Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

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“Black and blue. Fight night. The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world: God versus man; day versus night; Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham!”– Lex Luthor

Batman versus Superman. When this title was announced at San Diego Comic Con in 2014, it blew my mind! I was eagerly awaiting the announcement of a Man of Steel 2 movie, but this! This, my fellow nerds, was paramount to the Second Coming! Then to top it all off – Wonder Woman was announced to be a part of the movie too!

Batman AND Superman in the same movie?! The Man of Steel AND The Dark Knight at odds one with another?! Wonder Woman fighting alongside the two most iconic superheroes of all time?! Finally! This will be the first time The Trinity would appear on the big screen for fans to enjoy. For the first time we will see Diana Prince in action on film. The potential for greatness and movie making history was finally announced! And let me tell you, this film did not disappoint.

Wait, WHAT?! What is this you are reading? I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “Am I truly reading a review of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice that isn’t disparaging the film left and right?” or “Am I understanding this correctly? This guy actually LIKED this movie?!” The answer is yes, you are.

But all joking aside; yes, I did enjoy this movie from the first viewing. I saw it multiple times in the theaters, four times in fact. I would’ve gone once or twice more had I had the time to do so. I bought the Ultimate Edition when it came out on home video and my appreciation and enjoyment of this film grew even more. The storyline and character development was fleshed out to be more fulfilling and robust with the Ultimate Edition. If this Ultimate Edition had been released in theaters, I believe it would have been better received.

I intend to break this film down into various parts from beginning to end, as well as to write a character analysis for each of the main players in the film, over the next few weeks. To discuss and analyze everything this movie event has to offer would be too long for one blog post. I will attempt to win over those that dislike, are ambivalent, and even hate this movie; as well as reinforce the greatness of this movie with those that do enjoy it. I’m looking forward to this experience as I delve deep into this film, which in my opinion could be considered the greatest movie of 2016. It’s only competition being Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

But at the end of the day, if you don’t like the film – that’s fine, if you do like the film -great! Either way, life will go on and Warner Bros. will continue to produce and release films from the DC Universe for those that enjoy them.

Listed below are the topics I will address and expound upon, I will activate links to the various topics and characters as I finish writing them.

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice pt. 1 – Prologue

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice pt. 2 – The Setup

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice pt. 3 – Investigations

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice pt. 4 – The Plan is Set in Motion

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice pt. 5 – War

Bruce Wayne/Batman

Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman

Diana Prince/Wonder Woman

Lex Luthor

Lois Lane

Alfred

Zod/Doomsday

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Dr. Strange

“Arrogance and fear still keep you from learning the simplest and most significant lesson of all.” – The Ancient One

“Which is?” – Dr. Strange

“It’s not about you.” – The Ancient One

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Dr. Strange takes us in a different direction for the Marvel Cinematic Universe than we have been in before, but yet still has the same origin story formula that has been used in prior movies. The difference is that with previous Avenger characters, such as Iron Man, Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow etc., these mortals become superheroes based on their human abilities, as well as with their technology that they are able to create. Even to some degree, Spider-Man, Captain American, and Hulk, are the result of bio-technology that has been created by other men.

Dr. Strange takes a different route, one that doesn’t involve mortal technology, and is closer to Thor than any of the other Avengers. While using what could be considered magic, Dr. Stephen Strange is able to harness energy and power from other dimensions. The movie does an acceptable job of explaining what this power is and where it comes from. This explanation lends itself to a more pragmatic practice, than a magical practice.

Cinematically, it takes a different route as well, visually I would best describe it as Inception combined with The Matrix. The chase and fight scenes that take place throughout the film are amazing and fun to watch!

As Strange studies and learns more from the magical tomes of The Ancient One, he is able to gain the knowledge needed to use the magic to access other dimensions as well as the astral (spiritual) plane. This area is one that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) hasn’t covered before. Opening this door allows for a whole new branch of stories. I think that this possiblity of alternate dimensions combined with the storylines of Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy will keep the MCU fresh and provide many opportunities for different types of antagonists for the heroes to battle with.

SPECIFIC SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT

As a movie, Dr. Strange hits all the marks that you would expect from a Marvel Universe movie. It was funny, emotional, engaging, action packed, and furthered the overall storyline of the MCU. (Dr. Strange is considered Chapter 2 of Phase 3) I believe the most important reveal in this movie is the revelation of and the inclusion of the last Infinity Stone – the Time Stone, that is embedded in the Eye of Agamoto. This Stone allows for Dr. Strange to manipulate time throughout the film as he faces off against the villains.

So far we have five of the six Infinity Stones that have been revealed: the Space Stone (the Tesseract from Captain America: The First Avenger), the Reality Stone (the Aether from Thor: The Dark World), the Power Stone (the Orb from Guardians of the Galaxy) and the Mind Stone (Loki’s scepter/Vision’s power source from The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron). The one remaining Infinity Stone that is yet to be revealed is the Soul Stone.

These stones are what eventually Thanos uses to attempt a takeover of the Universe, a conflict that is slowly arriving and will be shown in The Avengers: Infinity War. Before then, we’ll see Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 in May 2017, then Spider-Man: Homecoming in July 2017, then Thor: Ragnorak in November 2017. While the Soul Stone will most likely be revealed in one of these movies (probably in Thor: Ragnarok), I’m curious to see how these three movies will play into the overall story.

Dr. Strange adds more great characters to the MCU, and with the mid-credit scene, we see that at the very least, Strange and Thor will be teaming up in the near future. Rumors are out that Strange, Thor, and The Hulk will be featured heavily in Thor: Ragnarok (Thor 3). It’s a small step from there until Strange is featured in the next The Avengers movie.

This Dr. Strange movie is a step in the MCU and while it is great as a standalone movie, this movie is definitely a set up for future Marvel stories. With Strange learning how to use his power and mastering his arrogance, he was then able to defeat Dormammu and become the next Sorcerer Supreme.This story sets him up for future MCU movies as described previously, as well as a sequel, with Mordo being the next villain. In the comics, Mordo, aka Baron Mordo, is a major villain for Dr. Strange. In this film Mordo becomes disenfranchised from the path he was on with Dr. Strange and with the action he took against Pangborn, in the end credits scene, Mordo will definitely be a thorn in Strange’s side for any future stories.

I enjoyed Dr. Strange and felt that it was well directed and was a great origin story for a character not too well known in the general public’s eye. Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelson, and Chiwetel Ejiofor were great in this movie. Now, Tilda Swinton. She did a great job as The Ancient One, and her performance was well done. It was just weird seeing her as a bald woman. I was constantly distracted by her bald head. Now this is coming from a bald person, so I can relate to the baldness. But some people (man or woman) just have strangely shaped bald heads, and she came across as one of those persons (as far as I know she isn’t bald in real life and it was a makeup job), so maybe my criticism should be against the make up person. I don’t think that it matters if The Ancient One was Asian or not, I applaud the decision to make The Ancient One a female, and like I said, Ms. Swinson was great in the role.

I recommend watching this movie and buying it when it comes out on blu-ray. I hope you enjoy watching it and piecing it in to the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe storyline as much as I did.