Batman v Superman: Clash of Comic Book Titans Buckles Under Expectation
Amy AdamsBen Affleck...
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In 1 Cinema
Burdened with bringing together two of the most iconic superheroes together, as well as kicking off a shared universe to rival Marvel’s, the onscreen pairing of Henry Cavill’s Superman and Ben Affleck’s newly-realised Batman is a victim of its own phenomena; an anticipated pairing that doesn’t quite fully deliver on the hype.
After a short trip down memory lane – where the audience is once again shown the early beginnings of young Bruce Wayne – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice takes us to the destruction of Metropolis, seen at the end of Man of Steel, as millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne witnesses the demolition of his very own Wayne Enterprise skyscrapers at the hands of none other than Superman.
Two years later, Wayne is still unable to get over the fact that he wasn’t able to save his people from the building and while he looks for ways to find Superman’s weaknesses in order to seek revenge, while the chiselled alien himself is dealing with his own set of troubles. Having just rescued Louis Lane (Adams) from a sticky situation, the whole nation has managed to turn on him for the deaths of several African villagers. Meanwhile, the rise of a Lex Luthor (Eisenberg) and his interest in unlocking the mysteries of Kryptonite technology brings its own set of problems to the table.
As the direct sequel to Men of Steel, the unimaginatively titled, Batman v Superman is sloppy in its narrative structure and delivery. Favouring noise over depth and substance, Snyder drowns the film in a blanket of darkness and broodiness while his lead characters spend most of their time moping and out of costume. Affleck is surprisingly confident as Bruce Wayne while his Batman, who is set loose on a couple of entertaining occasions, is surprisingly effective. Meanwhile, Cavill hasn’t exactly escaped the criticism aimed at him for Man of Steel, still coming across as a little wooden, while Eisenberg’s jittery portrayal of the Luthor name doesn’t quite fit into the landscape of characters.
Over-plotted and over-dreary, the final showdown takes forever to get to and even when it does eventually come around, one can’t help but feel slightly underwhelmed. Many had expressed concern at the overly dark tone and it’s proven to be a valid concern – the more serious, adult approach has only really translated into it being stylised that way, rather than it be a core feature of the film as a whole.
Granted, the idea of Batman and Superman facing off is novel in itself, but the film is so focused on establishing its protagonists as the faces of the DC Universe that it ends up sucking all the joy and fun out of what, as a standalone film, should have been an epic movie event.