Zack Snyder’s latest blockbuster, and the first of a slew of DC movies to come, is proof that feeding your ‘child’ too much is not love, it’s harmful.
The day Warner Brothers announced at their San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) 2013 panel that DC’s two biggest heroes, Clark Kent/Superman (played by Henry Cavill) and Bruce Wayne/Batman (played by Ben Affleck), were going go appear on the big screen together was the day DC fans worldwide celebrated with a fist pump in the air. Not only were fans going to get a team-up, oh no, we were going to get a fight.
If fans thought that DC was already giving them what they had been clamouring for for years, that was not the end of it, because later came the promise of a full-fledged Justice League movie. Yes, DC were not only going to throw Wonder Woman into the mix to complete DC’s ‘holy trinity’, but we would get to catch a glimpse of other League members Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg.
That is A LOT for Warner Brothers and director Zack Snyder to promise fans, a very difficult task to fulfil. As much as we fans were hoping (with our fingers tightly crossed) that this movie would not be a huge mess, regrettably, that was just what is was, with expectations too unrealistic for a single movie.
After having expressed in countless interviews how he wanted to pay homage to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns (1986), which he was a huge fan of when growing up, we would have actually appreciated it if Snyder had kept the plot to “Batman v Superman” that simple.
In Snyder’s interpretation, we have Superman, the all-powerful alien who tries to do the right thing. But because of the power that he has, along with being loved by many and treated like a god, he is greatly feared and loathed by many for the destruction and death he can and has caused. Batman sees Superman as a super-threat, having witnessed firsthand the destructive battle of Metropolis depicted in the film’s predecessor, Man of Steel (2013). Meanwhile, Superman disagrees with Batman’s unconventional methods of interrogation and fearmongering, and investigates this vigilante of terror from Gotham.
The underlying plot is there, or at least, the gist of it. From our point of view, the big problem with this movie is that Snyder and the film’s writers Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer were too excited; attempting to stuff too many elements into a tight 151-minute movie, to the point where you’re just trying to figure out what the main plot of the movie is.
First of all, not only do we get this “The Dark Knight Returns”-like story, we have Jesse Eisenberg’s character Alexander ‘Lex’ Luthor’s storyline woven into the complex fabric. In the film, Lex wants to take Superman down, so he decides to pit the two heroes against each other on purpose. Later on, when his plan falls apart, he takes things even further, and makes the most rash, insane move we have seen – and it has something to do with General Zod and Doomsday.
Given, Lex has clearly established himself as the film’s antagonist, we’re stumped at this point as to what Luthor’s motives have been from the very start. Does he hate Superman because he has a superpower complex? Is it all a game to him?
Another thing that could have been done better would be the introduction of the Justice League members, which unfortunately, seemed very forced and detached from the main storyline. We would have preferred if their introduction was more intricately woven in with the events taking place in Metropolis and Gotham. In fact, we would have rather just seen them in The Justice League Part One (2017) movie; a verbal tease would have sufficed here.
With so much going on already, can you believe that the R-Rated cut of Batman v Superman, to be released in DVD and Blu-Ray, is 30mins longer? Or that the movie nearly featured Batman villains, The Joker and The Riddler? Hold your horses there, Snyder.
Jumping back to the main plot of the movie, apart from being terribly difficult to follow and understand the plot, you come out of the cinema kind of not thinking much of DC’s two biggest heroes – who are supposed to be the stars of the show.
For the case of Batman, who is widely-known and loved for his crime-fighting intellect and reason, the dark knight feels more like this brooding teenage boy who has too much pent-up anger in him and acts rashly. As much as we empathise with his backstory, it gets way too melodramatic, and when Batman begins overreacting and literally going batshit crazy over his tragedy, our faces are buried in our hands and we think to ourself, “Really, Bruce? Really?”
As for Superman, well, we get a different problem in this movie – while Clark tries to understand what he is fighting for and what is the right thing to do, we get the same monotonous expressions from the Kryptonian hero throughout the movie, not unlike the first film. We’re not sure if this is intended to be Superman’s character, or if it’s just poor acting on Cavill’s part.
In fact, it’s really funny how the movie is supposed to be about Batman and Superman going at it, but the character that really stole the show was Gal Gadot’s Amazonian princess, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. Having seen the Kryptonian and Bat in movies before, Wonder Woman’s big screen debut was, as Deadline recently reported, the thing the audience was most psyched about, as expressed by 88% of respondents who took part in the Fandango survey.
The 30-year-old Israeli’s portrayal of Wonder Woman was nothing short of perfect; it was everything we had hoped for! Every scene with her was majestic, be it whether she was at a gala dinner in a ravishing gown, or fearlessly charging into battle, fully-clad in armour. Our love for Wonder Woman is evident from how tears were nearly shed as we watched Diana on the battlefield. DANamic.ORG definitely cannot wait for the Wonder Woman solo film, set for a 2017 release. (It’s looking really good so far!)
Eisenberg’s fresh take on the character of Lex Luthor is also deserving of some praise. Having already proved his capability as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network (2010), for which he received Academy Award and Global Globe nominations for Best Actor, it soon became clear why Eisenberg was chosen to play this version of Luthor, who is more vulnerable, volatile, and a teeny bit more insane than the conventional Luthor that fans are used to in the comics. In fact, it was revealed in a Warner Brothers press conference that Chris Terrio adapted the character specifically for Eisenberg.
Another notable mention that we would love to give props to is, unexpectedly, Golden Globe and Oscar award-winner Jeremy Irons’ portrayal of Bruce Wayne’s butler and guardian, Alfred Pennyworth. His rational thinking complements Affleck’s over-sensitive and impulsive Bruce Wayne. Also, after seeing the British butler tinker with Batman’s gadgets, help to remote control pilot the Batwing, AND clean up after Master Bruce in this film, we’re itching to see more of what he can do in the new Batman trilogy staring Affleck. The way we see it, Batman isn’t complete without Alfred.
With no strong plot to boast about, a thing that this movie has bragging rights to, at least, is that it was nice to look at. Costume designer Michael Wilkinson did a fantastic job with the new costumes, going into immense detail to do justice to the characters.
Zack Snyder’s distinct visual style of incorporating CGI also worked well in creating a fantasy-like setting for this movie, especially because seeing the Justice League fight is just so surreal, something previously only seen in games like Injustice: Gods Among Us and the Batman: Arkham series. Though some may criticise his cinematographic style for being overly complicated, with some of his previous works being 300 (2006), Watchmen (2009), and Sucker Punch (2011), we were quite entertained. These scenes, accompanied with scores by renowned composer Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL, both of whom have very different styles, made the experience more interesting for us.
Alas, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” left us DC fans disappointed again, even after experiencing a drought of good DC movies for years now. Well, if there is one thing that came out of this, it is that sometimes, less if more. Snyder, maybe it’s time to take notes.
DANamic.ORG Rating: 2.5/5