Going into “Batman v Superman,” the story should have been straight-forward establishing the reasons why Superman and Batman are at odds before fighting. Instead, this is only one of the multiple stories director Zack Snyder (300, Man of Steel) felt the need to include. The other stories told include a solo Batman film, a Justice League set-up film and a solo Superman film.
This wouldn’t have been an issue except the structure of the over-all movie is so poorly edited and cloudy that none of these smaller “films” have a proper story arc or lead to anything important. The weakest of which is the “Batman v Superman” story where the motives of Batman fighting are clear but Superman’s aren’t clearly defined until the last second. This combined with a lack of previous interaction lead to a fight that feels like it was rushed to with a bizarre conclusion.
So much of what happens in “Batman v Superman” falls into what was mentioned above, minimal development leading to no attachment or payoff. This can be accredited in part to Zack Snyder’s directorial duties to make sure to film the studio’s vision before his own. The majority of the blame has to fall on original writer David S. Goyer (Dark Knight Trilogy) who provided the unfocused script with terrible dialogue. The dialogue that was so bad, writer Chris Terrio (Argo) was brought in late to fix what he could before the final cut.
Mentioning Zack Snyder, he once again sticks to the dark tone that has been established in the DC cinematic universe and once again proves that these films work with it. Snyder also proves that he is still one of the best visual and action directors out there today. This movie is great to look at and the visual flair added to certain scenes really keeps the movie fresh which is important with a 2hr 31min runtime. The action is truly astonishing as well, with each set piece crafted to perfection and playing out as a brutal masterpiece.
With how unfocused and poorly structured the story is along with the still mostly bad dialogue the performances are somehow great. Henry Cavill (Clark Kent/Super-man) and Amy Adams (Lois Lane) are the weakest of the ensemble only because their characters suffered the most from the writing. Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of Lex Luthor channels the two faced nature of the character well but, he is still able to add new depth to the character that ends up being quite refreshing.
The best moments of his performance still come from the dark, menacing moments akin to every other Lex Luthor, both in comics and on screen.
The rest of the cast performs excellently as well with Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, and Gal Gadot all deserving praise however the single best part about this film is Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Affleck brings the not only the best portrayal of Batman to screen but also Bruce Wayne.
The dark, tired, rundown portrayal of Batman that Affleck plays is a perfect execution of what Batman is and how he should act (except for the killing). His Bruce Wayne on the other hand is a great foil to how Batman appears on screen. The way that Affleck is able to provide separate ideals and personalities to each part is something that has been missing from past iterations and is a large part as to why Affleck is the major standout from the movie.
Zack Snyder’s “greatest gladiator match in the history of the world” doesn’t seemed concerned with focusing on a story or script that isn’t particularly compelling. On top of that, the poor editing causes the multiple stories to become hard to follow and care about.
The cast is so determined at delivering the lackluster material however, that they are able to eclipse those faults and keep the audience engaged and invested in something that they shouldn’t be. Throw in another fantastic score from Hans Zimmer with the help of Junkie XL and some great world building and hints at what’s to come and you’re left with a good superhero movie that promises future greatness.