by Melissa Parkin
The highly anticipated battle that comic book fans have been waiting for finally hit theaters. But do the Caped Crusader and Metropolis Marvel make for silver screen gold, or does their movie matchup make for kryptonite?
Two years following the destructive events of Man of Steel that left Metropolis in ruin, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) holds a sour sentiment towards Superman (Henry Cavill). Given the devastation left in the wake of his limitless power, The Last Son of Krypton is now viewed by many as a threat to humanity, and Batman sees himself fit to put an end to his reign. The infamous Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) launches a devious quest of his own.
We all saw the trailers, and a painful one in particular gave us a glimpse into the convoluted and congested plot of this two-and-a-half-hour spectacle. It’s common knowledge now that Zack Snyder makes visually stunning movies, and Batman v. Superman proves to be yet another prime example of his keen directorial eye. But even the best visuals can’t mask the incoherency of Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer’s screenplay. If anything could be taken away from Marvel’s execution to the big screen, it’s that the slow burn of singular entry films builds up much more nicely to a team-origin story. Just as what crippled The Amazing Spider-Man 2, too many players on the board bogs down the development of the eventual Justice League.
Batman v Superman remains bloated and jumbled as it tries juggling far too many key points. Four separate storylines run throughout the course of the movie, and none of them are properly fleshed out by tale’s end to give viewers any true investment. Whether this is the studio’s decision to accelerate the expansion of the DC Universe or merely a choice of the screenwriters, it’s still shoddy plotting.
Poor storytelling coupled with jarring shifts in genre make for a disjointed mess that hardly compliments its actors. And that really proves to be the greatest pity of the entire production, considering its handy ensemble. Henry Cavill remains serviceable in the role of Superman, Amy Adams does her best despite the screenplay robbing her character of any particular relevance, Gal Gadot delivers a solid performance as Wonder Woman, and Jeremy Irons is a delight in his turn as Bruce Wayne’s trusted confidant, Alfred.
As for the controversial casting choices surrounding the film, those decisions result in a tossup. The internet exploded in a tirade last year over Ben Affleck landing the iconic role of Batman. The Argo director most certainly gets the last laugh over the unwarranted hatred here as he brilliantly embodies the Caped Crusader’s grizzled, primal aggression seen yet only in comic book format. Some may gripe over this embodiment’s loose “no killing” rule, but Batman’s nature in the grit of this universe still seems fitting. On the other side of the coin, Jesse Eisenberg sadly plays as the weakest link of the bunch, but that’s not to say that he’s horrible in the role. He’s just not Lex Luthor. With his short-circuiting tics, Eisenberg’s portrayal resembles more of the intelligibly quirky Riddler than Superman’s charismatic archenemy.
If the studio had taken its time and explored each of the many plot points in separate films, the DC Universe could have given Marvel a run for its money. Unfortunately, its eagerness to flood the market results in a chaotic mess. Worst of all, it casts a shadow of doubt over the highly anticipated Suicide Squad, due out in August.
Final Verdict: C -