Saturday, 26 March 2016

REVIEW: Batman v. Superman

The long awaited on-screen clash of The Dark Knight and The Man of Steel is already here! This film is directed by Zack Snyder, the director of Man of Steel & 300, and it stars Henry Cavill as Superman, Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. It takes place 18 months after the event of Man of Steel, the world is both cheering and questioning the existence of Superman on Earth, whether he should be a hero or be restrained.

To me, the movie was okay. I was definitely excited about seeing Batman and Superman on screen together for the first time, duking it out, sounds so excited. After the movie, my feelings are mixed. Part of me love this, part of me dislike this film. This definitely feels like a Zack Snyder's films, but it is not hard to think that it is time for someone else to sit on the director's chair to take this franchise into new direction.

Let's talk about what I like about Batman v. Superman.

First of all, the castings. I think Batman v. Superman has one of the best casting lineups in recent summer blockbusters. Henry Cavill is solid as Superman, Ben Affleck proved his doubters wrong and Gal Gadot got her Wonder Woman right. Plus, there are Jeremy Irons, Laurence Fishburne & Amy Adams are great actors too.

Ben Affleck is a really great Batman, not the best, but a really great one. I was on the fence about his casting when the news was announced, but after the movie, I am impressed by his performance. Gal Gadot, despite her lack of screen time did convince me that she can be a great Wonder Woman in the future. Alfred, played by Jeremy Irons, is a different interpretation, but a amazing performance nonetheless. Jeremy Irons' Alfred is smart, knows his stuff around the tech around him and timing of his sarcasm is really spot on. All of them are spot on.

Similar with other Snyder's films, action set piece takes centre stage in Batman v. Superman. The action sequences are mightily impressive and the visual effects are dazzling. Seeing all the characters going all out is a great cinematic experience and exciting to watch. Batman facing off Superman are impressive and believable, it feels immersive.

Now, move on the things I dislike.

The film lacks cohesiveness. Throughout the movie, me and friends think that the movie doesn't know where it wants to focus more on. At one moment it feels like Man of Steel, Batman origin at another, Lex Luthor the next, Justice League movie right after. There are many scenes that felt like it should be left out so that the relevant plot points have room to grow. I wish that they focus more on the continuation of Man of Steel, where the world wants Superman to face the repercussions of destroying half of Metropolis while fighting General Zod, but this story was never mentioned again in the second half of the movie.

The movie really feels like a movie made just to introduce the audience to the Justice League world. Whilst focusing aspect of Batman v. Superman, the Justice League somehow felt like an afterthought. I'm not trying to spoil anything, the way the film trying to tie in other characters from DC Comics felt so forced and shoehorn that it felt unnecessary. I would rather remove that scene and trade for more Man of Steel and Batman moral aspects of the movie. Not to mention that the movie forgets to challenge Batman's moral code with no remorse. I don't mind the killing, but there's no justifications.

Despite its stellar castings, some of them were bit off. Jesse Eisenberg was unconvincing as Lex Luthor, his performance was constant overacting on almost every aspect of the movie, very unnatural and cringe worthy. The movie also doesn't know how to balance out Amy Adams' Lois Lane. at one moment she is a strong character, and after that she's a damsel in distress. Some of the scenes don't really need her presence really.

Overall, Batman v. Superman is a mixed movie. In one hand, it is an absolute visual treat to the audience. It was dazzling seeing these heroes duking it out! On the other, the movie itself lacks cohesiveness and consistency to tell a good story, as there are too many major plot points felt forced and rushed. It's such a shame really, this material has potential. It's really a Zack Snyder's movie, a very good visual director, but he is very inconsistent in telling stories. If DC and Warner Bros. want the Justice League movie have a great layer of depth, Zack Snyder might not be the person to bring the franchise forward. However, they have another good director right in front of them that worth considering, Ben Affleck.

SCORE: 2.5/5

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