Bringing Batman and Superman into the same film for the first time is sadly a disappointment, bringing us one of the most underwhelming superhero movies to date.
One of these days, something will happen with DC and Warner Brothers. They’ll create a high caliber film that will successfully launch their plans for the Justice League. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice should have been that film. How could it not be? You have the two most iconic comic book characters on the same screen together for the first time as well as an added dose of Wonder Woman. So the biggest question I have is this: what went wrong?
During the attack on Metropolis, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) makes his way from Gotham to the doomed city to get to one of his office buildings. His office building that just may be the only building that hasn’t been fully evacuated at this point in time. Wayne makes his way through the rubble and ash of Metropolis to come to one stern conclusion: Superman is an individual that has too much power and must be put in check. Back in the present, Superman (Henry Cavill) is put on trial by the people of Metropolis and the senate for the actions that took place 18 months ago. A lot of people throughout the world look at Superman as a hero, an icon, a God. But there are people who feel he has to answer for the damage and destruction his actions have brought upon the world.
While Superman is doing what he can to protect the people of Earth and Lois Lane (Amy Adams), Batman is basically destroying the criminals of Gotham. We’re shown a whole new brand of Batman, one that will absolutely crush a criminal to the edge of their last breathe and, most recently, even branding them with a Bat symbol. This version of Batman and Alfred (Jeremy Irons) have accepted that while they believe they may be helping to cleanse Gotham, that they are, no doubt, criminals. There are also several other differences about this version of Batman…but I’ll let you witness that for yourselves. Some people won’t think of it as much…others will be disappointed Snyder’s vision of the Caped Crusader.
I’m going to be absolutely blunt here: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is not a good movie. The first act is so convoluted and full of unexplained sequences and moments that it leaves the audience scratching their head wondering, “What the hell just happened?” One moment we’re in the desert with Lois Lane, jump to Bruce Wayne in the Batcave, next we’re hanging out with a basketball playing Lex Luthor. For the visual flair that Zack Snyder is able to bring with any of his projects, pacing and narrative has never been his strong suit. And sadly, with a movie as massive as Batman v. Superman, it really just doesn’t cut it.
That’s not to say everything was all bad about Dawn of Justice. For one, the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents is shown during the opening credits, so we don’t have to re-live that again. Henry Cavill continues to be the strongest part of the DC Universe, once again proving he is our generation’s Superman. When Gal Gadot was on screen, she absolutely owned the role of Wonder Woman. In her limited screen time, she proved to be a force of nature. The two biggest question marks going in were Ben Affleck and Jesse Eisenberg. As Batman, it really felt like Affleck did a fine job. But he was never given a chance to perform as Bruce Wayne…never given the chance to actually be a two dimensional character. All Affleck had to do was brood a lot as both Bruce and Bats. That’s not a failure on his part, but those were gave him the script.
Then there’s Lex Luthor. The questions surrounding Eisenberg as Luthor were not asked in silence…people were concerned about him taking on the role from the start. He has decent moments, bringing a sort of nuance in Luthor that hasn’t been seen before. But in the grand scheme of the movie, it doesn’t work. By the end of Dawn of Justice, the impression I got was that Eisenberg could have made a shockingly capable Joker. The role of Lex Luthor was written so poorly though that he never had a chance to become an iconic villain. David Goyer and Chris Terrio appeared to be so focused on writing a whole new take on Lex that they seemed to ignore what makes Lex Luthor such an imposing figure in the DC Universe.
Going into Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, I went in with minimal expectations. A lot of the trailers and clips didn’t do much for me but I wanted it to be a good movie, something I can sit down and enjoy any random day. Instead, Zack Snyder delivered a film that felt too long but with almost no actual story to keep things interesting or fresh. It really is a shame, and hopefully the future films of the DC Cinematic Universe can bring some quality content to the big screen.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is directed by Zack Snyder, written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer, and stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, and Gal Gadot. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice will be in theaters March 25, 2016.