“God vs. man, day vs. night.”
The showdown between the worlds most iconic superheroes has arrived, but with not so impressive reviews early on. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has been one of the most anticipated films in its genre pitting “The Bat of Gotham” vs “The Big Blue Boyscout”, but I am here to tell you as a fan and as a film critic that BvS felt like I was getting an athletic scholarship taken from me. Zack Snyder directs returning members of his Man of Steel cast including Superman himself with additions of a beefed up Ben Affleck as Batman. After the events of Man of Steel, the destruction of Metropolis warrants a reaction of an aged and grizzled Batman to stop the destruction that this blue-suited alien has caused. With a Chris Terrio (Argo) script and some epic Zack Snyder visuals, the unbalanced blockbuster fails to reach its full potential.
It seemed as if this film was going to change the landscape of the comic-book genre by bringing a more serious attitude to its characters and thematic detailing that attempts to make it feel unlike the previous superhero films we’ve seen at Marvel. Unfortunately, the atmosphere tints a loaded story line with an cloud of doubt only to bring on an non-confident script by Chris Terrio. This was perhaps the biggest shock of them all, especially when he has a shiny gold stature on his mantle for writing movies. Perhaps they asked too much of the Oscar-winning writer, but it doesn’t solely fall on him.
Zack Snyder is known to the film going community as a serious comic-book fan who brings his love for the grim stories to his impressive aesthetics of films like 300, Watchmen, and Man of Steel, but again, style over substance became the downfall of what was shaping up to be a quality superhero team up film by the third act. What we were given instead was exactly what fans and critics had feared and that was the cramming of multiple characters and their plot points that warranted their own solo films first. It proved to us that there is a reason everyone is copying the Marvel blueprint for shared universes and that is because it works and DC took a chance by going about it backwards and it will likely start to sink the ship.
Thankfully, this is a film chalk full of potential which should not sink the future films just yet. Without giving anything away, there are cameos of certain characters that pose as promising prospects for DC/WB’s future films and they will not go unnoticed. From the sample size the film gave us, these were the right people to portray whom they are portraying. Affleck as Bruce Wayne and Batman were inspired and his suit as well as fight scenes stole the show for a specific section of the final act – though we needed more Jeremy Irons (Alfred) – and Cavill as Superman is near flawless for what he had to work with. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was the real star and her film will have some serious word of mouth paddling its way. But the real impressive cast member, as eccentric in nature as he was, is Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Taking a character as iconic as him was a bizarre choice until you end up seeing how they wanted to portray the insane billionaire and I believe there will be much more promise from his character in future films.
All in all, this was not the movie we had hoped. With a screenplay that crammed in about three movies into one two and a half hour grim fest and editing that should have some people relieved of their duties (besides the action scenes) this had some really memorable moments that made the movie bearable, but it wasn’t enough to mend the wounded story that the film tried to tell. It will be a clear disappointment to many, but I believe that there will be an awakening of sorts for DC after this film and we can only hope they learn quickly like Batman does and move on from the mistakes.