Article by: Robert Moore
Editor’s Note: A previous review was written for us about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. This second review below offers a different perspective on the film. We agree with both sides of the argument (Is the film acceptable or should it be flushed down a toilet?) Well, that’s up to you to decide.
Batman Versus Superman: Dawn of Justice may go down as perhaps the most nonsensical and incoherent big budget studio film in cinematic history. Judging from the early negative buzz, I went in fearing the worst. To compare, while it’s not quite the disaster that Batman & Robin was, it is easily the most dour and drawn out superhero film ever committed to celluloid.
A lot of the blame must fall on Zach Snyder’s shoulders when you have a filmmaker who knows only one way of making anything: Loud and… LOUDER. Despite his so called visual skills as a director (I have always felt he was overpraised in this regard), he simply fails as someone who can create characters we care about, tell a coherent story, and above all — sprinkle some sense of magic and wonder into a film that contains the two greatest comic book heroes of all time.
However, not all the blame can fall on Snyder, but also the screenwriter, penned once again by David S. Goyer (Man of Steel) where he wastes an insanely talented cast full of Oscar winners to the point of sabotage. Amy Adams once again plays the plucky reporter and love of Superman, Lois Lane, but Goyer reduces her to a damsel in distress, where she conveniently pops up in almost EVERY key plot point, and of course is saved from death multiple times. We only know she loves Superman because she says it over and over again, and her chemistry with Henry Cavill as Supes is virtually invisible (even with a very cheesy and forced bathtub scene). Cavill fails to make Clark Kent different to his alter ego in any shape or form making the character virtually redundant to the entire story.
The much criticized decision to cast Batfleck in the title role brought howls of derision by most fans, but Affleck is actually one of the best things in the film despite his character being woefully underwritten and uneven. He fluctuates from charming and suave to bitter and grizzly so much it’s hard to decipher what the writers were going for with his character. Other talented supporting actors including Laurence Fishburne as Daily Planet editor Perry White, and Holly Hunter as a Senator on the hunt for Superman and his potentially destructive powers, but are reduced to mere set dressing in the background.
The one actor who actually stands out (and not for the right reasons) is Jessie Eisenberg’s wacky turn as Superman arch villain Lex Luthor. Eisenberg sports a Joker-esque shaggy haircut and tries to emote his character with an endless stream of tics, squeaks and scene mugging so blatant, it almost takes the breath away. The audience also has no clue concerning Luthor’s backstory or why his hatred of Superman and heroes in general is so prevalent. To describe the plot is rendered almost moot (there is no real plot to speak of) except all we know is Luthor (for reasons not explained) gets his hands on Kryptonian villain General Zod’s DNA to combine it with is own and creates a super villain in the form of Doomsday (although the latter bears more resemblance to the cave troll from the Lords of the Ring trilogy).
Luthor releases Doomsday on Metropolis, but not before pitting Bats and Superman together for a no holds barred brawl of titans which, despite the title, lasts about ten minutes and involves Affleck sporting a clunky and silly looking suit of armour. In the next instant, our two heroes become best pals and even discover their mothers have the same first names, which leads to them refusing to fight anymore and saving Kent’s Ma! Yeesh. To add insult to all this, we are forced to have yet another flashback of Wayne seeing his parents being murdered before his eyes (we get how he became Batman by now, Zach) and yet more CGI porn destruction in a finale that assaults the senses to the relentless tune of Hans Zimmer’s noisy and teeth rattling score. It’s a shame — and actually a bit WTF — as the film opens strongly on Bruce Wayne heroically trying to save civilians during the events of Man of Steel, yet is all undone when Batman helps destroy Metropolis once again at the end of the story.
What else? There is also a forced segment that involves Wonder Woman (a woefully underused Gal Gadot) opening up files on her laptop that reveal the identities of various other super powered beings who will, of course, eventually combine forces to become the Justice League in the next installment of Snyder’s saga. How he and Goyer couldn’t have come up with a more creative way to introduce the JL to the audience is a bit ridiculous and really just highlights how rushed and overstuffed the film truly is.
Simply put, there was not one character in this film that is worth rooting for. Above all, there is a distinct lack of awe and wonder that Snyder seems completely incapable of inducing and in its place, we receive wave after wave of CGI, loud sound effects and endless slow motion action shots. Where’s the all-American clean fun from Donner’s Superman film or the Gothic menace of Burton’s Batman saga? Batman v Superman may not be the disaster of the Schumacher years, but it nonetheless places a huge doubt on the longevity of the next phase of DC films.
To add the final nail in the coffin, they seem destined to live under the shadow of Marvel’s current success by trying to cram their entire universe into only three films. Even superheroes don’t hold that much power, Mr. Snyder and company. Back to the drawing board, anybody?