Directed by Zack Snyder, starring Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons and Jesse EisenBerg. Following the events of ‘Man Of Steel’ Batman begins to question Superman’s accountability after the devastation caused and what this means for the people of Earth. Two of the most iconic and oldest characters from the superhero comics have finally been brought together on screen to settle a long-standing question, who would win in a fight?
Zack Snyder has been given a monumental task for a director whose skills, I feel, are more in tune with visual effects and the aesthetic of a film. I have always found his directing ability to be lacking, so it was a great surprise when he was chosen to perform the herculean task of mimicking Marvel’s four-year programme to create Avengers: Assemble. So taking into account Zac Snyder task to complete this for DC in two films, Synder has, so far, actually surpassed my expectations.
Before the film arrived we were given far too many details about the narrative, with one trailer, in particular, displaying the villain which really ought not to be have been shown. Upon arrival, it was met with two very different responses firstly from critics and secondly the fans. The reasoning for this divisive response will be explored in this review. Zack Snyder has made a film that speaks directly to the fans of the comics in regard to the information provided to us, yes the overall narrative may not be the strongest, but the cameos and the underlining future theme speak directly to the fans. Speculation is a topic of discussion that fans of comic-book films absolutely love, the internet is full of fan theories regarding comic-book films and tv shows and it is this element that gives Dawn Of Justice strength. However by directing the film in this way, it has ostracised a large portion of the audience; if your only knowledge of DC is based on previous films or information you have gathered from like-minded individuals then you will be left feeling very lost and confused whilst watching Dawn Of Justice. However for those of us, in the know, this film is intriguing as a lead into Justice League.
The cameos are very well orchestrated, baring Aquaman’s appearance which I felt was quite poor; each feels necessary to the narrative and forming the future Justice League.
The first hour of the film is the weaker section, it could have been a fascinating series of debates, but ultimately too much is happening and none of it is developed enough to become compelling. Affleck’s Batman is good, his origin story is told differently which was refreshing as the Nolan Batman trilogy finished not so long ago, so Dawn Of Justice does not require an extensive origin Batman story. Affleck’s Batman is compelling and his part in the first hour is far more interesting than anything else happening at the time, although one of my biggest enjoyments from the film is Jeremy Irons as Alfred. I am a big fan of Iron’s work in the admittedly little I have seen and his portrayal of Alfred mixes a British sense of dry ironic humor with a hands-on physical presence brimming with charisma, this is something we have not quite seen before in previous adaptations. He is still Bruce’s moral grounding but a culmination of a more hands-on approach combined with a richer dialogue results in a more prominent character even though he appears for a little amount of time.
Sadly the same can not be said for Cavill whose appearance is not quite as wooden as I have read other critics make note of, his narrative is underwhelming. For the subject of immigration, particularly given current political climate, to feel so lackluster nor developed is incredibly odd but speaks to Synder’s inability to develop a strong narrative.
Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is by far one of the best most compelling characters and has easily the most intriguing narrative of the entire film. As a woman of mystery she is able to convey a deep sense of personal history, indeed, her upcoming film is hinted at and it sounds fascinating.
There is a feeling of excitement when the three main heroes stand together, however, I must agree with other critics that it is decidedly underwhelming when compared to the first formation of the Avengers. Not only has this been seen continually in the trailers but they are a few men short which make this feel very lacklustre, though it is still exciting to see them together. Once Wonder Woman steps into the fight, interestingly, the music changes and the film feels as though it’s finally found it’s footing after testing the waters on too many topics, it now begins to run. Snyder, it seems, can finally have some fun with the aesthetic of the film and from this moment forth the film is thoroughly entertaining; sadly it took nearly an hour or so to reach this momentum, though as I say this may not be totally Snyder’s fault.
Although I won’t spoil Lex Luthor’s character, I cannot really give my thoughts on him, for to discuss his character at all would be to reveal spoilers that I was not aware of until he is first introduced.
OVERALL *** A first-hour compromised of one too many topics discussed without enough development. The second half begins to pick up speed before Snyder and the audience can really have fun in the third act. I do feel compelled to see this again and even more so for future Justice League films and solo films. My strongest desire, however, is to see the Wonder Woman film.
RECOMMENDATION – If you are a fan of the comics or just enjoy superhero films without having to give much thought, then this is for you. If you have no knowledge, nor any interest then don’t bother, Marvel’s ‘Civil War’ is released very soon.