Full disclosure: I love Man of Steel. It’s one of my favourite Superhero films [just behind the Nolan films and in front of the better Marvel ones]. That film, along with the comic Red Son, is the reason why I now consider myself a Superman fan.
With that out of the way…
Batman V Superman is one of the most frustrating films I have ever seen. Ever. I went into the theatre wanting to love it with all my heart. I wanted to be one of the few who could honestly say this was a great film – but I can only say that it’s good. It passes the smell test.
But it could have been so much more.
There is a lot of good in this film. So much so that I really don’t understand the level of blowback this film has received from critics. The problem, for me, is that for every thing great in this film, there is something that is just so bad. When I say bad, I mean awful.
So let me get the negatives out of the way. The villain[s] in this film are the anchor that stopped this film from soaring. I can forgive a lot of things about a film, but having a bad bad-guy is something I find hard to overlook. And Batman V Superman has multiple bad villains – again, by bad I mean awful.
Jesse Eisenberg is unimaginably rank as Lex Luther that I cringed and squirmed in my seat every time he was on screen. The character was badly acted, badly motivated and badly written. I have no idea why he did what he did and, most of the time, I had no idea what the fuck he was talking about. And the less said about his evil creation, Doomsday, [oh, and how was he even able to do that by the way] the better.
The other real minus that bothered me about the film is the very obvious set up to the wider DC Universe. It wasn’t THAT bad – it was just funny how obvious it was. The problem is that it slowed the film down and confused the narrative. Apart from one very cool cameo [OH MY GOD! DC nerds will know what I’m talking about] there really was for other heroes other than Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman in this movie.
With all of that said, there were moments of real joy for me while I was watching this film. Moments that serve as a reminder of why I love films and going to the cinema.
Ben Affleck is simply perfect as Batman/ Bruce Wayne. He is the best I have ever seen playing this iconic role. I didn’t know that Michael Keaton and Christian Bale were playing this all wrong until I saw Affleck in this movie. The rage he has feels deep and it’s like it has marinated for years. There was history in that anger. It was almost like it was more than just the Superman thing. I hope he carries on with this role and would love to see where he takes it in a standalone series.
I also think that Henry Cavill is great as Superman. Just like Affleck, I believe with all of my heart that he is the best Superman I have ever seen on the screen. He makes this very fantastical character feel real. I really don’t understand why people want this god to be all bright and smiley and hopeful – if he existed in this world he would cause as much destruction as Cavill’s Superman. This Superman is scary and he is awe-inspiring. When he is doing super things, you don’t think ‘look how wonderful he is’, you think ‘christ, this man is a god… he could kill us all.’ He is perfect.
THE fight is worth the cinema ticket alone. Every time the two heavy-weights were on screen I sat up a little straighter in my seat and, when they finally went at it, I had a huge grin on my face the entire time. I did have a tinge of disappointment about the main bout because it was too short for my liking.
Again, there is a cameo in this film that took my breath away and which actually got me excited for future instalments. There is no way I am saying a mumbling word about it here.
I simply don’t believe that Batman V Superman is a bad film. It just isn’t. But it is a less focused film than Man of Steel. It has less heart than Man of Steel. It is also more cynical than Man of Steel.
DC should be patient. You can tell that they are rushing to create something similar to what Marvel have. They should just embrace the fact that they are several years behind their rivals in development, and, most importantly, DC characters are very different to those lot at the House of Mouse.
But they don’t want to wait and this film suffers because of it. If you squint hard enough you can see the studio execs in some scenes of this film.
It could have been and should have been so much better.