Batman v Superman is the darkest re-imagining yet of the famous DC caped crusaders. With early critics slamming the movie, should you go and see it?
Collective hate and fear mounts upon Superman (Henry Cavill), with the world fighting against his misunderstood god-like status. Batman (Ben Affleck) lashes out bitter hatred against criminals and the man who takes away his company. With 20 years of crime-fighting and working above the law under his belt, he’s bitter and has apparently loosened on his morals and is feared more than lauded.
Both of these characters make for an angst-ridden movie, with their rivalry machinated by the insane, super genius Lex Luthor Jr. (played by Jesse Eisenberg). With Ben Affleck and Jesse Eisenberg in tow, how was this controversial casting choice?
I’m still not used to Ben Affleck’s face on my favourite superhero of all time, but he surprisingly pulls off Batman’s bitter, veteran broodiness really well. He’s no Christian Bale, but his version of Batman stays faithful to the character and even brings a tortured aspect which inspires fear in the hearts of criminals and civilians. His character arc was an interesting one, with the most controversial as Batman giving no thought to the casualties in his wake. Batman is known for not killing anyone, after the famed murderer that took away his parents, and I find it hard to believe that Batman’s morals would have loosened so much in just 20 years. This particular fatal flaw has lead to Joker getting away numerous times, and this aspect was not developed well in Batman v Superman.
That’s how it starts. The fever, the rage, the feeling of powerlessness that turns good men… cruel. – Alfred
This Batman is angry, hateful and vengeful to the point where he obsesses over defeating Superman. He’s directed all of his rage of everything he’s lost to this alien target, to the point where he strains his relationship with his faithful butler Alfred. It’s at this point where I feel there’s something missing – how did Batman turn so angsty? Seeing him utilise his array of fancy gadgets and his mech suit in the fated duel was thrilling and really brought the best of his character though, and that is what Batman’s about.
Superman on the other hand is a tortured soul struggling against the injustice of Lex Luthor’s framing. He’s always stood for saving people and justice, and that is thrown back into his face at every turn by the misdirected media and politicians. As from Man of Steel, Henry Cavill brings a god-like presence to the character but he also adds a further complexity of misunderstanding and self-loathing. Without Lois Lane’s influence however, I wonder if he would have broken.
Lex Luthor’s imagining here is perhaps my greatest criticism; his blathering super genius presence did not fit the movie and it felt like a large departure from the expected character. I can see how Zack Snyder wanted to update the character to suit the Facebook and Apple genius’s of modern times, but it was a strange fit amongst the brooding heroes.
At 2.5 hours, the pacing of the movie is slow at the start, building up the conflict of both heroes. You’d be surprised to hear that the movie could have benefited by an extra few scenes that drew together the convoluted fragments from past, present, and future. It’s a thinking movie where you have to put the pieces together yourself, wondering what happened to Batman, when he constructed his mecha suit and why Superman wants to bother with Batman.
Twenty years in Gotham. How many good guys are left? How many stay that way? – Bruce Wayne
The duel between them yielded a surprising result which is heavily foreshadowed during the movie’s beginnings. It’s incredibly satisfying seeing them fight, but I wish it was longer.
With break out performances from all three actors, the true star of the movie however is Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. I can’t believe after all these years that a movie is finally being made with DC’s greatest female superhero and she brought a sensual, feminist and unnerving presence to the film. She absolutely kicks ass and I’m looking forward to her solo film and part in the Justice League film.
For the usual movie goer, the confusing fragments, the departures from your usual characters and the non-linear time frames would be a headache-inducing experience. But as a major Batman and superhero fan, the movie surprisingly exceeded my expectations by giving us many nods to the franchise in a re-magined and modernised world. Unlike the Marvel franchise, the conflict and character development is what excels in these movies, and it really builds up the tension and the fighting scenes. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is dark and gritty, an unexpected superhero enterprise. I enjoyed it, but I don’t think it’s for everyone.
Verdict: One for the fans.
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