By: Jarrod Hester
If you’re going to see Batman vs. Superman to get that sense of fun and escapism that one usually receives when viewing a Marvel movie, you won’t find it. Batman vs. Superman constantly seems as though it is being pulled in two directions, trying to be similar to both director Zack Snyder’s previous superhero endeavor Watchmen and the fun loving films that Marvel produces. The end result is a movie that is 85% Watchmen and 15% Marvel. However, this dark, sinister depiction of comic book characters is what makes the movie good. The moral and religious symbolism is abundant throughout, which provides a deeper, more realistic, and lengthier plot, allowing for the characters to be perceived as real people rather than fictional and idealistic.
This focus on character development and the essential set-up of the DC Extended Universe is what slows the movie down at times. Action sequences aren’t particularly profuse, as dialogue and careful arrangement of screen time for both Batman and Superman are at the forefront of the film. Since consistent action is replaced with dialogue and plot in the hopes of future movies’ development, the question becomes how the cast performs with so much time to act rather than a full runtime of actors punching each other. The answer is a simple, solid one. Henry Cavill continues to do a solid job of portraying a Superman that struggles with the constant moral conflicts that the world has placed upon him. Ben Affleck shows off his acting chops with, dare I say it, the best Batman performance since Christian Bale. Affleck does one hell of a job depicting an older, darker, and more experienced Bruce Wayne that has no time for games. His performance even carries the movie at some points, because there are numerous instances wherein, without Batman, the movie would become unceasingly slow. Despite having hair, Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is a character that provides the film with insight and entertainment. His Luthor is much more cynical than other iterations, seemingly possessing a mental instability that contrasts other famous portrayals of the villain that depict him as stable, yet still with evil characteristics and a large ego.
The smaller performances from Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, and Jeremy Irons as a more hands-on Alfred are also enjoyable and fun to watch. However, these performances are also to the films detriment, because they highlight how the movie could use a lot more Wonder Woman screen time. She does not give much dialogue and her overall involvement with the film as a whole is toned down until the end of the movie. The trailers let us know that Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman will end up fighting together, but since she only has limited interaction between Batman and none with Superman before they all unite, their merging isn’t as epic as it had the potential to be. In addition, one of the later action sequences contains less than stellar CGI that pulls the audience out of the action.
In conclusion, Batman vs. Superman is a set-up to the DC Extended Universe that gets the job done despite having room for improvement. It accomplishes this with good acting and the building of a darker world that is rich in character development and realism. Though constant action and the feeling of escapism one usually gets when seeing a superhero movie isn’t really present, it is definitely still worth watching, especially if you are excited for the expansion of the DC Universe on the big screen as a whole.
SuperDark – 7.5/10