I don’t think The Force Awakens had the amount of worry, excitement, and controversy around it during pre-production that Batman v Superman did! While that controversy is warranted (for obvious reasons), that should not get in the way of the quality of the film. “How’s the overall quality?” You may ask. At least it’s not Batman and Robin. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is directed by Zack Snyder and written by David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio. Stars-Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot, and Jeremy Irons. Premise-After the wake of destruction brought on by the Kryptonian battle in Metropolis, Bruce Wayne takes special interests in devising ways of defeating the potentially dangerous Superman. At the same time, psychologically unstable Lex Luthor aims to create the ultimate battle between the two titans, using politics, personal connections to the heroes, and a certain green crystal.
Finally we get DC’s answer to The Avengers (4 years late). I don’t think DC is ever going to catch up with (let alone, out-do) Marvel in terms of movies. The one exception was The Dark Knight trilogy, and that worked because it had the godlike filmmaking of Christopher Nolan on its side. Zack Snyder-who’s best work ironically comes from his comic book adaptations-whilst a decent director makes quite a lot of questionable decisions with his movies (making Watchmen 3 hours long, making Man of Steel a bit too dark, and making Sucker Punch are a few examples). While I really like Man of Steel, I acknowledge that is has a plethora of problems, but I still call it a mostly faithful adaptation with amazing action sequences, incredible music, and a very well-utilized cast. I have many problems with Batman v Superman, but for the sake of an interesting review, let’s give the movie a fair chance and look at the positives first.
The end battle (not the Batman vs. Superman battle, which lasts like 5 minutes and is painfully slow-paced) is very entertaining. Michael Wilkinson’s (who is extremely underrated in the industry) costume design is quite impressive. Wonder Woman’s character was written very well. Jeremy Irons, Lawrence Fishburne, and Gal Gadot are very commendable, and just seeing these characters sharing the silver screen is nerdgasm inducing. The music is ok, but here’s the problem. Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL (who both scored the movie) are literally the two film composers in the world who make the loudest, most bombastic music in the movie industry! Don’t get me wrong, I love both of these composers, and they have done great work (Zimmer with Inception, The Lion King, and many others and Junkie XL with Mad Max: Fury Road). But when you take both of these guys and have them compose for a superhero movie directed by Zack Snyder (who typically has loud music in his movies) the result is just going to be one long *BWOOONG*.
My gosh is this movie horribly written, in nearly every aspect of the term ‘writing!’ I was shocked at how horrendous the screenplay is. David S. Goyer has been writing comic book movies since the 90’s (he wrote Batman Begins, Blade, and Man of Steel). Of course he has his fair share of crap (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Blade: Trinity), but he at least knows what a comic book adaptation should be. Chris Terrio… was an odd choice to co-write. The man literally wrote only two movies before Batman v Superman. The only reason I think they hired him was because he wrote (and won an Oscar for) Argo, which was directed by Ben Affleck (coincidence?). Batman v Superman (dang it feels cool to say that!) is just a setup for DC’s future films just like what The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was for Sony Marvel. However (just like The Amazing Spider-Man 2) it fails to be an entertaining/decent quality movie because of it. I’d compare it to Fantastic Four’s (2015) exposition-focused writing, but no movie deserves to be compared to that cinematic cesspool. Just trust me when I say that there is waaaaaay too much talking in this two and a half hour movie. Batman v Superman cannot spend most of its time setting up future movies, because (pay attention here) THIS IS FREAKING BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN! Not since The Avengers has a fanbase been this anxious, or has a comic book movie been this anticipated! Producers, we can wait for Justice League, right now we the need the absolute best movie possible.
Where was I? Oh yeah, the screenwriting. The characterizations of Batman and Lex Luthor are very far off. This version of Batman/Bruce Wayne has at least 3 stupid, pointless, plot-stopping dream sequences that tell us the same thing, “Bruce Wayne is tortured and scared of what Superman will do.” Zack, we know the former by now, and-although I appreciate that you’re utilizing visual storytelling-we don’t need to be reminded of the latter over and over again. Lex Luthor on the other hand, let me tell you, while everyone was panicking over Batfleck (to be fair, Affleck is passable), I was super excited to see Columbus from Zombieland portray one of the greatest comic book villains of all time. The result was an awkward combination of Mark Zuckerberg from The Social Network and Heath Ledger’s Joker. In every incarnation of Lex Luthor I have ever seen, he has never been a complete psychopath (like he is portrayed in Batman v Superman). Sure, he can get a little mad with power, but never insane. It doesn’t help that Jesse Eisenberg’s performance couldn’t possibly be any more over-the-top; the last shot of Lex Luthor killed any possible respect I had for the character (epic fail) because it looks so insanely stupid. Here is something I haven’t said before, the sentence and grammar structure of the dialog in this movie gets pretty lackluster (how does a movie written by an Academy Award Winning writer have such amateur English?). Seriously, the dialog in this movie is worded so poorly at times, it completely distracted me from the SUPERHEROES on the screen!
In addition to unacceptable screenwriting, we also have characters that make dumb decisions, shaky-cam, a completely pointless re-shoot of the iconic “murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents” scene, and some of the worst editing I have ever seen in a superhero movie! Most of the time, scenes cut with hardly any transitions. There will be a sappy scene with Lois Lane and Superman (there are a lot of those cheesy scenes), and then it will cut to Bruce Wayne having a nightmare (that is just one example). Transitions are supposed to be added to the movie so scenes flow and don’t distract from the experience of the film (and so a proper narrative can be formed). Establishing shots, letting the music lead into (or “signal”) the next scene, or having the two scenes be related will create a smooth transition. I am saying this because Batman v Superman’s editing sucks.
I really don’t have anything witty or informative to put here, the movie was too boring to leave any lasting impression besides a feeling of disappointment. In the meantime, I’m praying that Suicide Squad and Doctor Strange will be the real superhero movies of 2016. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a C-.
I am sorry that this review is so late. I had to write a research paper (in addition to regular homework) last week, and it was the most difficult assignment I have ever taken on! I completed it (thank God), but at the expense of making this review. Needless to say I am a bit burned out right now. However, I will try my hardest to get back on schedule. You know what’s coming out this Friday? A sequel to one of the most successful Christian movies ever made which is highly regarded as one of the worst Christian movies ever made. Oh, goody.