By Adam Ray Palmer
Today’s review is the first blockbuster of the year, if not THE blockbuster of the year. The anticipation for this movie has been huge and now it has arrived.
Batman v Superman is not only the ‘Dawn of Justice’ but also the dawn of an incoming franchise that will boast at least half a dozen films before 2020.
But first, Zack Snyder (director) and David S Goyer (writer) continue with the reigns from 2013s Man of Steel and have now brought this colossal 2016 picture to the cinematic table…
Fearing the actions of Superman from the previous 18 months, Batman takes on the man of steel after Bruce Wayne’s city is brought down. As they squabble, the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat, Doomsday, is created by Lex Luthor. Superman and Batman must set aside their differences along with Wonder Woman to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis – simple!
I want to begin by stating I was ambivalent to this franchise before I entered the theatre and I had very little expectations. I had of course researched the film and read up on a few people’s opinions but I was still left indifferent.
I’m not too sure where to begin with Batman v Superman to be honest, like the film, I’m in a bit of a muddle. Perhaps I should start with what most people are casting their opinions over, the characters. I noticed the most under-fire actors where Jesse Eisenberg and Ben Affleck which to me is slightly puzzling. I think Affleck’s first turn as the Dark Knight is a fair performance; he is by no means poor but doesn’t light up the character like Christian Bale did. If Bale had been involved with this outing, it would have immediately improved the film. However, it’s Eisenberg’s Luthor where I have most confusion. Personally, I think Jesse is the strongest actor in the whole film. He plays his unhinged maniac of a character perfectly. He obviously isn’t the most threatening in size but he’s a great manipulator. Jesse knows his strengths in terms of Lex Luthor. He’s odd, unpredictable and plays a similar role Heath Ledger’s Joker.
The runner up in the acting department has to be Amy Adams. She’s brilliant in her role as Superman’s “damsel in distress”. What’s interesting though, she actually has a bit of steel (excuse the pun). She’s witty, resourceful and strong-willed in certain times of need. Her character’s journalism background is actually taken into account in the film and it’s more realistic. Previous Lois Lanes have been uninspiring in terms of the character because how can a Lois Lane who is so fearful be a great journalist searching for potentially dangerous stories.
Adams’ only downfall is her hero boyfriend Henry Cavill. He seems so distant in this film and gives Amy very little to work with. Superman is certainly the weak link for me. Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) has been receiving nothing but praise but I am struggling to see why such level of praise. She is barely in the 3-hour epic and when she is, she’s used as filler in most her scenes. One positive note about WW though, when she arrives with no backstory, it’s creates an intriguing mystery for the audience. So, I’m hoping for much more for her character going forward.
A major concern for the film is the script. It’s a little untidy in areas with side plots creeping in all over the film. The narrative is difficult to follow for the first hour with too many dream sequences. The side plots come to a close ridiculously abruptly with many dead ends and it becomes tedious. This whole film serves as a set up movie for the Justice League films which would have been fine if it at least had a bit of substance. Every viewer is just waiting for the showdown between Superman and Batman which just becomes a drawn-out, overly grotesque torture scene (I won’t say for which character – no spoilers).
This film could have been so much more. The best attribute the movie boasts is that Lex Luthor and Batman both want the demise of Superman. They are both jealous of his power because they know he is the stronger counterpart. This narrative strand is strengthened by how similar Lex and Batman are. Their planning and actions is matched by their will to bring down Superman. The only problem being Batman can only be Superman’s equal in combat. Bruce Wayne is supposed to be an intelligent, rich and fearless vigilante but we never see that fully – that’s what I miss about Bale’s Batman.
My personal highlight of the film has to be the opening sequence. The first fifteen minutes is the best fifteen minutes. We see the hatred grow between the two titular heroes as Bruce Wayne’s Metropolis city falls and we witness the murder of his parents. We also see Superman’s memories taking over his logical thinking. The editing, the cinematography, the directing and the visual effects are on point here. It’s brilliant filmmaking that just gets unravelled as the movie progresses. One thing is for sure though, this film’s budget, fan base and marketing campaign has meant that it definitely won’t fail at the box office, but don't let the billions in the bank fool you to believing it's worth that.
Cineroom’s Rating: 2 Stars
Batman v Superman is currently showing worldwide in selected cinemas – certificate 12A