Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot, Jeremy Irons, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane, and Holly Hunter
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s fight night! Ali verse Frazier. Tyson verse Holyfield. Mayweather verse Pacquiao. And now, to the delight of superhero movie fans everywhere, we have the biggest and most anticipated comic book character fight of the year so far, Batman verse Superman. Ring the bell!!! These two icons of pop culture meet face to face in director Zack Snyder’s film “Batman v Superman: Dawn of the Justice”, and the results are epic, chaotic, and confusing. Many times sloppy but sometimes spectacular, it is a combination of everything you would expect from three films worth of material shoved into one.
“Man of Steel” established that Superman (Henry Cavill) wanted to protect humanity, even though he struggled with how to utilize his power and the extent of his purpose. This culminated with an epic battle that destroyed most of Metropolis, including a building owned by Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). Three years have passed and Superman is worshipped and hated by humanity, seen by some as a god and others as a threat. One of the people who believe Superman’s existence can only lead to disaster is Bruce Wayne. After spending a lifetime fighting crime Bruce has changed and Superman has threatened the ideologies that guide Batman.
The introduction to the film is exceptionally well established. Having to answer for the devastation at the end of “Man of Steel”, the situation is handled through the political system, with the primary question being “Is Superman needed and what should his accountability be?”. It’s a great question to ask, one that doesn’t often get asked in superhero movies. This becomes even more intriguing when Batman steps in to add his two cents. The film takes the time to explain Bruce Wayne’s origins, moving back and forth in the timeline throughout the beginning of the film. It’s a nice touch that allows the viewer time to understand the version of Batman that we are getting in this movie, a darker more disgruntled super vigilante.
This narrative aspect doesn’t continue because, as the title of the film suggests, there are more pressing matters to get to. The climax of the film is everything you’d imagine, a fight that is filled with every superhero action scene trick and special effect that we’ve come to expect. While it is overindulgent and unnecessarily frenzied, is it fair to fault a film for indulging in methods every other version like it has done already? Not necessarily. However, the fault here comes because other versions have done this action better already and with more impactful purpose. “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is leading to this tumultuous encounter, and for a small moment everything goes in a spectacular direction with both characters until it changes and becomes a disorganized mess of computer generated effects that at times look terrible.
There are some great moments and some very good actors given room to do something with their characters. Ben Affleck makes a great Batman; he just fits the look and channels the downtrodden, world-weary aspects of an older Bruce Wayne. Jesse Eisenberg plays Lex Luthor with little restraint; sometimes it works while other times it’s completely overdone. Mr. Eisenberg has always done egotistical very believably; adding the characteristics of a man on the verge of lunacy the actor is given all the fun villainous lines, delivered with good and bad results. With so many moving parts many characters are left in the dark. Henry Cavill and Amy Adams have already been established in “Man of Steel”, so here they are forced into the trappings of a love story. Gal Gadot, playing Wonder Woman, is shuffled into scenes with characters for no real purpose other than preparing the viewer for her scene stealing reveal and establishing that this won’t be the last time we see her.
Much of what we see in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” are familiar elements already introduced by the Marvel franchise, while some of the moments are actually quite intriguing and exciting there are also questionable moments that feel forced and confused, an issue of too many hands on the keyboard or the need to quickly catch this franchise up with every other superhero property. While I was hoping for a main event battle of exceptional proportions, this film felt more like an undercard, an event with a lot of buildup and little payoff.
3.00 out of 5.00