I’ll be honest, I wasn’t even going to bother reviewing this one. I’m only writing this post to warn you lot to stay away. I’m nice like that.
I had low expectations for Batman v Superman, primarily because films which group up iconic protagonists tend to compromise character depth in order to fit everybody into the group photo. This is for instance the case in the Avengers, which is fun nonetheless.
This isn’t fun, and I was disappointed in spite of low expectations. The Dark Knight trilogy is my favourite superhero franchise, yet the failure of this movie doesn’t come down to Ben Affleck’s unnecessarily violent portrayal of the Batman. Nor is Henry Cavill’s performance as Superman to blame.
This movie is an incoherent storytelling disgrace, which contains so many memories and flashbacks, the ‘real parts’ seem like accidental treats. It starts somewhat promisingly by showing the collateral effect of Superman’s heroic yet destructive deeds, and the direct effect they have on Bruce Wayne. This helps the audience understand where Batman’s motivation lie. Well done, good idea.
Then something weird happens (again and again). The dreams sequences kick in, which is a nightmare. Batman v Superman wants to be different and edgy, but in doing so makes you want to just jump over the edge. The actors aren’t to blame for this: it comes down to the director, the plot and structure. Or lack of.
In addition, the movie is scattered with nonsensical scenes. For instance, why does Lex Luthor get so excited when he introduces Bruce Wayne to Clark Kent? If nobody’s knows their secret identifies, surely he’s just hanging out with a journalistic nobody and a famous businessman. Hardly the encounter of the year, is it?
And don’t get me started on the ‘MARTHAAA’ business, which is up there with Marion Cotillard’s death in The Dark Knight Rises as one of the cringiest moments in comics cinema history. Then there is the superficial ideological aspect, an attempt to disguise this as something more than just two bankable franchises grunting at each other for two hours.
Batman v Superman tries to ponder meaningful questions about human nature and society without worrying about whether the queries make sense (“The world has been so caught up in what Superman can do, we haven’t stopped to ask what he should do.” – what does that even mean??). It wants to be The Dark Knight so hard, but it’s not.
Over to Suicide Squad
Instead, it feels like flicking through a nerdy fan’s drawing book. Visually, many of the scenes are impressive. But in trying so hard to produce iconic shots after iconic shot, the film overlooks what matters most: the story.
You know when a film is so bad, you start laughing half way through? My friend did that. And that’s the irony: unlike some of the best recent hero movies (Deadpool, Guardians of the Galaxy), this is painfully unfunny. I’d argue this is Zack Snyder’s most unnecessarily dark and aggressive movie – and that’s the man who directed 300!
Batman v Superman is an epic fail, and the upcoming Suicide Squad will have a lot of making up to do if DC want their League of Justice to be a success. For the time being, Batman’s new voice being mildly less ridiculous than Christian Bale’s is too insufficient a consolation.