Skip to main content


Movie Review: 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice'

After a rough start, BVSDOJ serves up a powerful emotional punch.

Review by Matt Cummings

For a film that has gained so much attention since its year-long delay, expectations for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice couldn't be greater and perhaps more unrealistic. That's perhaps Warner Bros' fault for concocting a tale near the end - rather than at the beginning - of a universe with so much promise. And while the emotional punch of Act 3 is profound, some of the build up is clunky and its mythology doesn't have time to properly develop.

It's been nearly two years since Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod (Michael Shannon) destroyed much of Metropolis, leaving many to ponder their role in a world where gods do exist. To some like Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) and even Batman (Ben Affleck), such forces represent a true evil that must be wiped out. But others aren't so sure, including a mysterious woman (Gal Gadot) and the reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams). Ready to battle the most powerful man on Earth, The Dark Knight sets in motion a plan for an epic showdown without considering that he might be a pawn in Luthor's greater scheme.

Let's put a couple of early concerns to rest: Affleck is terrific as Batman, Gadot is pure beast as Wonder Woman, and the Doomsday appearance is as epic as anything Marvel has conjured up. Affleck easily slips in to the role, mixing the billionaire playboy with the gritty realism of a brutal warrior who won and lost much in 20 years of crime fighting. And he is a pure badass here, perhaps the best Batman ever, not just because he delivers the most powerful punches but because of the emotional change he undergoes as the film progresses. Without giving anything away, it's clear that Wayne doesn't understand who his true enemy is and makes clear mistakes as he chooses to engage Superman. That's the mark of human error, something our heroes aren't supposed to embody, and yet it works so well here. I have zero worry about Affleck now, his presence is as evocative as anything we've seen this year.

Gadot is perhaps the most pleasant surprise, a thoroughly agreeable mix that should win over a lot of people who worried when Snyder cast her. And yet, Wonder Woman's arc is frustratingly inadequate: by the end we know nothing of her intentions, how she became apparently immortal, and why she remained on the sidelines until now. All of these promise to be revealed when her origin movie arrives in 2017, but it will weigh on you to see it played out here. But make no mistake: Gadot is a winner, ready to assume her position as the final member of DC's Trinity.

Other returning players like Adams and Lawrence Fishburne as Perry White are pitch perfect, while Jeremy Irons as the new snarky Alfred could give Michael Caine's version a run for his money. Then there's Eisenberg, who will either be viewed as a rip off of Jack Nicholson's Joker or another masterful bit of casting. Luthor is immediately unbalanced with Eisenberg reveling in such a meaty role, vacillating between brilliant scientist and mass murderer at the flip of a switch. He acts as the notorious chessmaster, ready to destroy the world in order to keep Superman and others like him from overtaking the planet. This doesn't happen because Luthor is an unbalanced hero, but a psychopath just waiting to become unglued. His will probably be the most debated aspect of BvS, which I'm sure its director might not have intended.

And yes, there are appearances by other metahumans, but they aren't around long enough for us to get a better idea about them. All we know is that Luthor has been studying them, but like Wonder Woman we have no idea why they're here or if their purpose is friendly or merely disinterested. Issues like these plague BVSDOJ, adding perhaps the final chapter to a debate that's been around awhile: should DC have made separate origin stories ala Marvel instead of cramming several heroes into a longer movie? There's bound to be valid reasons on both sides, but consider if The Empire Strikes Back - typically considered the best Star Wars movie and sequel ever - had been made first and not A New Hope. BVSDOJ feels like huge chunks of story are waiting for their own origins, which would make sense provided they had already been made. A movie like The Avengers would have suffered horribly under these conditions, and it's likely that curious moviegoers will be largely lost as these various permutations make their appearances, some in confusing dream moments like The Flash (Ezra Miller). Still, Director Zack Snyder's nearly insurmountable challenge here - to rapidly expand this universe in the opposite direction - is at one point bigger and more epic than any Marvel movie, certainly more poignant, and definitely heart-wrenching as well.

A decade from now, fans new to the League-verse will most likely watch BVSDOJ as the penultimate - rather than the first - tale leading up to the two-part Justice League, during which time Snyder's expansive, sometimes brilliant, but frustratingly exhaustive effort might be better appreciated. For now, it's likely to divide audiences familiar with the story and alienate those who took a chance based on the big fight sequences so prominently displayed in the trailers. Either way, it's certain to make an immediate and big splash as word of its stunning reveals spreads.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality and has a runtime of 153 minutes.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.


Popular posts from this blog

Enter For A Chance To Win Tickets To See READY PLAYER ONE In Las Vegas

Enter For A Chance To Win Pass To See READY PLAYER ONE on March 26th at 7:00 PM in Las Vegas.

From filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes the science fiction action adventure “Ready Player One,” based on Ernest Cline’s bestseller of the same name. The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse. But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger.


PG-13 sequences of sci-fi action violence, bloody images, some suggestive material, partial nudit…

Enter For A Chance To Win Tickets To See MIDNIGHT SUN In LAS VEGAS

Enter For A Chance To Win Pass To See MIDNIGHT SUN on March 21th at 7:00 PM in LAS VEGAS.

MIDNIGHT SUN is a romantic tearjerker about 17-year-old Katie Price (Bella Thorne), sheltered at home since childhood with a rare genetic condition, a life-threatening sensitivity to sunlight. Having only her father Jack (Rob Riggle) for company, Katie's world opens up after dark when she ventures outside to play her guitar. One night, her dreams come true when she’s noticed and asked out by her longtime crush Charlie (Patrick Schwarzenegger), whom she’s secretly watched from her bedroom window for years. As they embark on nightly summer excursions, Katie’s risk to sunlight grows and she’s presented with the gut-wrenching dilemma of whether she can live a normal life with her newfound soul mate.






This screening will be monitored for unauthorized…

Avengers: Infinity War Trailer Has Arrived

An unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” brings to the screen the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time. The Avengers and their Super Hero allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Anthony and Joe Russo direct the film, which is produced by Kevin Feige. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo and Stan Lee are the executive producers. Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely wrote the screenplay. “Avengers: Infinity War” releases in U.S. theaters on April 27, 2018.

Discuss this with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms Please Leave A Comment-