‘Batman V Superman’ (2016) Review



Sitting down to a session of Batman V Superman, I couldn’t help but have my doubts about how the finished film would play out. It wasn’t the casting that gave me doubts, it was the idea that this was a studio film rushing to catch up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and their successes. It was the idea that Man of Steel didn’t work for me.

I walked into Batman V Superman with the mindset that negative thinking will lead to me disliking the film. I was trying to stay positive despite the reviews surfacing over on Rotten Tomatoes.

And what did I think?

The film is….okay. Too busy and unfocused to be good or great. It’s just…there. Bland and bloated.

I want to start off by noting the things I enjoyed:

I liked Ben Affleck as a grizzled Batman. I think he needs his own film to explore that and as of writing this, I hear he’s locked in to direct his own solo feature. Excellent.

I enjoyed Jesse Eisenberg as a madcap Lex, though his motivations could’ve been fleshed out to be a tad more coherent. Nevertheless, he’s a hoot and plays the role with great manic energy.

I liked Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. She’s got a small role but there’s something in her performance that makes me want to see more development of that character.

What let’s the film down is the writing. It’s unfocused and too busy. Were this just a film about exploring the aftermath of Man of Steel, it could’ve been a solid film. But there’s that, there’s multiple relationships, ancient evil, hints of justice league, it’s all over the place and struggles to tell it all coherently.

The musical score, I have a bit of a problem with. Why? Because it doesn’t let the moment simmer. Everything is overplayed to heighten every dramatic beat that it is kind of exhausting and over the top.

I think the problem I have with this is the writing. I still don’t like the angle they are approaching with Superman, I feel it’s cold and alienating. I feel Henry Cavill is a charismatic Clark but I also feel the script mutes his ability to shine.

And that more or less sums up my feelings on the film – there’s a good film in here somewhere but I’m not a fan of the end material on display here, which is disappointing as I was excited to see these characters share the screen.

Batman does indeed take on Superman and while the road the film takes them on is a little heavy handed, there are seeds here in the film that hint towards a meatier future for these characters. That I’m excited for.

J’s Verdict: ☆ ☆

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