Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: ￼Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Michael Shannon
Runtime: 2 hrs 32 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Violence)
Released By: Warner Bros
Official Website: http://www.batmanvsupermandawnofjustice.com
Opening Day: 24 March 2016
Synopsis: Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day saviour, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is probably one of the most appropriately titled superhero movies. That’s because the movie is pretty much no more than just a bloated teaser and set-up for the two upcoming Justice League movies (Dawn of Justice, get it?)
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice attempts to be more than just a sequel to Man of Steel. It is a continuation of the debate raised in Man of Steel about responsibilities of powers, who can be trusted, how Superman, as a god incarnate, whose benevolence benefits Earth and whose whims Earth would be helpless before.
The movie starts off promisingly enough in that direction, taking us back to the Superman/Zod fight from a ground-eye’s view, showing us the terror and not the awe that struck the hearts of helpless humans who witnessed catastrophe, and the collateral damage it inflicted, unfolding before them. And it is in this moment of helplessness that you see Bruce Wayne at his most vulnerable as he realises that while as Batman, he has all the resources that any human can have but is still helpless before immortals whose powers subject us to their mercy.
But the movie doesn’t stay on the course of this promising start. Rather, it starts veering off-course as though bent on following an unstructured direction, jinking the audience from one subplot to another subplot. Subplots that, mind you, not only don’t further the story but are draggy and told through the same old tired method (primarily of one dream sequence after another dream sequence). The audience is suddenly pulled out of one scene just as it is getting immersed in it and abruptly placed into another scene that has no connection with the prior scene, only to realise later that it’s a dream sequence. It gets so tiresome that after a while, whenever you get confused, you pretty much know that the scene has to be a dream sequence.
There are some good moments of course, like when the outcome of a Senate hearing on Superman and whether he needs to abide by Earth’s rules, pushes the plot forward and crystallises the debate over Superman’s role. Or when Martha Kent manages a friendly wisecrack in her scared state when she meets Batman for the first time, giving the movie a moment of much-needed humour.
The movie channels its thoughts and inner debate about the significance of human life and the responsibilities of powers through Lex Luthor, who is basically portrayed as a bratty and mentally unhinged rich kid by Jesse Eisenberg. This Luthor not only deviates from the canonically scheming, cool and collected Luthor that fans know but will also remind non-fans of Heath Ledger’s brilliantly menacing Joker in The Dark Knight because it is a poor shadow of Ledger’s Joker with all the nervy babble but none of the menace Ledger’s Joker emits underneath that façade of clownish nerves. Luthor’spenchant for candy and sneakers and social awkwardness is meant to contrast against his diabolical nature and schemes to make him all the more unpredictable and thus disturbingly scary. But he comes across as a spoilt brat with way too much nervous energy (no thanks to the sugar I bet) and nothing better to do with his money.
Zack Snyder also succeeds in making the Batman, the world’s greatest detective, equally bland and terribly stupid. One would think a thinking Batman would be most suited for a movie that attempts to debate the question of powers and responsibilities and who should be Earth’s guardian. Instead, Snyder decides to surprise the audience by ridding the Batman of any stealth and superior intellect as he sneaks around quite clumsily to get Luthor’s secret and quite stupidly falls into Luthor’s oh-so-easy-to-detect setup. Ben Affleck’s Batman is seething with anger, sadistic, relies primarily on brute strength (to prepare for his showdown with Superman, he trains…like a bodybuilder). Essentially, Affleck’s Batman is the Hulk in a Batman costume – strong(even his build fits), stupid and oh, so angry.
The only character that lights up the screen and has some dignity this movie is, ironically, Wonder Woman ,who really is here to plug her own upcoming movie. She becomes the movie’s highlight (even without backstory) by simply being less broody and conflicted than the other ‘heroes’ and simply fights for humanity when we are threatened, no questions asked about whether humanity deserves her slogging it out for them. Because that is just what a hero does.
(I give this a passing rate only because of Gal Gadot and the beautifully rendered visuals. DC fans, I think you are better off sticking to the animated series)
Review by Katrina Tee