By Blake Nelson
Superhero movies have seen something of a renaissance in the past five or so years — Marvel, one of the leading comic book companies, has been making leaps in the sequel and tie-in realm. All of Marvel’s films in its recent, multiphase-spanning film series returned very favorably on its budgets.
DC, recognizing that it could be missing out on some seriously big bucks and also realizing it can’t get them by remaining solely on the small screen, decided to go big in “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” And big it was … a big mess.
The largest fault that the movie has is its disjointed and overly busy narrative that just cannot fully flesh out any plot point. DC must have found it completely necessary to shoehorn in a setup for the next 10 movies in its franchise. I can count nearly 10 instances where the movie should have continued with the plot that is laid out in the first part of the movie’s title, without having to make a detour in the direction of a setup.
Chiefly among the unnecessary bits the movie has to offer, is the awkward inclusion of the other three members of the Justice League, placed in the movie in such a way that that scene could have been removed and acted as the trailer for the next movie.
The movie moves through the main plot of the story at the speed of a toddler, and with as much finesse. The main plot is this: Batman thinks Superman is a threat, Batman fights Superman. Yet the movie takes its time, mindlessly meandering from character to character, hardly furthering the plot. This meandering due to the setups is the reason why the film unnecessarily runs to nearly two and a half hours.
There seems to be no alleviation in terms of the technical quality of the film either — Zack Snyder’s directing in this film is an awful mix of his shaky camera schtick and his sterile editing style obviously influenced by the studio. Snyder brings explosions placed against green screens that are so uninspired that it makes the viewer ache watching it.
All the acting is forgettable. Henry Caville’s Superman is bland. Amy Adam’s Lois Lane is ineffectual and ultimately a damsel in distress. Ben Affleck’s Batman, although it seems that he put some real effort into the character, he couldn’t save the script, which had Batman uttering lines that verged on whining.
All this mess is placed against the most garrulous and obnoxious scores of the year thus far. “What was Hans Zimmer thinking,” is what kept coming up in my mind during my viewing. Each scene is introduced by loud, nearly disjointed orchestral pieces. It was hard to endure to say the least.
Well, all in all, I can count the good things in the film on one hand. Affleck’s performance is one of them and Batman’s fight scenes were well choreographed. That really accounts for everything done well in this film.
I wouldn’t recommend this movie to anyone unless it was to show them how a bad movie looks. This movie masks itself as a serious superhero movie that has potential, but is really just a contrived attempt to jump on the money train that comic book movies offer. Don’t see it, don’t give them money.
Blake Nelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @b_e_nelson.