Those that know me know I’ve made it no mystery about my scathing disdain for DC’s movies (outside of their “Batman” films). They continue to embarrass themselves film after film and their pathetic attempts to capitalize and re-create the same superhero success formula Marvel has perfected is immeasurably laughable. Still, despite having a crummy launch pad (Man of Steel), DC used the success of that film to cram as much future franchise material into one, 2 and a half hour mega movie that will hopefully pave the way for a “Justice League” movie. There’s a lot riding on this movie, it could spawn a whole new series of films or kill everything right here and now; depending how successful this clash of capes story will turn out.
After Superman/Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) “saved” Metropolis during his battle with General Zod in the previous film, the world seems split down the middle in viewing the caped Kryptonian: messiah like savior or harbinger of death? Batman/Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) sees him as nuclear bomb waiting to go off and plans to stop him by any means necessary. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) sets the stage for the two crime fighters to duke it out by using any dirty deeds or alien tech he can utilize; even if it creates a new threat so horrifying that it will take the two warring heroes and a new comer, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), to stop it.
Marvel is releasing “Captain America: Civil War” this year in May, it also features iconic super heroes battling against each other. The biggest difference though is that unlike DC, Marvel has spent large amounts of time developing these heroes and making us want to care about what happens when these heroes brawl other heroes. “Batman V. Superman” doesn’t have that because it is chock full of 2 hours and 33 minutes of NOTHING worth caring about. Nothing and no one in this film works; it’s all a chaotic, mangled mess of too many new characters, too many plotlines, too many nonsensical dream sequences and too much bad writing and acting. Everything feels cold, sterile, uncaring and unengaging. All the life, energy and color that these characters are typically known for has been viciously sucked out, leaving them as hollowed out shells of what could have been compelling characters.
Wonder Woman’s outfit alone is as soulless as her actress is. Aside from an occasional well stylized action sequence (Batman’s fight with henchmen in a warehouse in particular) and an excellent score, I can’t think of a single positive point to highlight. Affleck feels like he’s channeling his robotic “Daredevil” roots for the Dark Knight here, spending more time growling and acting angry then acting like Bruce Wayne OR Batman. Adams and Cavill are just as boring as they were in the first movie, Gadot is an emotionless stick figure with “super” eyebrows, Jeremy Irons presents the creepiest Alfred Pennyworth ever, and Jesse Eisenberg clearly has no idea what he’s saying or who he’s supposed to be.
Luthor is Superman’s most cunning and ruthless arch nemesis in any version. Here, Eisenberg makes him a wired, nonsensical spouting twitcher who fails miserably at almost every line he delivers. His dialog sounds like the writer was blasted out of his skull when he wrote it and just blacked out at random times; waking up and then immediately continuing writing as if nothing happened. And for those who ignorantly thought “Iron Man 2” was too pushy with its “Avengers” Easter eggs, you will take that statement back immediately after seeing how insultingly blatantly they are setting up the Justice League. There is no shame here at all. This movie is more worried about dropping heroes names and setting up future films then actually worrying about making the movie they’re featured in any good; its “Amazing Spider-man 2” all over again.
This could have been a truly epic comic book confrontation, but the thing is, it only feels epic if the titular heroes have some resonance with the audience. We don’t care about these characters, we don’t know them. All these big future players like Wonder Woman, Batman and Luthor come on screen and they’re presented in a way that makes it seem like we’ve known these versions of them for years; we don’t! The fact it’s almost 3 hours long and that it fails so miserably is mind bogglingly disappointing, because it’s hard to believe someone could cram a movie with so much content except one crucial element: effort. I don’t feel any effort was put into this movie, it just plays off scraps of comic book characters and ideas from stories that were written, drawn and handled a million times better than this movie could do.
“Batman V. Superman” is a not-so-cheap sack of crap that keeps soiling all of your geeky dreams of seeing so many iconic heroes and villains slammed together in one blockbuster brawl. The casting choices are terrible, the pacing is insanely erratic, Batman uses guns and kills people, Luthor speaks in fragmented sentences and all the attention that should have gone into the script was focused on shoe horning every future Justice League member as quickly and pathetically as possible. It’s odd that a movie this long has such little time put into the parts of the film that actually matter. Nothing I’ve seen here makes me care they’re making a Wonder Woman movie, or a Flash movie or anyone else for that matter. The saddest part is despite how god awful this movie is; it’s making tons of money, which means there will be more because it’s profitable. And in a film about Batman and Superman fighting each other to the death, the fact that were telling DC we want to see more crap like this; makes us all the real losers in this battle.