When you talk about a Titan pairing as epic as Batman vs Superman, the only legitimate expectations you can have are “Pow!”, “Bang!”, and “Punch!” And Warner Bros. Pictures delivered plenty of all three in their artistic adaptation, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. Frame after frame, Zack Snyder managed to deliver the perfect panels to bring to life the intricate copy of Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer. The lengthy saga was worth every minute of run time, and though it may not have lived up to a lifetime of “what if”, we were given a piece of art that understood that point going in.
The Easter egg laden film relied heavily on theme and tone. While one could be underwhelmed by the “seen it all before” action Batman vs Superman had to offer, you have to give its makers credit for getting so involved in the intrinsic motivations of both of the iconic heroes. And as often ignored, what are the consequences of those motivations to the world around them. Resurrection and redemption were two major themes, with tons of Biblical references to pad the “man vs the god within” motif. The writers were amazing in paralleling Superman’s natural endowments against Batman’s technology-based weaponry. There were also a handful of Armageddon references, including the four horsemen, that speak to the end or death that comes before resurrection. It seeks to explain God from both sides, with the only clear thing by the end of the movie being that like the God that made us, we all contend with the things we create at some point, but unlike the God who made us, we all have vulnerabilities.
One invulnerable aspect of the movie were the strong performances by Ben Afleck as Batman, and his Alfred, Jeremy Irons. The pair managed to breathe new life into a duo that had grown stuffy and somewhat pretentious. There were no small roles in this film, and even characters who made the briefest onscreen appearances made a major impact. The movie does a great job offering a preamble to the pending Justice League franchise, which subsequently offered us the Catch 22 of the movie. Wonder Woman’s presence in the film is necessary to the bigger story, but took away from the distinct Batman and Superman elements of the movie that were obviously shaved off to make room for her. For instance, Batman’s arsenal is always worth a few minutes of exposition, but we were sadly left guessing a lot. Minor issues like that were still not enough to take away from the movie’s overall weight and the lucrative franchise is bound to continue.
Whether or not Wonder Woman pulled focus is not even worth questioning when you consider that Gal Gadot gave us the perfect goddess. Her dresses were really a shining point in making a case for the attention paid to detail by the wardrobe and costuming department. Most of her couture had some Athenian reference or voice, reminding the audience subtly that this knockout is indeed the daughter of Zeus. Batman’s new voice altering technology was another nice touch in that area. It is also playfully worth noting that the wardrobe team had the women of the film in some insanely high heels that indeed made for nice classic comic book silhouettes in a lot of frames. It is evident that the team was as invested in their role as the director, writers, and actors. Every member of the movie making collective took advantage of a moment to shine and the end result, while seasoned with compromise, is an awesome collaboration that succeeded in telling its story.
Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is the perfect love letter to fans of either franchise. We were the clear winners. What it lacked in superficial and gratuitous action, it made up for with a heartfelt story that makes it the perfect “chick flick” for guys. Amid the “Bang!”, “Pow!”, and the “Punch!”, you get an amazing narrative that speaks perfectly to the man within God’s heart and the God within man’s soul. It is the tension that drives us all as we seek to channel and/or harness our creative abilities to complete our Hero’s Journey. And leaves us all with the question; “Have you accepted your call?”