Batman v Superman (Spoiler) Review and Box-Office report
The weekend many fans had been waiting for has come and gone, but the excitement, controversy and negativity surrounding Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice still remains. Like Man of Steel, Batman v Superman has divided critics (currently 29% on Rottentomatoes) but fans and audiences seem to either love or like the newest film from Zack Snyder. It’s surely going to be a topic of debate on Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook for months to come.
Batman v Superman has an IMDB score of 7.5, Metacritic user score of 7.4, and a Rottentomatoes audience score of 73%. Samples audiences gave the movie a CinemaScore grade B but according to Deadline “ComScore PostTrak audience gave BvS a 73% grade in the very good/excellent boxes. Definite recommend rate to friends remains at a solid 60%. Looking at the family responses — it’s pretty damn good. Parents give BvS a very good/excellent score of 79% while kids under 12 grade it at 87%. Seventy-nine percent of all parents are spreading good WOM to their friends about Snyder’s movie while 75% of all the kids that watched it are telling their friends immediately about it.” That is great news for the movie heading into its second weekend where it will try to add to its record-breaking Box-Office first weekend. This makes it WB’s highest opening weekend superhero film with $166.1 million. Batman v Superman also sits as the highest grossing superhero movie opening weekend with $424.1 million world-wide.
While the Box-Office numbers prove that audiences cared more about seeing the movie than reading reviews, there are some fans out there that feel this movie should have made $20-30 million more had the reviews been kinder. The movie was tracking around $140 million in the US before any reviews came out and this movie made over $30m more than expected. I feel many fans and critics wanted this to be on par with Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron but those movies have the benefit of a proven and established product. Man of Steel was the gateway to the DCEU and it was not the best received movie as many hoped. Personally, I loved BvS and consider it the best Superman movie ever. Had it been critically praised, then the box-office numbers might have been more…. but $166.1 million is a record for WB and its a great start to it earning a nice figure and continuing the DCEU.
———————————-Warning Spoilers Ahead—————————————————
Lets dive into the movie some more and this time I will include some spoilers. If you have not seen the movie then I suggest you skip the lines below, and check out my non-spoiler review. I had the luxury of seeing the movie on Monday during the IMAX screening and did a non-spoiler review but this one I want to dive more into the characters and plot which will have some spoilers but I won’t try to ruin the movie for everyone.
The movie opens with what might be the best opening of any comic-book movie to date. We get a Bruce Wayne voice-over with an overhead shot of pallbearers carrying two caskets into a mausoleum. A few minutes into the film and I am already hooked. Emotional scenes with the amazing ‘Beautiful Lie’ playing in the background. We get a glimpse of the Wayne murders but this was done in a way, to me, is more memorable than any movie before it. We see the family walking from the theater as usual and the gunman come from out of the shadows…there are no words spoken. The scene is done in a slow motion sequence to give added drama. Thomas Wayne quickly protects his family and he is more defiant than ever to not allow this man to harm anyone. We see the first shot, slow motion bullet firing, and down goes Thomas.
The next part is classic Snyder as he always has powerful women in his movies. Martha Wayne does not just stand there screaming and being helpless, no far from it, she goes on the attack. We see Martha charge the gunman and he points his gun at her which gets tangled up in her pearls. He fires the weapon, still tangled in her pearls, and we see the pearls ripped apart as the gun is fired. This was one of the most amazing shots from the film and believe me there are many more. If Snyder does one thing right it’s visuals and this visual will stick with you. Martha falls to the ground and we see her take a last breath and the life leave her eyes. Bruce is screaming over his mother and Thomas with his last breath calls out “Martha”. We see young Bruce down in the cave and a swarm of bats surround him. They begin to lift him off the ground and carry him to the light.
The movie then shifts to the events of Metropolis during Man of Steel. Bruce arrives in Metropolis as the Black Zero is destroying the city. This entire sequence was done extremely well. We see the event unfold through Bruce’s eyes and its a perfect replication of the event. We can see the jets crashing and the missiles going haywire from the gravity field. The Zod/Superman conflict happens in Wayne towers and we see the aftermath from Zod’s heat vision. As Bruce is running to the office he witnesses this and the building collapses, killing several of his employees. Bruce runs into the debris to find a security guard injured. This security guard would later play a key role in Lex Luthor’s plan to destroy Superman. Bruce rescues a crying girl as he sees Superman and Zod crash back to earth. These events are just the opening sequence and it’s done so well. You have so many emotions ranging from sadness to anticipation to excitement.
The movie turns to focus on our two main heroes, Batman and Superman. We first see Superman briefly saving Lois during a trip to Africa gone wrong. No words are spoken between the two and this scene falls kind of flat, but Snyder has said the scene is much different and much longer in the extended cut. We first get a glimpse of Batman during his mission to interrogate a known sex-slave trafficker in order to get information on the ‘White Portuguese’. As two cops arrive at the scene they see several women behind bars crying and scared. They mention “He saved us” but refuse to come out and indicate “It’s still here”. The cops hear a loud noise and screaming from the floor above and one goes to investigate. As he enters the room he sees a man chained to a heater and branded on his upper collarbone. He turns slowly to see Batman hanging on the wall. Firing several shots at Batman as he flees and just nearly avoiding killing his partner as he walks into the room. They both are shocked as they see that Batman has taken to branding his criminals now.
Lets take a moment to discuss Batman’s methods. If you watch the movie you can tell that Bruce has changed since Superman has arrived. His anger towards Superman has made him more cruel and Alfred even points this out to him. Batman was not always this way and yes Batman does kill some people in this movie, potentially on purpose or through collateral damage, but I never felt like he was some raging serial killer.
We see a much different Superman this time out. In Man of Steel he was an unproven hero pushed into the role with Zod’s invasion. This time he has taken on the role as hero and many see him as that though there are several who do not trust him or want him here and hate the fact someone so powerful can truly exist. We see Superman dealing with those emotions and you can tell it’s taking a toll on him. Every act of heroism is met with ridicule and question. His actions in Africa had many blaming him for the deaths and Senators calling for him to explain/answer his actions. This is a flawed Superman who does not always get it right. He is unsure of what to do at times because it might not turn out the way he hoped it would. We also see Clark being a much more serious reporter than we have before. He is not the bumbling Clark from the Reeve films. He takes his job seriously and when it comes to Batman he is out to prove that Batman is more criminal than hero. His relationship with Perry is tested at times. Perry would rather Lois or Jenny write the hard-hitting news and leaves sports to Clark. Clark feels the Daily Planet stands for something and that the Batman must be stopped.
Bruce has a similar relationship with Alfred. Alfred has tried to be the parental figure to Bruce after the deaths of Thomas and Martha. Alfred aids Bruce in his quest to stop criminals but since Superman has arrived he has noticed that Bruce’s actions have taken a turn for the worst. While Batman see’s Superman as a huge threat, Alfred does not and implores Bruce to not make an enemy of him. When Bruce discovers that Lex is smuggling the kryptonite into Metropolis, he sets out to steal the rock and forge a weapon of death out of it. This leads to a spectacular chase scene between KG Beast and Batman in the Batmobile. We see Batman using his car as a battering ram and it has enough fire power to shred an SUV into pieces. As they chase each other down the streets of Gotham, we get our first meeting between Batman and Superman. Batman tries to avoid hitting Superman who kicks the Batmobile out of his way. Superman warns Batman to stop and hang up the outfit. This makes Batman even more determined to stop Superman but not the final straw that pushes him over the edge.
The security guard, Wallace Keefe, whom Bruce saved earlier in the film blames Superman for his injuries and losing his loved ones. He hates the Man of Steel and even goes as far as to spray paint his statue ‘False God’. This leads to his arrest and peaks the interest of Lex Luthor.
Lex in this film is not the proper speaking, self-confident Luthor we know from the comics. Lex is more unhinged. He is an obsessed, narcissistic, megalomaniac and hell-bent on destroying Superman. He is fragile and seems to blame his dad for his problems. He is cruel and calculating with enough charm to fool most people. Though I would like to know how Lex was before the Superman ever came to be. Was he always cold and calculating or was he more light-hearted? He can drop his friendly demeanor on a dime as he does when Senator Finch tells him she is blocking his import license. He will not let anything or anyone get in his way and even his closest allies are not safe. Wallace agrees to confront Superman at the hearing. As the proceedings get underway, Senator Finch notices a glass labeled Granny’s Peach Tea. This was in reference to what she told Lex about filling a glass with piss and calling it Granny’s Peach Tea. This scene was played out brilliantly by Holly Hunter. When she sees the glass the wave of emotion is seen in her face. She then looks out to see that Lex is not in the courtroom and at that moment she knows it’s about to get real bad. Superman realizes at the last moment that something is wrong but cannot act and the entire room explodes. We see Superman standing in the flames with a total look of devastation on his face. This might have been Henry’s best moment in the film. His face was full of pain and anguish and he later tells Lois that he was never real and even feels that he doesn’t belong.
The movie shifts to the battle between Superman and Batman and we now know that Lex has been pulling the strings of both men. Lex has used the deaths of Wayne employees to drive his anger towards Superman and he tried to frame Superman for deaths in Africa. After Lex threatens Martha we see Superman vulnerable and even trying to get Batman to help him save his mother. The fight between them is not very long, with it going back and forth until Batman gets the better of Superman with kryptonite. We see Superman near death and telling Batman that he is letting him kill Martha. This scene carries so much emotional weight not because their mothers share the same name but because it proves to Batman that Superman cares and has feelings. At this moment Superman has become very much human to Batman. Batman then makes it a personal mission to save Martha.
As Superman is confronting Lex, Batman is rescuing Martha in one of the best onscreen fight scenes we have ever seen in a Batman movie. The way he moves is ripped right from the Arkham games. Affleck does such a terrific job here and proves to me at least that he is the definitive Batman going forward. This scene has moments that fans are not happy with like killing people with the Batwing and causing the death of others through collateral damage, but this is not the first movie Batman killed innocent people and it all goes back to what I said earlier about this being a different Bruce. He is in a race to save Martha and you can tell his anger is also fueled by what happened to his own mother.
The movie shifts to the fight between Doomsday and the trinity. We see a very neat shot of Superman in space after a nuke hit him and Doomsday which looked a bit like Bizarro to me. Doomsday evolves in this movie to some extent and seems to feed off energy which the nuke only makes him more powerful. He sheds his skin and grows larger, exposing the bones we are used to from the comics. We see Superman fully healed from the sun and Wonder Woman making her grand entrance to help save Batman. This scene got huge applause from my showings and Wonder Woman was one of the best parts of the film. Gal Gadot really gave an excellent performance and I cannot wait for her solo film. She seems excited at times to be in combat and loves the challenge Doomsday gives her. Superman goes back to save Lois and retrieve the spear which is the only weapon that can kill Doomsday.
Here is where Snyder does the unthinkable. Fans thought it might happen but many including myself never wanted to see it happen. Superman flies into Doomsday with the spear only to be stabbed himself with a bone spike which grew from where his hand used to be. (Wonder Woman cut it off) Superman knowing he isn’t close enough, actually pushes himself further onto the spike and rams the spear through Doomsday resulting in both dying. We see Superman fall lifeless and Lois walking up only to realize the worst has happened. Superman making the ultimate sacrifice for his world. So Snyder went there. He gave us TDKR and DOS all in one movie. Superman lays in Lois’ arms just like the comic and then we see the funeral for Clark in Smallville and Superman in Metropolis. I was angry and speechless during the entire sequence. I could not believe that after only one movie they would do this.
Bruce and Diana show up to pay their respects and we see Batman redeemed. No longer seeing Superman as an enemy but as a brother. He tells Diana that he failed Superman in life, but would not fail him in death. Bruce tells Diana that men are still good and that they need to unite the others like her. We see him visit Lex and Lex warns him that the bells have been rung and they know the ‘God’ is dead. As the movie closes we see Lois drop dirt on top of Clark’s casket and as the camera zooms in we see the dirt rise up like it did in Man of Steel before he first flew. The ending signaling that he would return and that Superman will now be the hero people want and need.
I left happy after seeing that and felt it was handled better than I expected. I have seen the movie three times and it is a movie you must see more than once to fully grasp what Snyder was trying to do. The visuals are top-notch and the score is amazing once again. I do feel some scenes were edited funny but I hope that once the extended cut comes out all that will be explained. I am not going to go into details about the dream scenes because those are better left unspoiled. They were some of bright spots of the film and you must see them for yourself. I have seen it twice in IMAX, once in 3D, and in standard form. I must advise you see this movie in IMAX if you can because it makes the experience that much more enjoyable.
I truly feel the cast was chosen perfectly. I have no issues with Jesse Eisenberg as Lex though to me Michael Rosenbaum will always be the best onscreen Lex. I think this was his original story and we need to see more of him before I can say whether or not he is the best or worst. I feel Cavill was amazing as Superman and he shined brighter than ever. I do hope in Justice League we see a brighter Superman who is more confident and who has his full range of powers. Affleck can only get better and I think he is the perfect Bruce Wayne/Batman. I cannot wait to see him and J.K. Simmons interacting with one another. Gal Gadot was excellent and proved many pundits wrong. She can act beyond what we have seen from her in the F&F movies and her scenes were some of the best received. I did not see any big CGI problems though Doomsday could have been more true to his comic-book look. These are minor flaws and can be overlooked. The movie was a great entry into Justice League and I like the tone DC has set. I am glad they have their own agenda and their own vision and are not trying to play copy-cat. This might not sit well with critics or some fans, but I think this movie will go down as one of the greatest ever. I stand by my previous score of 9.5/10 and even with its flaws there is more than enough there to make up for that.
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