Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Fearing that the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs.

Director: Zack Snyder

Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot, Laurence Fishburne, Scoot McNairy, Diane Lane, Michael Shannon

Rated: PG-13 (intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality)

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

By Cole Schneider

“Batman v Superman”, on the heels of 2013’s lumbering “Man of Steel”, is Warner Brother’s second installment in their burgeoning (bludgeoning?) DC Comics Universe. Here we follow the same dark, flat Superman (Henry Cavill) from MoS, but now he’s joined by the ultra-dark, aging Batman (ably played by Ben Affleck). BvS’s opening scene revisits the carnage of MoS’s climactic battle, but from the grounded POV of Batman. The scene really works visually and provides solid footing for Batman’s anti-Superman angst. Then the rest of the movie happens.

Jeremy Irons makes a good Alfred, but he’s given nothing to do. Laurence Fishburne is fine as editor of The Daily Planet, though he’s no J.K. Simmons. Amy Adams is always great, unless she’s playing Lois Lane in which case she’s dreadful. And then there’s Jesse Eisenberg. The film’s dark, brooding tone is periodically interrupted by his manic, smarmy Lex Luthor, who immediately enters the conversation for worst villain in movie history. His take on the character makes Mark Zuckerberg look cool, calm, collected, and in full control.

Lois isn’t the only female in this testosterone-heavy affair. Martha Kent tries to match her damsel-in-distress for damsel-in-distress, with Wonder Woman showing up to tease her upcoming film too. Weaved in even lazier are mid-movie trailers for The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. There are also pretentious dream sequences, Euclid (because?), a jar of pee, and a host of other product placement including a Senator getting force-fed a Jolly Rancher. There’s a trailer for Lego Batman and Marvel’s “Civil War” is on deck, featuring the better-handled Superman character: Captain America; but here we only get parody-ready lines like, “Do you bleed? You will.”

1.5 out of 5 Stars

 

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

By Matt Greene

Director Zack Snyder has proven to be the Kryptonite of this new DC universe. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is classic Snyder: visually adept yet narratively and thematically senseless. With two of the most compelling and popular characters in the world, numerous questions about purpose and responsibility are aimlessly wasted. Throw in resplendent amounts of religious and political imagery, and way too many dream sequences, what we’re left with is a sad mishandling of what should be a powerful and (ahem) entertaining film.

The opening is fantastic, as we watch Bruce Wayne and others reel from the disasters perpetrated by Superman in Man of Steel. Unfortunately from there, things go downhill fairly quickly, as story clichés (Kryptonite) and lame coincidences (Bruce and Clark’s mom have the same name! Wow!) fill a convoluted plot. Worst yet, this “action” film is overstuffed with unending amounts of ethical speeches and monologues in place of actual character connections. DC’s desperation to right their own wrongs in the destruction in Man of Steel becomes embarrassing (“Luckily that island was deserted”). Even when we aren’t being lazily spoken at or having our emotions ineffectively manipulated, the set-pieces are largely insipid and boring.

As for the pluses, Affleck is great as Batman, giving a unique turn as a sloppier, older, and angrier Dark Knight. Also, for the very little we see of Gadot’s Wonder Woman, it creates an excited eagerness for her stand-alone film. However, BvS as a whole has less in common with its positives than with Eisenberg’s poorly-casted Lex Luthor: frantic, ill-thought, desperate, and truly awful.

1.5 out of 5 Stars

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