DC Comics has one of the most respected repertoires of characters for any company. The comic giant’s two biggest characters are undoubtedly Superman and Batman. The announcement that The Dark Knight and the Man of Steel would feature together in a feature film brought joy to film and comic fans alike.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice tells the story of when the two heroes come to blows in what had the potential to be the death match of the century. The announcement that Zack Synder, the director of 300, The Watchmen and Man of Steel would take control of this film was met with some skepticism. Could the action director handle a story of real gravitas?
Unfortunately, the final result is an overblown, over long, convoluted and ridiculous excuse of a superhero movie. Batman V Superman squanders the talents of its cast and reduces two classic comic characters to a series of flashy CGI sequences.
After the battle between Superman (Henry Cavil) and General Zod at the end of Man of Steel, the destruction of Metropolis has made Superman a controversial figure. Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) grows increasingly more distrusting of the so called hero and vows to bring him down. At the same time psychotic millionaire Lex Luther (Jesse Eisenberg) plots to make sure both heroes are eliminated along with the newly discovered meta-human Diane Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot).
The film acts as sequel to Man of Steel but also as a set up to the upcoming Justice League and Wonder Woman films. Synder is also directing the anticipated Justice film which aims to replicate the success rival Marvel have had with The Avengers. The problem being that Batman V Superman has a lot of flaws that could be transferred to Snyder’s upcoming buddy superhero piece.
The movie possesses a number of problems despite having a wealth of original characters and source material. Two such heroes coming to blows needs a strong reason for the two to do so which the film never establishes. Batman’s distrust is based on flimsy reasoning and Superman is too easily manipulated.
Audiences may know the character’s origin but for every individual feature they need development which this film offers nothing of. Despite almost three hours the characters never grow or evolve and even though the two eventually unite alongside Wonder Woman, the characters still feel flat.
The film is also way too long. If the grudge match is meant to be the climax, it slugs and crawls before the battle begins.
The film does, however, boast some impressive visuals. Synder’s style is flashy CGI which is always impressive to watch. Sadly, here it’s style over substance as the action does not add to a flawed, at times nonexistent, narrative.
The most frustrating thing about the film is watching two such iconic characters have so little to work with.
From the cast Henry Cavil is by far the biggest disappointment. The actor offers no real insight into a now conflicted Superman and his story is the most underdeveloped. Amy Adams feels wasted as the damsel in distress Lois Lane. All the fire and fierceness of previous incarnations are taken from this Lane and the talents of Adams are tarnished in this subpar role.
Ben Affleck gives a stronger performance despite still not having a strong plot. Gal Gadot is a saving grace in the film as we get our first glimpse of our new Wonder Woman. Jesse Eisenberg was an outside choice for a younger Lex Luther and he awkwardly overdoes the character.
Compared to the work that Marvel are producing, this feels like merely a high concept action flick, rather than a developed and philosophically heavy superhero film. Characters of this caliber deserve a stronger vehicle instead of being reduced to mere fights and explosions.
A lacklustre, convoluted and overblown excuse of a film, Zack Synder delivers a stylized yet under developed action fest. Superhero movies have evolved past this point but unfortunately, Batman V Superman turns beloved characters into glorified action figures.
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE IS OUT ON DVD & BLU-RAY NOW!