I love both of these superheroes. I like Zack Snyder as a director. I even really enjoyed Man of Steel, the precursor to this film. However leading up to the release of Batman v Superman, my levels of excitement and expectation fluctuated more than they have done leading up to any other film. Why? The rumours, the trailers that were good and then bad and then great, even the first wave of reviews that tore the film apart. However, I wanted to make up my own mind and see it for myself. I went into the film with an open mind and tried to remain as cautiously optimistic as I could. And I came out having really enjoyed the film!
The film starts off at a great pace. We get a brief but necessary introduction to Bruce Wayne and his past and then BAM! Straight into the action and destruction of Metropolis during the events of Man of Steel, only this time from Wayne’s perspective. It is after this however that the film does slow down a bit. There are still some great scenes within the film though. Ben Affleck as an older Batman is great and one of the highlights of the film. Cavill is good as a Superman having an identity crisis however he just isn’t given much more to do other than mope about a lot. Similarly, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is good for the short amount of screen time she gets, which makes me excited to see how she handles her own film next year. One of the biggest surprises for me was Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Seeing him in the trailers made me cringe and I had little hope he would be anything other than an annoying villain. However, I found him to be less annoying than I expected! There were times when his craziness went a bit too far but on the whole he was a decent villain.
The film is very heavy and rousing, especially during the action scenes. Whilst it may be a dark, moody film, the action scenes are big and bold. Similarly, the score by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL is great, and thankfully carries over the themes that I loved in Man of Steel. Most of the actions are well done, in particular the titular fight and a Batman warehouse fight scene. However the film does devolve into a bit of a CGI mess towards the end, with choppy editing and cloudy darkness making it hard to keep up with the computer generated spectacle.
There are a few other problems with the film also. It is bogged down by too many unnecessary scenes which are clearly in there to set up the coming Justice League film and some parts of the story just don’t make much sense. The film is easily half an hour too long and at some points, especially earlier on, you can really feel it dragging. With that being said though when it moves past those scenes the film really picks up and the third act is pretty non-stop.There are some specific spoilery moments that I thought were handled really well, even though perhaps they shouldn’t have been handled at all. Overall the story and editing are what keep the film down the most. Too much story poorly edited together, with scenes seemingly in wrong places or not making sense and some fight scenes difficult to make out what the heck is going on. Overall the story problems seem to come down to too much set up and seemingly a poor grasp on the fundamentals of the characters, particularly Superman. Whilst I’d rather not go back to Christopher Reeve’s campy Superman of the 70s, this version is just too dark and down on himself for my liking. I get that the people of Earth should be unsure about him after the events of Man of Steel, and they should question his actions and cause him to doubt himself, but it leans too far into actual hatred for the character at times. It all seems way too harsh.
Despite all these problems though, this is a film that at the end of the day I did enjoy. Visually striking and with some interesting story decisions, far too much set up but a brilliant new take on Batman, this is a film that you should really see for yourself to make a decision. In my opinion the critics have been way too harsh, and this film deserves better. Whilst not the most fun it is definitely enjoyable. Perhaps after repeat viewings my rating might change as this is a very dense and interesting film.
JACK’S SCORE: 3/5
(It was almost a 4/5 and perhaps after watching it again and letting it all sink in it might be!)