Title: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Director: Zack Snyder (Watchmen)
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jeremy Irons, Scoot McNairy, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane, Holly Hunter
Plot: An aging Bruce Wayne (Affleck) starts to question the good of Superman (Cavill) in the world and decides it’s up to him to stop the possibly world-destroying alien before its too late. The two men however may have a mutual enemy in the form of borderline psychotic billionaire Lex Luthor (Eisenberg).
“Devils don’t come from hell beneath us. They come from the sky”
Review by Eddie on 29/03/2016 (for Jordan’s take click here)
After the huge successes of Marvel’s superhero-heavy ensemble double hits of Avenger action, DC comics have finally joined the Box Office party with their long gestating Batman and Superman team up, only thing is this time it’s hero v hero, so don’t go in expecting any tea party’s between these two cape clad gentleman.
After the relative disappointment of Zack Snyder’s previous superhero event Man of Steel, it wasn’t surprising that despite the big battle between comic book legends being touted, B v S was subject to much debate from day dot with many fearing this event would be an overblown CGI spectacle like Man of Steel was, and when Ben Affleck was officially announced as the one to fit into the capped crusaders suit the hate campaign towards this film really ramped up.
Days into the films official release worldwide it seems as though the hate campaign isn’t going away any time soon, and although the film has struck gold at the Box Office the world over there seems to be a great divide between the fans and the haters with some critics tearing strips off the overblown superhero smackdown, whilst others have lapped up every minute of Snyder’s unwaveringly serious take on a no doubt silly excuse to set up the Justice League period of the DC film cannon.
B v S is neither in my books a complete failure or a raging success; it’s another frequently frustrating film from a filmmaker that gave us the brilliant Watchmen and the terrifically entertaining 300 and Dawn of the Dead yet has delivered turkeys like Sucker Punch and the aforementioned mediocre Man of Steel. B v S feels like another half-film from Snyder, who as a director remains visually strong yet has shown increasing weaknesses as a storyteller.
Working from a script that was co-written by Argo scribe Chris Terrio, even at 150 minutes or so in length, B v S finds Snyder on more than one occasion lost in a character loaded plot line that can at times bore us to tears and even the titular versus match that takes place (after one of the longest build ups in cinematic history) is a fairly disappointing affair and there are numerous times B v S is edited in a jarring and ineffective manner, suggesting a struggle in the editing suite to get the tone right.
Looking past Synder and into the B v S cast we have an improved performance from Henry Cavill (who still leaves a little to be desired as Superman/Clark Kent) and in his first official outing as Bruce Wayne/Batman the much maligned Ben Affleck does a commendable job even if he doesn’t exactly steal the show. The show-stealing is left up to Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Women who is used sparingly and to great effect and judged on this showing alone we should all be excited where she might take her career as the lasso using hero.
While Gadot naturally steals the limelight, Jesse Eisenberg’s incarnation of Lex Luther threatens at times to take the film completely off the rails in what is a turn that needed to be reigned in more than a couple notches by the directing team. Seemingly channeling his best scientific take on The Joker, Eisenberg has some great moments but eventually turns his performance into an incarnation that seems cut from another film entirely and sits at odds with Snyder’s realism drenched and politically charged event.
Far from an action packed thrill ride that many would be hoping to get, and undoubtedly in need of a tougher and tighter edit, B v S still asks some intriguing questions of the overcrowded genre and also culminates in a fashion that will take many by surprise, even if it’s highly unlikely it will stick to its guns come the next round. With Synder delivering on the visuals and with some nice groundwork for the DC future, B v S is a nice yet forgettable aside to what will hopefully be an entertaining and original take on the Justice League.
3 questionable spear disposals out of 5