After the downer that was the film that was supposed to kick off the new DC Comics movies franchise, Man of Steel (2013), and the lackluster response from both critics and audiences alike, we were all hoping that Warner Bros. and director Zack Snyder would not make the same mistake again with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. They didn’t. Instead, they made an even worse film.
In Batman v Superman, Superman (Henry Cavill) is still dark and moody, but this time, he shares the screen with Batman (Ben Affleck) who isn’t any cheerier. Since we all know Batman’s origin story, we are saved from another retelling of that story except for a few brief flashbacks from that fateful night when young Bruce Wayne’s parents were shot right in front of him and his mother’s pearls bounce all over the place. Instead, we learn that Bruce Wayne as Batman has been serving the city of Gotham for about 20 years. He no longer lives in his family’s mansion his butler, Alfred (Jeremy Irons) operates more like the tech guru character of Lucius Fox rather than serving up Wayne’s afternoon tea. Also, Instead of being the charming socialite that the millionaire has played in every other version of the Batman story, this Bruce Wayne keeps a low profile focuses all of his attention of investigating the alien that has crash landed from Krypton. Wayne isn’t the only one.
Despite his good deeds, Superman doesn’t know his own strength and Wayne is concerned that the red-caped one is actually causing more harm than good. Meanwhile, Clark Kent is also skeptical of the Bat as well as Bruce Wayne and begins to investigate Wayne Enterprises. But wait, there’s more.
The film also introduces pot-stirer, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) to the mix attempting to take over the world (as one does). Luthor meets with both Batman and Superman separately convincing each of them to not trust the other. If that wasn’t enough, a mystery woman (alright, everyone knows it’s Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman played by Gal Gadot) conveniently shows up here and there looking suspicious. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get to do much more than give a sexy pout until much later in the movie. Oh, and we do get a few short glimpses of the future Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash which will be a part of the upcoming Justice League movie.
Overall, the story is super…long. And dull. No real action takes place until about an hour into the film, but the music does sound menacing though, trying to build up some tension. The confusing storyline might appeal to fan boys, but to the causal comic book movie fan, nothing makes much sense. (Rumor has it that the “director’s cut” of the film features even more footage, but actually makes the story more coherent.) Sure, we all know that Lex Luthor is Superman’s arch enemy, but in this story, it isn’t clear what he has against him or why he wants to kill him. It doesn’t help that Eisenberg’s version of the super villain’s greatest strength is how annoying he is.
Then, after much buildup, there is the big battle between the Batman and Superman. While both of the men’s intentions are good (they are looking out for the citizens of the world) they seem more preoccupied by their own pride judging the other. “Do you bleed?” Batman asks allowed.
Just as in Man of Steel, Batman v Superman is still over-serious with all of the potential fun it could have brought to the big screen sucked out of it. Sure, these superheroes are selfless, but they act as if their special abilities are a burden rather than a gift that needs to be shared. As a viewer, you want to like these guys. Unlike Marvel’s current batch of heroes who all seem like people you would like to hang out with, these DC heroes represent those emo kids you avoided in school.
Main Image: Warner Bros.
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.