Batman vs Superman was a film my inner child had been desperately waiting for. Seeing those two icons on the big screen for the first time was such a powerful image that it was difficult to see past it. But the real truth of this film is that it gets some things dead right, while completely screwing the pooch on others.
The film starts off with quite an emotionally-charged sequence. Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne is ordering his people out of the Wayne Financial building as Zod and Superman battle. Sadly, Wayne not only loses what appears to be a close friend, but is also faced with the carnage and aftermath as his maimed employees lay scattered in the dirt.
From there, we now have Batman’s motivation locked and his sights set on confronting Superman. This would now be the point where I explain Superman’s (Henry Cavill’s) role in the film, but, well, this is the real problem with this movie. After the events of Man of Steel, Clark Kent should have been on his way to being the Superman we know and love. But he isn’t. The character hasn’t progressed at all. In fact, it felt to me like the character was going backward developmentally. So to describe his role in the film, I would have to say he’s Batman’s punching bag?
The real screw up here is that Zack Snyder and crew have put so much effort into Batman that they forgot about Superman. Credit where credit is due, though. Batman is amazing in this film. Affleck brings every aspect of the Caped Crusader to the big screen. Both his Batman and Bruce Wayne feel complete. As a fan of the character in every medium, I was thrilled.
As much as I loved Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, it was fairly loose with the source material. But Batman vs Superman isn’t. The costume looks like it’s from the comics. The Batcave actually looks like it could facilitate Batman’s crusade. Even the new Batmobile looks and feels like a Batmobile should.
Another feather in its cap as well is that this is the first time that Batman fights fluidly. Bale’s Batman was rather stiff, whereas this Batman has a grace and a prowess to his fighting skills. It’s not just punches and kicks. Batman also utilises gadgets, stringing people up, using the grappling gun and smoke bombs. This Batman feels like Batman should.
In fact, there is a scene at the start of the film that legitimately makes Batman scary. Even I was a bit creeped out, and the character is something that I grew up with.
But enough about Batman. Time to have a look at the rest of the supporting cast. The real surprise for me is Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. The actress radiates power and ability. I wasn’t sold on Gadot and I thought her casting was odd, to say the least. But man, does she deliver in this film. Both her Diana Prince and Wonder Woman are convincing, and her interactions with Batman/Bruce Wayne make my fanboy heart swoon.
Another standout performance comes from Jeremy Irons. Irons plays an older, gruffer Alfred Pennyworth. Irons is a little cantankerous, but very capable of helping Bruce/Batman. The two have a true partnership in this film, as opposed to the master/servant relationship of the past. Alfred’s little jabs at Bruce are entertaining, and when the chips are down, Alfred is there supporting Bruce to achieve his goals. I am very much looking forward to more from these two in other films.
Much like Superman, Amy Adam’s Lois Lane was used to move the plot forward as was Dianne Lane’s Marth Kent. Neither really had much to do in the film, other then be used as tools for the story, which is a real shame.
Jessie Eisenberg does bring a little something to the role of Lex Luthor. This Luther is more psychotic then past incarnations. Some have compared the portrayal to the Joker, but I don’t see it. He’s more of man obsessed by an idea, which is compounded by a massive super ego, and this drives him to commit terrible acts in order to see his goals accomplished. Eisenberg does fine in the role, though the quirkiness can get a little on the nerves.
One item that had fanboys and film buffs concerned, though, was the potential overloading of the film with characters, with cameos from the Flash and Aquaman loading up the films runtime. Rest assured, these cameos are brief and even fun little winks to fans.
The real issue for the movie is pacing. It’s all over the shop, slowing down and speeding up at random intervals. Superman’s role in this film is really worthless, and it makes the conclusion to the film underserved. I think the audience won’t really feel its emotional impact properly because of Superman’s lack of development.
But don’t lose hope. This isn’t a bad superhero film. It’s just more of an Iron Man 2 then a Dark Knight. The real payoff is Batman. That’s why I will buy the film, and that’s why I will see it a third time. Batman is a fanboy’s dream in this film. It’s just a shame that Superman had to be hung out to dry to achieve it.