Film Review: 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice'
(L-R) Ben Affleck as Batman and Henry Cavill as Superman in Warner Bros. Pictures' action adventure Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/ TM & © DC Comics. © 2016 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC., RATPAC-DUNE ENTERTAINMENT LLC AND RATPAC ENTERTAINMENT, LLC.
Warner Brothers and DC Comics' long awaited feature, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, is an exciting combination of superhero fantasy worlds. We are finally viewing a reality where both Batman's Gotham and Superman's Smallville and Metropolis, exist in the same universe. Written by Chris Terrio (Argo) and David S. Goyer (Man of Steel and the most recent Batman film trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan), and directed by Zack Snyder (Man of Steel, 300, Watchmen), so many of our favorite superhero tropes come into play that the film is explosive from the get-go and is really for the comic book nerd in all of us.
The audience is launched into immediate action and conflict when a Wayne Enterprise building is destroyed because of Superman's folly, having decided to instead save his long-time love, Lois Lane. Already pitted against one another, Alexander “Lex” Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) further diminishes the relationship between Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne. He puppeteers a standoff between the two men unknowing of their strength, not just physically, but also in soul. Both the “Dark Knight” and God-like extraterrestrial persevere through pureness of heart.
Although the thought of Ben Affleck embodying Batman was much debated and abhorred, he manages to impress with a revitalized portrayal from what we've seen before; including Christian Bale's performance in Nolan's (also a producer of this film) film trilogy. Henry Cavill is stuck playing the straight “good guy” in Clark Kent, but he bulked up his physique even more so for this film than he did for Man of Steel.
Amy Adams, reprising her role of Lois Lane, has the weakest of characters and will most likely forever be seen as the “damsel in distress.” Her character is foiled in the introduction of Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, who is the superhero we all wish had more screen time. Let's also not forget Eisenberg who brings as much as he can to the Lex Luthor role, which seems to emulate Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight. We don't get to see (or hear that cherishing desirable voice) enough of Jeremy Irons as the beloved Alfred.
The pace of the film is indecisive; the first act being intense and action-driven, it is sometimes difficult to keep up. If there was ever a question of the average human's attention span, this film proves it's about two seconds. After 158 minutes, the film begins to have that feeling of never ending.
The film shadows ever so slightly the contemporary political issues in the United States, while Snyder attempts to twist the overdone lesson of “good” always triumphing over “evil,” by having Batman say, “Many good men roam this earth. How many stay good?” The two philosophical messages the film also stresses are the ideas of legacy and that of keeping solidarity in a world full of chaos; however, this is only used as a plot device to bring Batman and Superman together and to seek friendship in other superheroes.
With over 1500 shots using CGI, the film relies heavily on the technology instead of the brilliance of the story and hearts of the characters. It is evident that many scenes were designed with a solemn seriousness in mind, but only renders snickers and scoffs from the audience as a tacky attempt. Snyder's film is explosive and pleasing, but lacks that little sliver of soul that is vital in a truly groundbreaking film.