Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

It’s been a little over two weeks since its release, so I think it’s fair to finally talk about it. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was created with the goal of making us DC fans bust a collective nut at finally seeing Batman and Superman on-screen together. The technology and budgets have finally aligned to grant this wish, but it begs the questions, “where is a towel,” and more importantly, “Is this the Batman/Superman crossover that we’ve been waiting for?”


WARNING!!! Now before I go any further, I will probably spoil a lot of this movie. Like…a staggering amount. The kind of stuff that if I told you two weeks ago, by internet law you would have the right to remove a pinky Yakuza style. I’m exaggerating, but if you are worried about spoilers, please wait before reading this review. My personal, spoiler-free recommendation is to catch a matinee, grab a bite before (this movie is quite long), and to leave after the credits begin…there will not be any post-credit sequence. Affleck is awesome as Batman and Wayne, the action is great, and despite a disjointed story, is still a fun watch.


Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is DC’s attempt at launching a movie universe similar to Marvel with director Zack Snyder at the helm. The plot is very loosely based on Frank Millar’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
Side note, I highly recommend reading this book or watching the animated movie. It is an awesome read and a great watch for any DC or comic book fan, but I digress. Oddly enough, this begins shortly after if not concurrently with 2013’s Man of Steel, another Zack Snyder joint. This is important to remember as it sets the tone for his future movies in this franchise. I mentioned the source material as the timelines and motivations are drastically different between the two works. I’ll have a separate post up soon about the differences between the live-action and animated films, but let’s focus on Dawn of Justice for now. I’ll bring up some of the differences later in this review as well.

Batman/Bruce Wayne (played by Ben Affleck) has about fifteen to twenty years of Batmanning under his utility belt and Superman/Clark Kent (played by Henry Cavill) is brand new on the scene. The first time we see Bruce is him in Metropolis rushing towards a Wayne Company office to evacuate(?) his employees and to save whoever he can during the end of Man of Steel. He actually witnesses Superman and Zod (played by Michael Shannon) fighting is the air and wrecking his tower. Seeing the loss of life and his inability to do anything in the face of this god sends him in a rage and motivates him to begin working on taking him down. Now when I say “taking him down,” I mean killing him because Batman kills THE FUCK out of dudes in this movie. I don’t mean he reached out to grab a criminal and missed, I don’t mean he dropped a smoke bomb and the flash startled someone off a rooftop, and I don’t mean that he throws a batarang and accidentally hits someone in their carotid. Batman straight up shoots people…like with guns. Granted he doesn’t bring the guns, except for on his vehicles, but he uses the ones he gets off of his foes and without question or remorse gives their bodies some ventilation. Affleck plays what may become my favorite on-screen Batman to date, but I will admit that Batman’s actions aren’t very Batman. They pretty much mixed Batman’s budget with Rorschach and the Punisher. Snyder is depicting a Batman that’s becoming morally bankrupt, older, grizzled, angry, and tortured by too much loss over the years and Affleck nails this. We even see an old Robin suit in a case down in the Batcave covered in a message from the Joker. Forget a Justice League movie; I want to see what put Bruce over the edge and what happened to Robin in this world and shaped the Batman we saw on screen.

While we are on actors, let’s spend a little time on Cavill reprising his role as Superman. There is not much more to say if you saw Man of Steel. He has the build, but he is still kind of a whiny Superman. He puts so much weight on himself depending on what the public thinks of him. He even goes on hiatus for some time after his court hearing. You read me right…Superman goes to court. Thank goodness that everyone has hallucinations in this movie; otherwise, Costner wouldn’t have been able to talk him into donning his cape again. He doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but seeing as it’s kind of a sequel, that shouldn’t really surprise anyone.

One character who definitely did not get the screen time that they deserved was Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). There isn’t much to say about her at all unfortunately since she may have been on screen for a total of fifteen minutes and only five of those involved her speaking. For the little time we did see her, we can infer that she has a love for art and history, a huge stash of cash somewhere, and is a badass. I can only guess that she was there to also serve as a love interest for Bruce, but that is a huge disservice to Wonder Woman’s history. When she does appear in uniform on screen, it reminds you heavy handedly that this is a Zack Snyder film. Everything slows down, the screen goes all sepia toned, and the epic music starts playing. Sound familiar? It does make me want to see her own solo feature length film, so well done Snyder…well done.

Now, I’m about to tear into one actor in particular. Before I do, let’s do a quick rundown of some of the other big names. Lois Lane (Amy Adams) does well in her reprisal. She’s nosy, goes too far for her stories, has her emotional issues, but is strong enough to stand by Superman. Alfred J. Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons) is awesome in the short time he is on screen. He is more active than the Alfreds of movies past, stitching him up, flying the Batwing, and giving advice. He reminds me of the Pennyworth from Batman Forever, but in a good way. He’s also very tongue and cheek about wanting Bruce to settle down and carry on the Wayne name. Perry White (Laurence Fishburne) is done in that he’s trying to sell papers in a world that’s going towards digital media. He’s a real bulldog, but has a lot of trust in his employees.

I do not think that a lot of people realized this when walking in, but Alexander “Lex” Luthor is not in this film. We are instead treated to Lex Luthor Jr. (Jesse Eisenberg). This was a huge change to what I was expecting and kind of made sense for his personality and acting decisions, but it was like seeing Eisenberg play Zuckerberg with a screw loose. When I think of Lex Luthor, I think of the three-piece power suit, broad shoulders, and wide chest, and a kind of arrogance that makes you think, “Fuck you, but he’s wearing a suit so he must know his shit.” There’s a charisma and vision that Lex Luthor has that makes you want to follow him…basically like Mussolini. Lex Jr. starts as the rich, entitled, trust-fund kid that happens to inherit his father’s intellect. As we progress into the movie, we see Jr. becoming less like a Luthor and more like the Riddler. I think Eisenberg would make an awesome Riddler; however, he fails as a Luthor to me. He doesn’t have the pedigree that you want from them and it makes a lot of the scenes with him feel out of place. I understand Snyder’s goal was to update Lex for this generation and to make him more like the millionaires and billionaires that…ugh…millennials (hate that term) would be more familiar with. The last decade thinks Vanderbilt and Rockefeller as what rich looks like; now people are starting to think Jobs and Zuckerberg, but to go and use the same actor from The Social Network is too on the nose; have some subtlety Snyder.

At its heart Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a comic book movie which means action. There are some very nice action scenes in this as well as some that leave you wishing there was more. Batman’s fights, on the ground at least, are very grungy and dirty. He gets real close and personal and there is very little use of any bat-gadget, except for his awesome power suit and red hot knuckle dusters. The Bat-knuckles ™ (that’s what I’m calling them and I call dibs on the trademark) literally brand the criminals he hits with them. UntitledThis brand marks these criminals and they get jumped, attacked, and even killed in prison. I’m not sure of whether Wayne has some secret mob in prison to kill the ones he doesn’t have time to kill, remember that this Batman kills THE FUCK outta dudes, but I wouldn’t put it pass Snyder. He uses a mix of martial arts to damage and parry oncoming attacks and to steal the guns off of his enemies to, you know, KILL THE FUCK OUT OF THEM! When he gets into a vehicle – Batmobile, Batwing, or the Bat Power suit – he is a force of destruction. The amount of guys he shoots or blows up is weird to see from Batman. There’s no bat themed hook to capture anyone; however, there is a heavy machine gun that tears through trucks and criminals like their wet tissue paper.

Superman is akin to a barroom brawler in a classic western. He never really needed to learn to fight, so he depends heavily on power moves like huge overhead swings or the environment to win. You will see a lot of him pushing people into walls or throwing them across a room. He is the king of the “one-hitter- quitter”. Wonder Woman is a trained Amazon and her fighting, though short, really show this. She uses her shield and bracersto block most incoming attacks before stabbing with her sword. I really dug that she is smiling more during her fight than in the rest of the movie and her theme music is awesome. It was like her subtle way of showing that to know her true self, you need to see her in battle. Also, mad props for fighting in what’s basically a corset.

If you made it this far, first off thanks for hanging in there awesome person; secondly, this is where I’m about to spoil the ending so last chance to stop reading. We find Batman and Superman fighting due to Batman believing that Superman blew up the Supreme Court during his hearing. This was a plot by Lex Jr. to give Batman yet another reason to want to kill him with the huge block of kryptonite that he stole from him. A quick aside, Batman not only steals the rock, but he leaves a batarang in its place like Catwoman would do. Anyway, Superman wants to take him out because Lex has his mom kidnapped and will release her in exchange for Bruce’s head. Oh yes, Jr. figures out the secret identity which isn’t surprising; he’s seen macking on Lois too much as both Clark and Supes. I’d be surprised is Lois had a neighbor that didn’t know she bagged Superman and that he’s Clark Kent.

The fight ends before Batman finishes him off because he mentionsUntitled his mom’s name which makes him stop just long enough for Lois to beg him to stop.  You read this correctly; Batman goes “Wait, your mom’s name is Martha? My mom’s name was Martha. Let’s be buddies.” It’s one of the dumbest moments in the movie and makes you realize why his father calling out for her while dying was so heavy handed at the start of the flick. That’s a pretty anti-climactic until Lex Jr. makes Doomsday. Yes…Lex Jr. mixes his blood and Zod’s body in a Cthulhu/Matrix like pod to create the juggernaut know as Doomsday. How you create a stronger creature by mixing in weaker parts is beyond me, but here we are.

Now we get to some parts that are so off character that I get why it got some mixed reviews. During this fight, Batman actively and intentionally leads Doomsday into Gotham City to retrieve his kryptonite spear. In what world would Batman lead a walking tank into his city and why would Superman not protest at all? I get that Snyder needed a villain menacing enough to bring them all together, including Wonder Woman, but this breaks up the already disjointed plot too much. It becomes a confusing cocktail mixing the beginning of the Justice League, The Dark Knight Returns, and The Death of Superman. This would drive any comic purist up the wall, but if you don’t care about that kind of stuff we can move on. Oh right…Doomsday “kills” Superman. I could go further into this fight, but it was so tacked on and forced near the end that there isn’t much to say. It looks cool and it is worth watching.

I haven’t said much on the story holistically since it has done the miraculous in being both simple and confusing all at once; also, I haven’t written this much even in college.  At its most basic level, it breaks down as follows: Superman destroys Metropolis in order to save it, Batman doesn’t trust him, Lex Jr. wants him dead, Bruce steals Lex’s data, Diana steals stolen data, Superman gets set up by Jr., Supreme Court goes boom, Batman steals kryptonite, Lex makes them fight, Doomsday shows up, he kills Superman, and Batman and Wonder Woman talk about gathering super beings at one of his funerals. The plot itself is “simple” but then Snyder has weird stuff in this that is supposed to make you ask questions. We see Batman in a weird Mad Max style world buying Kryptonite, but it’s really a trap set by Superman’s army? 'Batman v Superman' is geen vervolg op 'Man of Steel'Then he wakes up before getting toasted with eye lasers which makes you think he’s dreaming. He may not be dreaming since the Flash shows up from the future(?) to tell him that Superman is dangerous “if she dies”? He is trying to build a universe for DC, but slow down on the future and alternate dimension stuff.

Where Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice falls short in its plot, it
more than makes up for it with its over-the-top action scenes, effects, and Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman. It’s a bit disappointing as a fan because it had the potential for so much more story-wise. There is still a plan to continue with the DC extended universe; if you plan to catch more of these, do yourself a favor and give this a watch before they start churning out more in the franchise.

Life Lessons from Mal:

  1. Bat-Fleck is bad ass
  2. Lex Luther Jr…just why?
  3. Look forward to the Snyder-less Wonder Woman movie
  4. Wear earplugs in Metropolis because Superman flies of fast as hell and should probably be bursting eardrums.
  5. Super being + Human being = Ultra Being because reasons.
Fully Mature Evaluation:

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

PG-13 151 min - Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction - 23 March 2016

Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

Director:  Zack Snyder
Stars:  Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot, Scoot McNairy, Callan Mulvey, Tao Okamoto, Brandon Spink, Lauren Cohan, Michael Shannon, Michael Cassidy, Rebecca Buller, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Tj Norris, Harry Lennix, Christina Wren, Vikram Gandhi, Andrew Sullivan, Charlie Rose, Chad Krowchuk, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Soledad O'Brien, Dana Bash, Carla Gugino, Kevin Costner, Nancy Grace, Anderson Cooper, Patrick Wilson, Joe Morton


Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

Tagline: Justice or revenge

Fantastic Four (2015)

In honor of this past weekend’s award ceremonies, I thought it would be proper to review one or two of this year’s biggest winners to congratulate them for their monumental achievements in movie making. First up, let’s congratulate Fantastic Four (2015) for taking home three Razzies for Worst Picture, Worst Director, and Worst Remake/Pre-Quel/Sequel/Rip-Off. Please enjoy as I take my medicine…


Fantastic Four (2015) is a Marvel movie based on the comic book series of the same name. Our young scientists Reed Richards (played by Miles Teller), Susan “Sue” Storm (Kate Mara), Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan), Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell), and Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell) explore the possibility of shuttling organic matter across dimensions. If you don’t know what that means, it’s a fancy and over-used term for a people teleporter. Upon their first, and unauthorized, drunken expedition to the other dimension (dubbed Planet Zero) one member’s curiosity causes the planet to say “back up bro” and starts to attack them. They rush back to the pods and lose one member in the process (spoiler, they lose Doom). The pods malfunction and grant them the powers they are known for. Time passes and we find Ben becoming a tool for the government and tests being run on Johnny and Sue with Reed surprisingly absent. At the end, they find themselves back on Planet Zero to foil a plan by Dr. Doom (yes, he actually calls himself that) to destroy Earth via Black Hole.

Let me begin by saying that this is not the worst iteration of the Fantastic Four done in live-action. Out of the four that I know of, this is probably the second most fantastic. That’s not to say that the most fantastic (Rise of the Silver Surfer) is a magnum opus either. This definitely has its share of issues – a huge one being it was made by Fox, no Stan Lee cameo, and no Stan Lee input – but let me be fair and start with its good points.

Something that a lot of movies, especially comic book movies, struggle with is the cause and effect of a character’s new abilities. Think of Spiderman; he gets bitten by a spider and gets increased strength and agility, spinnerets on his wrists (depending on the series) that allows him to shoot webs, some limited clairvoyance i.e. “Spidey Sense”, and wall crawling via tiny hairs on his feet and hands. We got a DNA graphic that was probably a Windows XP screensaver at one point, but no one explains why he doesn’t grow eyes or extra legs or why he doesn’t have to shoot webs out his ass like a real spider. I do like first two Spiderman and while we are on this, does New York have a cleaning crew to pick-up all of the webs? I mean somebody has to deal with it because the just leaves it everywhere, but I digress.

Fantastic Four instead tries to ground as much of this in “science” as they can. Writer and director Josh Trank accomplishes this by effectively ripping off David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986) and asks, “What if they had other organic or even foreign matter in the teleporter when they return to Earth?” Just like in The Fly, they fuse with whatever else was in the pods that they didn’t come in. How the pod makes the determination as to what can and cannot bind with their DNA is beyond me, but maybe we’ll see it in the sequel or not. Keep reaching Reed…keep reaching.

Grimm’s pod gets clobbered by rocks, Johnny’s gets engulfed in flames, Sue’s pod gets filled with…invisible rocks. How did she get hers again?

Mal: Hey Stan (PremCast fact checker)
Stan: Yes, young hero?
M: You gotta stop calling me that. Anyway, how did Sue Storm get her powers again?
S: Excelsior!
M: Dammit! Focus Stan.
S: She was irradiated by the same cosmic rays that the other three were caught in.
M: Right, but I mean in the 2015 movie, not the books. Apparently she didn’t go to Planet Zero
S: Wait. What do you mean she didn’t go?
M: I fell asleep a few times, so I missing a few spots, but I don’t think she goes with them.
S: So they took a junkyard kid and a guy literally named Doom and not Sue? STAN SMASH!!!

hulk 1


Since Stan was…less than helpful, the special features on the blu-ray say that she was caught in the explosion upon their return…so invisibility and force fields. Reed’s pod…one sec…hulk 2

Mal: Hey uh…Stan?






Reed had a Stretch Armstrong in his pocket for good luck or something. Trank obviously couldn’t find a way to justify Reed getting all stretchy. Instead they went, “OH LOOK…he’s on fire!” and cut to black. Doom’s are even harder to explain, but we can get to those later. They didn’t figure out the powers perfectly, but I will give Trank points for effort.
Explanations of the powers aside, I thought that how they depicted the abilities were different but still fantastic. Unlike the other three iterations of this team all four members are somewhat cursed by their powers instead of only Grimm. All of their suits, except for the Thing (who ironically doesn’t have one nor a suit), are built for function and containment. More on the suits in a bit, but not a single one of them appears to have perfect control over these abilities without the suits. When we first see them in the facility on the lab tables, Sue is going in and out of invisibility and Johnny is constantly on fire. This isn’t a fun, family romp that the last two iterations were. There is no a fan-base, no parade, no one cheering their names. Their powers are more in control of them than the other way around and a sense of normalcy like they once had is nothing more than a memory…until the sequel.

While we are on the suits, I think that the costume design was surprisingly well thought out. Grimm, Torch, and Sue are under the supervision during most of the time where they had powers. Johnny’s suit is similar to a racer’s fire suit with odd tubes that suggest some sort of cooling system to prevent him from constantly being on fire. It also has some controls that allow him to change his state. Sue’s costume has a lot of internal wiring that keeps her on the visible spectrum….yeah. Anyway Grimm is naked through the rest of the film. He does not have clothes, but what I like is that the rocks and boulders that make up his body grind and scrape as he moves. It’s subtle, but you can see the dust and sand made from just his moving. Their suits are very militaristic in look and design, but Reed’s is very different. He escaped the facility shortly after waking up and remains on the run from the government. He was constantly hopping countries so it would be safe to assume that he doesn’t have a steady job and cannot use any credit cards or I.Ds. Reed being fantastic at improvising makes his suit out whatever he can find at a junkyard or on the side of the street. It’s covered in random springs and rusted coils that look like he pulled them from washing machines and trampolines. The differences in the suits are big reflections as to what they had done and how life was for the past year.

Now that the good points are out of the way, let’s address the other 85% of 2015’s award-winning Fantastic Four. This is/was envisioned as a franchise and expected the audiences to become invested with the story and the brand new characters. What I mean to say is that this is yet another origin story. You should expect a ton of exposition with any origin story and Trank does a fantastic job at keeping that tradition alive. The pacing and action beats are terrible. The movie opens in 2007 with a twelve year old Reed Richards explaining his concept of his teleporter to his classmates and fifth grade teacher for career day. I get that you have to show his past, but not only do they go so far back, they stay there for around 15 minutes. Every second counts in a 100 minute film and this pre-cursor felt like it was used to pad out time to make it qualify as a feature length film. There is not an egregious amount of moments like this, but why start a movie with this? Who waits FORTY FIVE MINUTES to show any kind of action in a comic book movie? How can you wait seventy damn minutes for the Fantastic Four to actually get…well fantastic?

You know what; let’s skip to them actually completing the teleporter. That is a big chunk missing because nothing…NOTHING happens for a full thirty minutes before this point except for us realizing that Doom wants a piece of Sue. I will say this as best as I can; Sue Storm was unnecessary character as a whole. This sounds misogynist, but I put it to you dear listeners, other than the fact that she is canonically a part of the team, why is she there and what does she accomplish? Can you describe her personality? She was written in as a wedge between Doom and Richards and not much else. She had potential to be a strong character or at least a voice of reason. Instead she was used as the “honey pot.” There are a lot of inconsistencies amongst our protagonists and I could spend days going through them. Instead, I’ll finish this bottle, run through the horseshit, and call it quits. To sum this up; bad characters, terrible writing, terrible lighting, okay effects, and okay acting given the source material. Do yourselves a favor and avoid this flick and most things Marvel done by Fox or Sony. Just watch Daredevil on Netflix to restore your faith in Marvel. #not sponsored.

Life Lessons from Mal:
1. Never work with a guy named Doom
2. NEVER work with a guy named Doom
3. If you are working in a group, have either zero or more than one qualified woman. Otherwise one guy is going to get oddly jealous and try to strand you and your friends in another dimension or suck the planet into a black hole.
Total times I used the word Fantastic: 11

Poster for the movie "Fantastic Four"
Fully Mature Evaluation:

Fantastic Four (2015)

PG-13 100 min - Action, Adventure, Science Fiction - 5 August 2015

Four young outsiders teleport to a dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.

Director:  Josh Trank
Stars:  Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, Tim Blake Nelson, Joshua Montes, Dan Castellaneta, Owen Judge, Kylen Davis, Evan Hannemann, Chet Hanks, Mary-Pat Green, Tim Heidecker, Mary Rachel Dudley, Wayne Pére, Rhonda Dents, Gretchen Koerner, Shauna Rappold, Adam Fristoe, Don Yesso, Jodi Lyn Brockton, Christopher Heskey, Jerrad Vunovich, Ravi Naidu


Four young outsiders teleport to a dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.

Tagline: Change is coming.

Rubber (2010)

Rubber is one of those movies that, when you read the premise, makes you go “WTH” but then, once you’ve watch the movie, you’re like, “WTF?”
That is about as descriptive as  I can be with this film…

Despite that, the acting and cinematography are much better than other films in its weight-class. A lot of love and consideration went into the making of this film. It’s seriously one of the only reasons we were able to watch it through to the end.

rubberrabbitIt’s also a little wonderful that this tire has more character development attention provided to it than 80% of movies coming out today. No, you don’t really get to a point where you empathize with the tire… but you do get the warm and fuzzies every time it learns something. Well, unless it’s learning to kill the fuzzies.

Our recommendation is that you watch this movie if:
A. You are super bored.
B. You want to experience a different kind of cinema.
C. You friends make you.


Poster for the movie "Rubber"
Fully Mature Evaluation:

Rubber (2010)

R 85 min - Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery - 15 May 2010

In the California desert, the adventures of a telepathic killer-tire, mysteriously attracted by a very pretty girl, as witnessed by incredulous onlookers.

Director:  Quentin Dupieux
Writers:  Quentin Dupieux
Stars:  Thomas F. Duffy, David Bowe, Stephen Spinella, Roxane Mesquida, Jack Plotnick, Wings Hauser, Ethan Cohn, Charley Koontz, Daniel Quinn, Devin Brochu, Hayley Holmes, Haley Ramm, Cecelia Antoinette, Remy Thorne, Tara Jean O'Brien, Pete Dicecco, James Parks, Courtenay Taylor, Blake Robbins, Michael Ross, Gaspard Augé, Pedro Winter


In the California desert, the adventures of a telepathic killer-tire, mysteriously attracted by a very pretty girl, as witnessed by incredulous onlookers.

Tagline: Are you TIRED of the expected?