Film review by Claire Durrant of the DC blockbuster that shows the battle between the Man of Steel and the The Dark Knight.
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Director: Zack Snyder. Warner Bros. Atlas Entertainment, DC Comics.
Cast and Credits
Producers: Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder.
Writers: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer.
Camera: Larry Fong.
Music: Junkie XL, Hans Zimmer.
Sets: Patrick Tatopoulos.
Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Diane Lane.
In the aftermath of the battle and destruction between Superman (Cavill) and General Zod in Man of Steel (2013), some no longer see Superman as a symbol for hope, but a potential threat. Someone who believes the latter is Batman (Affleck) who was in the city of Metropolis during the attack. On the other hand, Superman instead believes Batman to be the dangerous one; a menace who sees himself above the law. A resentful rivalry between the two ensues. But when a new threat rises in the shape of Luthor (Eisenberg) the two must team up, with the help of Wonder Woman (Gadot) to protect the cities of Gotham and Metropolis.
Poor Batman V Superman. After all the hype of a DC comics film being able to rival the Marvel franchise, it has unfortunately been heavily panned by critics. The film currently holds a 29% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009) has 33%. Batman V Superman is considered worse than Kevin James as a rent-a-cop. And while I don’t think the film is that bad, I will admit that it is a gigantic mess.
The storyline for one is filled with plot holes, and not the sort of plot holes you can laugh off, but the ones you will groan at and facepalm in response. I won’t spoil it for you but the reason behind Batman and Superman eventually making amends is quite frankly stupid. The reveal of the Justice League: stupid. Why can Superman only hear Lois Lane (Adams) in danger and no one else? Stupid. And how come people are so stupid to not see through Clark Kent’s disguise? It’s all so frustrating to watch.
The performances in this film are mixed. Ben Affleck I felt did a great job of breathing new life in to the well familiar Batman character. This particular caped crusader is older, threadbare, exhausted and emotionally tortured. He is thus more barbaric in the way he deals with the criminals of Gotham, going as far as to brand them. After the controversy over the announcement that Affleck was to play Batman, I’d say that he has earned his batwings.
Batman is of course nothing without his Alfred, and Jeremy Irons gives a solid, attractive (albeit brief) performance with much gravitas and wit. I’m hopeful that if he is to appear in future Justice League films, he is given more screen time to grant him a place in the memorable Alfred’s club, along with Michael Caine, Michael Gough and Alan Napier.
Gotham gives us the best characters in this film. Those residing in Metropolis are the people I have problems with. Opposite Affleck we have Henry Cavill as Superman. The best way to sum up his performances is: “meh”. He plays the son of Krypton as well as he’s done previously, but next to Affleck he is wooden in comparison.
Amy Adams, oh, Amy Adams…you are painful to watch! Lois Lane has gone from stubborn reporter who can save Superman in Man of Steel to a doe eyed girl who needs saving…constantly. It’s just a shame that her only purpose in this film is to either be nude or to be in distress. With the addition of Wonder Woman (who is really only there to make a big entrance), it’s like the filmmakers have gone; “well we can’t possibly have two strong female presences in this film, that’d be madness.”
But the worst, the utter cringeworthy moments of this film, are the scenes that involve the completely irritating Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. I can’t say for sure if Eisenberg got his inspiration from Joel Schumacher, but his performance definitely belongs in the Batman films of the late 90s. With his nerdy twitch, his subtle notions of insanity and his constant mumbling, Lex comes across as a lukewarm version of Jim Carey’s Riddler.
But despite the films major downfalls, there are still enjoyable moments in the film. Zack Snyder has always been a director who has chosen style over substance. So what he lacks in storytelling, he makes up for with an impressive cinematography. 300 (2006) Watchmen (2009) and Sucker Punch (2011) vary as decent films, but all of them are beautiful to observe.
Snyder and cinematographer Fong have collaborated perfectly to create impressive backgrounds to this film; Gotham with its gritty realism, and the idealism of Metropolis. Furthermore, the fight scenes whether they be Batman versus criminals or Batman versus Superman are fluid in motion and choreographed exceedingly well.
There are other reasons why this film works, but there are plenty more of other reasons why this film does not. In the end, whether your a fan giddy with the idea two superheroes fighting one another, or a critic appalled by the outcome, Batman V Superman did give us the ‘Sad Affleck’ meme, and that gives the film a win in my opinion.
See the official trailer on Youtube