Movie Review: Superman Vs. Batman, the Dawn of Justice: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Spoilers – lots of them!!! Enjoy them!!


Well, it had to happen: The DC train is now on track with the Marvel Universe and the audience is being geared up for an eleventy gazillion dollar money-sucking adventure through 60 years of comic books in a few, short movies!! And, hopefully, those movies won’t suck too much. As for Sup vs. Bat – wow. This was a movie filmed for epic quality, epic viewing, and epic battles! Sure – forget the storyline! Hey … who needs to fill in the ‘oopses’ and the ‘conveniences’? It’s freakin’ Batman vs. Superman! Right?

Well … maybe …

The Good:

This movie was very well filmed. The director, Zack Snyder, was clearly operating at maximum capacity in this one (as far as Hollywood directors go), and really captured the full-scale epic’ness of the story line. From an amazing score with excessively clear audio (IMAX 3D theater … with a hefty price tag to boot), to phenomenal CGI, this movie was intended to pull you through the last 20 years of comics in just 3 hours and leave you with a BANG! And … it did!

Batman, played by Ben Affleck was, well, surprisingly good. My favorite is still the old Michael Keaton Batman, but that did not stop the well-done performance that Affleck brought to the distraught, anger-management Batman (which is, by the way, the correct Batman being portrayed in this film). Yes, I will agree with others that Ben Affleck always has that lost and confused look on his face, but that was easily offset by his fast-paced, action filled performance. Superman, played by Henry Cavill was not the “Clark Kent” of the 80’s (played by Christopher Reeves), but still crossed that barrier of “good guy” while keeping the dark side that Superman took on during this period in the comics (which is again, cannon!!). The supporting cast was, in part, no let-down either.

Gal Gadot was a decent casting for Wonder Woman, bringing in her beauty, charm, and natural strength to the role. When it comes to a strong, female character who doesn’t rely on sex to portray feminine power – she did awesome. In fact, her costume (although disappointing for the guys), was conservative and very appropriate to this movie. Overall, other than a bad word from Batman, the whole of this movie was very appropriate for teens and up (and you’ll see below why I say “teens” and up … as in 16 years and older).

Lex Luthor, played by Jesse Eisenberg was the perfect Mark Zucherberg of LexCorp (haha .. get it, because he played Mark Zucher… oh… nevermind). A little too nutty for the real Lex Luthor, but a great fit for this role, his contributions (where there was less “action”), were just as thrilling and moving. The entire movie rolls forward well … for the most part. Other than a few hiccups, this was a movie designed for the big screen. Clearly, producers Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder chose their crew well (although, Debbie is married to Zack … so that was sort of a guaranteed role)! (and for anyone who’s ever read my good, bad, and ugly reviews – I rarely complement this much … so that should say something).

The Bad:

Okay – the movie mistakes and conveniences were pretty rampant, but this was easily offset by the speed of the movie and some well done directing:

  1. Bruce Wayne being lifted up to the sky by bats in his dream … wow. Too many “God” references to super heroes that distracted from the point, “God vs. Man”, in the battle.
  2. Reliving Bruce’s parent’s death just to get the name “Martha”. Totally unnecessarily drawn out and provided a lot of filler that slowed things down … painfully. This was a tormented Batman – we got that! (when was he not?)
  3. The opportunity for the bat symbol – totally lost! When superman throws batman through a wall, the camera focuses on Superman staring at the hole Batman leaves in the wall … an ordinary hole. Did nobody think to make the hole look like the bat symbol because … serious movie or not … that would have been funny as hell!
  4. Superman stops Batman during his chase with the bad guys because superman’s decided he is God (although he’s trying to not be … um … God??) and will put an end to the destruct vigilante style of Batman. Oops … Superman flies off and forgets that Batman is chasing bad guys.Way to go Superman … you just let the bad guys get away. On the flip side, way to go Batman, you didn’t tell Superman that there was a nuclear bomb in the case (or something like that), so he’d open it up and get Kryptonite screwed. Too much in one movie, I suppose …
  5. Wonder Woman arrived at the final fight … not by running … not by flying (well, flapping her arms), but by Invisible Jet. How do we know? She shows up … and there’s no jet to be seen. Opportunity lost.
  6. Superman meets with Batman for the final fight and says, “Bruce, hold on a second…” When did Superman figure out it was Bruce Wayne? Did he use X-Ray vision to look under his cowl? Hard to swallow since the world’s greatest detective couldn’t look at Clark Kent and Superman and put two and two together (even though Lex Luthor did!?!). (Not to mention that Superman didn’t notice the Kryptonite … or at least the gun with the extraordinarily large bullets).
  7. Batman steals Lex Luthor’s database (and we get an unfortunately extended scene about metahumans and the commercialization of movies to come). Lex has a 1918 clipping of Wonder Woman. Yet, Bruce Wayne’s multi trillion dollar computer that clearly trump’s Lex’s can’t find the same clipping and he has to ask Wonder Woman who she is?
  8. Bruce has a dream (in fact … a LOT of the movie is spent in his dreams … which is obnoxious … although not necessarily as obnoxious or disturbing as Superman having hallucinations of his father … in which they talk, eve …). In this dream, someone’s reaching through a portal and talking to Batman. And, it’s all static. What? Why? What happened? *sigh*
  9. There’s a lot of scene jumping. The director almost had too much to put in the movie and almost hurt it.
  10. A courtroom explodes and everyone’s ready to bury Superman. Why? Not because he uses X-ray vision? But, because he knew and didn’t … tell? No … he wouldn’t have shown up. Again .. duh. Oh yeah, forget that the explosion from one wheel chair caused more damage than a 5000 pound bomb!
  11. Louis Lane in the bath-tub, keeps moving around and showing parts of her breasts … like it’s supposed to be sexy. The movie had just started … lots of super action .. and … fizzle. Pointless. Gratuitous.
  12. Superman physics! Now, we get that DC takes liberty with this. Superman keeps making sonic booms over and over again (for no real, apparent reason), and then lands through the top of an old, deserty-concrete structure, smashing into the ground … but doesn’t hurt the concrete floor??? So, when he takes off at Super speeds, it should be no surprise that the air volume around him doesn’t either A) Get sucked up with him (which would have pulled Louis Lane OFF of the fire escape), or B) force an air pocket to explode around him with the amount of air pressure he’s using in the take off (which would have left Louis plastered to the inside wall of her apartment saying “I Love you!” (with smushed lips and face preceding her concussion)).
  13. The testimony giving by the African woman during the hearing about Superman’s actions in the desert was abysmal. This … was almost unforgivable. Paraphrasing: “Superman flew overhead making scary boom sounds and startled everyone…” “Then there was a fight somewhere far away from my village..”, “And, then, my government came in and murdered people.” YES! Curse you Superman for … um … what again? The scary boom sounds that sounded like lightening … as if your people had never heard lightening (oops … I guess they did by that description), or had never heard a sonic boom from a plane? Okay then … curse you for … um, fighting … elsewhere? Wait a second … is he also responsible for your tyrannical government, too? This – was stupid.
  14. Story Canon – Lex did not mix his blood with Zod. Go look it up. It was an easy fix (aka whilst looking for Kryptonite, found the body of Doomsday). But … sigh … guess it can  be overlooked.
  15. Batman decides to destroy Superman with Kryptonite … um … dust! Yes! He knows solid Kryptonite is needed (although his 5 GW laser all but destroyed the sample vs. a fine-tune laser), but either for drama, or just to be a jerk, he’s using gas.
  16. Lex Luthor keeps a tiny, rock-sized piece of kryptonite in radioactive shielding because, well, it’s radioactive. He gets a massive-sized chunk sent to him and what does he do? OPENS THE CASE! Okay … I’m fine with that … Lex was a little “ambitious” (and by ambitious, I mean megalomaniac). The other people just standing around, staring at the radioactive “DO NOT OPEN” case … dumb.
  17. Alfred being played by Jeremy Irons … well … everyone thinks that this is awesome. No – it is NOT AWESOME. It’s really, really bad. The butler is what … 10 years older than Batman? So … when his parents died when he was 10, the Wayne family hired a 20 year old Butler (who had actually been serving the queen for many years prior)?? Worse, Irons doesn’t pull off the highly scholared and wizened Alfred role well at all. His conversations were duldrum at best. Booooooo.
  18. Martha … Wayne and Kent … a connecting bond between the heroes that turns a mad, over-indulgent tirade into an instantaneous “let’s be friends” moment … was just a poor use of directing. This could have been done SO much better by NOT wasting time with the death of Bruce’s parents and better connecting those two.
  19. Nuclear Missile – well, let’s hope people forgive us when we nuke Supe!! What??
  20. A huge team of American scientists, physicists, and top people in their field (as Bruce Wayne apparently didn’t have the wherefore all to get involved), couldn’t get into the internal workings of the ship in Metropolis.Why? Because … they had the body of Zod and the fingerprint scanner and … um … nobody watched Spaceballs and knew to take the dead guys’ hand and put it on the fingerprint scanner. Duh, much?
  21. And, thank goodness Kryptonians lock down their ship with the knowledge of a 100,000 worlds (which is, by the way, the reference from Lex at the end when he says, “He’s coming,” referring to Braniac on his way to destroy Earth), so that the ship will not only relinquish control to Lex Luthor … but defy the Kryptonian council. I blame DC for this one.
  22. Anti-Superman Bat Armor (ASBA … or whatever they call it), was “cool” looking. Just like a huge explosion is cool looking … until you realize it’s your house! At what point did Batman not think, “Hey … I have Kryptonite. I’m making Anti-Superman armor to protect me. Superman’s strong enough to tear the Batmobile to pieces. Maybe, I should line the suit exterior with Kyrptonite and protect my interior with lead (or carbon)?” The world’s greatest detective … sad. Again, I blame DC.
  23. In the courtroom, a wheel chair blew up taking out more than it realistically could, heating up the room to a high melting point and vaporizing everyone. But … under the wreckage, through the complete evaporation of everything, and without further facts … the authorities figured out it was the guy in the wheelchair! (But, they still blame Superman). Last I checked, you can’t get into courtrooms or government buildings without being checked. So, unless the authorities looked at him and went … “Nah … high profile case, lots of angry mobs, hey … there’s nothing to worry about here,” that was a very sad movie convenience.
  24. Sadly, I deleted a pre-review I had done of this movie. From the kidnapping of adopted mother Martha to Lex resurrecting Doomsday via Zod to … well… almost everything – I called it. In other words … nothing stood out. I’m not talking about calling the story line because anyone who’s read the comics knows the story line, but rather, the nuances in making a movie that combines story lines. Yes – awesome fighting and fun movie, but you really have to shut down mentally to take it all in. *double sigh*

The Ugly:

The beating scene between Batman and Superman was drug on WAY too long. Although it was intended to be an epic fight, from the very beginning, Kal-El shoves Bruce with such little force that Bruce goes flying back through walls and is lucky to keep his head on straight (and yes … I meant “little” force). If Superman wanted the fight was to end at that moment, he could have. Batman uses sonics, bullets, and other means to attack Superman which have been proven … repeatedly … to be ineffective. A waste … of … time (movie convenience / filler). At the point Batman was hitting Superman over the head with the sink … it just became sad. It was just, too much. Yes, we get it … Batman was upset. He didn’t just want to stop Superman, he wanted revenge. That time, however, would have been better spent with a more epic fight with Doomsday (since they wanted to skip the story ahead straight to the Doomsday kills Superman scene), and some more kick-butt screen time for Wonder Woman. After all, this is Superman and Batman … two guys we love. Two heroes struggling just to be heroes – and the suffering that comes with being misunderstood and the pain in the backgrounds. That fight really took away from them. That’s why I said teens and up – because, for little ones – this really hurts the “superhero” looking up to part. Not the fight – the way it was done (less superhero-ness and more of two guys just pummeling one another in that brain-dead, male-testosterone fashion).

Superman recovers from a direct, nuclear blast and severe radioactive trauma when the sunlight hits him. Awesome. But, a single punch from Doomsday through Superman’s heart and blam-o! Put him in the ground. Dang. Did nobody think to use sunlight again? And please … don’t say he just came back (the dirt beginning to move off his coffin) – at least stay a little Canon with the visitor who revives the Kryptonian. It’s okay – we know Kryptonians don’t die, they can be revived. We just saw it happen (Zod and Doomsday … even though it’s non canon, Kryptonian resurrection still happens in the comics, too).

Louis Lane spends the entire movie trying to convince the government that Superman was set up because she finds some top-secret bullet at the scene, provided by LexCorp, clearly proving that Superman didn’t kill those people. Now, maybe it’s just me – but BULLETS proved that Superman didn’t kill anyone, not top-secret bullets. Superman doesn’t use guns. The entire “conspiracy” theory was a HUGE waste. Everyone knew Lex was doing it with the newspaper articles. Sheesh.

Lex’s talk at the library party was a wasted opportunity. He looks deeply disturbed/troubled by the end, but if that was to convey any emotions or feelings – it fell short … like … it didn’t even reach the dart board, short. Air ball short. Cheerleader’s skirts are longer than that toss in the dark short. *Sigh*.

Did NOBODY IN THE WHOLE WORLD … notice the giant ship in the India Ocean, except LexCorp? Hey … we’re in India and there’s a giant ship in our bay … but who cares!?! Of course, does Lex use his massive amount of money to send ships and divers? Nope … he sends an old guy who uses local kids to do the diving and searching for him. Wow. Let’s make this worse … kryptonite did not fall from the planetary fragments from Krypton … it came out of the ship full of Kryptonians who are deathly “allergic” to Kryptonite (in a manner of speaking). Not just movie convenience … but really … really … bad writing. Of course, Lex had to manipulate government officials to get into the wrecked ship in Metropolis … but ignored the giant one open for all in the India Ocean?

Then there’s the Bruce Wayne 20 minute workout video – with chains, a hammer, and a truck tire. Yes! A billion dollars, massive technology, super cool gadgets, and he can’t buy some nautilus equipment? Of course, that’s not really the “ugly” part. The worst part behind the workout video was the idea that he was working out to go face Superman. Bruce … baby … listen to me: Unless you can bench press planets …. your truck tire will not help you to face Superman. Sure, maybe that was so that he could wear the heavy suit of armor he had … which must be lead-lined because Superman couldn’t see that he was carrying Kryptonite. But, who builds an armor of Lead? Iron? Steel? Titanium, maybe? Sheesh. And, if it was heavy because it was lead lined – where was the kryptonite?? (DC … this is on you!).

Ben Affleck in the bat suit became the “heavy” Ben Affleck as it looked like they were trying to shove three feet of chin and face into a tiny cowl. Not funny guys (okay … a little funny). At LEAST we know why the Dark Knight movie series made Batman sound like he was talking with a mouth full of feces … Alfred was the one trying to get the Bat microphone working right and didn’t finish adjusting it until this movie! Ahhh .. it all makes sense now …. o.0 W..T…F…….??


(Cutting the reviews short – lots more good and bad to say … but this is already too long … sorry).

Well, there you have it. More meaningless drivel about a movie whose legacy won’t last a century. But, for the moment, we try to enjoy what we can. The food sucked (thanks Regal Cinemas and the two “challenged” workers trying to figure out how to cook hotdogs and had popcorn that hadn’t been changed in 3 days but still cost as much as my power bill). The IMAX 3D glasses were the used, worn out glasses that people keep foolishly tossing into the recycle bin not realizing they are just going to be charged for them again so it’s not really “recycling”, and we had to go through 8 pair just to find one not all warped. But, putting the movie theater out of it: The sound was awesome! The directing was well done. The CGI was excellent. The explosions and fist-a-cuffs were action packed (and, really, would you go to see this movie for the in-depth story line like I would, or to see two awesome Super heroes on the screen together in combat?)!! So … for all those reasons, the movie deserved an 8 or 9 stars.

However …

A story line that drug the movie on too long (and was iffy at best … especially on the canon side) … -1. A plot so dead, pointless, and full of holes the size of the nuclear missile they shot (at Superman and Doomsday even though they somehow didn’t think to do that with General Zod who was FAR more epic-ally destructive)? … -1. The short duration fight with Doomsday (in which Batman should have rescued Louis and pulled out the spear, tried, failed, and then Superman step in) … -1. The wasted Bruce dreaming sequences (especially without the first movie’s non-canon Joker catch phrase)… -1. Missed opportunities (like funnies and others not mentioned here) … -1. A much cooler Batmobile (getting closer to the one in the first movie), add one back. Wonder Woman being an awesome figure of strong, celibate femininity, add another one back in. And, JJ Abrams not being present, give it another one … and then take that away for the next movie “metahuman” commercialism with Aquaman being a paranoid, cave dwelling, trident wheeling, stabber who assaults video cameras with his spear, and for leaving off about 4 or 5 others who belonged on that Metahuman list. Overall, I would rate this movie a 6 out of 10. So yeah, if you have lots of money to waste, see it on IMAX!! Woohoo (flushing $17+ is so much fun … um … we think …)! If not, wait for DVD/Blu-Ray (or sony Ultra HD 4k streamed for $30 …?????!!!! … oh you poor Sony people, how I feel for you). Don’t worry – it won’t be too long … Star Wars 7 is still in theaters and the DVD is about to be released??? Not enough money in theaters = faster DVD sales!

Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?


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