I’ve been sick of superhero movies for a while now, hype or no hype. There’s just been so many. I remember this happened with vampire movies and also zombie movies – not long after they get popular there’s a giant glut of the things. Then someone comes along to reinvent it and gets blamed for the whole thing tanking. The genre is ripe; I bet the Stephanie Meyers of superhero movies is busy making a genre-killer as we speak. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is probably not said genre-killer, but it is definitely a warning sign that one is coming.
Fearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the man of steel, while 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. It’s up to Superman and Batman to set aside their differences along with Wonder Woman to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis.
I was warned that I would hate Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by people who are usually pretty upbeat about movies like this. And I can see why they’d say so – the thing was a mess. And not one of those clearly should-not-have-been-made messes, either, because there was so much done right. Some things were clearly brilliant, so I’m going to focus on those. I want this review to have a positive tone, too, mostly because I watched a clip of ‘Batman v Superman – Sad Affleck’ and, well, I hate seeing handsome men look so downcast.
So Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill were both great. I like the Affleck Batman, but maybe I’m the wrong person to ask about that, I think with the mask, the armor and CGI, anyone can be batman. Though I certainly liked his voice better (other Batmans, who will remain nameless, sounded like they needed a lozenge the whole time). And more importantly, he was my favorite Bruce Wayne. Henry Cavill is likewise well-suited to Superman and is a wonderful Clark Kent. The supporting cast was strong as well. Jeremy Irons as Alfred, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White (Clark Kent’s boss) and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, they all were excellent.
I think what went wrong with this film was the writing. I spent the first 10 minutes or so (maybe longer) of the movie having no idea what was going on. Even after that, when I was starting to get a sense of what was happening, the characters really had no clearly established goal, there’s nothing they’re really working towards. Yes there’s conflict (which was well placed and natural) but it didn’t really build much in the places it should have, so when the shit hit the fan, things felt a little forced. It feels to me like director Zack Snyder has pulled an ‘anti-Hobbit’, instead of making what should be a perfectly reasonable movie into a trilogy, he made what should be a perfectly reasonable trilogy into one movie. There were just too many plates to be spinning all at once to make it work for a single film.
In some ways that worked, though. I liked the visual style of the movie. Just the way it looked, the sets, the blocking, the way it was shot and edited. So many little scenes so beautifully done. Since I wasn’t invested in the plot in large chunks of the movie, I had time to appreciate some of the nuances of the cinematography.
So should you watch this film? No, probably not, especially if you’re not a fan of the comic books. But in all honesty, it was better than Man of Steel. I actually liked that it addressed my criticisms of Man of Steel, namely all the collateral damage. You could buy a ticket, though, and say you liked it because I like to think it would make Ben Affleck happy. So I’ll change my answer to Yes. Yes you should see it. I can definitely honestly say I kind of liked it.