"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" is directed by Zack Snyder and it stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Holly Hunter, and Gal Gadot. In this continuation of "Man of Steel", the world is still reeling from the attack on Metropolis in which Superman inadvertently laid waste to the entire city in his duel with General Zod, and now many people, Bruce Wayne/Batman included, want Superman to answer for his alleged crimes. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor also has a scheme of his own to pit the two heroes against one another in what should be the greatest cinematic duel of the century.
Going into this movie, I was obviously excited for the fact that this was the first time we'd be seeing Batman vs. Superman on the big screen. The third trailer released back in December hindered that excitement just a little bit due to it showing the entire movie and then some, but I was mostly optimistic walking into this film. Walking out of it, I was left with a hollow feeling inside as the movie got worse and worse with each passing thought. It really saddens me to say this, but "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" sucks.
Of the few positives in this movie, one of them is ironically Ben Affleck's portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman. When he was first cast, I was one of the few people on this Earth that actually liked the decision as opposed to everyone bitching about it and even creating useless petitions to get him out of the role. Now that people have seen the movie, everyone seems to be unanimous in the praise for his performance, and for good reason. Affleck is a great Bruce Wayne in that he plays the secretive playboy billionaire with a sense of mystery and darkness to his past, but he's also a great Batman for not only looking the part in the suit, but also being genuinely intimidating and physically capable in the action. As a matter of fact, all of the Batman elements in this movie were the most interesting and engaging aspects. He has the most motivation of any character and he ends up having the most depth, but I still felt like there was a severe under utilization of Batman.
With Superman, I feel like this movie took one giant step back with his character. The trailers for this movie made it seem like the movie itself would have Superman dealing with and trying to learn from all of the death and destruction from "Man of Steel", but it's almost the complete opposite. There's arguably more destruction in this movie and the character himself is too hallow and brooding to connect to. There's even a point in this movie where Superman is supposedly at his lowest low, but you don't feel any of the emotion behind it. It also doesn't help that while Cavill still gives a decent performance, he's given some of the worst written lines in the whole movie.
With some of the new cast members, the two big ones start with Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. I can't think of one single person who actually defended his initial casting in this role and the overall reception of him seemed to get worse as the trailers kept dropping. Now that we've all seen the movie, Eisenberg ends up giving us all what we expected, and even worse in my opinion. The character of Luthor is poorly written in the sense that he has absolutely no motivation whatsoever. From the get-go, he begins his scheming to take down Superman and eventually force him into fighting Batman, but there's no rhyme or reason to any of it. He just what the script needs him to do, and that's it. Performance wise, I have no idea what Eisenberg was going for. He's not intimidating in the role and his attempts at being memorable end up coming across as awkward while he twitches around and makes high-pitched squealing noises whenever he raises his voice. I wanted this to be a Heath Ledger-Joker scenario, but in the end I just saw Jesse Eisenberg doing his worst impression of Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka.
The other new addition is Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. I personally don't think Wonder Woman should even be in this movie and it certainly doesn't help that the trailers showed most of her role, and with the overall execution of her character, it feels like the wasted potential that I thought it would be. Her character is just shoehorned into the movie for the sake of setting up the Justice League and having a giant fight at the end, so there's really nothing special going on with Wonder Woman in terms of good build up or story relevance. And with Gadot's performance, it didn't work for me at all. All of her line reading came off as wooden and forced and it may just be the writing, but given that she was just as wooden in the recent "Triple 9", something tells me that they may want to look into recasting Wonder Woman. I don't care if it pisses of Gadot, I don't care if it comes off as inconsistent, just get a Wonder Woman actress who can actually, you know, act.
Now onto the movie's story, or in this case, conglomeration of forced, convoluted subplots that make the film a narrative mess. In this movie, you have multiple storylines that are meant to interconnect with one another at a certain point, but none of it feels fluid in terms writing or editing. Character motivations are rushed, seemingly important details are left unanswered, and the movie is constantly bogged down by its setup for future DC films. In almost every scene, there's some type of forced reference to another DC character or event and as cool as it may be for hardcore DC fans, it doesn't make for a well constructed film. What we have in this movie is yet another case of a film that's so intent on setting up other movies, it forgets to tell its own story and the end result is a sloppy mess with no focused story. I would've thought we'd learn from the mistakes of movies like "Iron Man 2" and "The Amazing Spider-Man 2", but I guess not.
As for the actual fight between Batman and Superman, I'll admit that it had me entertained when it first starts, but there are a few problems with it; it's too short, the resolution is rushed, and you don't get the feeling that these characters are fully invested in the fight. Between the two, Batman is obviously into the fight more than Superman, and there lies the problem. This should be a fight where both characters want to fight and it should feel like an epic duel between two evenly matched icons. Instead, we have a forced set of events beforehand that lead into a fight that's not as exciting or engaging is it should be. The fight honestly gets worse to think about when you realize the this particular fight was rushed through just to get to another fight at the very end that ends up being one giant CGI mess with no emotion or investment whatsoever. Talk about wasted potential.
In the end, it really pains me to type these words, but here it goes: "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" is a major disappointment. Most of the performances are good, but that doesn't make up for a rushed, convoluted plot, a showdown that doesn't live up to the hype, weak characters and performances in both Eisenberg and Gadot, and worst of all, this movie is nothing more than a two and a half hour commercial for "Justice League". I'd actually recommend seeing this movie simply to form your own opinion and also get caught up in the DC cinematic universe, but don't expect the comic book masterpiece that this movie should've been. Instead, it's just a disappointing match up between two iconic characters, as well as just a bad movie in general.
Rating: Some Ol' Bullshit