It’s Day Vs Night, Black Vs Blue, God Vs Man in the ULTIMATE superhero smackdown, FINALLY after three years of teasers, images, announcements, controversy, fan scrutiny and doubts it is time to put all of your worries to rest. Or is it? What follows is a SPOILER free review of DC’s first (arguably!) entry into their shared movie universe.
If you haven’t seen 2013’s Man Of Steel don’t worry! You won’t be cast out into the cold or left bewildered, this movie does enough catching up to keep you on top of things. After witnessing the wreckage of the alien fight in Man Of Steel, millionaire Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) evacuates the Wayne building in Metropolis while witnessing Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod (Michael Shannon) smash each other and the city in a fight. Feeling helpless and recognising an imminent threat, he takes up the mantle of Batman in Gotham city and confronts Superman. Little do the two know that a larger plan through the villainous Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is on the horizon and the sooner they realise how much in common they have (orphans! hello!) the better the planet will be.
Now I’m not saying much about the plot as I don’t want to ruin any surprises, twists or turns that may (or may not!) occur (Insert smug comic book boy smile here) What I DO want to talk about is the other parts of this movie that serve to cement the future of the Justice League shared movie universe. First of all I am going to give this movie some pardon for its sheer ambition, for daring to hinge all future films in the franchise (and there are quite a few!) on the shoulders of one movie. The story is STUFFED to the brim and of course there are a few pacing issues but it is not a reason to dismiss this movie.
DC has presented their universe as a dark one, it is gritty, real and often a scary and confronting place. This is in complete contrast to the bright, jokey, happy Marvel movies that have been force-fed to us for the last 8 years (I am not saying this is a bad thing, I LOVE the Marvel films) The films reek of Zak Snyder’s typical film properties, dark and gritty set pieces, hard and fast action scenes, a lot of CGI effects and broody performances and this film is full of them! This is not a bad thing, this comic book universe calls for it, it fits in with Batman’s head space, Superman’s struggle to “fit in” with human society. These issues are throughly explored in this and are executed perfectly.
What the film DOESN’T do will is Doomsday, one of the biggest Superman villains in the comics and arguably in the universe is reduced to a pretty small role in the film and feels only rarely threatening, that partnered with the horrible CGI effects they decided to use just feel like a waste of one of their best villains and this is what left me gutted. It’s not all gloom and doom as Lex Luthor takes the villain role and executes it perfectly. He is menacing, two-faced and is nothing like he is portrayed in the trailers (everyone rejoice!)
So far “movie critics” and audiences are divided, the critics are panning it, audiences are loving it and we all know that based on the Transformers franchise, that audiences who see these movie in droves (and they WILL!) generate global box office dollars that will push the movie universe ahead and drown out the naysayers who come to super hero films expecting indie darling Oscar winning quality.
If you love these characters like I do, you will love this film, seeing them come to life and unite together is tear inducing and many audience reactions in my screenings echoed this. DC is going to have to be patient and pave the way for a different type of superhero film not full of jokes, and while this won’t convert all, it is a bloody good start! Bring on Justice League Part 1!