Main cast: Ben Affleck (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Henry Cavill (Clark Kent/Superman), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Jesse Eisenberg (Alexander “Lex” Luthor, Jr), Jeremy Irons (Alfred Pennyworth), Holly Hunter (Senator June Finch), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Laurence Fishburne (Perry White), and Gal Gadot (Diana Prince/Wonder Woman)
Director: Zack Snyder
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is as bombastic and dragged-out as its verbose title would suggest. It’s freaking two hours and 31 minutes long. not counting the usual trailers and other nonsense, but if we remove all the pointless slow motion dream sequence and “let’s pose and pout for the camera” moments, it’d probably be trimmed down to a more reasonable one hour plus melodrama. The long running time is because, as usual, these people are trying way too hard to turn this move into some kind of high drama when it’s actually just rehashing stale old stuff in the most pretentious manner.
This one follows Man of Steel, so the same cast on Superman’s side comes back here for the ultimate showdown: Henry Cavill’s increasingly dramatic receding hairline versus Ben Affleck’s already established receding hairline in the Battle of the Fiveheads. Clark Kent and Lois Lane are trying to snuggle into being a happily cuddling romantic couple, but alas, Lex Luthor (played in a supremely irritating manner by the obnoxious toad-faced Jesse Eisenberg) is trying his best to frame Superman as the villain of the century. This is happening even as Senator June Finch is trying to tell the world that it will not do for Superman to save people in third world countries without America’s permission. Aside from the usual idiots and hicks, also buying the “Superman is a terrorist” propaganda is Bruce Wayne, whose sole excuse to want to destroy Superman seems to be that, one day, Superman may turn evil and destroy the world, and there is no place in the world for two psychopaths in capes. So Superman has to go. Batman becomes the easiest pawn Lex Luthor could ever have in Lex’s quest to take down Superman.
Oh, and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is basically a glorified cameo role, but she completely steals the show from the two balding fiveheads, mostly because her back story is the least tired and played out in this dreary sea of emo pouting and manly sighing.
First off, despite what people may say about the choice of Ben Affleck as Batman (and I have to admit, he looks all wrong for the part), he does a very good job actually with what little he is given in the script. Henry Cavill… well, he looks the part, if we can accept that Superman is fast losing his hair as if he uses shampoo made from Kryptonite, and he takes off his shirt now and then, so I suppose he is doing his best for what he is paid for. Jeremy Irons is pretty fun as Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s butler, and a part of me wishes that he’d been the one to play Bruce Wayne. Meanwhile, just as how Superman was an amalgamation of Batman and Spiderman in his previous movie, here, Wonder Woman is basically Catwoman with a sword and shield – Gal Gadot gets down and dirty with the bad guy in the final climactic fight, but for the most part, she just walks around in sexy dresses and pouts at Bruce Wayne.
Ultimately, this movie’s biggest failure is its bewildering determination to mutate everyone in the film into watered down clones of characters from Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. Wonder Woman is Catwoman, and Mr Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is basically Heath Ledger’s Joker without the charm or intelligent evil to make that character palatable. Bruce Wayne’s back story here is the same as that in those movies, complete with slow motion scenes of bats flying and Bruce Wayne falling down, while Clark Kent’s whole “Oh, the world hates me despite all the wonderful things I’m doing for them!” is the same tired shlock played out in those Batman movies. As well as those Spider-Man movies, come to think of it. Everything here is the same old tired whoop-ass nonsense, only made tedious and annoying with all the pretentious slow-motion scenes that add nothing to the story.
Well, on the bright side, there are some moments that end up laugh-loud-out funny, mostly because they exist in a swill of too-serious, joyless dreariness, that one can easily imagine Zack Snyder choreographing those scenes and going, “Yeah! That’s how we do it! This is awesome!” without realizing that what he is doing is all ham and cheese without the flavor to make things palatable. Batman smashing porcelain over Superman’s head, that one is funny. Bruce Wayne dreaming of his mother’s memorial plaque leaking blood before bats break out from the wall and a giant bat-monster thing tries to molest him – that one is hilarious. Bruce Wayne having acid trip dreams of… Flash, I think, warning him of… something, I guess. Maybe it’s a PSA on why people shouldn’t do drugs. Batman being generally useless in the final fight because he doesn’t have super powers – bwahahaha! Every time Henry Cavill opens his mouth – okay, maybe that isn’t meant to be funny, but all of Clark Kent’s lines in this movie are so hammy and cringe-inducing that I don’t know how Mr Cavill isn’t laughing and snickering every few seconds.
At any rate, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice fails to deliver to an extent that is rather shocking. No humor, no bromance or frenemy moments, no entertaining fight scenes (the ones here are mostly incoherent or hard to make out amidst the dark or too busy environment), and the CGI looks especially fake and even amateurish. Poor Doomsday, the villain, looks like an accident that happened when someone left the poor Marshmallow Man on the grill for too long. Even Lex Luthor, who could have been a memorable villain, is reduced to a cackling clown devoid of entertainment value.
The whole thing is a waste of time, a retread of better superhero movies in the past, and Zack Snyder should just stick to whatever he does best – whatever that is, I don’t think it’s superhero movies or anything else that requires pacing greater than a snail’s pace.