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Review: Batman V Superman – Dawn of Justice

 
 
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Speelduur: 151 min.
 
Taal: Engels
 
In de bioscoop vanaf: 23 Maart 2016
 
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Batman en Superman én Wonder Woman, eindelijk samen op het grote scherm. Ben Affleck is de beste en meest comics getrouwe live-action Batman tot hiertoe. Grootschalige actie. Personages worden alle eer aangedaan. Realistische, volwassen toon.

Minder


Bij momenten iets te bombastisch en fragmentarisch. Tal van easter eggs halen vaart uit de plot. Relatief open einde.


Het is zover. De twee grootste superhelden aller tijden zijn samen te zien in één film. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice brengt de Dark Knight en de Man of Steel (én Wonder Woman) bij elkaar en breidt het DC Comics-filmuniversum verder uit. Is het – zoals verwacht – de grootste superheldenblockbuster van het jaar? Lees hier de Brainfreeze-review!

Posted 22/03/2016 by

 
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The red capes are coming

In 2013 DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. and director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) introduced us to the new cinematic version of Superman – the world’s first and oldest superhero – in the fantastic Man of Steel. Today we get the follow-up and the DC Comics cinematic universe is expanded upon greatly on the road to Justice League. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice finally brings Superman and Batman – the two biggest superhero icons of all time – together on the big screen. Was the greatest gladiator match in the history of the world worth the wait?

18 months after the Earth was nearly invaded by General Zod and his army op Kryptonians, Superman (Henry Cavill) is finally the superhero we all know and love. The man of steel remains, however, a figure of controversy. He is an alien with godlike powers after all and not everyone is happy with his arrival. Superman draws the attention of several other powerful forces, including billionaire Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), LexCorp CEO and Metropolis’ golden boy, and Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). A bit more older and weary, Wayne has his own nighttime career as Gotham City’s Batman and sees Superman as a big potential threat to humanity. A clash between the two icons is inevitable…

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Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is no adaptation of the Batman comic classic The Dark Knight Returns (1986) by Frank Miller, but builts upon the foundation laid by Man of Steel. This is a pretty grimm, realistic world, in which the fantastic suddenly made an appearance with the arrival of the Superman. The film even tackles some of the gripes fans and critics had with Man of Steel (especially the massive destruction in Metropolis) and shows that actions have consequences, even for godlike superheroes.

Visually the movie is top-notch. Zack Snyder knows how to translate comic book panels to the big screen with his own sense of bombastic, visual flair. Fans will love the many easter eggs and hommages to the DC comics and animated shows. The action is even more epic than in Man of Steel and a bit more brutal. The mythological aspect – very important with the heroes of DC – is firmly present as well.

The dialogue is, sometimes quite bombastic, but it serves the characters. The script is very well done. It is noticeable that David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, The Dark Knight Trilogy) had a lot of help from his Oscar winning colleague Chris Terrio (Argo). Some easter egg scenes and prolonged dream sequences take the flow out of the story. It will please the fans, for sure, but for the casual viewer it can be quite daunting with an occasional information overload.

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The primary Man of Steel cast returns in Dawn of Justice, with of course the by this time happily living together Superman/Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) and Lois Lane (Amy Adams). Both actors fit their roles very well in the previous film, and even better here. Adams is as feisty as ever, while Cavill especially shines in the scenes where’s he’s a more tormented and conflicted Superman – who seems to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. We see some more love scenes between Lois and Clark en get to spend some more time in the office of the Daily Planet. We finally see Cavill as a more confident Clark Kent, like in the comics from the 1980s onwards, and not as a (fake) clumsy reporter like in the older movies. Laurence Fishburne (Daily Planet-editor Perry White), Diane Lane (Martha Kent) and even Kevin Costner (Jonathan Kent) only have very small or cameo roles, but fill the screen with their stage presence.

The question on every fan’s lips is of course: is Ben Affleck a worthy Batman? Of course he is! Batfleck is the best live-action Batman to date. Everything feels right. From his playboy charisma and brooding inner self as Bruce Wayne to his detective, fight and master planner skills as the new Dark Knight. The Batcave, the Batmobile, the cape and cowl and the gadgets never looked better and this Batman’s fighting style comes straight out of the Arkham videogames. Batman may be a mortal man, in this film you believe he can stand alongside the godlike Superman and Wonder Woman. We finally have the Batman from the comics and animated shows on the big screen. Period.

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Affleck is joined by a delightful sarcastic, yet very able and warm Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth. At first she plays a very mysterious role, but near the end of the movie Gal Gadot completely steals the show as Wonder Woman. We only get to see her more playful and warrior side, but the producers weren’t kidding when they said the Amazon princess is the best fighter in the DC Universe. The world’s biggest superheroine has the best fighting scenes.

Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor will probably be the most controversial character in the film. Nevertheless we do get an accurate version of Superman’s arch-nemesis. Although neurotic in public (a role Eisenberg plays ever so well), we get to see a whole other side to Luthor as the plot develops. No real estate schemes this time (or goofy sidekicks), this Luthor is a true psychopath and a master manipulator who’s just too ambitious for his own good. It makes him a truly frightening villain and we hope to see more of Eisenberg als Luthor in future DC films.

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Dawn of Justice takes – just like Man of Steel – a lot of inspiration from the DC comics from the 80s and 90s. It’s a bit more serious and darker than the animated shows, but there’s a good comparison to be made with the classic Bruce Timm DC Animated Universum, with some inspirations (and even literal lines and scenes) from the Superman/Batman comics by Frank Miller, Dan Jurgens and Jeph Loeb. There’s a tad more humor here than in Man of Steel, but it remains very serious superhero movie. The cinematic DC heroes are everything but cartoonesk. They’re modern myths. Snyder’s amazing iconography shots paired with the bombastic score by Junkie XL (with a sniff of Hans Zimmer) only prove the point.

We finally have a DC Universe on the big screen and it is glorious! It may come as no surprise that the focus lies primarily on Batman, while die-hard Superman fans may be a bit disappointed. The feeling that DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. still have some trouble with the man of steel, remains. Die-hard comic book fans won’t be too pleased with the high body count either. The superheroes now take their fights to abandoned buildings and ports, but there is still a high casualty count. Sometimes (in)directly casued by Superman’s brute force or Batman’s gadgets and driving skills.

The film takes a bit too long, has some pacing problems and occasionally feels very fragmented. No problem for comic book readers, we’re used to that, but the movie sometimes loses it’s balance between a straight forward blockbuster and an expansion of the DC universe on screen. The Justice League-films are coming, but Dawn of Justice does go out of it’s way to remind us of that, especially towards the end. It’s something we’ve also seen in other superhero blockbusters, like Marvel’s Iron Man 2 on the road to The Avengers and recently in Avengers: Age of Ultron as well.

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Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is a massive superhero blockbuster and a worthy real opener to the DC Comics movieverse. It makes Man of Steel a better movie in retrospect and will make you psyched for Justice League. Comic- and superhero movie fans already know the typical “heroes fight each other before they have to team-up to fight a bigger threat” plotline, but the movie still has quite a few surprises up its sleeve. Not everything was shown in the trailers. The relative open ending and “get ready for the next one” element is a bit of a downer, but that shouldn’t make you not want to immerse yourself in the DC Cinematic Universe. Marvel Studios’ dominance in the superhero film genre? Yep, that’s over.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice flies into theatres March 23.

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