Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: One of those ‘dumb as bricks’ superhero flicks

by Eric Melin on March 24, 2016

in Print Reviews,Reviews

Don’t be fooled.

All of the uber-muscled, color-drained visual and aural bombast in the world can’t hide the ugly truth about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It’s dumb as bricks.

Director Zack Snyder is counting on you seeing it in the theater so Hans Zimmer’s bludgeoning score can “brammmmmpf” you to death and send subwoofers everywhere into cardiac arrest–every 10 minutes. Seriously, every music cue in this two-and-a-half-hour chaotic mess is like the end of the world!

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is so pompous and self-important that it begins with 9/11 imagery and ends with nuclear destruction. Unfortunately, it doesn’t earn the right through character development or world-building to have either of those things mean anything beyond some perfunctory congratulations to the CGI shop that brought them to life for the cheap symbolic visual references that they are.

batman-v-superman-2016

Every hard-to-swallow, self-serious line about gods and men, whether it’s delivered by Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck, with stubble and gray highlights trying to brood behind that ever-present smirk) or Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg, doing his weaselly best to make faux-intellectual dialogue sound smart) is as hollow as can be. The love story between Clark Kent (a wooden Henry Cavill) and Lois Lane (a tired Amy Adams) is so underdeveloped that a moment late in the film meant to tug at the heart strings instead feels like wrap-up number five (or six) in the long montage of never-ending Return of the King-like resolutions.

Christopher Nolan (executive producer) made his Batman trilogy a believable, almost wholly practical crime saga. It featured zero super-powered individuals and grounded it with resonating real-world moral dilemmas. But it’s different for Snyder. With his oppressive 2013 Man of Steel and this most recent continuation of the “new” DC cinematic universe, Snyder has proved once again that his assaultive cinematic technique is key to masking his films’ lack of evocative content.

This one will not hold up to repeated viewings, folks.

This review is part of Eric Melin’s “LM Screen” column that appears in the summer 2016 edition of Lawrence Magazine.

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kyle Matthew Rohde March 24, 2016 at 1:56 pm

I must be an unsophisticated fool, because I really, really liked it. I would put it right with anything other comic movie in terms of sheer enjoyment, and right below The Dark Knight and Iron Man as far as being a good movie.

I feel like it’s getting destroyed by critics because so many of them hate Zack Snyder to begin with, and because it wasn’t upbeat/funny like The Avengers. I have a hard time seeing how either Avengers movie was truly better than BvS though.

And, for perspective, I’m a huge Batman fan but hated the idea of him existing in a metahuman world. I never wanted the Justice League to happen but, now that it is, this was about as enjoyable a movie as I could have expected, personally.

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2 Eric June 2, 2016 at 7:51 am

Dude, the movie tried to further the premise that Superman killed a bunch of people with bullets. Why the hell would Superman who never kills anyone no matter how bad they try to kill him, use bullets? “He came down from the sky and people died!” That line was so stupid and ill contrived I’m not sure how the actress uttered them without laughing. Batman was a dummy, something he’s never been and Diana Prince was a shallow cameo. Every aspect of the plot and sub-plots of this movie were completely unbelievable if you have ever read one page of the comic story arc. The opening scenes of young Bruce were totally overdone and completely unnecessary. This “movie” was absolutely the worst Superhero mash up I’ve ever seen.

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3 Russell June 26, 2016 at 1:02 am

How stupid and NERDY are you!!?? This movie was totally BAD ASS!! That’s whats wrong with all you people who try to judge these movies only based on the comics!! Plus if you had any brains at all you could look past the fact that you hated this movie before you even seen it and it def. shows in your review. this movie was just as good as any of the Avengers and the fight scenes were WAYY more bad ass than any other Superhero movie out to date!! You should get another hobby rather then reviewing movies cause you SUCK ASS!!!

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4 Eric Melin March 25, 2016 at 1:53 pm

I’ll absolutely own up to disliking Snyder’s live-action films from “300″ on (“Watchmen” was a particular struggle since the book is an all-timer), but this movie fails in a lot of different ways ( I didn’t even mention the muddled look of the film in my review), most of all thematically. It wants to elevate Superman’s Christ allegory, and instead it ends up just demeaning it. It also shoehorns in a romance that’s completely devoid of any, and retreads Lois and Supes’ same arc from “Man of Steel.”

Furthermore we all know that, like the Joker in “The Dark Knight,” the two foes are actually two sides of the same coin, but the movie spends all of its time up to the (anti-)climactic fight trying to convince us there’s a good reason (besides gonzo box office returns) that they should fight each other. That is all whisked away suddenly in the most mishandled “revelation” of the film, and suddenly they’re besties. What happens next is so insulting because the creation of a new baddie on the spot is not just a lazy story cheat, but a chance for Snyder to further advance his own fetish for bigger, badder fights and violence, courtesy some very talented CGI artists.

I’m being totally earnest when I say that I’m looking forward to people watching the movie a second time, coming down from the barrage of aural and visual fireworks, and seeing how it works for them a second time. My second viewing of “Age of Ultron” only made me appreciate its character and thematic work more. Snyder has zero idea how to approach either of those concerns, as this movie proves.

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5 trolli April 3, 2016 at 8:52 am

You should go back and read your re-review of Superman Returns. A review you had 5 years to ponder. Elegant epic triumph? Seriously, elegant epic triumph? Truly awful review. Although, you can clearly see in your writing that you did actually put some effort into your review with that one. This review however was perfunctory, little effort is given and it shows. You hated the movie before you saw it, and the online thesaurus you use is working.
Whats the deal with the devil horns symbol for the website. If these reviews are rockin and hip, it is clear to me why rock is nearly dead. Your rebuttal to a comment above included the phrase ‘I’m being totally earnest’. In a weird way, it reminds of the writings of Joseph Smith. I digress. The 9/11 imagery complaint sums it up. Its been 16 years, get over it. Buildings are allowed to fall in movies. Ask Dwayne Johnson. As a sidenote, you recycled this 9/11 complaint from your Man of Steel review. Come original. Looking forward to your Oklahoma City bombing comparison when Civil War comes out. No actually you will love that movie and your review will tell your reader how BvS should have been like that movie.
In conclusion, never forget. Never forget your Superman returns review. Its like your scarlet letter. Dower Brandon Routh incredible, dower Henry Cavill terrible.

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6 ARIEL June 6, 2016 at 8:41 pm

I agree this review is crap. He says a whole lot of nothing. At least tell us why yoyu hated it don’t just phone it in

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7 Brian Fuckwit August 22, 2017 at 1:51 pm

You’re a fucking retarded retard who’s incapable of perceiving irony.

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