‘Batman v Superman’ fails to further its franchise

Not only is this the first time Batman and Superman have appeared in the same live action film together, it also highlights the first live action appearance of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) in a full length feature film.

Andrew C Shermoen

When watching “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” I was flabbergasted, occasionally enjoying myself, mostly being disappointed and wondering how in the world Warner Bros would convince its audience that a film universe could be carried on the back that is the colossal wreck of this film.

The main fault with “BvS” is that somewhere, deep down, the idea of a good movie was conceived. Somehow, whether by the untalented hands of the film’s director, Zack Snyder, or the studio heads, the film decided it needed to jam pack every single ounce of setup for a franchise into every portion of this movie.

Snyder has once again taken a beloved comic book property and has turned it into a brooding, Jesus-imagery action fest. That being said, I don’t think the movie should be fully reviled. There is plenty to love here. It’s just too bad that it is overshadowed by unconnected plot points, odd character development (or lack thereof), and complete divergence from the actual comics that the film is based on.

Almost a year after the Kryptonian attack that decimated the city of Metropolis, Superman (Henry Cavill) has become a controversial figure. Many believe his abilities cause great destruction and that he could use them to subject the world to his will.

One of the believers of the latter possibility is Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) who is also the vigilante Batman. The destruction of Bruce’s company and the multiple deaths of his employees strengthens his hatred of Superman, and he begins planning for a one-man war with the Son of Krypton.

On top of that, while Batman’s vendetta against Superman is clearly spelled out and makes perfect sense, the reason Superman is against Batman’s crusade is never answered in the film. These poor story choices make the film completely incoherent, and its constant jumping take you out of the immersion of the film.

Batman kills and uses guns in this movie. The two main facets of his moral code have been dashed to the ground. If it has to be in the film, it could have been one line outlining Bruce’s desperation. Even so, Batman is a more interesting and dynamic character because of his limitations, and the filmmakers decided to remove that completely.

That being said, Affleck is amazing as Batman, and might be the best one yet. His performance is surrounded by a pretty bad movie, but he is the shining light at the center of it. In fact, most of the actors do a good job, especially Jeremy Iron’s quirky rendition of Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce’s butler and most trusted confidant.

The only bad performance is from Jesse Eisenberg – one that is not only the opposite of traditional Lex Luthor – but also does not fit the tone of the film in any way.

Most of the action scenes are dynamic and fun. The Batmobile car chase is exciting, Batman’s fighting style is accurate to the comics, and there is some really great stuff in the titular dual, which sadly only lasts a few minutes. Yet, the final fight scene is so overcrowded with CGI that it is almost sickening.

In conclusion, “BvS” isn’t a terrible film. It’s messy in a lot of ways, but Affleck and Iron’s portrayals, fun, dynamic action and great cinematography from Larry Fong create some bright spots.

The film also boasts a fantastic score from Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL. But its use of characters, poorly constructed plot, lack of motivations for its central characters and a kooky ending make “BvS” a wonky film that had great potential but fell flat on its face in its “too close to the sun” ambitions.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars