Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – Film Review


It’s been a slow week for me after my aging body once again let me down this year when my back imploded and I was left immobile for a couple of days.  I’m now starting to feel comfortable sitting at my desk so its time to catch up with the films I watched last weekend.  First up its BvS which sent comic book fans into nerdgasm when it was announced at Comic-Con a couple of years ago.  Zack Snyder directs for DC again with Henry Caville returning as Superman and Ben Affleck pulling on the black leather as Batman.

There’s a whole lot of strings to this films bow but in essence the story is that Bruce Wayne as it turns out was in Metropolis when the Superman/Zod battle went down and he saw one of his buildings torn down.  Clark Kent on the other hand is obsessing about a vigilante in Gotham taking the law into his own hands and brutalising criminals.  We therefore have this conflict set up as two powerful forces eye each other up with suspicion across the bay.  Little do they know that there is a much greater threat waiting in the wings.

This film has appeared to divide opinion between DC fans and critics.  I’m somewhere in between.  The all too brief BvS fight is fun and is delivered with a lot of panache and there is no doubt that Batfleck has silenced his doubters although I contend that Christian Bale remains the superior Batman.  The film maintains the dark tone of Man of Steel (2013) with much of it shot at night and it feels like Batman’s movie.  There’s a lot of focus on establishing his character and sadly Mr Caville’s main role is to look sadly into the camera with his puppy dog eyes.  His character hasn’t moved on from the mopey teenager we saw in his first turn as the newly dour Superman.

A lot of stuff appears to be going on in BvS with much of it making a lot more sense to die-hard fans than to the average film goer.  I watched a lot of YouTube discussions and appear to have missed a lot of clues and inferences for future films.  There’s a fine line between winks to the fans and leaving everyone else out in the cold and BvS has probably crossed that line.  Much like Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) DC has tried to do too much and rushed to get its new movie universe established.  This film would have benefited massively from a slimmed down plot focused on developing the tension between the two protagonists and looking at Superman’s role as a God amongst mere mortals.  There was no need for Wonder Woman to be in the film or the other DC characters who get a look in thanks to a lazy plot device involving an e-mail.

There are a few other things that irritated me including the way the film excuses further scenes of mass destruction because they conveniently take part in deserted areas, Lois Lane is an afterthought and a couple of over-the-top bit part actors hamming up their scenes.  These are the elements that critics have run with and sadly Synder has given them plenty of ammunition to use against him.  All in all I think BvS is a thousand times better than Man of Steel which makes it exactly average.  My rating 3/5.


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