Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I’m not even going to try to sugar coat it, but Batman v Superman was awful. Despite the critical slams, I went ahead and watched it just to see how terrible people are making this out to be. I was disappointed, because there were good parts and ideas, but the sum of all these parts just made one terrible production. I hope this will be remedied in the future movies if the DC franchise wants to survive in the cutthroat world of superhero movies. This review contains spoilers.

The opening sequence lays out the main plot of the movie – the presence of Superman causes chaos and war, which made Bruce Wayne see him as the enemy. Superman’s presence will cause strife and unbalance. Unfortunately, Superman views Batman’s vigilante actions to be equally chaotic, thus pinning the two against each other. Into the mix comes Lex Luther whose views on Superman are quite like Batman’s. His reaction provokes him to deal with the matter in a different sense.

The script was problematic. It doesn’t know where to focus, or how to weave the ideas in a way that there is strong content and development. Because of the execution of the multiple subplots (that hangs on the main plot on a thin thread), little or no character development is attained. It also has gaping holes on the movie’s logic, leaving the audience to piece parts together to make sense of it. The writing needed polishing - trimming off unnecessary details or spinning a different tale that would still showcase the actors and support the main story.

Like Marvel movies, this suffers from a weak antagonist. Lex Luther is a problematic character. His motives are either due to scientific curiosity or convenience, that he wasn’t a fan of Superman. Even his problem with Batman is a question. Part of Luther’s personality displays similar characteristics with Joker (who does make himself present in this installment) – why would the writing do that? Is this an indication of a link between Luther and the Joker?

I haven’t read the comic books, nor watched a lot of Superman movies so I’m not sure if I missed something, but how does Luther know Superman’s identity? Was it because he deduced that he was Lois Lane’s boyfriend? If so, how does the entire world, or at least their workplace not know that Superman was Clark Kent? They’re journalists!

After his awful stint as Daredevil, Ben Affleck was a decent Batman. Aging his character works here, although he makes a better Batman than a Bruce Wayne. His Wayne could use some work, especially when it comes to his relationship with Alfred. I thought Jeremy Irons was all right, but he and Affleck have no onscreen camaraderie; both seem quite distant towards the other, thus making it unbelievable that these two characters know each other well.

Henry Cavill’s Superman takes a back step, and with that comes his weak character development. He serves as a plot device for Batman and Luther to brood over. His issues with himself and his role in the world was barely handled in passing. Amy Adams, like Cavill, serves as a plot device and somehow turns into a superfluous character towards the end.

Gal Gadot showing off her chops as Wonder Woman gives a tinge of hope that the Wonder Woman movie might be good – or at least better than this. The introduction of her character makes sense but at the same time, it seems underdeveloped. Then again, her introduction also serves as a vehicle for Justice League, so maybe it would further get developed in the next installment.

I think this can be best treated as a filler movie – introductions to villains and superheroes, setting their life paths and how they will join forces or go against each other. This movie left a lot of gaping holes and flaws, and the next installment should fix this. This movie was not the best – the editing and script were weak, it could have used a lot of trimming and polishing. There were a lot of ideas present here that could have worked, if only it knew where to focus or direct itself to.

Cast: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams
Director: Zack Synder
Year: 2016

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