Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Directed by Zack Snyder
Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jeremy Irons, Scoot McNairy, Laurence Fishburne
Review by Jordan (for Eddie’s take click here)
“You don’t need to forge a silver bullet. But if you do, you don’t need to depend on the kindness of monsters.”
Movies aren’t real.
There’s a statement bound to astound no one. They can however force the viewer to suspend disbelief, and for their running time appear as authentic as the very pavement outside the cinema complex, regardless of plot, setting or genre. The key is commitment to idiosyncrasies and detail in characters and world creation, and suspense (not an element reserved for horror films) to keep the viewer focused.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is not a movie that feels real. Nor does it even feel like a movie that deserves to be taken seriously. From the very earliest scenes intended to draw sad emotions as the hook for lasting connection it fails in its required effort to be genuine, with director and editor of the apparent opinion that if a scene looks as though it should be profound, then it must certainly be. Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne is introduced first, and with his readied scowl and broad shoulders makes for a fine parody of the worst moment’s of Nolan’s infinitely better Dark Knight trilogy, before Dr Manhattan, sorry… Superman, appears to ensure Metropolis, like Gotham City will carry on with its forecast of gloomy skies ahead.
So, due to lack of exposition and dedicated precursor scenes, Affleck doesn’t feel like Bruce Wayne and Bruce Wayne certainly isn’t the Batman we know and love. There is also Jeremy Irons as his iconic father figure Alfred, who may as well be an Air B&B boarder for all the chemistry felt between them. Irons’ is a terrific dramatic actor with a high quality body of work, so its such a shame to see his talents wasted here.
Zack Snyder, a film-maker responsible for one of the finest caped hero films of all-time in Watchmen (2009), neglects to again give the source material credit by way of completely fleshing out the flawed heroes’ motivations, but rather promises the showdown to end all showdowns that instead fizzles in utter confusion and boredom, with the monster to be defeated so uninteresting and uninspired it beggars belief it morphed its way out of the pre-production meetings and into the final product. Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is a villain psychotic and intimidating enough to be worthy of a better film, and when he pulls away for another to take his place the finale loses all traction.
At least there is Wonder Woman, though, who in her brief action appearance shows that it doesn’t particular matter who she’s taking down, as long as its in stylized slo-mo backed by industrial Hans Zimmer.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is an example of how it takes more than a collection of scenes run through a sepia filter and featuring known actors and characters to makes something captivating. The CGI might be crisp and detailed, but when the whole audience begins laughing at a line during one of the most pivotal moments (“it’s OK, I’m friends with your son”) its obvious that the product is not being viewed in the intended manner. Product, actually, seems the apt description, given it shares many of the same traits as it’s contemporaries that must surely be forcing audiences to wonder when enough is enough with superhero (or, as they would like to be referred to these days; antihero) films.