By Christian DiMartino
I’m a little scared.
Reviewing a movie like Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice is dangerous business, because a film this big demands good reviews. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but… I didn’t like it. Not telling you you won’t (the crowd I was with seemed to enjoy themselves), but I didn’t dig it. A negative review such as this requires a drink or two, or five, to get through. Speaking of which, you caught me in the act.
There’s pleasures to be had at Batman vs. Superman, for sure. But yet a lot of it just didn’t click with me. There’s moments of cool-ness and visual grandeur… and then there’s the clunky side of things. This is a Zack Snyder film, mind you, so I didn’t go in expecting a masterpiece. Actually, that is the last thing I was expecting. Though I was hoping my negative outlook would get turned around. Nope. Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a big, long, cliche, clunky, predictable affair… with some pleasures.
The film opens with the Bruce Wayne origin story, as if we haven’t seen that 8 million times. I’m not even going to tell you about it, because if you are unaware, then you shouldn’t be reading this review. I think an unborn child in the womb could tell you. It’s been done. Anyways, after that, we see an adult Bruce (Ben Affleck, I’ll get to him later) in the city of Metropolis during the events of Man of Steel, in which one of his buildings just so happens to be destroyed. It’s a clever little idea, except for the fact that he runs into the rubble, as if he can save them (even though their asses are pretty much toast), and to top it off, there just so happens to be a dumb little bitch just standing there in the middle of all the chaos, waiting to either be crushed or rescued. See? Told ya it was cliche.
Truth of the matter is, Bruce knows that this Superman (Henry Cavill) fella is basically the cause of the destruction, and in return, sets out to bring this metal bastard down. In the meanwhile though, Superman faces scrutiny of his own. The people (including a senator character played by Holly Hunter) feel as if he may be more harmful then helpful… even though he’s saved a crapton of people. His woman, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) knows better though.
The story really kicks in once Lex Luthor (Jessie Eisenberg) enters the picture. Luthor is a kooky little rich bitch who desperately wants to see Superman and Batman go at it. So, he sets up instances so then the two will be pitted against each other, while he also cooks up a little plan of his own.
What a cast they’ve cooked up here. Not only do we have the people mentioned above, but there’s also Diane Lane as Mama Kent, Laurence Fishburne as Perry, the editor of superman’s newspaper, Jeremy Irons as Alfred. Oh yeah, and a fox named Gal Gadot. Trust me people, she’s a wonder to behold.
Now, I know a lot of people (myself included) weren’t excited to see Ben Affleck as Batman. Well, have no fear. Affleck makes a perfectly fine Batman. Perhaps not the best, but it works. You all really should’ve been worried about Eisenberg though. I think Eisenberg is a damn fine actor, but this performance just didn’t work. Not only does he feel miscast, but he also just overdoes it to cartoonish levels. The true failure in his performance though is the fact that he doesn’t really seem like Lex Luthor. No no no. Eisenberg is basically trying to play The Joker, minus all of the makeup. Not to mention, I don’t think a single creative thing comes out of his mouth the entire film. He’s basically all quotes.
The Joker element adds to another flaw with the film, among many. About halfway through, I began feeling a sense of familiarity. As if I’d seen some of this stuff before… in a little film called The Dark Knight, but this time, Superman was in Batman’s shoes. Which kind of just makes the whole thing a tad unnecessary.
On a visual level though, Snyder has it down. He knows that his crowd wants a show, and yes he gives it to us. But yet at times its too much of a show. There’s so many elements to the plot that its two and a half hour runtime should seem justified. It doesn’t. It’s way too long. Not only that, the last hour is basically an action sequence.I hate to nitpick, but during this sequence, while the whole city is collapsing around them, they throw in a romantic moment between Lois and Clark. Couldn’t it wait? People are dying, and yet you two are having your moment? Stupid. Also, the ending is also more like 15 endings. Lastly, the dream sequences don’t work. They’re goofy, and random, and weird, and I just didn’t buy it.
Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice works in spurts, but to me, doesn’t match up to a whole. It’s certainly entertaining, and not quite the abortion I was initially expecting. But yet for my money, I’d much rather have the first two Christopher Reeve Superman films. Sure they’re a bit dated, but they’re wonderful films. Or the masterful Dark Knight trilogy.
Personally, I didn’t exactly enjoy myself. Don’t let me stop you. In fact, I highly doubt I could. If people want to see this movie, they’re gonna. My point is moot. But hey, you’ve been warned.