Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Occasionally, I’ll be posting articles of mine which have previously been published. As “Batman v Superman” is being released on DVD this week, I thought it would be a good opportunity to repost my review of said film.

Batman v Superman

It was advertised as the most epic showdown in the history of film: the Dark Knight up against the Man of Steel. These high expectations had audiences abuzz for many months, only to have their hopes and dreams crushed by overwhelmingly negative reviews. But is the movie really that bad?

By day, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) is a businessman and head of his own company, Wayne Enterprises. But by night, he becomes Batman, a caped crusader fighting crime in Gotham City. Across the bay in the city of Metropolis lives Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), a mild-mannered journalist and alter ego of Superman, the alien hailed a hero for saving the world from destruction.

Even so, Superman has his detractors, and with good reason. He may have saved the world, but not without causing millions of dollars’ worth of damage and the (unintentional) deaths of thousands. Though the Man of Steel seems indestructible and is feared by many, billionaire Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) believes he holds the key to controlling Superman: a mysterious green mineral from his home planet of Krypton…

Batman v Superman drew controversy very early in its development by announcing the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman. There were many people who were uneasy about this decision – including myself – but thankfully all fears held about Affleck can be laid to rest. His performance is solid and his scenes, which include a Batmobile chase and a warehouse fight, are the most enjoyable parts of the movie.

Praise must also go to Jeremy Irons, playing the role of Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler Alfred. Where previous portrayals have seen Alfred as a warm fatherly figure, this version sees him as a disgruntled, but nonetheless resourceful, friend of Bruce. Indeed, Batman’s portions of the movie are so strong that it may as well be titled Batman: Dawn of Justice.

And that says a lot about the rest of the picture. One would expect with a title of Batman v Superman, the fight between the world’s greatest comic book characters would be its biggest drawcard. The reality is anything but: their fight is a huge let-down, not beginning until the third-act and barely lasting a few minutes. And by this point, the movie had been going on so long that I ceased to care at all.

But wait, that’s not all: Superman’s action sequences are beyond dull, the “comedy” has such poor timing it is painful, the soundtrack is so loud it makes one’s eardrums bleed, the dream sequences are nonsensical, Wonder Woman has nowhere near the screen-time she deserves and… what is going on with Jesse Eisenberg? In every scene he’s in, he looks like somebody who has no idea how to act. I get that villains are supposed to be mad and eccentric, but here Eisenberg just comes across as goofy.

So, to bring this review back to my original question: is it that bad? Well, thanks to a certain Mr Affleck, Batman v Superman is nowhere near as bad as the critics say. But if this really is to be the dawn of a new movie franchise, the producers have a LOT of improvements to make before their next superhero movie.

2.5 stars

This review was originally published by YO Bendigo on April 5th, 2016.

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