DCEU Retrospective: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Next up is the infamous Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. To this day I’m still unsure as to why this movie needed that subtitle. But two sentences into this thing I’m already going off on a tangent. This movie is not so fondly remembered, partly due to the awful “Martha” scene which, yup, is still awful, so I was curious to see if on hindsight this movie does any better. A little bit, I guess?
This movie tried to explore a lot of different ideas which could have turned out brilliantly. But due primarily to shoddy writing by writers that didn’t really seem to fundamentally understand some of the characters, this movie just turned into a garbled mess. One such example of this mess is the Knightmare sequence wherein Bruce sees an apocalyptic view of the future after Darkseid invades the planet. I understand that this scene was meant to fuel Bruce’s hatred and distrust of Superman, but this scene is so jarringly out of place with the rest of the movie. This scene would have been better served for the beginning of a Justice League movie instead.
One of the biggest issues I have with this movie is Lex Luthor. Lex is one of my more favorite villains because of his cunning and his behind-the-scenes puppeteering, always pulling the strings to sway the situation in his favor. He’s always this level-headed character that thinks through things and acts in the subtlest of ways to get what he wants. This is not the Lex Luthor we got in this movie. First off, I feel that Jesse Eisenberg was an awful choice for the role. But I was willing to give him a shot if the character was written well. And he was most certainly not. They decided, for whatever reason, to make Luthor a raving lunatic which, much like the Superman issues in Man of Steel, was so out of character and fundamentally changed who the character was. In the brief post-credit scene of Justice League they seem to remedy this, but that was far too little, far too late.
The overall visual in this movie weren't bad. In the most recent DC films their VFX had gotten much better but given what was to come with Justice League in the new few years, in hindsight the visual in this trash heap were actually pretty passable.
When I watched this on HBO Max they only had the original theatrical cut of the movie. Literal days after I watched it they announced that the Ultimate Edition was going to replace it. I had watched the Ultimate Edition a few years ago and surprisingly it does help to flesh out some of the weaker aspects of this movie. If you intend to re-watch this movie at any point, definitely make sure to grab the Ultimate Edition.
There isn’t a lot more to say about this movie. Lots of great ideas that turned into a muddled mess because of poor writing that fundamentally misunderstood the characters (again).