(This is sort of a spoiler-filled account of Batman Vs Superman Dawn of Justice. No offense to those who loved the movie.)
To start with, this movie left me with more questions than I’ve ever had even at the end of a Math class. And that’s really saying something because my Math sucked big time throughout school. I was so hyped and excited for Batman Vs Superman that I was defending it fiercely even before watching it, especially after the backlash it received post it’s release last week. However, after watching it, I don’t really blame the critics for thrashing it. Even though I couldn’t help but “like” the movie (being a hardcore DC fan since childhood), I can understand why casual movie goers or superhero movie lovers despised it.
The movie starts with the most done-to-death scene (sorry for the unintended pun) in DC universe- The brutal shootings of Thomas and Martha Wayne, Bruce’s parents, the event that led to the birth of Batman. While the cinematography of this scene was quite brilliant (gun firing through the pearl necklace), it failed to pack an emotional punch, thanks to an abrupt and hurried pace, much like the entire film itself. We are also shown how Bruce got inspired by bats after falling in a cave, through a very weird dream-like scene.
Speaking of imagination, this movie surpasses even Inception when it comes to dream sequences. So much so, that at more than one instance I was left wondering whether what I was seeing was actually a dream or reality. The same dark and noir setting which worked so brilliantly in case of Watchmen, didn’t really strike a chord in Dawn of Justice. Sorry Zack Snyder.
Anyway, coming back to the plot.
Bruce Wayne aka The Bat of Gotham (Yes, that’s what he’s referred to as throughout the film. Never Batman) is not happy with the way Superman handles things, with little to no regard for life or property (Think back to the fight between General Zod and Superman in the prequel Man of Steel). Similarly, Clark Kent aka Kal-El aka Superman is not too keen on Bruce’s vigilantism which includes branding criminals with a bat insignia so that they are targeted and punished in prison. With both our superheroes unhappy with how the other works, it is only a matter of time that someone takes advantage of this situation and forces them to confront and fight each other to death.
Enter Alexander Luthor aka Lex Luthor. After realizing that Kryptonite is pretty much the only thing in the world which can destroy our Man of Steel, shaggy-haired Lex decides to make a weapon out of it, to be used against Superman if the need arises. Why does he hate Superman so much to create such a weapon of destruction? It’s just one of the many questions which is never clearly answered. Without showing any probable motive, Lex is just implied to be a megalomaniac who wishes to destroy anything or anyone else more powerful than him. He also tries to tarnish Superman’s hero image in the eyes of the public by bringing to light his destructive streak which has lead to the death or injury of several innocents.
Since the Bat of Gotham holds the same grudge against Superman, he steals some very important data as well as a good chunk of Kryptonite from Lex to create a spear to destroy the Man of Steel. This causes Lex to hate both our superheroes and gives him the idea to get them to kill each other. But before that, Lex goes full loony and uses the technology aboard General Zod’s spaceship to create a monster by using his own blood. I am thinking Lex may actually be a fan of the Dothraki tribe from Game of Thrones, because he literally utters the phrase, “Blood of my Blood,” while doing the procedure. Way to go Lex!
So on one hand he gets our two superheroes to fight by using the most cliched “bad-guy” methods of kidnapping and blackmailing, on the other hand, he releases the monster he created and named Doomsday, to unleash hell on Earth. All villainy tasks complete.
After an elaborate fight sequence, which is one of the few saving graces of the movie (but which also has the most Bollywood style conclusion), the Bat and Man of Steel realize they should be fighting together against the bad guys, instead of each other (Duh!). So off goes the Bat to fight Luthor’s crooks, while Superman flies off to handle the abomination that is Doomsday. However, it turns out, Doomsday is made of the same stuff that Superman is, only bigger. And since Batman is only human, the burden of fighting and defeating Doomsday solely lies on Superman’s muscular shoulders, right?
Because we’ve also got Wonder Woman to save the day!
No, I did not forget to mention her before, I just chose not to. Because her role is so insignificant up until this point, that if you didn’t know Gal Gadot is playing Wonder Woman you’d just mistake her for an extra. She’s only in the film to steal the same data that Batman stole from Lex, because it contains a picture of her in full armour during World War I. Oh BTW, the same data also contains files on 3 other meta humans, who will later come to be known as Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman when the Justice League forms. I must say, I actually squealed with excitement when they showed a glimpse of Khal Drogo, Oops! Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as Flash and Ray Fisher as Cyborg. The Justice League is finally happening!!!
So back to the fight.
Wonder Woman turns up in her Amazonian uniform to help Superman fight Doomsday, with the most badass theme playing in the background. At this point, there were quite a few cheers in the theater. After every attempt at destroying Doomsday fails, which includes nuking him with a missile, Superman, or rather his girlfriend Lois Lane realizes that the same Kryptonite which is harmful to Superman, could prove lethal for Doomsday as well. But instead of giving the Kryptonite spear to Wonder Woman who’s trying to control Doomsday with her Lasso of Truth, our Man of Steel decides to strike him with it himself, despite knowing that carrying it will weaken him as well.
What happens next is kinda the big reveal of the film so I’ll leave it out. Suffice it to say, it gives Bruce Wayne an idea to start an organisation of super humans who can come together to fight any such supernatural threats to Earth and it’s people (JUSTICE LEAGUE!). “Just a thought,” as Bruce tells Diana in the end. We also see a-now-bald Lex Luthor in prison talking about some bell that has already been rung, which I am guessing indirectly indicates the arrival of one of Superman’s most formidable villains, Darkseid in the future movies.
Now, if executed and in come cases, performed well (I am looking at you Jesse Eisenberg), this movie could’ve been better. But thanks to some unnecessary divergence from canon and truly disappointing performances, Dawn of Justice didn’t live up to my expectations.
The two things which ruined it for me were;
a) Jesse Eisenberg’s over the top performance as Lex Luthor. I got irritated every time he came onscreen because I just couldn’t bear his lame and horribly unsuccessful attempts at imitating the kind of psychosis which Heath Ledger so brilliantly patented as the Joker. The awkward speeches with mediocre dialogue that ended with an annoying “hmm” after every sentence literally got on my nerves. And to think this same actor played Mark Zuckerberg so marvelously in Social Network.
b) The fact that Batman actually kills or lets people die just like that. The one reason why I love Batman and find him so fascinating is that despite all the tragedy that befalls him, he vows not to kill anyone, no matter how bad he is. But I don’t think this version of Batman would give anybody a second chance. That totally killed the essence of the character of Batman for me. He is not supposed to use guns because his parents were gunned down. And here, he actually shoots people left, right and center with a gun, thankfully only in his dreams.
Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman is not as bad as I expected but he doesn’t invoke the same sense of emotion and pathos which Christian Bale did so beautifully in the Dark Knight trilogy. In short, there is no humanness to Batfleck. Henry Cavill proves once again that he was the right choice to play Superman and delivers an often restrained, yet good performance. Gal Gadot is perfect as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, and I can’t wait to see her in her standalone film. Amy Adams, Lawrence Fishburne, Diane Lane, Holly Hunter and Jeremy Irons are all good as supporting characters.
All in all, Batman vs Superman- Dawn of Justice doesn’t live up to the standard set by the Marvel superhero movies or even DC’s Dark Knight Trilogy in any way. But if you are a die-hard fan of DC, then you will surely enjoy the movie regardless of all it’s flaws. If nothing else, just watch the movie for finally seeing Batman and Superman in the same frame in a live action film. It’s pure bliss for any superhero fan.