I went into the screening of Dawn of Justice preceded by a dark cloud of poor reviews that surrounded the film upon its release; I can definitely say that these were an injustice to the almost wholly positive experience I enjoyed. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is by no means a masterpiece and there are flaws, but none substantial enough to ruin the experience. I was so impressed to see the ambition with which this film was approached, and more so the development of the DC Universe that can be identified throughout. Not quite as substantial as Marvel cinematically, the DC Universe has always been the little brother, but after this, along with the upcoming additions and multiple connecting TV series, they are definitely hot on the heels of Marvel and I’m excited by the possibilities of what’s to come.
Firstly, I’d like to address the casting: Ben Affleck was heavily doubted upon the initial announcement that he would follow-up Christian Bale in donning the cape and cowl, but I was extremely surprised by him. Not only does he possess that perfect comic book Batman chin, he is actually a superb actor; who knew, right? It really comes through that Affleck is thoroughly enjoying the role and has worked into it perfectly. Dawn of Justice did also see the first live action film depiction of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) who had been dubbed by some critics as an unnecessary addition whose involvement was undeniably forced into the narrative. This is one point that I must strongly disagree with. Wonder Woman’s involvement was worked in extremely well. She was substantial to the main narrative and an interesting addition, giving the plot more relevant depth and another great on-screen presence. Holly Hunter’s character, Senator Finch, was definitely a surprise in terms of sub-characters that held their own and really helped push the film forward as a strong willed female protagonist going up against the questionably Heath Ledger Joker-esque Lex Luthor (Jesse Eissenberg). There was, however, one character who was so tragically terrible and dislikeable that every time she appeared on-screen I found myself either sighing or chuckling at how horrendously useless Lois Lane (Amy Adams) was. This was not due to bad acting on Adams part, but just that the general direction of the character had her play an almost constant damsel in distress role that I imagine others would also find frustrating.
The plot itself was built really well, and you find yourself craving the first encounter between Batman and Superman, which is justifiably teased, but nonetheless almost perfectly paced. The plot isn’t black and white either. Lex Luthor’s involvement keeps things fresh and very impactful at points. I definitely didn’t see some events playing out like they did and it was great to be surprised by Zack Snyder’s direction.
This leads me to another great aspect of the film, as some scenes and shots in this superhero flick are incredibly pleasing, almost out of place just because of how unexpectedly well the cinematography was handled, which is fairly unlike the genre. The score by Hans Zimmer, as always, was incredible and again pushes the art side of this film to unexpected heights, raising the intensity and emotion of every scene. However, at some points the film does become a little unfocussed by straying from the main plot. There’re about three scenes where I found myself asking “why?”, but nonetheless I’d prefer a film to have too much than too little.
I thoroughly enjoyed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and if you go into it open minded or even believing some of the harsh critics, you’ll come out very satisfied, and if you just love superhero films and want what they tend to supply, then you’ll not be disappointed.