Film Review: Batman vs. Superman

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Batman vs Superman: Terrible UK reviews and a very sad “Batfleck,” but was the movie really that bad?

An Oscar winner playing Bruce Wayne, a Golden Globe winner playing Lex Luthor and a handsome British guy playing Superman, what could go wrong?

Apparently quite a lot according to The Guardian, who gave it a dismal 2/5; however it seems that the actors were not the problem in Zack Snyder’s sequel to the 2013 Man of Steel movie.

The problem is trying to make two movies in one, Batman vs Superman not only tries to deliver a legitimate plot which sees the clash of Batman and Superman after the destruction of Metropolis, but also attempts to introduce the Justice League.

It’s obvious the DC expanded Universe or DCEU is a couple of phases behind Marvel, but trying to catch up in the space of one movie was never going to work. Marvel took the time to develop their superheroes prior to Avengers Assemble by giving them their own movies; if DC – like Marvel – had created individual films for the members of the upcoming Justice League movie then perhaps we would understand Batman vs Superman a lot more.

This was one of the problems with Ben Affleck’s Batman; he needed a movie to establish himself before he faced the Man of Steel.

Affleck was nonetheless strong in his portrayal of Bruce Wayne. The character was dark and boding, his fight scenes were impressive. Batman vs Superman aimed to create an older Batman with grey sideburns and hints of his previous fights throughout the movie.

In one scene we see Robin aka Jason Todd’s costume vandalised with the words “HA HA HA Jokes on you Batman,” hinting that the Dark Knight has already come face to face with his greatest nemesis the Joker, however this idea is never progressed. Also there is a small clip of what vaguely looks like the Man Bat facing Bruce Wayne but once again this idea is never progressed. Why try and make Batman seem older and battle hardened if you don’t advance on the ideas at all?

On the other hand Henry Cavill who reprises his role as Clark Kent doesn’t need any more character development after having his own movie in 2013, and it can be argued that he potentially had too much screen time in this movie. Nonetheless Superman’s plot picks up where it left off with the Kryptonian adjusting to life on Earth and the developing anger of Metropolis’s citizens. What’s interesting is that Superman seems to feel no remorse for destroying the large city in order to save the planet.

Amy Adams also reprises her role as journalist Lois Lane, who acts as Superman’s conscience by convincing him that he’s a good man despite the destruction he caused in his previous movie. As well as this Lane begins her own investigation into Lex Corp which she believes is involved in arm deals amongst other corruption.

Jesse Eisenberg should be praised for his role as Lex Luthor, the young genius who aims to pit Batman and Superman against each other. As we already know Eisenberg can play arrogant geniuses and he was in danger of repeating himself with this role. However he is just psychotic enough to separate himself from the role of Zuckerberg in The Social Network, and has successfully created a genuinely creepy villain in this movie. I couldn’t help think that perhaps he would have made a better Riddler, he acted intellectual enough and had that long Auburn hair.

The biggest plot hole of the whole movie however is the simple question: Why does Lex Luthor want Batman and Superman to fight? You would assume as the movie’s main antagonist he would have some sort of reason unless Snyder wants us to think he is a complete psychopath. However the mind of Luthor seems too great for there to be no reason at all for causing all this havoc.

A deleted scene showing Luthor worshipping an Alien aboard General Zod’s ship has recently made its way onto YouTube typically after all the negative reviews, and it actually makes a lot more sense. If an alien had brainwashed or convinced Luthor to pit the two heroes together then that would fill the plot hole. Its simple things like this which aren’t included but should have been that makes the movie seem rough and unedited. Also Snyder has had to explain to reviewers and people parts of the film’s plot which directors should not have to do this.

Although the film’s story telling has its issues it succeeded in many aspects, the fight scenes between Batman and Superman are fantastic, the sets and locations used are also incredible. Batman’s bat cave is unique to any other I have seen in Batman movies and the fact that his manor burned down was interesting. Also Jeremy Irons as usual delivers a solid performance of Alfred Pennyworth! Although I may have sounded quite critical about the Justice League being introduced in this movie, I felt that they were included just about enough for people to get excited.

I also loved this idea of alternate realities most prominently seen in Bruce Wayne’s nightmare which took place in a post-apocalyptic world were Superman is evil, Alien’s fly around unchecked and superheroes fight against each other (this was my favourite scene in the whole movie). I also loved the ambiguity of some scenes, especially the Flash’s message which strongly hinted at an alternative reality and gave viewers something to think about.

I hope the directors for the Justice League consider a future reality when making the movie.