Picking up from where ‘Man of Steel’ left off, Bruce Wayne, played by Ben Affleck, races through Metropolis as Superman/Clark Kent, played by Henry Cavill, battles General Zod. The battle causes mass destruction, resulting in the death of employees of Wayne Enterprises. This sets off a series of events in which Batman believes Superman to be a danger to the planet and takes it upon himself to stop Superman. Meanwhile, Superman is under scrutiny by the United States Government after Superman saves Lois Lane, played by Amy Adams, but causes an international incident. Lex Luthor, played by Jesse Eisenberg, seizes the opportunity to play Superman and Batman off each other, for his own benefit.
This review will contain a spoiler or two but you will be warned in advance.
This film is based on the DC Comic Book story of the same name. It serves as a crossover that leads to the forming of the Justice League. The story was re-written for the silver screen by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer. Terrio wrote the screenplay of ‘Argo’ (2012) and is slated to write the upcoming Justice League films. David S. Goyer has a longer resume and includes superhero films like the ‘Blade’ trilogy (1998 -2004), ‘Batman Begins’ (2005), ‘Jumper’ (2008), and more importantly ‘Man of Steel’ (2013). The film was directed by Zack Snyder who has previously made films like ‘300’ (2006), ‘Sucker Punch’ (2011), and ‘Man of Steel’ (2013). The film had a monumental budget of over $200 million and began production in 2013. With all the money and the time to put this epic film together, surely this film would deliver! Surely!
“Twenty years in Gotham. How many good guys are left? How many stay that way?”
– Bruce Wayne
It’s hard to even know where to start with this but let me say this; the film has more holes than a sieve. At its very core, the storyline is an intriguing one. One would ask themselves why would Superman and Batman fight? And more importantly, how would Batman even have a fighting chance against Superman, who is outrageously overpowered to the point of being boring. These questions piqued everyone’s curiosity when the first teasers came out. However, when the details came together and you looked into the how and whys in this film – you are thoroughly and irritatingly let down. The reasoning behind character’s actions was so weak, to the point where many flippantly changed their minds without any explanation. Lex Luthor the antagonist in this film, the architect of chaos that pits the two Superheroes against each other, offers no solid reason as to why he does it. Seriously. The whole driving force to the plot is never so much as explored in a single scene. That’s just one example.
This film goes for 2 and a half hours and manages to become a paradox. I watched this film exasperated and wanting the film to end, it felt like it went forever and yet this film felt really rushed. It was like it had hundreds of two-minute scenes. It’s structure and pacing absolutely did my head in. It’s like the cut out the beginning and ending of some of the scenes. I feel like this film could possibility have been better but may have lost explanations and character development due to editing. It was a very ADD viewing experience that did not suit the tone at all. In July 2016, they are releasing an R rated directors cut (goes for about 3 hours); this will be very telling.
“Next time they shine your light in the sky, don’t go to it. The Bat is dead. Bury it. Consider this mercy” – Superman
I did not identify with, sympathise with, get entertained by or appreciate any characters on the screen. They were so two-dimensional and bland that when a plot development occurs; you just don’t care. There are a collection of very talented actors in this film, and yet I didn’t see any talent. I don’t know what it was but between Laurence Fishburne’s half-assed depiction of Perry White and Henry Cavill’s nauseating sanctimony, it was all I could do to not completely fall asleep (which my date did, by the way). Ben Affleck was panned by some couch critics before he even got the chance to step into the rubber suit, which I never agreed with. Affleck is not a bad actor; and that’s what his performance was in this film – not bad. What his version of Batman suffered from was not having its own film leading up to this one. Ben Affleck’s Batman was a different incarnate and this film didn’t allow enough time to establish this. The filmmakers tried to ride Christian Bale’s batman into this film, but it just didn’t work.
When the final showdown comes around and you are sufficiently confused about a lot of things, including why you paid to watch this tripe, the mega-destructive scene commences. Once upon a time, Conan O’Brien pondered “I can’t decide: should I see Pacific Rim tonight, or just put a garbage can on my head and smash it with a hammer for 90 minutes?” Good question, Conan. A similar question should be asked at the end of this film. Should you watch it or just jump into a spinning vortex with loud noises. The fight didn’t tell a story, it was showcasing how destructive it could be, which is frustrating.
“God is tribal, God takes sides! If God is all-powerful He can not be good, if God is good He can not be all-powerful!” – Lex Luthor
This paragraph will contain spoilers. So, the climax of the film sees Lex Luthor pit Doomsday against Batman and Superman as they didn’t destroy each other as he had hoped. Great. Anyone who is half familiar with the comic books will know that Doomsday kills Superman. Also, you’ll know Superman comes back. Even if you didn’t know Superman comes back to life… of course he does. This end sequence was so boring and predictable. Wonder Woman saves the day but geez, thanks to the trailer everyone already knew that was coming. The whole sequence of events were tiresome thanks to the ‘the visual is more important than the story’ mentality. Blah, boring.
Zack Snyder can really deliver some visually spectacular film that you can salivate over but he cannot direct good character film. ‘300’ (2006)? Aesthetically pleasing? Yes, a compelling chemistry between characters? Dear lord, no. ‘Sucker Punch’ (2011)? Fantastic graphics and special effects – yeah! Strong storyline? Ugh! What the dick was that? I won’t go on, but Snyder should not be given the reins to film with two larger than life characters. In days gone by, films didn’t call for superheroes to be anything more than 2D, but in recent times, they are written as complex and profound. If you have characters like that, you need to know how to direct them. Synder has proved he cannot.
“You can call me whatever you like. You can piss in a jar and call it Grandma’s peach juice”
– Senator Finch
I’m done. I hated this film. It was horribly executed, with over-the-top acting performances, short choppy scenes, lack of character development, lack of continuity, and lack of the ability to keep my date awake during it. God damn.