The idea of two great fan icons battling to the death is a premise to get audiences in their seat quickly.
The gimmick has been in official DC comic books and has been the topic of many short arguments among the DC community. These arguments are short, because on a “1 on 1” it is obvious that Superman will crush Batman without contest. Developing a film on this is a very difficult task to pull of successfully, but has been done before with other fan icons. Freddy vs. Jason to this day is my favorite Friday the 13th movies, for the sole reason that the violence is memorable. However the violence not being memorable in “Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice” is the least of its problems.
The film opens with another retelling of the Batman’s origin, painfully reminding the audience that our black knight is being played by the lovably dull tough guy in the 2003 “Daredevil”; Ben Affleck. Somehow this film decides a good way to show this story is not by drama, but almost entirely out of close up shots. As the boy flies up with the bats (yes, really) the film cuts to the best part of Man of Steel from Bruce Wayne’s perspective. To be fair, Ben Affleck plays a perfectly good Bruce Wayne. His motivation for hating Superman is perfectly acceptable in a tinfoil hat sort of way, and for the first of many bad guys in this film he is certainly fills his role if nothing else. However, his Batman is horrid, and too far of a stretch of what Batman should be.
Clark Kent’s character is a more boring version of “Man of Steel’s” character with more focus on what should be B-plots but are not; his job and his relations with Louis Lane. This is all useless filler however with all the meaningless dialogues with the three current villains. Lex Luthor’s character is the most interesting of bunch just on the fact that he deserves a strait jacket. However this fact does not make him likable because, for every time he giggles shouts or does something quirky, it distracts completely from the dry tone of the movie. His motivation is barely a one up from your typical 80s villain by hiding the fact that he wants to weaponize the Kryptonite by saying it is a deterrence and last result to the public.
The actual action in this movie is spread surprisingly thin, and are done with characters no one cares about because it is the first and last time we see them on screen.
The “plot” of this film is delayed even more by the fact that seventy percent of Henry Cavill’s screen time is dedicated to him being Clark Kent at his newspaper job. We alternate between scenes of Lex Luthor, Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne and Senator Finch because this film is obviously too confused to tell a coherent story. These scenes ultimately fail because none of the characters are likable.
The movie keeps assuming that close up shots is best to portray storytelling and drama. This misconception is just another head scratching mistake that does more harm than good. Bruce Wayne has flashbacks and daydreams instead of character development. Any scene with him is just another reminder to the audience that they will be fighting later in the movie. It also strips any identity that Batman has and turns him into a one-note villain. He just gives the vibe of a common crook with just a couple million more dollars in his wallet. Also, unlike any adaptation, Batman kills people. Batman, our favorite caped crusader who is supposed to uphold moral rules, actually kills people. This new Batman is honestly hard to watch and the adaptation is not even trying to come up with something new.
Alfred is played by Jeremy Irons and even he is hard to watch on screen, which is a true shame because Jeremy Irons is almost always laughably bad. This film lacks in upholding an outright climax. After an uncalled for death, Superman seeks refuge in the mountains to essentially repeat the dead father talk in the first movie. No complaints against that, but the scene is just lazy. Batman steals Kryptonite from Lex to grow it. That does not make sense but Bruce Wayne has technology so I will buy it.
Lex Luthor gets access to the Zod’s body and Ship. This scene would be a lot better if Jessie Eisenberg was not shoving Jolly Ranchers in his and the security guy’s mouth. Finally Lex Luthor starts to create a mutant out of his blood, Zod’s body, technology on the ship and an ancient kryptonian ritual. This scene gives an outright middle finger to anyone who thought Lex Luthor was going to do a single cool thing in this movie.
The buildup to the final confrontation is simply not worth it. The entire fight is Superman trying to convince Batman not to fight but to help him save his people. The action is to unrealistic to call credible. There is not enough destruction to become cool. The situation is too gimmicky to be enjoyable. Louis Lane comes in the last minute to explain everything and the fight is over. Batman is all of a sudden a good guy now. This is the part where I would turn off the movie if I was watching it on T.V.. or my computer. She comes at the exact moment Superman is about to die and then everything between the two fan icons is peaches and cream. These scenes are embarrassing in how lazy it is.
So we learn that one random woman who had a conversation with Batman a while back is Wonder Woman. We get clips of found footage showing various members of the Justice League including Aquaman. Honestly I would rather see an adaptation of Squirrel Girl than Aquaman, but the cameo was amusing.
I honestly thought the movie was over after the conformation with Jessie Eisenberg but that kid the audience was babysitting pulled out one last toy to show us. The mutant thing Lex Luthor made is finally reborn only to be destroyed with that Krypton Spear now at the bottom of some pool. Of course the deadly and expensive weapon would be abandoned in the ruins of the previous battle.
While realizing this I sarcastically thought to myself, “Thank you scriptwriters for making a complex and intellectual screenplay that challenges me like all other science fiction movies should.”
So the battle with the mutant is like watching a comical satire told by a straight faced stuck-up who does not get the joke. It is over-the-top and overly serious, and somehow there is not a single enjoyable part to find in blowing up a monster with a nuke and then stabbing his heart with a spear. Mostly because the fight scene is stretched mercilessly long with the introduction to super hero Wonder Woman in full costume.
Superman finally sacrifices himself and destroys the mutant, which makes no sense but whatever I have lost complete interest in this film by this point. So how does one end this bloated and click bait style movie, obviously by making multiple endings like “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.” These are set ups for possible sequels, characters tying up loose story arcs, weak as they might be, and Superman’s funeral only to pull an “Inception” gag by saying he might still be alive. Of course he is still alive there are sequels already planned. T
his movie was tough to watch and overstayed the welcome. The sad thing is everything it tried to do has been done better in other films, including the versus plot and the “you either die a hero or see yourself become the villain” cliché. They went through many logical hoops to explain how Kryptonium worked in this universe. Overall, the long wait for this movie just was not worth it. We were getting hints of this movie all the way back in “I Am Legend” in 2007.
In short, “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” fails to live up the all the hype it generated. This flick focuses more on setting up a new DC Cinematic Universe and forgets the most important thing: making itself stand out as a great movie.