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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) Review (II)

"A competition to see which man-child is the most macho."

by Rachel Wilford

DC Comics’ latest superhero enterprise, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, is not the next superhero movie to be celebrated. Sadly, I can sum up the film in ten words: a competition to see which man-child is the most macho.

Batman v. Superman begins where Superman: Man of Steel ended. Superman (Henry Cavill), who identifies publicly as journalist Clark Kent, has saved Metropolis but the city has been severely damaged and many were killed in the process, causing the public to seriously question whether Superman’s presence does more harm than good. Batman (Ben Affleck), known to the public as billionaire Bruce Wayne, sees Superman as a threat to society and seeks to eliminate him. Superman also feels that Batman is dangerous and prefers to protect the city without his interference. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor of LexCorp is creating a kryptonite weapon that he plans to use to kill Superman.

Let me begin by saying that the first half of the movie consists of nothing but lifelessness and confusion. The scenes jump around so sporadically that the audience is unsure of what is happening. It is as if the writers concocted so many seemingly incredible plotlines that they said, “well they’re all too good to pick just one…let’s use them all!” What resulted was an hour and a half of confusing, dismal battles to see which plotline would prevail and which would prove to be utterly pointless.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Directed by Zack Snyder
Cast Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams
Release Date 25 March 2016
Rachel's Grade: D

There has been a lot of controversy about Ben Affleck being cast as the new Batman, but Affleck actually does a satisfactory job with the role. Contrarily, something that irked me much more than the casting of Affleck was the casting of Jeremy Irons as Alfred. Unfortunately, Irons, due solely to his physical appearance alone, did not do the part justice. In scenes where Bruce and Alfred are seen side by side, it is unsettling just how close they seem in age and thus, the storyline of Alfred raising Bruce after of the death of Bruce’s parents is no longer plausible nor believable.

Although Jeremy Irons’ Alfred was disheartening, Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor was surprisingly enlivening. Before viewing the film, I had my doubts about how his performance would play out. However, Eisenberg brings a new sense of neuroticism to Luthor that makes him fairly fascinating. Previously Luthor had been portrayed as more of a masculine businessman, but in Batman v. Superman, Luthor is shown as more of a manic, edgy, mad scientist type. Eisenberg is not the obvious choice to play this notorious role, but he actually is the only character in the film that really interested me. His performance may have been the saving grace of the film, simply because it was one of the only aspects of it that was not bland.

The film shifts from mundane to amusing when you realize that Batman and Superman are literally fighting to determine who is more equipped to defend the city. When you get right down to it, they really are just competing for the title of who is “manliest”. Scenes of heated conversational jibes and sneers are followed by shots of glistening, weight-lifting bodies. Both want to defend the city more effectively than the other; both desire the title of ultimate “superhero”. It appears childish, because it is, and it evokes more laughter than it does intensity.

Although the first half of the movie was a dud, the second half did pick up substantially. The anticipated action scenes were a welcome interruption from the uninteresting scenes that preceded them. Batman stars in an exciting scene where he single-handedly takes down an extensive group of Russian bad guys and Superman bravely battles a menacing monster alien. All in all, the last hour and a half of the film was actually quite exciting and entertaining.

However, a halfway entertaining film does not make the film great; it just barely touches on good. Whether you like superhero movies or not, save yourself the time, money, and disappointment and just skip this film altogether.

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