The DCCU gets off to a… controversial start with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, directed by Zack Snyder, starring Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot, Jeremy Irons, Laurence Fishburne, Diane lane.
Set immediately during and then after the events of Man of Steel, Batman V Superman takes place in twin cities Metropolis and Gotham, establishing a world of viewpoints, backlash and fallout following Man of Steel and Metropolis’ destruction and what do you know, Bruce Wayne exists and was there when Superman fought Zod and felt effects from the destruction, something the film addresses which almost feels like a direct response to criticism of the final act of the film. And things get off to a great, frenetic star, setting an interesting tone for the film, things are dark, (though you probably were expecting that), serious and well, it only gets darker but that being said, there are some moments of levity and one liners thrown in there, mostly from Alfred (Jeremy Irons) who’s pretty good in the film.
And to address the acting first of all, it’s good, serviceable and everyone on the whole is generally pretty solid without any notably bad performances, Henry Cavill is stoic and great as an earnest Clark/Superman while Ben Affleck makes for a maybe surprisingly great Bruce/Batman, a brutal, unrelenting one at that meanwhile Gal Gadot makes for a pretty good Wonder Woman/Diana but ultimately didn’t have that much to do which was a shame. Jesse Eisenberg as Lex is… an acquired taste, his mannerisms and the way he plays the character was a bit jarring to me but not to the point of ruining the film. His whole millennial tech billionaire persona felt a bit off base for Lex but the films saving grace was the way it characterised Lex through his action with some classic manipulation and seemingly unexplained disdain for Superman and along the same lines, character motivations for Superman and Batman also played out logically and you really get why Bruce Wayne especially wants to take down Superman.
Batman V Superman has its faults for sure, the editing is often a bit scatterbrained and can jump from scene to scene bearing in mind the film has to cram in so much, there’s a lot going on and not every storyline is as interesting as the main one you’re watching the film for – Batman fighting Superman and honestly it does take a while for the titular characters to get to any actual fighting but that being said, I think the film genuinely does more right than wrong. The visuals in typical Snyder style are fantastic, with some iconic, great imagery of Superman in particular and great location shots, action looks brilliant and the combat involving Batman in particular are some of the best scenes you’ll see from the character in film, Batman is brutal, an expert fighter and watching him combine with Alfred is simply a joy and it’s great to see a Batman in his prime, kicking ass, using gadgets and really being Batman. Although this depiction of Batman is notably dark, generally unforgiving and that may rub some Batman fans up the wrong way (though that sort of does stay faithful to the Dark Knight Returns comic story the film’s based on)
And if anything, Batman V Superman is a victim to ambition, stretching itself a bit too thin, doing a few things well but nothing great, it’s not spectacular but at the same time for from bad or a complete failure, it had some great ideas that felt a bit rushed even with its 2 hour+ runtime and without the Dawn of Justice set up, it may have been a wholly more satisfying and fun film. The problem here may just be that the film is a bit middle of the road, I don’t really see enough negative points to make me hate the film but I’m not raving about it either, with a tighter narrative and more of a focus on less things in the story it could have been a bit better but as things are, the film’s alright.
. Visuals are great, Snyder translates iconic comic images/imagery well to the screen well
. Action scenes are brilliant
. Acting is good on the whole, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex not so much
. Editing is a bit choppy, makes some scenes not flow well
. Some plot arcs felt a bit rushed, a lot of story was crammed in