At last, the most disappointing movie event of the year. This stellar cast is ultimately letdown by a weak narrative and lack of direction. Sorry DC fans, but if the future of filmmaking begins looking like a visually incoherent wet dream, god help us all ...
DC tries to prevail by bringing two of the most iconic superheroes in comic book history to the big screen for a superhero slugfest, and they most definitely disappoint. No, this is not a guy who is biased towards anything DC and cheers for only Marvel movies. Be advised this is an honest review from a disappointed fan of both Batman and Superman. While I did enjoy some of Man of Steel and thought that the movie had good potential for future Superman films, BvS takes everything MoS built on and crumbles it. The first half of Man of Steel was decent, showing us Superman's origin in a more modern and gritty way.
However, the last half of the movie was a mixed bag for me because director Zack Snyder (Watchmen and 300) completely tossed the script out the window and decided to obliterate Metropolis. Man of Steel did not soar to perfection — nevertheless — Mr. Snyder mostly got the job done. This is a Superman that fans have been waiting for. Wishing that Mr. Snyder would have gone with director Christopher Nolan’s (Dark Knight Trilogy) pitch of keeping Superman in his own universe, the studio (Warner Bros.) got anxious and decided to take the Marvel route and extended their universe as well. Instead, of giving our heroes their own movie leading up to a big reunion, Warner Bros. grabbed the two most iconic characters and threw them into one film to set up the Justice League Part 1 and 2 (2017 and 2019), respectively.
So after the events of Man of Steel where General Zod (Michael Shannon) almost decimates Metropolis (resembling a 9/11 terrorist attack), Superman (Henry Cavill) is there to save the day (but also destroying the city) and has no other choice but to kill Zod. The world is now in chaos and wonder from this new god-like figure. In BvS, we begin with that same fateful day in Metropolis but are introduced to Bruce Wayne (The gripping Ben Affleck) fleeing throughout the city trying to save people who are inside his building (Wayne Towers). Bruce does not make it in time, and his building crumbles from Superman and Zod colliding through it, killing whoever is in there — making Superman resemble a war criminal.
Wayne is stunned and left in disarray, leaving him with rage towards this new god-like presence. Affleck excels as the Cape Crusader, giving the audience one of the best portrayals of the man in black. He is gripping, like a time bomb waiting to explode. Wayne is now a burning fuse full of anger and rage, waiting to erupt. On the flip side, we get Clark Kent A.K.A. Superman, who is trying to adjust to his new life on our planet. However, people are scared (as one should be), and the court system wants Superman to pay for his war crimes so that justice is served. But how do you convict an alien? Superman is also struggling with the fact that Batman is taking the law into his own hands. Mr. Snyder decides to infuse his film with politics and concern, leaving the viewers in a super-politico frenzy.
What frustrated me with Batman V Superman was Mr. Snyder's incoherent direction and David S. Goyer's (Man of Steel) lack of structure in a script. When the narrative is as flimsy as the title itself, you know you are in trouble. There was very little dialogue in the film and way too many long visually draining shots of actors staring into the camera. It did not work for me and dragged its ass on for way too long. I guess this was Snyder’s way of showing tribute to the comics, but some aspects like this do not work or look good on film. This solid cast is, ultimately, let down by the very people working behind the camera. This self-indulgent bore of a movie has no room for fun nor class. Gloom and doom is DC’s new approach to making a superhero film. Nevertheless, Gal Gadot stole the show when she crashes in as Wonder Woman. It’s too bad that she only had 16 lines in the film itself. I am very hopeful for her solo film in 2017 — fingers crossed that she can revive this downhearted franchise.
Then there is also the ultra villain known as Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), who is tossed into the film. He is a cross between psycho and Mark Zuckerberg, but by the end, he is just more of a nuisance. What is his plan exactly? I do not know. And when the audience finally gets the big battle of Cape Crusader v Man of Steel, do we even care? No. It does not live up to what was promised and is cut off too short to fight another threat lurking around named Doomsday. Which, brings us back to Mr. Snyder’s expertise at blowing shit up again with bloated CGI. It has been four years since Mr. Nolan wrapped up his critically acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy, and, sadly, when DC needed him the most, he has moved on to bigger and better opportunities. Nolan knew how to craft a film with characters that we actually care about and stories worth telling with actual depth in the narrative. There were coherence, structure, and entertainment, which is something BvS did not have.
From the long gloomy shots to the pointless dream sequences with bat-figure people, BvS came to 2016 trying to conquer the demons but ends up wrestling with its own. BvS was a bumpy ride from start to finish. When it dazzled it dazzled, when it dragged it dragged. To me, there were some small glimpses of hope only to be quashed by Mr. Snyder's cynicism. This type of direction will give you nothing satisfactory in the end. For better or for worse, this is what Mr. Snyder has given us, and for right now, we have to deal with it. Fingers crossed that Suicide Squad will be good. Maybe? Batman V Superman is a film that forgets about its heroes and smothers them in a whirlwind of effects-driven action borefest. Damn you DC.
BvS is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned). For intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality.
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