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Review

‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ doesn’t live up to super expectations

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March 30, 2016

The man of steel and the caped crusader meet face to face in this sequel to Zack Snyder’s 2013 superhero film, and much like the first of Snyder’s Superman films it is rife with weird representations and a significant lack of humanity.

To set the stage, the vigilante Batman has been in the superhero business for a while now, becoming disillusioned by his years of fighting costumed crazies, and now he has set his eyes on the biggest one of them all.

After witnessing the destruction of Metropolis in the wake of Superman’s previous victory, Batman and the whole world are wondering if Superman’s interference in the world’s tragedies is right.

Pondering this also is super genius Lex Luthor who, driven by his fascination in both heroes, wants to drive out this hero from space for fear of others being hurt in his wake, and as Batman delves deeper into the world of crime and Superman’s heroics, he will need to find out if Superman really is a force for good or a rogue element, and how he will be able to stop him.

For a film that has been hyped up for so long, I have to say I was not anticipating the next installment in Zack Snyder’s DC film universe. He set up this new universe in such a bleak, unemotionally detached way with his first film, and every trailer for BvS that came out sank my expectations lower.

And as I watched this new film, my expectations still sat at the bottom of a well, as this new film demonstrated that Snyder’s style isn’t going anywhere, and people will still be losing out with his films.

But first, something positive. Ben Affleck as Batman is not as bad as I thought it would be. Initially it seemed an odd choice to pick Affleck, as he has proven to be okay as an actor but stellar as a director. But Snyder manages to pull it off to some degree, offering film goers a war-torn Batman that has been through a lot but still looks out for the common folk.

Henry Cavill’s Superman though is still as emotionally drained and lifeless as he was in the first film. For a character that seems so cheerful and reassuring of his duty to be a model of humanity in the comics, Cavill is given very few lines in the film as the titular hero and never seems to grow or change beyond what he initially was in the first film. The man of steel seems to be hard at bending to change.

Beyond Cavill’s performance and seeming inability to be happy about doing good in the world, the other actor worth noting is the premiere of Batman’s greatest foe Lex Luthor, delivered by Jesse Eisenberg, who delivers the most out of place performance in the whole film.

It feels like he was injected into the film and written in order to lighten the mood, but it is clear not much went towards nailing his character. Compared to Luthors of the past, he comes off as eccentric, manic, crazy, and downright silly to where I could not take his character seriously in the least. I have no clue what Snyder intended for casting Eisenberg in this role, but it is safe to say it was a failure in the end.

And for those who wanted to see Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, it regrets me to say that her place in the film is pure fan-service. She has no real stake in the fight between the films heroes, is given few lines, and is thrown in at the end just because fans and execs wanted to finally see Wonder Woman in a film; they got their wish at a cost.

All these characters though are at the whim of the plot, which manages to be even more confusing than the previous film’s plot. BvS leaps over its plot from location to location, not being able to stay and allow the audience to digest a scene before we need to pull out attention to Superman being in the Himalayas and then shoot right back to Metropolis.

Not to mention that the film sets up the theological implications of Superman’s presence early in the film and forgets to wrap that up by the end, because it is too caught up in giving us the superhero team battle we all wanted in the first place.

Along with bad visual effects and more characters I could not mention, Batman v Superman gives us another look into Snyder’s ideal DC heroes, where no one has fun, good deeds serve us no message or feelings, and fan expectations have not seen dawn but dark, bleak, dusk.

Ryan Funes is a lover of all things movie, TV, video games and stories and wants to become a television writer someday. In his spare time he enjoys hanging with friends, tapping into his imagination, and watching cartoons of all kinds.