Movie Review: Batman V Superman – Dawn of Justice

Batman V Superman has decent performances but whatever redeeming quality it has is buried underneath a poorly structured script, character defying logic, forgettable action scenes, and bad execution of everything.

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 savior, 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. [Warner Bros.]

It’s baffling how you can make a dull superhero movie involving Batman and Superman, yet Zach Snyder manages to do so.

The cast did their best to make it work. Against expectations, Ben Affleck manages to deliver a Batfleck that the movie needed. He looked the part and channeled that low boiling anger that you’ll know will eventually turn into rage. Henry Cavill is not charismatic, but he is able to portray a vulnerable Superman that you can connect with. Gal Gadot doesn’t have the physicality of an Amazon warrior princess but her presence and awesome theme song put excitement back to a movie drowning in dourness. 

In fairness, there are ooohhh cool moments here. The kid in my row had that reaction when the movie remembered what it’s supposed to do. The overdue fight scene snapped me back to reality because Superman gets pummeled by a superhero who’s not even considered a metahuman. Batman’s action sequence in the warehouse indicated potential. On the other hand, I sat beside that kid’s Dad and I heard him snoring halfway into the film.

The main problem in this movie*  – as what other critics have already pointed out and dismissive supporters don’t seem to get – is that it’s three half-baked ideas all rolled into one, turning into one long mash-up trailer. It’s as if the writers haphazardly threw a bunch of scenes together connected by an afterthought.

You’ll get a rip-off of The Dark Knight; a Man of Steel sequel with an insecure Clark (featuring a talented Amy Adams reduced to a damsel in distress), and a set-up for the Justice League franchise. There’s a lot of introspection and brooding while the two characters who should have been fighting just react to whatever is happening around them. As if that isn’t enough, there’s also talk about Gods and mortals in an attempt to bring some gravitas into the whole boring ordeal, but doesn’t have any effect because its reduced to one liners in between explosions.

After about 90 minutes the movie finally decides to present the superhero showdown that Warner Brothers’ marketing team hyped for months but it’s too little too late. The animosity between Batman and Superman is simplistic. Superman is turned into some white savior at some point while Batman’s character is turned into a single-minded avenger. Worse, their fight ended because of an anticlimactic coincidence that is plain stupid.

In an attempt to connect all of this poorly executed mess, it uses a cartoonish twitchy Lex Luthor. Jesse Eisenberg does his best, but he ends up more like a twerp with Asperger’s Syndrome, vague motivations and needlessly elaborate schemes. Word has it that Bryan Cranston was supposed to play the role and we’re left to wonder how glorious that would have been.

Towards the end the movie shifts into an adaptation of a famous comic storyline. It turned a memorable villain into a Golem looking monster for a CGI-infested team battle, which looked like an attempt to appease cinema viewers who have realized they’ve been duped. The ending, like the other actions scenes in this film, doesn’t have any weight.

TL;DR: Batman V Superman is a mess.

There are potential ideas here that could have worked if they were given the chance to stand on their own. Unfortunately the studio is too preoccupied in catching up with Marvel that they forgot to tell a story that accomplishes what it’s supposed to do. I don’t know if Snyder and the writers were on a leash but it’s clear that no effort was made to at least produce something that made sense.

I’m pretty sure that Batman V Superman would make a lot of money.  Some people have dissed the critics for the negative reviews. If you’re like these viewers who don’t mind sitting through 3/4 of a movie to see a showdown or have 0 expectations, then the movie will be fun. For everybody else, hopefully they don’t screw up Wonder Woman to make up for this.

My Rating: 4/10


*That’s not including a bunch of nonsensical things that others have better articulated but I won’t go there before someone shouts that this is a superhero movie.

Movie poster by Mondo

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