As of a half-hour ago, I saw along with many other people, a movie that was action-filled, and delivered up "the greatest gladiator match in the history of the world." After 75 long years, countless TV shows, cartoons and crossovers in other forms of media (including radio), Batman and Superman (or Superman and Batman) finally have met on the big screen for a titanic class unlike any other.
This movie, as a sequel to "Man of Steel", does a lot of things right, especially with the casting. But it also does a lot of things wrong, especially where plot and some of the special effects are concerned. Before I delved into the bad, I want to focus on the good.
Ben Affleck was a superb casting choice as Batman. Specifically the Batman that is being drawn from Frank Miller's 1986 comics masterpiece "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns". The Batman audiences are given is a brooding, vengeance driven older man, weary from his 20 year long war on the criminal element of Gotham City, that dons cape and cowl once more when he see's Superman as a giant threat to the status quo of humanity and the continued existence of the Earth. What comes from that return to his costumed identity is seeing a lot of Bruce Wayne doing the more detective elements of the Batman role, and Batman doing more of the punch-first and strike fear before asking questions kind of work. All that aside, Affleck was awesome, and his continued role as Batman is one that will no doubt be enjoyable for comic book fans and movie-goers alike.
Gal Gadot steps up in a big way bringing Wonder Woman to life on the silver screen for the very first time. This is a character that embodies so many different traits, passionate, strong, peace seeker, warrior, demi-goddess etc. And Gadot showcases all of these traits when she is both Wonder Woman (Diana) going through with her own personal mission (that is a very small part of the overall film plot) and when she don's the armor and weapons of Wonder Woman to help the guys (heh, yeah I went there) save the day. What we have been given is just a taste of what Gal Gadot can do as Wonder Woman. How the character will be portrayed in the standalone movie slated to come out in 2017 and the Justice League movie, is another thing entirely. But I can state with confidence, I can't wait to see what she does.
Now that I have focused on the four good things about the movie (in terms of new characters/casting), I want to focus on the two bad things about this movie, the overcrowded plot and major overuse of special effects.
As far as plot goes, too much was shoehorned into this movie (clocking it in at almost 3 hours in length). It suffers from the same mistake that Avengers: Age of Ultron made last year, trying to squeeze in too much story for the sake of advancing the characters, introducing new characters to help keep interest up (although this time it does the job magnificently) and bouncing all over the place in terms of said plot, leaving the pacing of the story varied and at times rather confusing.
Special effects wise, the movie had way too much. Like half of the end fight is just special effects (because the monster aka Doomsday) is a completely CGI figure) which means that there is a lot of bright flashes, loud booms and explosions of the kind that can only be done by a combination of Hollywood magic and computers. Despite all this, the big showdown fight between Batman and Superman was amazing and glorious, and by far one of the best aspects of the film.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is certainly a great action movie, and to many people a great comic book movie. And while it does suffer from the all important part of plot, coupled with the special effects overload, it more then makes up for these shortcomings by having a great expanded cast, introducing new characters (and hinting at others to come) while setting the stage for the eventual Justice League movie that is slated for a 2017 release date. This is a film that will stand alone for years to come, and one that will be enjoyed by many, young and old, comic book fans and movie-goers alike. Final star count is 4.5 out 5 for the aforementioned casting decisions, and for helping to finally after 75 years, bring Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman together on the big screen in a big, noisy and epic way.