‘Why are Batman and Superman fighting?’ This is a question I keep getting asked but as a fully paid up card holding sweaty nerd this type of behaviour is a regular occurrence in comic books and I’m used to seeing two good guys having a spat over a slight misunderstanding. However, to the average cinemagoer this can be quite a baffling scenario.
The answer in this cinematic universe is simple, did you not see what Superman did to Metropolis at the end of Man Of Steel? This mass carnage is the catalyst for this new face off. Batman Vs. Superman picks up were at the 2013 Superman reboot left off; after an epic stylized retelling of Batman’s origins within the opening credits we see a bat’s eye view, or should I say Bruce eyed view, of the situation in Metropolis the day evil General Zod and Superman go at it. Bruce Wayne witnesses the death of innocent work colleagues and the destruction of half of the city and after all this collateral damage caused the capped crusader just isn’t happy.
The first 30 mins are great, but shortly after this strong opening the film becomes quite slow and there’s quite a wait until the ‘main event’. It suffers from bad editing and inconsistent storytelling which is a pity as the good bits are so so good. The film fails to explain why Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luther is so insane and what his motivation for evil really is. This would have helped the audience follow where all this madness was going a little better. It’s no secret that we get a glimpse of Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman and though she works well during the little screen time she has, I still don’t think it’s enough to prove that she can carry a whole movie. I still have trepidation over this newcomer, Wonder Women is such an iconic character so it’s so important that we get a great female superhero stand-alone film.
Ben Afflecks’s Batman is the highlight of this movie and perfectly conveys an older more world-weary Dark Knight. That’s not to take anything anyway from Henry Cavill who does bring a lot more depth to the sole survivor of Krypton. The cast overall are great and also include Academy Award winning actors Jeremy Irons, as Bruce Wayne’s butler, and Amy Adams as the Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane.
So who wins? Probably not the audience that’s for sure. If only they had stuck to the two main characters and philosophical questions that they can raise e.g. can a man with god-like powers be trusted blah blah. Instead, they have decided to cram too much into this film. It feels like a reaction to the epic Marvel movies with Warner Bros trying to play catch up. There are so many sub-plots, Easter eggs and strange dream sequences. This medley of activity made me think I’d blacked out and missed bits as it was so all over the place.
There is plenty for sweaty nerds and team DC to enjoy here but don’t let your fanboy/fangirl mind blind you this is a far from perfect film. All comic book films should entertain both hardcore nerds and the average cinemagoer in equal measure and Batman V Superman just doesn’t cut it. It also feels a little on the long side, unlike Star Wars The Force Awakens, a film of similar length, this just does not flow smoothly and some action sequences are messy.
With all its flaws, this is an event movie and should be viewed in the cinema and preferably at IMAX. I still enjoyed it and I’ll definitely be interested in Justice League part 1 and for a standalone Batman film starring Ben Affleck. I just hope they can learn from their mistakes and tighten up the storytelling.
Batman vs. Superman is a large-scale messy pub cark park brawl with glimpses of pugilistic brilliances. Note to self don’t piss off Batman.
Reviewed by Ian Wright