It’s been widely panned but Superman Vs Batman was always going to be a guaranteed money spinner no matter who did what to the franchise. Zack Snyder heads the Man of Steel sequel with the introduction of his take on Batman, complete with another retelling of how Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered.
The official synopsis describes the plot as follows: “Fearing the actions of a god-like super hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.”
Dawn of Justice picks up from the carnage left during Man of Steel where Superman managed to win only at the cost of innocent lives and massive damage to Metropolis. From the beginning it’s ego’s at dawn as the two superheroes are pitted against each other. Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne is remodelled as a child saving brooding everyman hero in contrast to Clark Kent’s sap about town.
Everyone’s been wondering how Ben Affleck’s Batfleck would turn out and I have to admit, I didn’t hate it. He’s definitely committed to the role, emotionally and physically. With physical transformation that would make Christian Bale envious, he also conveys all the miserableness that you would imagine Bruce Wayne would carry. He was clearly on a mission to redeem himself from the Green Lantern/Daredevil days and it’s probably worked. Good for him.
In contrast, Henry Cavill’s Superman has become a bit of a drip. Now that he and Lois Lane are together, they’ve become an insufferable couple. Clark Kent spends much of the film like a lovestruck teenager and the effect of Lois Lane has somehow managed to strip him of all masculinity and replaced Superman with a wet fish.
Laurence Fishburne is recast as Daily Planet Editor-in-Chief Perry White and he still isn’t funny. Instead of providing levity and warmth, his main role seems to be storming round the news room aggressively shouting the occasional piece of vaguely journalistic sounding jargon.
Another interesting casting choice is Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and I applaud him for taking it on even if he isn’t the most convincing on screen nemesis. Eisenberg seems to have combined all the personality disorders he can in one person and is an armchair-psychiatrists buffet. Lex Luthor has become a manic, sociopathic, narcissistic lunatic…complete with physical ticks and twitches.
For DC universe fanatics there’s a split second glimpse of The Flash and Aquaman, and the plot goes some way into trying to answer the well asked question, why do non of these superheroes know each other if they all live on the same planet, some in neighbouring or even the same city? One superhero uncovered in the plot is WonderWoman (Gal Gadot) who seems to be a one woman music video, every time she is on screen she somehow has her own Mad Max: Fury Road style soundtrack. She also seems to flirt with every camera lens, including the hidden surveillance camera whose footage she’s so desperate to bury. She does have an enviously great wardrobe though.
The plot is messy and disjointed, it jumps from plot to subplot to flashbacks to fight and explosions, there isn’t much to keep audiences invested and it’s 2hrs 33mins of jumping from one completely implausible dramatic CGI event to the next.
Despite it being a somewhat entertaining film which leaves the audience with little time to catch their breath, there’s so much happening on the surface that trying to get past it to any substance is almost impossible. It also has a really narrowed its target audience. Well loved superhero movies are a family film affair, Superman vs Batman: Dawn of Justice is too old for the kids but much too juvenile for adults. It’s as though it’s only been made with teenage boys in mind and they, I’m sure, will thoroughly enjoy it.
Superman Vs Batman: Dawn of Justice opens in cinemas in the UK on 25th March 2016