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Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice

Opening Date
24 Mar 2016
PG13 Some Violence
152 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Zack Snyder
Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Jesse Eisenberg
Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day saviour, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.
By Flora  26 Mar 2016
It serves its purpose as an entertaining superhero flick, but nothing more comes out from this 2.5-hour flop.
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In the realm of journalism, there’s clickbait headlines that make you hate yourself after reading the article; and in the world of movie-making, there’s a much alluring superhero-versus-themed blockbuster that you can’t help but part with a weekend price to watch it. The end result is the pretty much the same - jaded.

As most superhero spectacles go, there are bound to be over the top final battle between good and evil; a grand and exhilarating dutiful climax; and a melodramatic voice-over about how humans and mutants cannot ultimately live in harmony. Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is in fact an oversized dose of the caped crusader and his nemesis, son of Krypton, Superman. Like with Marvel and its Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline, this film seems like the building block to DC’s take on the ultimate ‘Avengers-like’ franchise, the Justice League.

We all would have been familiar with Henry Cavill as the righteous Superman, but for newly appointed Ben Affleck, does he have what it takes to be the next Batman? People were skeptical, even this writer when we learned that he would be taking on the role as the new Batman, but he sure did himself and the character justice (pun not intended) with the film. It also helps that his bat suit adds a layer of badas* vigilante-esque aura around him. 

One of the real highlights of the film is not the battle of power between the titular characters, but Gal Gadot’s debut as Wonder Woman. *Cue cheesy punky rock music… (mind you, this happens in the film). She gives a solid performance as Wonder Woman, a well-deserved addition to the superhero universe. I applaud the creators for respecting a powerful character like Wonder Woman in her own rights, without diminishing her abilities as a vigilante because of petty gender issues. 

In all honesty, painting a picture of jealous Bruce Wayne and spoilt brat Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) who are resentful to Superman’s abilities; his failure to keep the world safe; the potential adversaries to mankind he brings along with him; all feels like a thin plot-line to supplement the intentions of Bruce Wayne going all out to defeat Clarke. It seems too odd and going out of his way to try to stop Superman - but at the same time to believe that he is also one of the superheroes that ultimately saves the day - doesn’t fit well. 

There are many different themes surrounding the big blockbuster movie, but building up to the climax was too much of a dread and misguided complications of never-ending subplots. The film ultimately serves as a lead-up to Justice League, which we hope, will be much more superhero-packed than this. 
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By Yun-Huei  25 Mar 2016
BvS functions more like a (very long) teaser trailer to the upcoming DCEU movies, but in their eagerness to launch the franchise, it does seem that Snyder and team have forgotten to make BvS itself a movie that would stand on its own strengths.
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It was inevitable, after the incredible box office successes of the Marvel Comic Universe, that competing comics giant DC would want a piece of the pie too. And thus the DC Extended Universe was born, with the first salvo fired being Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (shorthanded to BvS for the rest of the review), and a slew of movies announced all the way to 2020. However, based on BvS alone, one wonders if the DCEU is already off on a wrong foot from the get-go. While the film does have its merits and some high points, BvS is also mired with issues, ranging from terrible writing, an overlong (way, WAY overlong) running time, and a complete lack of joy in the proceedings.

Given that the film title states that it’s Batman v Superman, one would not expect that it takes almost 90 minutes for the premise to be setup, and that the setup is such a weak and unconvincing one. The conflict between the two superheroes is just not believable, and even though it presents an interesting angle (essentially, who watches the watchmen, a theme also explored by Snyder’s Watchmen adaptation in 2009), the twists and turns needed to get there just does not work on any level. This is not aided by the lack of anything for the audience to get emotionally invested in – while the film tries to be serious and weighty, there’s very little narrative and backstory for the audience to latch on to, which gives BvS very little dramatic heft. And do not get me started on how the “animosity” is resolved eventually, which is so contrived it truly beggars belief.

While the same self-seriousness worked well in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, it already proved to be a bit of a miss in Man of Steel as it was quite a departure from Superman’s established canon, both in film and in print. This is further exacerbated in BvS – while no one is expecting a comedy, Snyder and his scribes do not seem to understand that being serious doesn’t mean sapping the joy out of a superhero movie, especially one that contains both Superman and Wonder Woman. BvS doubles down on the dourness of Man of Steel, and is indeed one of the most (if not the most) downer of a superhero movie I’ve watched in years.

 Despite the initial outcry, Ben Affleck is actually a reasonable replacement for Batman, both in his physicality and in his performance. However, Henry Cavill remains a very wooden Superman, only looking the part when he shows up in the iconic spandex suit and cape. Jesse Eisenberg is terribly miscast, and his supposed psychotic Lex Luthor comes across more like an annoying teenager with a ridiculously long list of nervous tics and twitches. It is truly hard to believe that two intelligent beings like Batman and Superman falling for his rather simplistic schemes of manipulation. The women all fare better, but are all relegated to nothing more than window dressing in the film. Gal Gadot in particular shows great promise as Wonder Woman, and there is hope that her standalone movie next year would fare better than BvS.

Zach Snyder is a director that excels in crafting visuals, and it is not surprising that some portions of BvS are indeed very good looking. However, there is definitely an overreliance on CG, especially in the (anti)climactic showdown between the heroic trio and Doomsday. Speaking of Doomsday, he is a complete bust as there’s absolutely no background to the villain, existing solely as a prop to advance the plot, and one that looks very unevenly animated, despite what must be a massive CGI budget. Coupled with way too many quick cuts in the last action-packed hour, and a relentlessly booming and overbearing score by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL, and it’s just quite an exhausting ordeal of a movie to sit through. BvS functions more like a (very long) teaser trailer to the upcoming DCEU movies, but in their eagerness to launch the franchise, it does seem that Snyder and team have forgotten to make BvS itself a movie that would stand on its own strengths.
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