There’s a lot to be said about Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Two thirds of the movie are quite enjoyable – a more grounded take on the origins of Kal-El.

It’s safe to say that a majority of movie goers felt as flat as the ruins of Metropolis with its final act of utter Bayhem. It was hoped that the follow-up would take lessons from Man of Steel’s mistakes and deliver a more rounded story.

Sadly, that’s not the case with Batman v Superman. It follows up with Man of Steel simply by creating all new mistakes. And it’s a crying shame because there’s some cracking talent on screen here and a majority of the time they just feel wasted with a script that has barely any idea what to do with them.

All the main players from Man of Steel have already proven themselves and once again they all play their parts well. Naturally, all eyes are on Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne. And the man does well. He’s take on the dark knight is certainly more brutal, but I’d say that was a given what with Zack Snyder calling the shots from behind the camera.

Unlike Bales Batman, Affleck appears to take a more “Frank Miller The Dark Knight Returns” inspired approach. He’s a veteran of the crime fighting world, weary and beginning to feel his age. Jeremy Irons also does a solid job as Alfred, providing a 100% of what little comic relief the film offers with various quips and taunts directed at his boss.

Gal Gadot as Wonder WomanWe also get our first big screen taste of Wonder Woman, with Gal Gadot packing plenty of punch as Diana Prince. As far as her solo film is concerned, things are looking promising. Her presence in the film is certainly one of the highlights.

One of the more intriguing characters is Jesse Esienbergs Lex Luthor. It’s certainly an original, if slightly odd direction to take the character. While Jesse Esienbergs chews the scenery with as much maniacal glee imaginable, his motives are never entirely clear.

And that’s a big problem with BvS (I can’t be bothered to keep typing it out now, sorry). We barely have any idea of what the characters motivations are. They do things that make no sense at all and they somehow know things that are never even fully explained. The audience are just expected to accept it.

It doesn’t help that the narrative relies heavily on visions and dreams (no doubt Warners laying the foundations and setting up future instalments within the DC universe). It does it to such an extent that on several occasions I wasn’t even sure whether I was watching a genuine scene or if Bruce Wayne had nodded off again. Frustrating.

A little more humour would not have gone a miss either. While I appreciate DC is pitching itself as a darker cinematic alternative to Marvel, it doesn’t need to do things so earnestly, with barely any light relief from anyone.

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Ultimately, BvS is a disjointed film. It feels like it’s too busy setting up the rest of the DC universe, that it almost forgot to tell it’s own story properly. In many ways, it felt a bit like Marvels Iron Man 2, a film that suffered from similar problems.

And I can’t decide whether BvS would benefit from either a trim or an extended edition (which is due out later apparently). I even wonder if the film could’ve been better presented as two instalments – there’s so much exposition and plodding crammed in, an extended running time might just allow the characters and proceedings that room to breathe.

But in its present state, it’s just too cluttered, with too many characters and too many story strands, that it just doesn’t know what to focus on.

Which is a crying shame, because visually the film is a treat and a majority of the cast do a solid job with a script that offers them very little in return.  You can see all the hard work that has gone into the film.  But essentially it proves that without a decent script, you can’t have a decent movie.

Of course, none of this will matter financially.  Movie goers will still see this in their droves.  But if the next instalment falls short like it’s predecessors, it does beg the question on how soon the cinematic superhero bubble will burst.

Like Man of Steel, BvS suffers from the same problems… and then some. Cavill’s Superman has been presented as a symbol of hope, but truth be told I’m not holding out much hope for Zack Snyder’s Justice League unless the story telling improves substantially.

 

 

Movie Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
The Good
  • Cast are solid
  • Batfleck fears unfounded
  • Hello Wonder Woman, finally!
The Bad
  • Cluttered story
  • Character motivation is all over the place
3.0Overall Score

About The Author

Colin lives in south west London. Looks like a hobbit and has been watching films ever since he saw Return of the Jedi at the age of 3. You can follow Colin on Twitter @obicolkenobi.