Exactly what everybody has been saying. So after the events that occurred in Man of Steel, people are pretty upset with Superman (Henry Cavill). Batman (Ben Affleck) starts to question Superman’s intentions, and it seems that a showdown is inevitable. As much as I love the caped crusader, this was never a movie that I was looking forward to. If you recall when announcements were being made regarding the production of this, everybody had a big adverse reaction to Ben Affleck being cast as Batman. This was never a problem for me, and if you’ve looked at his most recent films, he’s been turning in great work both in front of and behind the camera; you need not look any further than Argo to see what I am talking about. The reason why I wasn’t able to get behind this was completely due to director Zack Snyder still captaining this ship. I like the Dawn of the Dead remake and I liked his animated movie about owls, but other than that, he’s arguably one of the most indulgent filmmakers out there, and he lets the visuals get in the way of cohesive storytelling 9 times out of 10.
I was never opposed to a Batfleck.
This isn’t all bad, and I would like to touch on a couple of positives here. Ben Affleck does actually make for a really good Bruce Wayne and Batman, it just seems like a curious choice for him to be making at this point in his career. I also liked Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman for her limited amount of screentime in this ultra crowded movie, and she should be a good addition for when they finally end up getting this Justice League movie off the ground. The actual climactic battle between Batman and Superman was pretty cool, and with a couple of decently shot action sequences, that’s where my praise stops. The aforementioned climactic fight is cool, but it doesn’t mean anything. It could have been completely prevented if they had a two minute conversation, and it is totally just a cause of Lex Luthor, which brings me to probably the worst part of the movie: Jesse Eisenberg. I have much less knowledge on Superman than I do Batman, so I don’t know all that much about Lex, but that’s beside the point. Jesse Eisenberg is obnoxiously annoying, and every time he’s onscreen, he drags this movie down.
You never love to hate him, you just want for him to stop talking.
The whole engineering behind the DCEU is not well founded, and it shows with the product that they produce. They want so desperately to mimic what Marvel did with their Cinematic Universe, but they aren’t willing to take the time to build the necessary foundation. Marvel made five movies before the first team up crossover movie with The Avengers, and DC is trying to get this cash cow started on the second movie (let’s be real, they threw that Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern movie in the garbage). It seriously shows that they are trying to fit so much in, and this movie bursts at the seams. It reaches a point where scenes don’t flow naturally to the next, and this is one awkwardly edited film. The thing that makes me lose my mind about this movie is this: Zack Snyder clearly heard all of the complaints of the excessive amount of collateral damage in the finale of Man of Steel. There are comments a plenty of it spattered throughout, and so many mentions of this city that got torn to pieces just so aliens could have a brawl. There’s all this talk about it for the entire time, and I’ll be damned if they didn’t do the same exact thing this time around as well. They try to get around it by simply having Batman say “oh, those buildings have been abandoned/evacuated”, but the scale of damage is too large for there not to be unnecessary civilian casualties.
It was too much in a movie that should have finished 25 minutes before the credits actually ended up rolling.
If you need an example of how Marvel has the superhero game on lockdown when compared to DC, you need not look any further than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. They don’t get the characters right, and I’m surprised this isn’t even getting more complaints than it has already received. You have a Batman that uses guns, a Superman that is stoic, boring, and not the Boy Scout he is written to be, and a Lex Luthor that is closer in spirit to an unintimidating caffeinated Joker than anything else. This isn’t a complete waste of time, as there are a few things about this that work, but it makes up about 25 minutes of this overlong 150-minute movie.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) **1/2
– Critic for Hire