Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Dir: Zack Snyder
Batman vs Superman is finally here. It wasn't that long ago that the two were meant to meet under very different circumstances. After leaving the failing Batman franchise and once J.J. Abrams Superman Flyby was shelved, Warner Bros. hired Akiva Goldsman to write Wolfgang Petersen's Batman vs. Superman. Astonishing really, the man who wrote Batman Forever and Batman & Robin was hired to write what was mooted as the biggest film of all time. David S.Goyer was also attached to the project at one point and the studio actually voted on whether they should make another Superman or make a Superman vs Batman and Goyer stated that the 'versus' films were where you go when you've exhausted all creative possibilities. None of the Superman films were made and the slightly dodgy vs film never happened and the fans drew in a huge collective sigh of relief. Enter Zack Snyder. His 2013 Man of Steel wasn't without issues but it was a good enough introduction to a wider universe (I'm talking Justice League) and the character itself, although it wasn't quite the Superman people were expecting. A solid enough start with room for improvement. However, due to Marvel's success with their Avengers team up movies, Man of Steel 2 suddenly turned into Batman vs Superman, Ben Affleck was announced as Batman and the fans went nuts, Wonder Women was announced and the fans went crazy and Jesse Eisenberg was cast as Lex Luthor and....no one really knew what to think. Speculation has never been as rife since the first announcement, nerds and comic nuts (me) have been on tenterhooks for months, although this is something we've wanted to see (but never thought we would) all our lives. Apprehensive is an understatement. It's finally here though, and....it's not that great. After all this time and after seeing Marvel do it right time and time again how can this be? I'll start with the good. I thought Ben Affleck was great as the Caped Crusader. He was both wise and worldly as both Batman and Bruce Wayne. Everything about the Batman character was great, the Batcave looked great, the Batmobile was cool and Batwing was awesome. I didn't hate Jeremy Irons' Alfred as half as much as I thought I would either. The beginning sequence was very stylish, we've seen Batman's origin story before but never quite as gloriously as this (although the sequence is lifted straight from the pages of certain comics). Fast forward a few decades and watching Bruce Wayne hurry to his Metropolis office in what was the last scene of Man of Steel was rather brilliantly done, not to mention thrilling as hell. Then everything just went a bit down hill. The pace of the film was very slow and I'm not sure the two and a half hour run time was time well spent. The big fight scene was a bit of a let down, the jury is out as far as Wonder Woman is concerned (but i'm hopeful) and I'm afraid Jesse Eisenberg really didn't do it for me (especially in his last scene, although this is a script issue rather than performance based). The introduction of the other Justice League members appeared like a cheap viral advert in the middle of the film, like the film had a cookie or a pop up ad and while I'm kind of grateful for Snyder/Goyer for the DC elseworld nod, the overlong Batman dream sequence was bizarre and spectacularly misplaced. Superfans might recognize this as a message from bad guy Darkseid but I'm not too sure who else would get the reference. Either way, it really doesn't work. Much like Man of Steel, I'm not sure on any of the casting choices but then no one had a particularly great script to work with. I suppose I could overlook most of these issues, they didn't upset me that much really, the biggest problem with the film is much.....bigger. That ain't Superman. Henry Cavell looks the part and he is a good actor but he's not Superman. He doesn't act like Superman and Goyer hasn't written a proper Superman. I know my Superman, I collect the comics and know all the adaptations, by all means introduce new ideas and make a character your own but this version is several steps too far. This is an angry, clumsy and not altogether intelligent Superman. It seemed like his eyes were red for more of the film than not. I'm a huge Superman fan and Superman Returns really upset me when I saw it but this version is so removed from the original that I really don't feel any emotion towards it at all. Where the hell is Clark Kent? Kent is such a big part of Superman that to ignore it would be like making Romeo & Juliette without Juliette, Bert and Ernie without Ernie, milk without shake. Ben Affleck made a fine Bruce Wayne, why leave Kent by the wayside? Don't get me started on what what Snyder does to Jimmy Olsen. As for the story, well, boring is the only word for it. Doomsday looked like a cross between the baby from the 90's TV hit Dinosaurs (google 'Not the mama') and an angry penis (with arms). It makes the Alien/Human monster from Alien Resurrection look like a work of genius. Doomsday's story is one of the most overrated of all of the comics, the one where everyone who had never read a comic suddenly bought one and then went back to not reading them. The biggest con DC ever pulled and that is the best they could come up with. There wasn't one bit of emotion felt in the cinema I was in, it stirred nothing inside me, the only thing I felt was numb (probably down to the fact I'd sat down for nearly three hours). After all this time, is this the best they could come up with? I've always been a DC guy but I'm glad Marvel have their act together. I look forward to Wonder Woman and Affleck's Batman (loved the Joker and Riddler hints) but Superman really is dead to me for the foreseeable future.