Batman v Superman is not just a movie. Its an event. An event in the making since superman first donned the cape and batman the cowl. In fact scratch that. Batman v Superman isn’t a movie at all. Its an event. The need to please the masses has resulted in Zach Snyder creating not a film with strong narrative or characters but a 2 and a half hour trailer that just never feels real.
Suffering from what some call the ‘Iron man 2’ or ‘Amazing Spiderman 2’ effect, the need to set up the justice league has stifled any chance to create a strong rivalry between histories greatest heroes and I believe it to be a clear sign that the superhero film market will continue to try and create bigger and bigger ‘events’ until they fly too close to the sun and see their box office returns burn. Now I myself am a huge fan of comics (years before Robert Downey jr made them cool) and the fact I am no longer impressed by fan fiction like Batman and Superman fighting is proof that something just isn’t right.
Ok, well first what did work. Batman was perfect – Affleck beat the odds to be both aesthetically and emotionally accurate to the comics, more so than I believe I have ever seen on screen (bar the killing). When he fought (the rare moments) I truly felt the impact and suspect that the choreographer learnt a few things from the brilliant Arkham games. Affleck brings a ruggedness and wisdom that was needed to make this Batman different from the rest and his scenes are by far the most compelling. Wonder Woman too was good, I felt her sparse appearance worked well in keeping the story tight and look forward to seeing Gal Gadot flesh her character out in her upcoming solo flick. Their was also one sequence in the courtroom which was done brilliantly but I daren’t spoil it. Now for what didn’t. Well first look at the title: BATMAN V SUPERMAN. Yet I spent 3 quarters of this movie anticipating what turned out to be a 10 minute fight sequence so clearly animated it might as well have featured Kevin Conroy. I mean this had a big budget but even terrifying villains like Doomsday are reduced to face palm levels of ludicrousness when they look like they came from 2006. While I appreciate the film trying to set up this battle and discuss the politics of vigilantes and gods it simply wasn’t what I or a majority of fans wanted. We wanted dumb action and their simply wasn’t enough till the final act where Snyder dumped it all on us at once. I thought Henry Cavill did fine as superman but I am sorry, unless you had just seen Man of Steel then you will not give a damn about Clark Kent whose screen time and lack of character development makes this less a sequel and more just a prequel to next years Justice League. While I am on that topic, I must say that I thought the cameos were done quite well; the idea of an email was strange but it was short with all the other members of the league keeping me intrigued for the future (particularly Ezra Miller). On a different note, what was with the dream sequences? They were completely out of place and had me laughing at a few points with how lazily they were presented – a film featuring the trinity of iconic DC heroes shouldn’t have had to depend on such a lazy cliché to keep us invested.
I honestly nearly fell asleep at parts; though it was cut down there are still long stretches of nothing but trailer talk – yes practically every line given has a pause after it where I expected a inception BWAOM to enter. The primary aesthetic problem is the desaturated colour and dull low key lighting, perfect for a Batman flick but for Superman? This makes Man of Steel look like The Wizard of Oz and completely ruins Snyder’s usually excellent cinematography. The final nail in the coffin was Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor. I love Eisenberg as an actor but I thought for once he would be a serious and menacing threat to rival that of Michael Rosenbaum in the role. Unfortunately he is just another crazy guy twitching and spouting forced exposition.
I am still going to see Justice League. Everyone is going to see it. Even if this was as bad as ‘The Room’ people would. Well I have to say its not far off. Maybe its the hype that let me down but regardless I wont be re-watching this one anytime soon.