DC Comics’ and WB’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is an unintelligible mess that suffers from bad acting, direction, a paper thin plot and way too many dream sequences.
It is a shame that Batman and Superman, probably the world’s most famous and recognisable characters, are resigned to some of the worst storytelling in recent times – right down there with Green Lantern and the Fantastic 4. At parts, the movie feels so disjointed that you have to wonder if someone dragged a clip or two out of place when they were putting it together.
When Ben Affleck was cast as Batman, the internet broke – and not for the right reasons. The hashtag #betterbatmanthanbenaffleck was tagged to everything from a rock and a fire hydrant, to this guy…
In all fairness, Ben Affleck looks the part of older Bruce Wayne. The build, the jaw and that snarl. But that’s where it stops because that’s basically all there is to this Batman. He’s just a rage-filled, single-minded brute that’s fixated on Superman to a point where the ‘Greatest Detective in the World’ can’t see past his own nose and basically gets led around throughout the whole movie in pursuit of a rock, missing everything else that’s going on around him, and is more intent on branding (literally) than anything else.
This was Affleck’s moment to shine, to prove critics wrong and be the Batman that we need. Instead, regardless of all the good work he’s done since then, he’s shown that he hasn’t come along very far since Daredevil.
Henry Cavill’s Superman, again looks the part, but like Batman, everything else comes across stale – and no it’s not just because of the lighting. There is almost nothing in this Superman that we recognise as the ‘Man of Steel’ that’s loved by generations of fans. Instead, we have a dour alien that keeps questioning his place in the world, tied down by Daddy issues (no Batman doesn’t have a monopoly on parental baggage anymore), and spends half the movie rescuing Lois Lane – who for someone that defines herself as “I’m not a woman, I’m a journalist”, needs a goddamn amount of rescuing.
The biggest criminal of the lot though is Jesse Eisenberg. Actors are known to take liberties with their roles, and sometimes those liberties create some of the most iconic moments in movie history – think Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining’ or even Heath Ledger’s Joker, which was unlike any other incarnation of Gotham’s ‘Clown Prince of Crime’. It seems that Eisenberg however, looked at Ledger’s Joker and went ‘that’s what I want to do’. No, not play a definitive Lex Luthor, but play Luthor as if he were Ledger’s Joker – have a migraine yet? I do.
Eisenberg’s bratty take on Luthor, is everything Luthor isn’t. Who is Lex Luthor? Look no further than Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood in ‘House of Cards’. Now that’s a man who knows that he’s destined to be President and will do anything to get it. Not a whiny, bratty upstart with daddy issues (yes, it’s a common thread that runs across the whole movie).
Zack Snyder wanted to make a movie that’s not tied down by the comics (yeah, that turned out really well for the Fantastic 4 didn’t it?) but he forgets something very important. Put aside your Marvel and DC allegiances and you have to realise that Batman and Superman lore left the stratosphere of comics long ago.
Today, a Batman or Superman fan might never have picked up a comic in his life because these are characters (love them or hate them) that have been part of almost everyone’s lives through video games, cartoons and toys and not just the comics. And that’s what the fans want when they buy a ticket to see Batman V Superman – a superhero movie that they can enjoy, not an Inception-esque expose of Batman and Superman’s psyche by way of dream sequences, flashbacks and conversations with dead people.
Snyder should have taken note of the internet, his audience. When the internet voiced out against Ben Affleck’s casting, there was humour. A community that’s cynical, but smart and witty. One that appreciates well timed references and a good punchline here and there. Which is why Marvel’s movies do so well. Which is why DC’s Arrow and Flash do so well for CW. The evidence is there. If a bunch of unknowns can make the Guardians of the Galaxy household names, why destroy the very essence of what made Batman and Superman household names?
The only one that deserves any credit and emerges unscathed is Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. She lit up the screen and all it took was that one smile when she got smacked away by Doomsday (who looks like a leftover from Ang Lee’s Hulk). Wonder Woman, who turns up without much introduction or origin story reminds us that this is a superhero movie.
It’s ironic that the ‘R rated’ Deadpool movie would be likely to entertain an audience of all ages (other that gratuitous usage of the word ‘fuck’) rather than the ‘PG rated’ Batman V Superman that might appeal (barely) to an audience of one. Save your money, watch it when it comes out on IPTV for $1.99 or something. I need to go get something for that migraine.