Watching the highly anticipated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a little like spectating an overhyped boxing match. You patiently wait for the main event to start, only to then get disappointed when the one-sided scrap ends within a matter of minutes. On paper a duel between the most famous superheroes of all time should be epic, but alas setup for the upcoming Justice League blockbuster hijacks the whole thing instead. In case the script wasn’t bloated enough already we also get Doomsday showing up at the eleventh hour. Chris Terrio and David Goyer, who wrote the screenplay, must not subscribe to the adage that less is more. Couldn’t they have saved Doomsday for that Justice League flick that Warner Bros is so desperate to rush out?
Batman v Superman begins with Bruce Wayne witnessing first hand how the city of Metropolis was reduced to rubble, during Man of Steel’s final act. The scene establishes why the Caped Crusader despises Superman, as he helplessly watches innocents die and property get destroyed in the final battle with General Zod. If that doesn’t get his utility belt in a twist, the Dark Knight is further incensed when Superman turns up in Gotham and begins to interfere with his vigilante activities. Bruce isn’t the only one who detests Superman though. Fellow billionaire Lex Luthor also wants to bring Superman down a notch, which he intends to do by harvesting kryptonite ore and making use of the alien tech responsible for transporting Clark Kent to Earth.
To be honest I can sympathise with Bruce and Lex. Superman may be using his powers for good, but you can’t blame humans for distrusting an extra terrestrial who could potentially decimate a city with eye beams. Even if Superman is strong physically there’s no guarantee that his judgement is equally beefy. Early on for example we see that when presented with the choice of preventing a massive African massacre or rescuing Lois Lane, Superman opts to save the babe who jumps his bones. Out of Superman’s two rivals I have to say that Ben Affleck pulls off a convincing Batman. Jesse Eisenberg’s eccentric take on Luthor is another story entirely. Just because he previously played an entrepreneur in The Social Network doesn’t mean that he has the presence to portray Lex.
My rating for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a three out of five. The movie trails behind Marvel’s cinematic offerings, but it wasn’t as terrible as some others have made out. That said I did watch the Ultimate Edition of the film, which is supposedly more coherent than the theatrical cut – thanks to the addition of a few extra scenes. Maybe the movie would have received less flack from critics had it been released in this form, although I can’t blame cinemas for resisting to screen a three hour flick. Annexing all the Justice League nonsense, which added nothing to the story, could have condensed the running time. The brief Cyborg/Aquaman/Flash cameos felt shoehorned in, but on the plus side Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was a badass and easy on the eyes.
Overall I think Batman v Superman is worth watching for the Batfleck moments. Not only did Affleck avoid becoming another Clooney/Kilmer disaster, but he also delivered the finest live action Batman fights I have ever seen. The finale were the DC Trinity squared off against Doomsday was also decent, even if the CG effects made the creature look like a Lord of the Rings troll. Zack Snyder, not content with blowing up Metropolis in Man of Steel, channelled Michael Bay by orchestrating another explosive conclusion. The writers pre-empted the naysayers, who condemn collateral damage, by saying that the clash took place in a deserted part of town. I’m not convinced. If we maintain this level of wanton destruction, in future DC universe features, there aren’t going to be any cities left standing by the time Justice League rolls along.