Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams and Jessie Eisenberg
Directed by Zach Snyder (Man of Steel)
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality
With the amazing success of the recent Avengers films, DC thought it was time to throw multiple heroes in the mix, starting with their two most famous: Batman and Superman. In this latest creation, Batman (Affleck) doesn’t like the danger that Superman (Cavill) has put the planet into, so he decides to unilaterally take him out. Somehow orchestrated by the evil mastermind Lex Luthor (Eisenberg), the two have an all-out clash with a new baddie added to make things interesting.
Opening last weekend, the film blew the door off of the March opening weekend record, in spite of a plethora horrible reviews from the press. The question is – was the movie bad enough to warrant these kind of scathing reviews?
The film starts off having the same dark tone as the Christopher Nolan Batman films and the previous Man of Steel (which I really enjoyed). Zach Snyder has a unique vision for the project, which is well conveyed throughout and consistent with the universe. You get the feeling that you are walking into a world you know and love. Maybe that’s why so many people showed up in the first three days – because they didn’t trust “the critics.”
Unfortunately, production alone isn’t enough to carry a film. This project really suffers from a horrible script and its victims: the performances. Having written all of the aforementioned titles, you would expect David Goyer to churn out a tremendous script in order to set up what will eventually be the Justice League. But this script is a mess, both in story and in dialog. The story takes one wrong turn after another, making it so you can barely see the right turns when they occur. The dialog, though, makes it so that the talented cast has no choice but to phone in their performances.
I heard so many people complaining about actor choices after the press screening last week, namely the decision to cast Affleck as Batman. Was it a mistake? Maybe. But I can understand why Christian Bale baled and left such a huge vacancy. The screenplay wasn’t worthy of his talents and would have ruined the legacy he left behind with Dark Knight. Affleck might have went out and buffed up to a massive degree, but while his muscles were super strong – his acting here seems inversely weak due to the material he is working with. I don’t think he’s a bad actor, but it is hard to prove that point with this project.
This film had such a huge potential, and maybe that pressure got in its way. Regardless, it’s a lousy way to start off a humongous new franchise and I hope that Warner Brothers can figure out how to fix the problems before we start to see the many films which are to follow in the years to come. C-