It’s the fight of the century for comic book fans. ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ has finally landed in theaters but is it any good? That’s the million dollar question or for Warner Bros. the billionaire dollar question. Director Christopher Nolan is long gone from the DC universe and in all fairness resuscitated the popularity of Batman with the Dark Knight Trilogy. Enter the dynamic duo Zack and Deborah Snyder who run the production company Cruel & Unusual Films. The fate of the DC franchise literally falls on their shoulders. It’s safe to say that whether you think the new film sucks or not, they are business savvy enough to know the primary mission at hand. Their job is to make sure the DC Comics film franchise grabs some of that profitable cinematic pie Marvel Studios enjoys.
There is no doubt that Batman v Superman will solidify DC Comics future. There are already two ‘Justice League’ films slated for 2017 and 2019. Other superheroes are introduced to fans throughout the movie such as ‘The Flash’ and ‘Wonder Woman.’ More on her later since Israeli actress Gal Gadot makes an exciting cameo in the picture. That said, what’s the verdict on ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice?’ The bottom line is that it’s too long and poorly written. If you’re a diehard comic book fan, you won’t care. There is enough CGI and fireworks to keep you entertained while munching on fistfuls of popcorn. For those that care about story and tone, the screenplay written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer is humorless, gloomy and paper thin. Goyer is no stranger to the superhero universe. It just feels like more of the same with a cast full of one-dimensional characters.
The whole premise of the feud between Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill) lies on the previous film (also written by Goyer) ‘The Man of Steel.’ Bruce Wayne/Batman blames Superman for all of the collateral damage caused by the fight between him and General Zod. As the film opens, we see Bruce Wayne running around Manhattan while Superman and General Zod are battling and crashing into buildings. It is shot like the 9/11 attacks. Wayne sees one of his buildings that is full of people leveled. Right off the bat, Snyder gives off the same dark tone that Nolan did so effectively well in the Dark Knight trilogy. The entire film is just a set-up for the ultimate slugfest between the Cape Crusader and the Man of Steel. Granted, that’s the point but do we have to sit through a flashback of Bruce’s parents’ murder again? Of course we do for the hundredth time.
Now before you read any further, there will be a spoiler lobbed at you. This is an important plot point so fair warning. There is a McGuffin that happens to make these two superheroes best buddies. Batman realizes that Superman’s mom has the same first name Martha (Diane Lane). So just to make sure the audience gets it, Wayne repeats the name “Martha” several times throughout the next 2 and a half hours. So now that Batman and Superman are besties, the film needs to introduce a villain to battle. Enter Jesse Eisenberg who portrays Lex Luthor as a psychopathic Mark Zuckerberg. It is the most annoying one-note performance in the entire film. Out of some goo, he creates this oversized monster named Doomsday made out of Zod’s old DNA. This gives us an opportunity to look at Wonder Woman (Gadot) as she joins forces with Batman and Superman to battle this insipid ghoul. Her appearance is actually the most refreshing aspect of the film since we don’t know much about her.
Batman scoffs, “We’re all criminals.” Even Superman joins the pessimism bandwagon when he says, “No one stays good in this world.” Why do these films have to be so bleak? Even the cinematography by Larry Fong continues with a blue and grey color palette. Both Cavill and Affleck definitely spent hours of time in the gym pumping iron but they are given little to work with here. They are both completely devoid of any sense of humor and that’s a shame. Here’s a suggestion to Zack Snyder and company: Lighten up and let’s make the DC Comics universe fun again. Check out the official trailer https://youtu.be/fis-9Zqu2Ro.