Batman V Superman
May 27, 2016
Let’s start with the good. Batman V Superman, which sounded like an awful idea, actually has a terrific story. The Caped Crusader, following a lifetime of fighting crime in his native Gotham, has lost the will to fight the good fight and has taken to branding his victims, often nonces, insuring them a death sentence when they are committed for their crimes.
Clark Kent is horrified by all of this vigilante behaviour, as it flys in the face of his idealism. But while he has embraced the dream of his adopted nation, his adopted nation is threatened by Superman’s super powers. So, in the wake of a 9/11 style tragedy, they rush to assign blame to him-the other, for acts of terrorism, both around the world and on American soil.
Leading the charge against him is Batman, who suffered a loss at ground zero for which he holds Superman personally responsible. While Lex Luther whips up anti-superhero sentiment with his fascist analogies and talk of the threat posed by idolatry.
The Daily Planet seizes on this, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) fights to disprove it, while Wallace Keefe (Scoot McNairy, a stand out), a former Wayne Enterprises employee crippled in the movies opening salvo, goes slowly insane.
Director Zack Snyder has all the elements to construct an excellent comic book movie. Suspicion, paranoia, real life parallels, with enough grey areas in our heroes back stories to create not only friction (pampered, troubled rich boy V poor idealistic farmer), but also an opportunity for their ‘beneath it all’ goodness to enlighten the other, so as to lend a wallop to the climatic showdown.
But Snyder hasn’t got the skill to knit all these ideas into something coherent. Instead he just slams them loudly against one another. The script is a mess, filled with multiple sub-plots that are strewn roughly, but never really thought through so as to have emotional impact.
Lane’s investigation is threadbare. The psychological damage of terrorism is stated, not shown. While the women shoehorned into the plot (Gal Gadot is a useless Wonder Woman and an even worse Diana Prince; Diane Lane is a saintly Ma Superman) add absolutely nothing but minutes to the running time
Hans Zimmer’s scores, of late, tend to be the most irritating thing in any movie they appear in. But the script from David S Goyer and Chris Terrio has no time for developing emotions beyond the aesthetic, so here –aided by Junkie XL, it is crucial for filling in the large holes in feeling with its hysterical, leading bombast. It also helps guide us through the muddle of effects that make up the fight scenes.
So should you see it? If you got some level of enjoyment out of Star Wars or The Avengers, sure, why not. They’re comparably ambitious and comparably shite. Full of Easter eggs for future franchises and future entries into the series, its like one long ‘gives it all away’ trailer.
Ben Affleck fills both the tux of Bruce Wayne and the bat suit of The Dark Knight ably. His wounded, woe-filled playboy flints nicely off of Cavill, who is hunk personified. His eyes are like windows into a puppy dogs soul, so you hurt for him when he’s dragged before Congress, outside of which is a sea of baying ignoramuses waving puerile placards.
Holly Hunter and Jesse Eisenberg, though both clearly dancing for their supper, put on a good show, as a Democratic senator who holds hearings into the Man of Steel, and the aforementioned Lex Luther.
Though worse than all but the Clooney Batman, if your not the type who wants your cinematic wheel reinvented there’s nothing overly offensive, or original, here.