By James Gesner (Marshfield, Ma, USA)


Below find a short review written in the past 20 minutes, on our screening this evening of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

This film is an enigma. No Spoilers.

The story is good. The dialogue is 95% well written by Terrio – wooden lines for Perry/Lex, couple for WW. The acting is superb, especially from Ben Affleck and Cavill. Jeremy Irons is easily my favorite Alfred now.  Eisenberg, hmm, not blown away by his portrayal; but not dismissive of it.  He did something new for a cinematic version of Lex Jr.; he mixed Smallville (late seasons psychosis Lex) with his own over the top deliveries. Wish they would have kept daddy Lex alive in this canon – and have Nic Cage play Lex Sr., that pair would actually make sense.

Amy Adams and Gal Gadot are on point as well, Gadot has a great couple of hero scenes. The ending perfectly sets up the next franchises. Before we went I said, if I wrote this film, I would have this happen, that happen, hint at this and end with this specific cliff hanger, and they did that, so I was happy.

But…Zack Snyder went overboard editing this film, and with his shaky cam and smash cuts. Some of the pacing of this film, because of the poor editing, is jarring. It’s really bad. There are THREE major story arcs from major comic book runs melded into this one film – not including the setup for the JL sequels. Not including the Joker nod/Killing Joke nod. I will say that the cameos for the other heroes were handled the best way they could have been.  We don’t just get the standard intro; random shot; that doesn’t have anything to do with the plot – just to cram everyone in there. It makes sense and is actually a neat little plot thread from beginning to end.

There’s a great, great film in there, it needs a different editor though to dig it out. I think Zack Snyder might have just lost himself a gig on one, maybe both, Justice League films. I don’t think it’s just a happy coincidence that George Miller *Mad Max* (who was going to direct a Justice League movie before as well) was hired as an on hands producer; and Affleck is signed to produce now as well, and direct the Batman features. Affleck is fantastic. Great Batman, he nailed it, especially the tone from that TDK Returns/COIE/SD runs. He also nails Bruce Wayne, which in this is more important to the story. This whole, we get a R-Rated directors cut that will be 30 minutes even longer, um, can we get a new editors cut that is 15 minutes shorter? Do both, rerelease both and I guarantee you, you will get 50% better critical reviews.

If you want to go see a great Batman portrayal, a nuanced Clark Kent portrayal and a wonderful introduction to Wonder Woman, plus great visuals with superb action scenes and fight scenes, you’ll be happy. If you go in expecting The Dark Knight’s storytelling and layered, masterclass villain performance; the best soundtrack, etc., you are going to be mildly disappointed.

Overall Film Quality Rating: 3.2/5

Fun Film? 4/5, yes, it’s a popcorn blockbuster that is setting up 8 (hey, Hal and John and Kyle have to show up eventually) franchises. It had a lot to do, it accomplished it, but I think the material and actors were let down by their director and editor.

For the whole DC vs Marvel debate; this movie cannot, and should not be compared to The Avengers franchises yet, not even anything in their phase 2 sets. It’s the Iron Man 2 of the DC Universe so far. Man of Steel was Iron Man. Green Lantern bombed like Incredible Hulk *also had to be recast and retconned in later film*. Then we got Iron Man 2 and BvS: DoJ.

This movie lays a better foundation for future films and an overall better story with better characters than Iron Man 2, even though I love everything Sam Rockwell does.




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