Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot
Director: Zack Snyder
Running Time: 151 mins
Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice is an American film about the events following Superman’s destruction of Metropolis. Feeling that Superman’s powers are unchecked, Batman takes it upon himself to go to war with the man of steel. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor, a powerful business tycoon, is formulating a diabolical plot that will wipe out all of the superheroes in the world for good.
Does a film called ‘Batman v Superman’ deliver on the promise of its title? No. Does it provide an exciting, unpredictable and enjoyable watch? No. Does it have a well-held together and consistent story? No. There are a lot of issues with this film, and it seemed that for everything it did right, something went wrong. That said, there is something there, beneath the chaotic result that it is, and for the most part, despite its many, many problems, I found some enjoyment in Batman v Superman. It’s a huge disappointment given the legendary stature of its characters, and the negatives are numerous, but don’t be too ready to completely dismiss this film yet.
The biggest issue with this film is that it’s overstuffed with four or five stories that, in truth, deserved to have their own feature films to be fleshed out. Rather than providing a coherent, exciting superhero movie, Batman v Superman includes the versus match-up, the political side to the presence of superheroes in this world, the set-up to the Justice League movies coming in future, an independent Batman story, and an independent Superman story, and trying to put all of that into one movie, even if it is two and a half hours long, is never going to work.
And what’s worse is that it’s almost impossible to ignore that problem. Right from the opening sequence, we have this horribly jerky, clunky editing, where we see various events from around the world relating to all the separate stories, all separated by painfully awkward cuts to black. That’s an issue that continues throughout the film, and it really got on my nerves, because it just meant that I couldn’t enjoy a simple, exciting blockbuster story thanks to there being so many disjointed stories going on all around.
There are a whole lot of other big problems with Batman v Superman, including the fact that it takes effectively 90 minutes to see any fighting between the two titular characters (and that only lasts a few minutes anyway), the major issues that we had with Man Of Steel not being rectified as the first act suggests, the horrifically ugly CGI-fest that obliterates your eyeballs in the final act, and the bizarre performance given by Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, coming across more as a bumbling weirdo than an eccentric villain (which really clashes with the film’s hugely dark tone) and even more.
However, despite all that, there are some positives to be drawn from this film.
Overall, I thought Batman v Superman was fine. I didn’t love it, but there were some elements that I think really worked well. For one, Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman is great, as is Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman (even if she’s not in the movie as much), but as for Batman/Bruce Wayne, he was a character that I could really get behind and understand, and I had a great time learning more and more about this incarnation of the Caped Crusader thanks to Affleck’s performance.
What I liked most, however, about this film, was the first act. Yes, it was insanely slow-moving, and should have been considerably shortened, but the first act presented a really interesting political question. Playing out with pretty much no action for 90 minutes, the first half of Batman v Superman is almost like watching a political drama about the legality and morality of superheroes, which I was really interested by. Unfortunately, that drama was squandered by a dumb, lacklustre action finale, but it does prove that there are some bright minds working behind building the DCU, and I’m still hopeful for the future, and that’s why Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice gets a 7.3 from me.