eisenberg gives an enjoyable, if unconventional, performance as Lex Luthor. Batmobile chase scenes and Batman solo fights are always entertaining. Despite her poor integration into the plot, Wonder Woman is still a scene stealer. Most importantly, the alpha-male swagger and inevitable fight between the title heroes is pure fun to watch.

I give Dawn of Justice two-and-a-half out of five stars. The movie does deliver some good excitement, but it fails to live up to expectations or to match higher quality superhero fare from our good friends at Marvel. But I would never go so far as to recommend avoiding the movie altogether. Grab some friends, buy some popcorn, and you’ll likely have a good time. Just don’t expect the film to be as invulnerable as Superman.

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Casey Wells, Club Editor

Hey, I'm Casey. I'm a Senior this year, and this is my second year as a reporter for The Crown. I enjoy movies, Theatre Club, skiing, Madrigals, and running. ...

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of a Mediocre Film