Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (Ultimate Edition)

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (Ultimate Edition)

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (Ultimate Edition)

2016. Directed by Zack Snyder

"If you seek his monument, look around you."

I did not see this film in the theaters so I went in blind, albeit with reservations. I've never been more wrong and even as I write this I know I'm in for it with my readers.

Snyder delivers an epic attempt at greatness, and while he does fall short, the film reminded me of The Hobbit. A glorious mess of a film that is high entertainment and just an outstanding popcorn experience that desperately wants to be something it's not, and therein lies the film's charm.

Superman is set up as the misunderstood messiah and the film weaves the faux-complex narrative deftly. His juxtaposition to the Dark Knight, a rebel vigilante who's never truly been accepted by the masses was Shakespearean (in the park) in its approach to crafting the ultimate showdown.

Ben Affleck delivers the best on screen performance of the Batman ever seen. The script allows Batman to actually do detective work while simultaneously we're not treated to the usual "woe is me" Bruce Wayne. The Bat is mad and you find yourself wanting him more and more to unleash. Henry Cavill is reliably stoic and a great calm to Affleck's storm, though this is Batman's story, make no mistake.

Jesse Eseinberg as Luthor was an odd choice that I feel worked because he's everything the two heroes are not. Unhinged beyond imagination, yet cold and calculating, he represents the possible futures for the two heroes should they stray from the light. Diane Lane is blissful in her soulful interpretation of the often forgotten Martha Kent. Amy Adams continues to be an afterthought in the franchise but does well with what she has.

Jeremy Irons gives a very unique take on Alfred that will make purists balk but is very necessary and adequate given the story being told. It's what I love about Bruce and Alfred in this film. They're tired and cranky and done putting up with decades of comic book contrivances. People complained about Batman having weapons and killing, but again I came back to Miller's Dark Knight Returns and the idea of a Batman who is an Ozymandias among the ruins of Gotham.

Credit must be given to Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, who is a supernova for every second of her preciously limited screen time and it's one of the few editing choices I agree with.

The editing and pacing are all over the place, but the film is a beautiful mix of light and dark. Larry Fong's cinematography is the film's strongest attribute and it's old fashioned approach to good versus evil is seen in the stark contrast of the hyper visuals that explode in every scene. In particular, the nightmare sequence was amazing and a subtle nod to Millar's Red Son comic book.

The final showdown is 45 minutes of pure action, which absolutely blew away the competition by actually having real danger and consequences. The CGI for Doomsday was a letdown as was the infamous "Martha" meme generating scene, but the entire sequence is pure shock and awe that breaks away from the pack by its sheer audacity.

It's easy to understand why this film was panned by so many yet made so much money. It asks a lot of great questions but fails to find the depth to answer them but at the same time is so adrenaline charged, you often forget this flaw.

My initial disdain was overcome by the film's no apologies over indulgence of the superhero genre. Yes, it's dark and morose, but in a playful, almost prosthetic manner. If you're looking for explosions and mindless entertainment in a complete package, this is well worth the price of admission.

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