Batman v Superman - Review

SPOILER ALERT! After 3 years of endless hype and speculation, BvS (Batman v Superman) is finally here. It isn’t the perfect Batman movie, nor does it provide the necessary growth for Superman, but it is an acceptable setup for some of the most famous superheroes ever.

Plot

BvS tells an alright story. However, with the pairing of performances and effects far better than alright, BvS struggles in keeping your attention. While the 3rd act picks things up quite a bit, the rest of the movie feels like a collection of encounters punctuated every once in a while by a crazy Batman/Superman moment. When BvS stumbles, it stumbles hard, which thankfully isn’t too often. The subplot with Lois, for instance, serves zero purpose in the overall story, although it is treated with near painful importance. Several scenes in the third act are just flat, like when the trio (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) finally stand together to face the enemy (Doomsday). The encounter falls flat for a number of reasons, one being the lack of time spent with the characters. We had only just been introduced to Wonder Woman, and seeing Batman on the big screen for the first time in 4 years takes some getting used to. The other main reason the last act falls flat is that Doomsday is represented horribly. While admittedly not the most original character, he is a huge wasted opportunity. His special effects are below sub-par, and his “gets stronger the more he is attacked” approach is a huge cliché. 

Performances

Ben Affleck is great as Batman, the clear highlight of BvS. He steals every second onscreen and brings a palpable energy to each encounter. Both as Batman and Bruce Wayne, Affleck commits to the character whole heartedly, clearly hoping to continue in further sequels. This is a different Batman than in the Dark Knight trilogy: this is a Batman who doesn’t care as much, yet has more soul than ever before. When confronting enemies, he demonstrates little to no regard for the lives of the ones he is fighting, especially Superman. Batman wields guns, cracks skulls, and stabs with knives. While this is never pushed to the fore front as “a new breed of Batman”, it is refreshing to see Batman played with some more ferocity. Superman (Henry Cavill) is the main focus of the story, with his actions from Man of Steel directly carrying over to this movie, almost to a fault. He is brought into the Capitol building of America to be questioned for his actions, accompanied by several more out of place scenarios. The main problem i have with Superman is that his character is not interesting when taken from the perspective of the world. The God comparisons and worship rituals are all overly used grounds, serving only to bore the audience. Superman becomes interesting when he examines himself, and who exactly he was made to be. With most of Man of Steel and BvS focusing on the world’s perspective though, it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting that any time soon. 

The other big star of BvS is Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor. His character can be interpreted in one of two ways. The way I see it, he is little more than a joker clone who doesn’t know what he wants, and is perfectly willing to relinquish control to a greater power (Doomsday) rather than take the power for himself, as his personality explains he should do. Or, I have heard people say that they think his kookiness and inconsistent character make for an unpredictable villain who could be anyone at anytime, and will surely grow into a worthy adversary. Take it either way, but neither way makes up fully for where the character is now. 

Style

BvS is very similar to Man of Steel aesthetically, so don’t expect a major difference in the filming style or color scheme. Lots of moody set pieces, punctuated by not so great special effects trying to act like the creme of the crop. For a film with a 250 million dollar budget, it’s surprising that the special effects are as lack luster as they are. From explosions to Batman’s many visions, there is nothing special about BvS’s special effects, and it often takes the viewer out of the experience.

Summary

Batman v Superman isn’t the perfect DC superhero movie, but it is a solid Batman setup, as well as for the rest of the Justice League. Don’t go in expecting the next Avengers, but an often uninteresting collection of set pieces put together called Batman v Superman. 

Pros- Ben Affleck’s Batman, Justice League setup

Cons- Underdeveloped Superman, bad special effects, underwhelming story