Vol. 9, No. 13 – March 30 – April 12, 2016 – Movie Review

Batman v. Superman/1 Palm Tree
by Eduardo Victoria/eduardovictory@yahoo.com

The DC Cinematic Universe is proving to be a tired experiment by only the second film, the awkwardly titled Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. In a sea of undeveloped ideas, poorly written characters, and a general lack of respect toward source material are some truly wonderful seeds for what could have been a towering standard of the superhero genre. Director Zack Snyder delivers plenty of eye candy and lets wonderful performances take center stage in a film with a lackluster script by Chris Terrio and David Goyer.

18 months after the leveling of Metropolis by Superman and General Zod (Michael Shannon), Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) searches for a mysterious “White Portuguese,” who he believe holds a mineral that can be used to incapacitate or cripple Superman, who he views as a threat to world security. Haunted by the death and destruction of everyone killed in his company’s building, he will take no chances against the Man of Steel (Henry Cavill). Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) and Senator June Finch (Holly Hunter) also see Superman as a threat and seek to destroy him.

For a film with “Superman” in the title, Snyder and Goyer spend the length of their entire film completely misunderstanding and, dare I say it, slapping the character around to the point of painting him as a terrorist. The film brilliantly sets up how the world would react if an almighty figure of his type were to appear. However, the opposite side is never explored. Never once does the film bother to paint superman as a heroic figure other than on the surface

The biggest crime caused by the film is the terrible script by Goyer and Terrio. The destruction of Metropolis is never touched on after the film’s opening. The most we get is a memorial for the victims that has a giant Superman statue, however Luthor, who is controlling the media, is painting Superman as a terrorist with the world seemingly agreeing with him. It’s these types of inconsistencies that plague the film from start to finish. Never once are motives explored other than for the Batman character.

The films brilliant scenes featuring Jeremy Irons as Alfred acting opposite Affleck are cut way too short, something that will hopefully be explored in the upcoming film The Batman. In the darkest incarnation yet (very close to Frank Miller’s interpretation), Alfred paints the picture that the Dark Knight has lost it, coming very close to the villains he aimed to stop for so many years. Snyder is a great visual director, but unfortunately, none of the visuals matter when a vague story and characterizations of beloved characters act in ways that simply don’t make sense.

Batman’s side of the film was handled well, for the most part. Ben Affleck paints a troubled, disturbed, and angry portrait of a man who has seen one too many people he cares about die. Carrying over from Man of Steel, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams have absolutely no on-screen chemistry together. To round out the leads, Jesse Eisenberg is so over-the-top and miscast as Luthor, it’s almost as if he were pulled from a Tarantino film and dropped into the DC universe.

Die-hard fans will find things they like, but that may not be case for the average moviegoer (accessibility was something Christopher Nolan did extremely well with his Dark Knight Trilogy). For the first time in history, we’re able to see a film with two of the greatest comic book characters ever created and the end result is a build up with no pay off.

Rated PG-13. Now playing at Century Downtown 10. 153 minutes.

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