Batman V Superman Review: Very Underwhelming But Worth a Watch
Directed By: Zach Snyder
Staring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jessie Eisenberg, Amy Adams
Writers: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 151 Minutes
Synopsis: 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.
DC Could Have Done Better
This film has been anticipated by many over the past 3 years and when you leave the theater you would have enjoyed some parts but ultimatly left feeling underwhelmed and perplexed. Batman V Superman is essentially the sequel to Superman: Man of Steel and picks up during the end of the fight between General Zod and Superman. Bruce Wayne came to the city to check on his building in Metropolis during this battle and came to a conclusion that Superman was a danger to humanity and needed to be stopped. This premise was intriguing giving the iconic nature of the two characters and the threat of Lex Luthor to build the new DC Cinematic Universe. However the film fell short in many ways and left me leaving the theater feeling like a watched a 4 hour movie cramed into 2 1/2 hours and a huge disconnect from the characters I knew from the comics and television to what I saw on screen. I understand that this is a new Universe and it does not have to be what you have read/watched before however DC has to understand that these are characters that people love and loved for reasons and to take away some of those traits hurt the film. Overall the film had some good moments, Ben Affleck shows he can be a great Batman if written correctly, the fight scenes were fantastic, Wonder Woman was treated very well and her powers were depicted very well, although I was not a fan of this interpretation of the Lex Luthor character Jessie Eisenberg nailed his performance and maybe the best part of the film was how Snyder introduced the other characters
Some Of The Characters Were Not True to the Comics
Batman has always been brutal, mean, dark, highly intelligent and diligent, and quite frankly crazy. This film did a good job of getting across the dark, brooding, crazy Bruce Wayne/Batman but it dropped the ball on the other aspects of his character and code. A lot of people has talked about the Batman doesn’t kill troupe and while he certainly has done many things that would have killed people he usually doesn’t do them so direct. So when he is shooting cars from his Batmobile or beating people up with weapons I understand that some of those people in the passed probably dies so I am not so disturbed by the notion that somebody might die after and encounter with Batman. However the idea of Batman shooting people with machine guns, running over top of cars with his Batmobile while at the same time complaining that people die in interactions with Superman not only changes the narrative of Batman that so many of us are familiar with but it also gives his character less credibility in the film. The film makes its seem as if “The Batman” had been terrorizing, killing and toruting people for the better part of 20 years which does not neccisarly make him a hero. I understand that this is suppose to be a darker portrayal of the DC Universe so I am giving it some leeway but there are certain parts of characters that are what make them the icons that they are and this film took some of them away from Batman.
Superman on the other hand was portrayed a little bit better. I can fully admit that I am not a huge Superman fan, I find the character to be boring and vanilla and very predictable because he has very few personal flaws so their is never and doubt in the outcome of his battles generally. However, Superman has always been a beacon of light in the DC Universe, he is the shinning star that tends to do things the right way. In this film he did that and throughout the entire film he never really fell in to the dark traps that were being set. Also this film was able to bring some realism to the Superman character because if he were real there would be admirers and there would also be bigots and prejudice and fear towards him. This is the first time I have seen that side of the worlds view of Superman and it was refreshing. If you were expecting a complete burial of this film, you have come to the wrong place. This was not Batman & Robin or Superman 4 or any of those other bad Super Hero Films. This version of the Superman character was the most intrigued I have ever been with him because he showed vulnerability, indecisiveness and quite frankly a dark side that need to be explored more often.
The other big characters that everyone is familiar with is Lex Luthor and Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman did not have many scenes in the film but the scenes of her as a civilian and the scenes of her as a hero were done very well. Wonder Woman is one of the only characters whose power is comparable to Superman and she is often shown as less than but in this film, although brief you got an idea of just how strong and powerful she can be and a bit about the mythos of her character that I am sure will be explored further in her Solo film next year. Luthor on the other hand was quite different. I guess you can look at his character from two perspectives. The first being “How good was the character as Zach Snyder wanted him portrayed?” Well, the answer to that is fantastic! Jessie Eisenberg was sniveling, annoying rich boy who had some underlying insanity. He was able to show Lex’s intelligence but also his god complex and distain for Superman. The other way to look at is “Is this the Lex Luthor you want to see?” I understand this is more of a personal preference but I have been so accustomed to a version of Lex Luthor and this was a far cry from that. Luther typically is this very meticulous, cunning, evil guy who has the ability to pretend to be a good person to most while being the most evil person to our heroes. He also has always had the perspective that his ideas are what is best for society and his decisions have always been made for the most part with that in mind. So the idea of him having so much comedy very similar to The Riddler character and also unleashing an untamed monster on his own city just seemed out of place. I can understand bother perspectives of this character but for traditional comic and dc cartoon fans his character will probably not work.
Justice League Setup Was Amazing
The reason why this film is worth seeing is because it was a great setup for the Justice League movie coming next year. The ending of the film, some of the flash forward/visions Batman was having and the Meta-Human file that Lex had on the characters were all done well. This film fell short on many parts in regards to the storytelling of the Batman V Superman plot line, but if you were to view this film as simply a setup to an upcoming Justice League film than it did its job. The way you are first introduced to The Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and especially Cyborg is amazing. The easter eggs for a potential villain in the Justice League film and what affect that villain could have on society is fantastic. There is so much to unpack from this film and so many questions you are left with after seeing these cameos that despite the failures this film had in a vacuum you are still looking forward to the upcoming Justice League film.
Editing, Editing, and Editing
The other big issue with this film was editing. Snyder tried to fit so much into this film that it left out a lot of key plot points and background that would give you better understanding of the characters and some of there decisions. Why is Batman the way he is? What happened to him over the past 20 years? How does Superman and Batman no each others secret identity? And so many more questions. There was also many issues where they would cut from scenes that did not feel like were over to scenes that had no connection to the previous. I am interested to see the directors cut that it supposed to be released later this year, but the Blu-ray release should not be a better film than the theatrical release. On the other hand the film was shot very well, the fight scenes were choreographed true to form and showed the strength of Superman but the cunning intellect and resourcefulness of Batman. The theme of the film was clear and supported by the sets and setting of the film along with the score. The musical scores were to me a bit overdone but I understand the point of it and the individual song choices for each character I think fit the narrative well.