What kind of hero does the word need? This is the question that humanity faces in the wake of the destruction left by Zod and Superman during their battle at the end of Man of Steel. After experiencing the death of his parents as a young boy, Batman vs Superman follows Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) alongside the events of Metropolis in attempts to reach his financial building as the city falls apart. After the dust has settled, Bruce makes it his mission to protect the world against Superman and his casualties of war. In another corner, mastermind Lex Luthor secretly hatches a plan to bring down the last son of Krypton through the power of deception, manipulation, and crime forcing the Amazonian warrior Wonder Woman to intervene.
Loosely based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, BvS follows suite like you’d imagine bringing to life the epic clash between Batman and Superman pulling off some fun gags and thanks in part to Superman’s morals, director Zack Snyder is able to pull off a believable confrontation between a well trained and armored man and basically a god. Unfortunately waiting for the 35-minute showdown you have to dredge through 2-hours of incoherent thoughts that barely add up. Left in the wake of actions by Superman, Bruce’s anger seems way to forced to have been a hero for 20 years and now is finally having a breakdown of his morals. Since the movie doesn’t do a good enough job letting us know who Bruce/Batman is and what he has done in the past, you are left seeing him as almost as the lunatic nutcase rather than being the calculated detective from publications past. Hints of the possible murder of his sidekick Robin at the hands of the Joker thanks to a marked up costume hanging in his lair, the audience is never informed by Batman’s past but rather sees that he is brutal and psychotic enough to brand his victims.
Snyder’s Batman also happens to be one of the most reckless killers ever seen. Many people have died fighting Batman, it is disappointing that Snyder adds these reckless moments and takes away his shred of humanity. Batman’s quest for justice has always been his unspoken rule, which makes him a hero. Bruce Wayne’s campaign to confront Superman’s recklessness, might just be his blind hatred and the killing seems out of place.
Where BvS gets Batman correct, is with the casting of Ben Affleck. He brings out the broodiness that comes with the lonely life that Batman leads, while showing hints of his compassionate side. Affleck clearly has gained a ton of muscle in training for the role and it showed in Batman’s fighting technique. One fight scene in particular felt right out of one a Arkham video game featuring Batman stringing victims to the rafters, as he takes out a series of guys in brutal, swift movements, using all of his surroundings. Though his motivations seem muddled in BvS, hopefully Affleck brings more personality to the character later in the franchise.
In Man of Steel, Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent/Superman was coping with being an alien from another planet, a man split between two worlds. This time around, his humanity is questioned by the world with all the the casualties left in his wake, while saving the planet. Cavill’s Superman lacks Superman’s boy scout nature, in trying to tackling a problem head on. He was quick to introduce himself to the military in Man of Steel, but does not explain his side of the situation until the public demands answers. He has never had a chance to tell his side of the story.
The entire film, is just a set up to an epic, overall enjoyable, final confrontation. The storyline is a hit and miss. Gal Gadot did a fantastic job bringing Diana Prince/Wonder Woman to life and it is a treat, when she appears in full costume to kick major butt. With around 16 lines, she manages to bring a real mystery to the character, which helps set up a standalone prequel film due out June 2017. Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor however is an complete train wreck. Eisenberg’s portrayal of the iconic character is more of an unstable quick witted scientist, rather than a manipulating power mad semi-political figure in the media’s eye. Rumor behind the casting choice is that Eisenberg was selected as the Riddler, which would have made more sense.
It was only a matter of time before we saw these two behemoths come face-to-face on the big screen, but their paths have always narrowly miss. Yes, this showdown is epic but the final conflict creates an overall lackluster experience. With Marvel following its source material closely, BvS will disappoint those who expect the same treatment. It will be interesting to see how they adapt their current and future projects as the harsh criticism continues to pour out.