With superheroes on the rise thanks to the Marvel Universe of characters (whether it be Marvel Studios, Sony or Fox), the DC characters have struggled to gain a modern foothold unless, of course, your name is Batman. DC tried to revive Superman, a character loved and who really took of for modern audience with Christopher Reeve. But the time has come for them to raise their character troupe the movie graveyard and kicking it off is Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.
After Christopher Nolan’s Batman the world seemed ripe for more characters Superman came back played by the fabulous Henry Cavil but the movie was all melodrama with a couple of invincible people throwing each other around. Back at Marvel, Ironman and Captain America were taking off. The Hulk wasn’t doing it’s best but their was promise in the character. Then there was Thor. Marvel brought them all together plus a few fresh faces for their mega comic assemble The Avengers. The an insane amount of money was generated and a plethora of characters got their own movies. Even Guardian of the Galaxy blew everyone away. Marvel was on top. DC knew they could cash in too and decided, instead of a new Superman movie, they would give set up for Justice league. But they didn’t really take the time for quality especially with the Marvel superhero vs superhero war coming soon.
Dawn of Justice introduces us to a mediocre Ben Affleck as Batman setting up for this to be his movie as he goes over his past and sees his future. Meanwhile, Superman is saving Lois Lane again and people die from the fallout. The public is enraged. Clark Kent can’t even balance out all the negative spin at The Daily Planet, but he is more concerned with a vigilante bat that is branding those he captures. As the two men find out who their alter egos really are, they end up going to war over their personal brands of justice while Lex Luther is terrorizing the world and egging them on.
The Avengers are dealing with a similar issue. They are coming under government scrutiny for the damage and destruction and death that follows their latest missions (including the events from Age of Ultron). They are faced with a choice Sign the Sokovia Accords and live by the government rules or retire their capes. Tony Stark leads the side that wants to sign the accords; he saw in Age of Ultron what damage his power can really do. But Captain America can’t shake his past and continues to fight for freedom-especially those of super heroes and his friends. Essentially the fight starts over Bucky, but runs deeper into the philosophical ideas of right and wrong and the two sides ultimately fight for the things they believe in.
Civil War’s only real issue is that the villain is horribly weak. Zemo’s reasoning is nothing and makes little sense but when you look back at it. With all the superheroes clashing, it was a good idea to take back the villain. Whereas in BVS it took a big villain to bring them together, for Civil War the villain took a back seat to the ideology that both movies were trying to portray.
There is character depth to Civil War that Dawn of Justice just doesn’t have. While both millionaires in high tech suits throw big baby fits, at least Tony Stark’s breakdown makes some modicum of sense. He stays very logical until the end when his emotions take over changing his and Cap’s relationship irreparably. Batman, on the other hand, deduced that Superman is bad because people have died when he has foiled plots. There is not a personal reason other than one of his employees died during the events of Man of Steel. So he goes off on a tangent and decides to be judge and jury for Superman. ( This coming from a man who brands the criminals he captures.)
Dawn of Justice does not live up to the hype. The excited teasers don’t even take place in the current story but are visions that Batman sees of the “future”. There is never any explanation as to why he sees these things. Some would say these were the reasoning behind Batman’s baby fit but nothing is clear. While future movies may make these things clear, it’s not very good writing if the movie can not stand on its own. Civil War, on the other hand, is a complete story that will have ramifications on the future without using confusing tools of past and future. Civil War depends on the characters to move the story forward and then those emotions are channeled into the epic battle scenes.
Civil War shows the grey areas of right and wrong while Dawn of Justice assaults the senses but not the brain.
Marvel easily does the best job portraying what happens when superheros have conflict. . The reasoning is better and you see passions rise. Each side thinks they are doing the right thing and viewers can see both sides. Dawn of Justice is not thought provoking and the movie is movie is highly polarized It’s no wonder that Marcel is still on top; DC is still nothing but a cheap imitation.