We see Henry Cavill reprise his role as the caped crusader Superman/Clark Kent, and find Ben Affleck take on the trickier role of rebooted and retired Batman/Bruce Wayne. The city of Metropolis is in ruins after Superman’s epic battle with General Zod in “Man of Steel”. Its inhabitants are torn between worship and hatred for the Cryptonian “saviour”. One of Bruce Wayne’s buildings has been destroyed and he’s a tad miffed. Oh and Lex Luthor, ever the opportunist, is hell bent on fanning the flames between our two heroes as much as possible.
Affleck does a fantastic job in proving himself a worthy Batman. His portrayal of an aging and retired Batman is not only masterfully handled but intriguing to boot. In fact he may be the best representation of Bruce Wayne we’ve seen so far! His interactions with Alfred (the perfectly cast Jeremy Irons) are show stealers and we finally get to see some of Batman’s legendary detective skills put to use. The duo’s inspired casting and excellent delivery easily whip the audience into salivation for a new standalone Batman film, a thought that would’ve been downright blasphemous before B v S.
Gal Gadot, while far too briefly seen on screen as Wonder Woman, is also unquestionably the right lady for the job. Her Amazonian badass-ery outshines anything seen from her male counterparts and more than solidifies her position in the future Justice League franchise. Snyder gives just enough of her character away to ensure that her own solo venture on screen will be hotly anticipated.
The not so hot elements of this movie fall into two categories; Pacing and motivation.
The first third of this movie is so poorly paced that it feels as if we’re watching a beta version of the film and there are vital scenes left on the cutting room floor, still waiting to be slotted into the reel, in order to make it seem in some way coherent. Snyder flips, flops and flies back and forth between characters and soundtracks every couple of minutes in an almost caustic manner. He then has the audacity to include a couple of dream sequences so lengthy that the audience, if not lost before, certainly are now!
Other than being a bit of a mad bastard, it’s impossible to tell what Lex Luthor’s motivation for anything is in this movie. Maybe the time spent showing us poor Martha and Thomas Wayne getting killed AGAIN would’ve been better put to use in establishing the mind-set of Luthor and invoking some sort of malice from the audience towards the bad guy. Jesse Eisenberg doesn’t help matters either. He seems to think he’s still on the set of “The Social Network”, after watching a marathon of Heath Ledger’s “Joker” portrayal. His spoiled, sport coat, sycophantism doesn’t even vaguely resemble the evil genius, world dominating Luthor we know and fear.
Snyder and company have tried to squeeze far too much into this already too long film. It seems like DC are in a massive rush to piggyback on the success of the “Avengers” movies, all the while forgetting that said success was only made possible through the slow and steady build each character had in previous films. Thankfully, the amazing spectacle that this piece makes for, teamed with a couple of surprising and exciting performances from Affleck and Gadot leave the fans hopeful if not entirely happy. The ending also erases most of the sour notes previously hit upon as it is one of the most shocking and engaging moments in super-hero movie history!!
The heroes have proven themselves DC. Give them a chance to breath. It’s only the “Dawn” of this era after all….?!
Batman Vs Superman is out now in cinema theaters everywhere!
Words – Michael Wall
© OVERDRIVE 2016