Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Jesse Eisenburg, Gal Gadot
Director: Zack Synder
Gotham City is still proliferated with baddies, the attempted vigilante actions of Batman appear not to be working, so much so that the dark knight is infuriated to the point of fire branding his victims with a bat sign. Superman, in (presumably) nearby Metropolis is not impressed. But then Batman is not best pleased either; an alien with the ability to single-handedly crucify humanity saving people as and when he feels necessary, is not his cup of tea. It’s fair to say the superheroes are generally not pleased with each other. Things are getting tense and there’s going to be repercussions. Add to that corporate super-villain Lex Luther (luckily the joker and penguin are apparently on holiday) trying to create world-wide mayhem after his discovery of Kryptonite-heavy remains in the middle of the Indian ocean and things seem to be getting messy.
Which is ironic, because the narrative of this movie is an utter and absolute disaster. The first hour or so flows quite nicely but because there are so many different storylines trying to be told here it quickly becomes entirely confusing; the superheroes annoyance for one other, Luthur’s evil interjections, the senators and publics judgements and discriminations about superheroes, Wonder Woman’s completely arbitrary appearance. It never ends. The film rapidly starts to make absolutely no sense whatsoever. It’s not helped by ridiculous dream sequences which add nothing to the storyline at all and are edited so seamlessly into the main plot that it’s impossible to know whether they’re real or not until the dreamer wakes up, at which point you realise you’ve annoyingly missed a toilet break.
Possibly the most surprising part of the film is that, for all the pre-release anger on the Twittersphere, Ben Affleck works really well as the grumpy, world-weary Batman. In fact, he’s probably the most realistic dark knight put to screen so far. Jeremy Irons works perfectly too as Alfred, although he disappears from the movie for such long periods it’s easy to forget that’s he’s even in it. Cavill does as well as is possible with the standard Man of Steel dullard Superman script he is given, increasingly making Christopher Reeve look like Daniel Day Lewis with every outing. Clark Kent is almost non-existent.
Eisenburg’s Lex Luthor’s nervous twitching and ‘mmm’ings feel more like a Mark Zuckerberg keynote speech should Facebooks stock be hit by a sudden MySpace resurgence than a major super villains ponderings. His plans at times seem entirely haphazard and increasingly cement him as the most unimaginative super villain since Chistophe Waltz’s obsessive data scientist Blofeld in SPECTRE.
Apart from teeing up for the next movie, there really is absolutely no reason for Wonder Woman (Gadot) to be in this film whatsoever. The hugely mindless last fifteen minutes feel redundant when the title fight scene should have been enough to bring proceedings to a close, Synder obviously feeling that another gratuitous CGI coda was required to finalise the movie, possibly to convince himself that he’d spent the studios money well.
Bizarrely however, for all of the aforementioned nonsensical bunkum, Batman v Superman is generally, yet incongruously, enjoyable, although it’s wholly incomprehensible to quantify why. At a ridiculous two and half hours long, it should drag like a two legged dog, yet bizarrely it doesn’t feel particularly lengthy.
Batman v Superman is bloated, ridiculous, has an utterly incoherent plot and script, and at a cost of a quarter of a billion dollars feels thrown together and hurriedly edited. It feels more like a bridge to the second chorus rather than anything deserving of its own radio mainstay. Synder desperately needs to sort his shit out before attempting another episode in this series, yet for all that, it just about delivers as much as is necessary without being an absolute disaster.
5 / 10