When you heard announcements for Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, did you think ‘finally! This is the epic battle to the death that I’ve been waiting for!’? You wouldn’t be much different than other superhero movie goers. The problem is that’s not the movie. There is build up including minor squabble between the heroes but ultimately it’s a lot of Superman with a little bit of Batman who seems to be there to satisfy the title. It remains more true to the actual story line of the heroes than what it is built up to be. In the end, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice is off putting due to confusing concepts and cinematography; however, it all seems drawn together by extraordinary talent.
The premise of the film is hyped to be a fight between Batman and Superman, however, the movie is more about Metropolis’ problems regarding Superman. This is probably due to the fact that the film is a sequel to Superman: Man of Steel. Regardless of whether it holds true to basic concepts of these characters, the movie should be able to stand alone. I don’t feel that it does. Batman is thrown into the film as a sort of public bystander with a narrow mentality. In hind sight, he seems to be a whiny, hyperactive brat. There’s no probable or obvious reasoning to the uninformed viewer behind the bat’s aggression. The film jumps from story line to story line and it’s hard to keep track of everything. Somewhere among what’s already been listed, the Lex Luthor story is brought in, Metropolis vs. Superman is touched on, and to further that the Justice League is alluded to. Aside from the movie being over packed, it is also very confusing in letting the audience know where they’re at in time. At some point you jump from what you’re seeing, to two months, to over a year and none of this is clear. Everything seems to be happening within a matter of days. It seems like a big mess of a prematurely popularized movie.
Another oddity is the use of the camera and scene jumps. The cuts do little for insinuating where you’ll be taken next. With the scenes so sparse and separated from the main story line it’s hard to understand and process what’s going on and relevant as well as what has actually happened and what remains to be false reality. There’s a lot of camera panning that adds on to length, dragging the movie out. Some of the camera shots seem unnecessary, such as the panning around buildings, and make the movie seem longer than it is or needs to be. It is typical for these shots to appear in superhero films, but so little seems to happen as far as action goes for prolonged periods of time, so these shots are just agonizing. At certain points it’s boring. There’s action, however, it doesn’t make up for the lengthy scenes. When you go to see a superhero movie, especially versus, you want constant head to head battle and a fast paced story line. That’s not what you get here. There is a lot of Superman feeling sorry for himself, creating a droll mood, and glimpses at an angsty Batman.
A big complaint remains to be the films acting and talent. Ben Affleck has received the most ridicule, but in reality he’s done his job. He plays Batman as a darker entity, which is nice, as apposed to the typical socially awkward Bruce Wayne. Affleck made a personal choice in characterization and I loved it. The rest of the movie is out of the ordinary, why shouldn’t the characters be? Another great talent was Jesse Eisenberg who plays Lex Luthor. In my familiarity, he plays comedic roles and here he’s portraying a deeper identity. He’s jumpy and energetic, not unlike his other roles, yet really portrays Luther as a character slowly descending into madness. Out of all things in the film, his characterization is one of the few things actually understood to be escalating.
This movie is less than satisfying when thinking of it in a new comer’s way. People unfamiliar with Superman or Batman wouldn’t have any trouble getting lost in the chaos. For the expert, this movie may be suitable, but for the average movie-only superhero fan, it is less than enjoyable.