The next report card is for the latest film in the DC Extended Universe film franchise, entitled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Fearing the actions of a god-like super hero left unchecked, Gotham City's own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis's most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it's ever known before.
Basically, it's exactly what you expected from the trailers with no real surprises, but that's okay, cause the story works. It's a little thin in some areas, but since the movie is long, I'm expecting some of those elements to have been fleshed out more in deleted scenes. This movie had a cram a lot in it, and it could have been much more disjointed than it was, so I think they did a fine job balancing things out.
Batman's cynicism that he needs to stop Superman before he becomes the threat he could potentially be is totally within his character, as is Lex Luthor's jealousy and how everything comes together. I'm a big fan of how Lex was looking into the other metahumans and how that brought Wonder Woman into the fold, which allowed her to catch up to speed rather quickly. This is pretty much what I was hoping the movie would be when it was announced, outside of some details that I would have changed.
CHARACTERS / ACTING: B
This Batman is probably my favorite interpretation on the big screen now. He just kills this role both in the cowl and outside of it. Unfortunately, he also kills other people, which is totally against what Batman's code is. However, I was paying attention as closely as possible, and the majority of those times, Batman isn't actually killing someone. At times, though, it's hard to argue that he wasn't just firing bullets for the pure sake of permanently disposing of that particular enemy. As much of a Batman fan as I am, that bugs me, but since there wasn't a scene of him flat out murdering someone like back in the Tim Burton era, I'm willing to let it slide a bit. I was worried they were making him too old, but that didn't seem to be a factor, so I'm glad about that.
Superman is much more "Superman" than he was in Man of Steel, thankfully. Henry Cavill didn't have to change much about his portrayal, but the script needed to put him in the right direction to pull it off, and he did. I'm excited to see how he takes Clark to the next level in the future.
Wonder Woman was a surprise. Gal Gadot did a good enough job that I'm sold on her, although she was kept to a minimum in a lot of scenes, so it will be interesting to see how she handles more dialogue and character work than what happened here. I don't think she's the standout like others have said, but she worked.
I still don't like the casting of Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Really, that's all I dislike about that whole character from the first film and this one, and I think a different actress who is younger and has better chemistry with Cavill would do it better service, but I think she was a step up.
Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor wasn't as bad as I was expecting, but he still just was the wrong direction. This is 75% Lex Luthor and 25% "do you even know who Lex Luthor is?" I maintain that someone else who resembled the character more on a physical level should have been cast. Why is he not actually bald, too? Why do we always have a Lex with hair when the character is iconic for being bald? He isn't even permanently rendered bald in this, as they just shave his head! So dumb. I didn't hate this version of the character as much as I thought I would, but that doesn't mean I love it, either.
Speaking of that theme, Doomsday fits a similar mold. He shouldn't be radiating pulses of energy and he should have had more spikes. Bizarro could have been just as good of a villain, where he would be the corrupted version of Kal-El if they had used the birthing chamber (and Lex manipulated it for his purposes, of course) and it would have fulfilled a similar role in the movie. I'm okay with this version of Doomsday, but I'm also a little disappointed in it as well.
The Flash looks dumb. Ezra Miller was not the right choice. What's up with the facial hair and that armored suit?? Ridiculous.
Aquaman....meh. Kind of cool for a character I don't like. I've never liked how Cyborg is given such a big push with the Justice League and we're getting him but no Green Lantern, but his cameo was decent. KGBeast, cool. Mercy Graves was cool. Perry White was better this time around, as was the characterization of Jonathan Kent.
By the way, having Batman and Superman connect over the fact that their mothers are both named Martha? Some are probably going to think that's ridiculous, but I loved it.
As far as characters and acting goes, major points for Superman, Batman (minus the killing), and Wonder Woman, but points deducted for Lex Luthor and Doomsday as well as The Flash and Amy Adams.
VISUALS (FX, MAKEUP, COSTUMES, SETS): A
There's more color this time! Yay! No real complaints with the visuals on this one. The suits for Batman and Superman are the best on-screen versions so far (outside of Batman still having some issues turning his head). The special effects are on par with what I was hoping for, and none of it really looks fake. I could do without the Wonder Woman leaping forward shot being stylized the way it was, but it's not like that "bugged" me, either—it just isn't the choice I would have made. All in all, for the visuals, big thumbs up.
MUSIC & SOUND: C–
This is lacking a bit. We joked after watching the movie that every theme was basically BOM BOM BOM with drums except for Wonder Woman's, which didn't quite fit her at all in our opinion (our opinion meaning myself and 8 other people that I saw the movie with, so not just my own). I still think it's sad that we haven't had a theme for Batman that we could hum since Batman & Robin, even though I love Hans Zimmer's score for Christopher Nolan's films. This time around, I was hoping to get an actual theme and not just background mood music, but just as that happened with Man of Steel, we're seemingly sticking with the low key score.
TONE (ACTION, ROMANCE, COMEDY): B+
ACTION: Awesome in so many ways, but my favorite was Batman's fight at the end.
COMEDY: I smirked a few times, which is more than I was expecting. One or two more legit laughs wouldn't have hurt the movie, though, and I can see why some people are saying it's too morose.
ROMANCE: I still don't buy into the chemistry of Amy Adams with Henry Cavill, but their relationship was handled much better this time. There weren't any other romantic plots in this movie, so some points are docked.
FINAL GRADE: B+
This is FAR better than what I expected it to be, as I was nervous it would annoy me as much as Man of Steel did, but I ended up loving the majority of it. I think it's a fun ride that has a few bumps along the way, where my biggest issue is that they made some of the wrong choices with the direction they were going with the characters—namely this version of Lex and how they weren't more careful with Batman and his code of ethics as well as the look of Barry Allen. This made me more excited about the future of these films than before, and as long as they don't do something stupid like kill Dick Grayson off as the dead Robin or make Superman evil when he comes back from the dead, I think I'll enjoy Justice League.