Batman v Superman v Wasted Potential

Batman v Superman v Wasted Potential
Courtesy Photo Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is currently playing at local Malco and AMC theaters.

Courtesy Photo
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is currently playing at local Malco and AMC theaters.

Good lord. I wanted, so badly, to like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I wanted it to seamlessly lay the groundwork for the DC cinematic universe and be a fun romp with familiar characters. Instead, Batman v. Superman is two-and-a-half hours of wasted potential.

Ostensibly, the movie is about Bruce Wayne holding a raging, kinda-racist hate for Superman following the events of Man of Steel, and all the collateral damage that his fight with Zod cost.

In actuality, it’s that, Bruce Wayne’s parents murder, an angrier-than-ever brutal Batman, a joker-esque Lex Luthor, a Kryptonian abomination, Wonder Woman, time travel, The Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman, and finally some future involving Darkseid.

If most of that last paragraph felt like a strung together bunch of nonsense, then you’ve figured out precisely what is wrong with director Zack Snyder’s dour, slow-mo version of the DC universe.

I’m a seasoned comic book veteran, having begun reading them when I was 6, and even I had trouble following along with the tangentially connected plot threads in Batman v. Superman.

When it finally does come time for them to take to actual cape vs. cowl shenanigans, it’s for the dumbest reason. Five whole minutes of conversation could have prevented the entire movie from taking place, and that’s not the best thing. Say what you will about Marvel’s cinematic universe, but you can’t deny they built one hell of a world.

The thing is, you can see the potential this has. Ben Affleck’s Batman is pretty great, when he’s not doing an impression of the world’s greatest douchebag. That part of his personality comes courtesy of director Zack Snyder and Batman scribe Frank Miller, whose Dark Knight has always gone over the line to psychotic.

The next time we see this Bats, he will be in the hands of another director, and eventually we will see Ben Affleck behind the camera as well as in front of it. The performance is all there, but is unfortunately lost in the sad tone of Snyder’s direction.

Aside from Batfleck, Wonder Woman’s appearance, which ends up being significantly more than was originally thought, is probably the one part of the movie everyone has universally agreed was great. For me, that was the movie’s only goosebump-inducing scene.

Everything about Gal Gadot’s performance was amazing, and even the film’s score stands out whenever she comes on screen, hunting horns announcing her arrival and departure and adding an air of mystery for those not in the know.

Henry Cavill as Superman is as boring as it was last time. To be fair, this is again in large part due to the director, but Cavill just never feels like he’s the last son of Krypton.

Even Ma and Pa Kent, those human beings who raised the greatest of heroes, are severely lacking in this series, each of them effectively telling Clark at one point or another “screw these people, you owe them nothing.” This all goes in service to showing what a hero Superman is for making the choices he does. It just doesn’t work the way Snyder wants it to.

Jesse Eisenberg plays Lex Luthor like a prattling lunatic, more reminiscent of one of Batman’s crazies than the shrewd, calculating businessman of the source. There isn’t much more to say about him.

While there were about a couple of things that made sitting through it tolerable, overall, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a forgettable, disjointed, effects-driven film. What should be the exciting followup to Man of Steel, finally giving geeks a connected cinematic universe outside of Marvel, instead comes off as an overly serious cartoon. It’s worth it to save the time and money for a later date and just rent it for a dollar later on.

Categories: Commentary