DC’s attempts to rival Marvel’s recent rampage of superhero films that have swamped the screens since what…8 years ago with the introduction of the Iron-man franchise (which was good fun), the Amazing Spiderman (meh, ok), the beloved Guardians Of The Galaxy and Ant-Man, Captain America (Just alright) and The Avengers (Kind of the worst of the lot). Still, ignoring my opinions, these movies raked in huge amounts of profit but more importantly imprinted the perception that Marvel’s the one and only. Of course, we know this to be false. Batman v Superman wants to establish itself as the DC’s version of Avengers, paving the way for superhero mythological anthology and spin-offs that would then begin the collaborative cycle of The Justice League. Grand plans are in motion but even we could feel something was off. Plot holes and forced sequences aside, tempo was all over the place. Melodrama lulled itself into slow-mo scenes that felt overused. Scenes in general felt super faced-pace, shifting from one big note to another, and failed to deliver any undertones that it’s grandeur and spectacle promised.
Now let me say something. I may have problems with films sometimes but I hardly find fault with the very conception of the film itself. Because if Zack Snyder and DC have already signed on to Justice League 1 in 2017 and part 2 in 2019, Batman v Superman isn’t at all a good premise and introduction to the Justice League franchise. SPOILER ALERT, so please don’t continue if you do not wished to be spoiled. The idea of the God among men or demigod gone rogue idea is interesting. Zack Snyder butchers it. First things first, Superman going ‘rogue’ is a false pretense set up by a select few instances which show clear bias and Lex Luthor’s machinations. Having Bruce Wayne pull his employee out of the rubble while being enraged by an apparent misuse of power felt really ridiculous to me. I mean, come on, you don’t suppose he fight of his villains without causing collatoral damage? Secondly, I can’t fathom how Gotham and Metropolis are only a river away and they’ve only now noticed each other? They’re two of the smartest minds in the universe, well at least in the DC universe, and they not only not notice the mutual presence but also have a mega death match because of a misunderstanding? It all feels too forced if I’m brutally honest. Maybe we have to question whether the whole ‘god complex’ the movie is based on was even feasible to begin with because Snyder probably tried to mould his whole film around an intriguing but incoherent idea.
If you think about it, Batman couldn’t have been more similar to Superman. Isn’t it hypocrisy on Batsy’s part to attach all blame to someone who ‘answers to no one’ when he himself answers only to his own brand of justice. If anything, we associate ‘vigilante’ to Bats more than we do to Superman. The whole build-up felt a little childish then because it baffles me how there wasn’t even some sort of reconcillation/understanding between the two…before you know it, both are waging war like mortal enemies. Rounding things off, the film delves deep into the psyche of fear and adoration and plays with diction like ‘God’ ‘False God’ ‘Saviour’ which are all big words that carry huge significance. For much of the film, there are scenes of the public either falling in love or being totally disillusioned with what Superman represents. Introducing such strong feelings of hate and love and then attributing religious/deity associations to relationships between superhuman and human is certainly novel. But Snyder only wants to commercialize these complexities by making explosions and lasers the feature instead of fleshing out deeper and darker questions that challenge the moral belief systems. Batman V Superman is thus only pseudo-provocative; A feast of action, a void of introspection.
I was still somewhat entertained but not exactly thrilled. Batman V Superman’s pacing was all over the place. Trying to be all dark and serious didn’t work out which was quite disappointing for a DC fan like myself. The cast was pretty good, Affleck did well as Batman, Cavill as Superman and a near-perfect casting choice for Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Jess Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor seemed out of place for me mainly because it had the feels of Ledger’s Joker. His awkward mannerisms and maniacal stutters go well for a character like Joker because that’s the way he is; Anarchy and chaos for the sake of it. Having a quirky out-of-whack character who’s known to be more of a realist doesn’t fit quite right.
Batman V Superman is a seriously confused movie. Part of it stems from DC’s decision to pack everything in one movie and release it quickly to rival Marvel. Perhaps DC should have taken an intermediate step before this to establish more solid ground. Batman V Superman certainly brought out many interesting questions and ideas but hatching its bets on action-driven scenes did it no good. Action scenes were pretty cool but little was left for us to chew on emotionally or introspectively. As the movie got along, I had little doubt that my interest in it lie solely with the sheer cultural icons that Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman (I let out a gasp when she leapt out in battle) represented and much less to do with the movie itself.