Friday, March 25, 2016

Batman vs. Superman Barely Goes The Distance

For nearly two years, fans of the revived Superman franchise were anticipating the sequel to the blockbuster Man of Steel. What added on more excitement was the announcement that it was featuring the dark knight himself, Batman in a duel between the DC Comics icons. Using the acclaimed graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller as a reference, fans felt one of the greatest cinema attractions was coming. I was one of those fans that was excited because of the direction that Zack Snyder was going to take it. Zack Snyder is all about the action and staying true to what fans like from the comics but while this film does deliver a punch, it’s not a knockout. 

Starring Henry Cavill as Superman who did just as good as the previous film which works but the main focus of this film is on Batman. Played by Ben Affleck, most fans were on guard much like fans of James Bond are on guard when the actor is new. Fearing a repeat of his Daredevil portrayal, fans were disappointed at first but I can honestly say that he did the part well, playing a seasoned fighter with iron convictions whose only concerned is the future of humanity and is willing to die to protect it. Another casting that got people guarded was the first Wonder Woman to appear on screen and her name is Gal Gadot. Her part in the film is little but when she dawns her Amazonian uniform and goes to battle, all hesitation ceases.

Taking place nearly two years after the events of Man of Steel, Superman has quickly earned the respect of some and the fear of others. Now forces are at play in order to bring down the man of steel and certain events attract the attention of Batman. When Batman begins to see Superman as a threat himself, he begins preparing for the fight of his life with a being that most people believe he has no chance to beating. With certain spectators watching in the distance, the two start a path that will eventually lead to the Justice League film following a dark revelation. This film was action packed and rich with visual effects but lacking in proper story-telling and character development.

It worked for Man of Steel because the film was an origin story and it was something that people could follow very easily. But for a concept that had only been introduced in comics and cartoons, people oblivious to the history of these too characters are doomed to be lost. Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice almost forces the audience to do their own homework and know what certain scenes pertain to. If you know nothing other than what you’ve seen in previous movies about either character, then you’re going to leave the theater wondering what just happened. The other problem with the film is even though it was two hours and thirty minutes, it felt terribly rushed.

There’s enough time in each scene to let the audience catch up with what previously happened but the problem is some scenes felt like there was more to them. There were plot holes in several parts of the movie that made certain scenes seem confusing and didn’t make sense. The only other problem with the film is Jessie Eisenberg playing Superman’s main villain, Lex Luthor or at least that’s what I thought. Rather than a mature brilliant billionaire with a God complex, Eisenberg portrays an annoying and unhinged character that almost makes you wish Superman would break his neck instead of Zod’s. The casting of Eisenberg seemed like wasted money and his performance while as good as it is, fans will be disconnected by his portrayal.

This film gets a 7 out of 10 because it’s not better than Man of Steel but it does keep DC Comics on its track to start its cinematic universe, barely. It’s a good action film but because of it being all action and little development, it suffers. With choppy scenes combined with rushed film time and references that some might miss, this film also takes a hit in that area. Some say that Snyder is making these films too violent for children and families, I rather let the families decide what’s ok for their kids to see. There will be a director’s cut making the film longer so all these problems might be addressed but don’t have high expectations when you go see this movie, it’s worth the ticket but wasn’t worth the wait.

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