I feel like this piece will upset people. But I tried so hard to give Zack Synder a break after how disappointed I was by Man of Steel. So I recommend stop reading if you want to form your own opinion. For those who like to be informed here I go.
Sadly Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was more like Batman v Turd: Yawn of Justice. It was too long, and was filled with things that constantly made my heart sink.
Sorry comic book fans but this was not a fun movie at all. And yet, much like Russell Crowe's opening 15 minutes of Man of Steel (which blew my mind away with how awesome a Superman movie could be,) Dawn of Justice has an incredible opening scene, that is pertinent and raw more than ever, considering the horror of the recent Terrorist attacks in Brussels. This is our world now. I get that.
Sydner clearly hates the character of Superman. We just don't care for him in this movie. And seeing Synder's distaste for this Kryptonian in Man of Steel, it's no wonder that same contempt for a symbol of hope meets its continuation. I get it. The idea of a super being from another world saving our planet doesn't work in a modern technological world of terrorists. Maybe in 1938 when Superman was created but not in 2016. But movies shouldn't just reflect the world we live in, but give us a vision of escape. Superman should save the world and stop the bad guys killing innocent people.
Though definitely kudos to Clark Kent who in between movies is now sleeping with Amy Adams/Lois Lane - Christopher Reeves had to give up his powers to get that.
All the correct themes are in this movie. They relate to an alien superhero creating too much collateral damage. But none of those themes are presented in any coherent order or purpose. So much of the plot jumps around with tonal shifts, that are jarring and painful at times. Story telling, particularly for a hero, should be about growing arcs to an emotional climax that leads to forging a hero. It's basic Joseph Campbell, taught to film students. But Synder attempts to subvert established hero mythos with a clunky, growing, seething anger for what Superman represents as an alien threat. But then, he never releases that emotion in a moment in the conclusion of the second act, where the world says in some form or another "I am sorry we love you Superman, now please save us." That's redemption. That's what makes Superman super; his humanity. Superman represent the best of us because despite is alien birth, it's all he has known. Purity, peace, love and justice... and most importantly hope. It's what his 'S' symbol represents. Any argument against that, can be solved with the basic mention, that it already works in a little TV show called 'Supergirl.' Currently that is the only and best true representation of the Superman ideals available to us right now. Synder has given us two superman movies that say almost irrevocably there cannot be anyone who can represent the hope of humanity.
Synder on the other hand seems to love Batman. He gives Batman a sense of duty and loyalty to what is the greater good. Batman is justified in every way for his actions and only weakened by the resolve in the titular conflict. But even so, Bruce Wayne was reminded, despite his anger and rage, that he hadn't lost his humanity. It makes Batman the real hero of the film. He learns something about himself and puts it to better use.
Ben Affleck is better than Christian Bale as Batman. Ben Affleck saves this movie (just if not barely) and I apologise to Mr Affleck for laughing and making fun at his casting. I beg Warner Bros to give me a Batfleck film ASAP. This is a Batman film more than a Superman film by far. Batmobile, Batplane, Batgadgets, all of it were the best it has ever been. Yes better than Nolan's version. You could comfortably cut down the awfully long run time to cut out Superman almost entirely and it would be the greatest batman movie made yet.
Speaking of, I don't know why Wonder Woman was in this film. She looks incredible and her own solo movie could be worth the time, but she served nothing for this film except for a lazy trailer for a Justice League movie.
I think Synder needs to go. And someone else needs to lead the charge. I stuck up for him when he made Suckerpunch, but it's been a uphill fight to appreciate his take on things. Dawn of the Dead and 300 were his masterpieces, with Watchman close behind but sadly, since then he has lost his way. I just wonder if Synder can handle a completely original property because he has only worked in adaptations.
I love going to cinema. I love watching movies on the big screen and there was genuine excitement for this film as the cinema lights dimmed and the opening logos appeared on the screen. I could say I was even emotional. So I got my money's worth. But if ever there was a point to make, it is that I miss how Superman used to move me. I miss how the trumpeting fanfair of John Williams score blasted off the screen announcing this is the greatest show on Earth, here is your 'Superman.'
So probably the best positive to come out of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was that now I am even more excited for Captain America: Civil War next month, in what will probably be the winning versus super hero film of 2016.
Sorry Batfleck. You did your best and I won't hate you for it. But Marvel is gonna take this round again.
Daniel Sanguineti is a Australian Film Producer and Writer, who has previously tutored film and media at the University of Canberra and the Canberra Institute of Technology. Follow him on Moviepilot and on instagram/twitter @DanSanguineti.