Going into this film I thought, you know I’ve given this movie a lot of stick and I haven’t even seen it yet. Okay the reviews aren’t that great but I love films that haven’t been critically well received but I liked the 2005 version of the Fantastic Four despite it’s low critical score. I appreciated it for what that was, maybe this will be more of the same. So, taking my seat, I went into Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice with an open mind. And then the damn bust and the river of awfulness flowed free, drowning many innocents while the Masters of Marvel watched on and knew there was nothing they could do to save their franchise.
It’s sad to see DC’s vapid attempts to make a mature live action rendering of their frankly fantastic comic universe but before we go onto the inevitable, let’s try go over the substantially low amount of good moments.
Firstly, and I never thought I would be writing these words, but Jessie Eisenberg did a good Lex Luthor. Before the mob comes to lynch me, let me explain. Eisenberg is nothing like the Lex Luthor of the animated series or even the old Superman films. Not even in the same universe as him, but it’s precisely because of that that makes him one of the few good moments in this film. While near enough everyone is stoic and humourless, Eisenberg at least seems glad to be playing his strange creation which is absolutely refreshing considering the majority of the cast’s performances.
Having never heard the name Gal Gadot before, I was very skeptical of her casting, yet once again doubting left field casting has come to bite me again. Despite the fact that, like Jeremy Irons, she is left too much on the film’s periphery, when she eventually arrives as Wonder Woman, she actually kicks ass against Doomsday both almost making that worth watching and making me hold out hope for the Wonder Woman film next year.
Finally we have Jeremy Irons and Ben Affleck and, despite going after the impressive duo of Michael Cain and Christian Bale respectively, they turn out respectable performances. Irons delivers a more sarcastic and harder edged Alfred which, although limited to to the Batcave, managed to leave his mark. Meanwhile Affleck perfectly fit the older, darker, more vindictive Batman and the suave and experienced Bruce Wayne which allowed us to move on from Christopher Nolan’s Batman, giving us the opportunity for new and interesting takes on the character.
Aside from these redeeming features though, Dawn of Justice decides to take the road less traveled and ends up as an over-bloated, unimaginative car crash which resulted in the death of millions, to put it mildly.
Let’s just get this out the way and say whoever was editing this film must have had connections somewhere or had done some heinous sexual acts. Scenes happen one after the other that have next to no relation to one another leaving the film (especially the first half) a jolted mess. Also, and I defy anyone who says otherwise, that one scene where Martha Kent (Diane Lane) is talking to Superman at her home in Kansas at night is pulled directly out of Man of Steel. It’s so lazy and incoherent it defies any sense of cinematography.
Also dream sequences. What the hell were they for!? They added some boring action sequences, added the equivalent amount of medicine to a homeopathic remedy, and then decided to mix things up when the Flash turned up just so these misplaced sequences would pull the audience out of the film even more. How did we sit through this?!
Quick side point here is that if you’re going to go to Africa, a continent filled to busting with many different countries with different peoples and cultures, then please pick on of them instead of going with Nairomi, Africa. Look, I know you’re appealing to the lowest common demominator here and simply googling literally anywhere in the continent of Africa is a bit too much effort, but come on. Every other place is known by town/city and country, but the one time it’s not America (or anywhere Americans may not need to look up in an Atlas) you got with Nairomi, Africa? You were so close to Kenya’s capital Nairobi and you wasted that chance.
Oh and Henry Cavill, please leave and take Amy Adams with you. I know you guys tried to have chemistry but trying to patch an entire film’s non-existent “romance” in Man of Steel with one scene where the sleep together in the bath after a serious discussion about Superman’s responsibilities is not going to cut the mustard. If Disney can make a film about two natural enemies getting along and having a better chemistry than two real life people, then we truly are doomed.
I also don’t understand Lois Lane’s part apart from the weird bullet subplot and throwing the Kyptonite spear into the water which just screws everything up later on for the sake of drama. Seriously, why are you here?! Also, why was the Daily Planet a thing? Did they do any good journalism in any of that film? How is Superman not fired for constantly going off to be Superman instead of doing that sports column that literally no-one cared about? Why are they not covering Batman?! So many questions that this film doesn’t want you to find out the answers to!
Also, and I hope you didn’t mean to, but why are women poorly portayed in this film? Sure you’ve got Wonder Woman being kick ass at the end (although her plot line is thin at best) but you have Lois Lane and Martha Kent take up the roles of damsel in distress? Why? What point is there to that? Also why must the rest of the female cast that Wikipedia lists get killed? Seriously Holly Hunter as Senator June Finch, (who I just kept thinking Mrs. Incredible through the entirety of her performance), Tao Okamoto as Mercy Graves, and Lauren Cohan as Martha Wayne (okay I’ll give you that one) all die. I know their deaths are plot integral but the fact I can list half of Batman v Superman‘s major (and one minor) female cast as characters that die off is slightly disturbing.
But in the end the thing this film should be blamed for is appalling plot line, if one can consider it to be an actual plot. Everything is too much, too complicated, and ultimately unsatisfying. Why did we need Doomsday? If you’re going to have Batman v Superman, why not do that? Have them fight, multiple times. Have it be the film’s core device. Give Superman a proper reason to fight rather than damsel in distress. Maybe have Wonder Woman have a role in bringing them together? Maybe you didn’t need to blow up so many cities and for God’s sake maybe you didn’t need Batman to not kill Superman because of the name Martha!
All in all, I think the best way to represent this form is Doomsday itself. It was once a corpse but has now been transmogrified into a hulking putrid vessel of sheer disappointment. I do not know where this franchise is going, probably into the depth of reviewing hell, but at least it may spawn some offspring that may fare better, like Wonder Woman and Cyborg. We can all hope, but it’s best to leave this part of the franchise dead and buried. Where it should be. Because why wouldn’t you keep him dead? Did I say he? I meant it. It. Eurghhh…..