Following a mixed reaction to Man of Steel, the pressure was on for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to deliver as both a movie in own right and as a sturdy foundation for the future of DC’s cinematic universe. As a response to the extreme destruction delivered in Man of Steel, Batman v Superman works upon the idea of the general public being split on Superman. Some idolise him for saving the planet, others chastise him for the devastation he helped cause. The loudest voice in the protest against the last son of Krypton is Bruce Wayne. Unfortunately for Superman, Bruce Wayne has the money, technology and know how to do something about it. This begins the drawn out build to the movie title’s big box office bout: Batman versus Superman.
When Ben Affleck was announced as the Dark Knight the internet was awash with nerds venting their anger and disappointment. Now? Probably not so much. Affleck’s portrayal of Batman may be dark but where he really shines is as Bruce Wayne, where his role as the older, wiser, retired vigilante fits him like a glove. Similarly when Gal Gadot was given the nod for the Wonder Woman role the internet was awash with nerds venting their anger and disappointment. Now? Again, probably not so much. Although Gal Gadot’s look is nothing of a stereotypical Amazonian, she more than holds her own against the ripped, more physically imposing male counterparts.
Sticking with actors, Batman v Superman really exposes Henry Cavill and Amy Adams and their complete lack of chemistry. I am not sure Henry Cavill has the acting ability to portray the grittier Superman that DC and Warner Brothers are angling for. Of course, it’s too late to make a casting change, thus I expect future outings to morph Superman into his more common goody two-shoes incarnation. Reprising the role of Lois Lane, Amy Adams sleepwalks through this entire movie. Since signing on for the role, Amy Adam’s stock has grown in Hollywood and I would not be surprised if she possibly wants out of the comic book franchise world altogether.
The showdown of the immortals. With Batman v Superman being a comic book movie you can expect huge action and director Zack Synder is certainly someone who knows how to capture an epic fight on the big screen; Batman v Superman‘s action delivers and is another to add to Synder’s ever growing sizzle reel. The problem? The impressive high octane action only lasts 5 minutes. SPOILER ALERT. In the midst of battle, Superman blurts out his mother’s name allowing our heroes to kiss and make up. Just to clarify, the epic showdown of the ages is over in a matter of minutes as both men happen to have mothers with the same name. I appreciate the idea is the act of caring about his mother humanises Superman in the eyes of Batman but how the movie handles it, with Martha Wayne flashbacks, puts far too much emphasis on the name rather than the relation.* SPOILER ALERT END.
Focusing now on the subtitle, “Dawn of Justice“, the movie certainly lays significant groundwork for the inevitable team up of DC’s biggest stars. However the timing and the manner in which this is done is bizarre. SPOILER ALERT. The eventual Justice League movie is supposed to be the coming together of the world’s greatest warriors to fight the good fight but all Batman v Superman does to trigger this is having Batman and Wonder Woman watch a few videos on a laptop. We can only assume YouTube has a well maintained good guy filter because Batman just assumes all these guys (Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg) are heroes with no proof. To add to the muddleness of this introduction, Wonder Woman opts to watch these videos on a product placement plane instead of helping her comrades in battle! The whole sequence feels bolted on by a studio executive with no care for narrative. SPOILER ALERT END.
All in all, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a movie that is pulling in too many directions with half a cast not strong enough or, perhaps, not motivated enough to carry the expectations that come with a film of this magnitude. Batman v Superman, and its relatively poor return at the Box-Office, certainly won’t mean the end for DC and Warner Brother’s movie world, but it’s another one of its 9 lives gone as it attempts to claw back at Marvel’s dominance.