By Travis Martin
Who would win in a fight, Batman or Superman? That has been a question that many comic book fans have been debating over since the characters creations. So much so, that director Zack Snyder attempts to answer in “Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.“ Although the film does have a lot of good ideas, visuals, and performances, in my opinion they get muddied in the jumbled story and attempt to create a specific world within this movie. Note, this a non-spoiler review.
The first thing that people are wondering is if Ben Affleck is a good Batman. Surprisingly, I found Affleck was the standout of the film. This isn’t a Batman who’s idyllic crusade is to save his city, who uses Bruce Wayne as nothing more than a mask. This is a cynical and weary Bruce Wayne, who has been the Dark Knight for way too long and is haunted by all he has lost as well as the monster inside him. The costume was also perfect in my opinion. I did find the voice modulator a bit distracting, and the bat symbol on the costume feels a little flat to me. Even Jeremy Irons as Bruce’s loyal butler Alfred was fascinating. He is portrayed in a much scruffier way then previous interpretations.
The ensemble is also good, with Amy Adams and Lawrence Fishburne giving good performances. Gal Gadot is okay as Wonder Woman, but I only say this because she’s not in it for too long. However, I do feel like Henry Cavill‘s Superman feels more moody than he should be. He just feels dull to me as a Superman. It doesn’t help that the film does not make me care for him as much as Batman. Clearly, Snyder wanted to make a Batman film more than a Superman one.
Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor definitely has some good ideas, but going from stable egotist to insane egomaniac is wrong. There’s no middle ground to how he gets this way. However, I do think the motivations behind wanting to destroy Superman are clever. But Doomsday, that character should not have been in this movie. The character’s looks cartoony with its CGI. I probably wouldn’t be complaining as much if Doomsday wasn’t spoiled in the trailer. But this character still doesn’t belong with Batman, he belongs only with Superman.
Visually, the tone I think is great for the Batman parts, but not as well as the Superman ones. I mean, visually it would fit perfectly in an adaption of comic writer Frank Miller‘s famous story, “Dark Knight Returns.“ Snyder himself even directed an adaption of another Miller comic, the Spartan action drama “300.“ But with Superman, it feels misplaced. I liked the action in the film, especially one particular one with Batman in a warehouse with bad guys. But the fight between Superman and Batman is just too short, and the fight with Doomsday is a CGI mess.
The story is trying to be too many things with too many storylines. It’s trying to be a “Man of Steel“ sequel, a “Batman v Superman” story, and a “Justice League” prequel. I do not know what Snyder or screenwriters Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer were thinking with this story. It is such a clunky mess of story that clearly has so much cut out from it. I think that the cameos of the Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Mamoa), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) were a good idea but the execution of it was iffy.
Do not get me wrong, there were a lot of things that I liked about “Batman v Superman.” The acting is great, and the visuals and action are cool. If Snyder had created original characters instead of using DC Comics ones, then it might have been a lot better. But it’s just too jumbled trying to be multiple stories while trying to build up a comic book universe. Clearly, Warner Bros. is attempting to catch up to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and their success.
image by Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman_v_Superman:_Dawn_of_Justice)