Perhaps only Star Wars The Force Awakens was more anticipated than this. Seeing cinemas’ two most iconic superhero collide on screen is something most comic book and movie fans have wanted to see forever, and it finally happened! Could it possibly live up the hype? Well yes and no. Its not the 5 star classic it should have been, but Batman vs. Superman is largely very enjoyable.
Far from perfect Batman vs Superman is a mixed bag of great and lazy, as director Zack Snyder pits Batman and Superman against each other whilst setting up the Justice League (DCs equivalent of The Avengers, that sees a group of heroes team up to fight a larger threat).
Snyder had a lot to do here and probably had too much. The first act did a great job of asking a lot of questions, particularly about Superman’s existence in an interesting conspiracy thriller, and should he be worshipped or feared? Unfortunately none of these questions are really answered and the film becomes a jumbled up mess by the end.
This time its Ben Affleck’s turn to wear the famous cowl and cape of Batman and makes this film work for the most part. The film focus’s way more on Batman than it does Superman and in many ways the film benefits from it as it establishes Batman’s role in this universe. Affleck is the best Batman we have ever had on screen acting as both a great Bruce Wayne and Batman, he has found the balance perfectly.
This is the Batman fans have been waiting for, a well-rounded adaption of the comic book character. Walking out of this film you are more excited to see a stand alone film with this version of the character more than anything else. Shame the rest of the film isn’t up to his standard.
Henry Cavill’s Superman is also very strong, much more loyal to the character in the comic books then Christopher Reeves version of the character ever was, carrying on from Man of Steel. Unfortunately he isn’t given as much to do in this film as he was in the latter.
The film’s other characters aren’t nearly as fleshed out. Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is a mess. Eisenberg’s acting choices in his portrayal of Luthor are bizarre, not intimidating enough and it feels like he is overacting in some scenes, particularly those he has with Superman. Eisenberg was never right for the role, and feels like his portrayal completely misses the point of Lex Luthor.
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is the wild card in the DCs planned expanded universe. News of her casting certainly raised a few eyebrows, and for what she has to offer in this film, she seems a perfect choice for Wonder Woman. Her involvement in the final act was one of the films most memorable moments. But her scene with Affleck’s Bruce Wayne at the party, and her chemistry with Affleck, was perfect and makes you excited to see these two on screen again in future films.
The films biggest strength is its action scenes particularly the Batman vs Superman fight, and the Batman fight scene in the final act. Both are just perfect and very satisfying, and should make even the pickiest fan weep with joy.
The films biggest flaws lay in the script and its execution of some of the hints at what’s to come in future films. Particularly cameos from Ezra Miller’s Flash, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman and Ray Fisher’s Cyborg which seemed incredibly forced and out of place with the rest of the film.
Chris Terrio’s script is a mess, dialogue is terrible at times, and particularly towards the end of the film, plot twists aren’t thought out enough and the conclusion to the Batman vs. Superman fight seemed lazily written and anticlimactic.
Snyder’s editing is also pretty bad, the pace of the film is a bit all over the place, and how he cuts from scene to scene seems unnatural, not really letting the audience breath between sequences. Things he seemed to get so right in Man of Steel particularly the character moments, seemed lost in a convoluted plot.
The film has a lot of problems and the Rotten Tomatoes score reflects that. However if you are able to look past those problems there’s is a lot of great stuff here. Ben Affleck’s Batman is perfect, the fight between him and Superman is also phenomenal even if its ending falls flat.
And the Wonder Woman stuff makes you very hopeful for future films. All the right elements are here for a great Justice League film, I’m just not sure Zack Snyder and Chris Terrio are the right guys to put it all together.
Batman vs. Superman is a bit of a mixed bag of great moments and lazy writing. Ben Affleck’s Batman is perfect and the action sequences are brilliant however lazy writing and bad editing let the film down. Mostly the good outweighs the bad.
By Simon Hanson