Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t seen Batman v Superman yet and don’t want to know anything about its content read no further…
I fear that my love of zombies has begun to affect my judgment. Zack Snyder first conned me into thinking he was a good director when he directed the re-make of Dawn of the Dead. And even though Man of Steel had some melodramatic scenes the casting of Henry Cavill as the man with the ‘S’ on his chest was just good enough to salvage any poor directing queues. But what he’s done with his latest effort is unforgivable. Should he be allowed to retain the reigns of the Superman franchise I predict that we will be throwing all the money in the DC Universe to J.J. Abrams to save it!
Snyder is a spaghetti director. He takes a big pot of spaghetti and throws it against the wall hoping something will stick. He took his preferred directorial method to new heights in Batman v Superman. There were flashbacks, dream sequences, maybe hallucinations, a whole lot of crazy, and a metal bat suit. He even nuked the Man of Steel. The sequencing was so disjointed at times that you weren’t sure if it was the past, present, or future, or if the editor had opened up a 4th dimension with his most recent cut. And by the way I don’t know what Snyder did to make his editor so angry but they should really make up because that editor butchered this movie.
I was skeptical from the start of Ben Affleck as Batman. He had already destroyed one super hero so why should we entrust him with another? Well he didn’t kill Batman but he didn’t make him likeable; or bangable for that matter. Look Ben Affleck is good at a lot of things. He plays cheating husband like nobody’s business (he’s got a lot of in real life practice). You need a recently fired business man, he’s your guy. Even moody detective or CIA agent, he’s capable of doing. And in his youth he could even pull off Southie hood. Charming, vigilante billionaire, not so much. At no point during Bruce Wayne’s interactions with Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman did you think he had any hope of bedding her. And as the Bat he felt lumbering. The metal suit he was forced to wear during the epic stand-off with Superman may have had something to do with that. Is he Batman or Iron Man? Maybe we should have let Snyder direct that. On second thought I’m glad he didn’t. All I know is that I deeply missed Christian Bale and I’m totally Team Keaton.
Henry Cavill delivered a fairly sincere performance when you did get to see him. Maybe if there had been less dream sequences he could have had more lines. I still think he was a good casting for the part. In the hands of a good director he could be out of this world! Alas, he’s stuck with what he’s got. As for Gal Gadot, I’m looking forward to see more of her as Wonder Woman, she gives us skinny bitches hope that we can kick butt too. Not to mention its about time we get a truly awesome super heroine. With Patty Jenkins directing her she may even get an Oscar, hopefully without going ugly like Charlize Theron did.
I must address Jesse Eisenberg’s performance. Someone please tell me that what he did in this movie was the result of Snyder saying to him “look kid I want you to be Zuckerberg and the Joker’s love child.” Did he even bother to watch Gene Hackman’s portrayal of Lex Luthor?! I mean the template was there and it was perfect. Or maybe twitchy nerd is all Jesse Eisenberg can do? If so, is there some way to remove someone’s previous Oscar nomination because he does not deserve it, if he was just being himself! I’m going to call the Academy to find out.
I did notice some interesting themes during the film. There seemed to be an allusion to 9/11 with the opening sequence which worked in to the seeming xenophobia that Batman and others fearful of Superman seemed to have. ‘He’s bad because he’s different.’ ‘He’s an alien we can’t let an alien have all this power that we can’t control.’ ‘It’s because of him that we’re living in fear.’ It’s definitely something that’s currently in the atmosphere so it makes sense that it would work it’s way into the film. And Bruce Wayne is not all that different than a real life billionaire who claims the aliens are our problems. Maybe that’s why I wanted to brand him with his bat symbol.
There was also discussion about the deifying of Superman. Is he a man or a god? If he’s a god what does that say about our God? Did he create him? If he didn’t, is there a God at all? People in the film regard Superman as a beacon of hope. He saves the hopeless without asking anything in return. Selflessness can be frightening in a selfish world. Skeptics do not want to believe that someone, anyone, can be THAT good because if he is then it means its possible. So they will poke him and tempt him, try to get him to do something wrong. When he doesn’t fall for those traps, they’ll blackmail him. And if that doesn’t work they’ll try to destroy him. Everyone begs the heavens for a savior but when they get him they turn against him because he’s everything they wish they could be. We’ve heard that story before and Superman has often been compared to Jesus. In this movie the comparison comes full circle with the Man of Steel dying to save all of us.
I wish Snyder would have focused more on one theme and dropped so much of the unnecessary imagery. He had the opportunity to make a real statement about human nature and ambition and he didn’t seize it. The movie felt confused and overdone. And I say that as a huge fan of all things Michael Bay! While this one does not hit it out of the park, here’s the thing about failure, it’s not mortal when it comes to the cinema. In this critical failure Snyder has the opportunity to review his work and hone his craft. Because if Superman is supposed to inspire us to be the best that we can be, in his resurrection lies Snyder’s salvation. Let’s hope when the time comes he believes.