Okay, it’s landed on the back of two years of solid hype, and the critics haven’t been kind. But I’ve never met anyone who has stayed away from a superhero flick because a critic didn’t like it, so I don’t think a few slatings are going to sink this one; there’s a billion dollar franchise riding on it, after all.
But I have to say that I agree with the critics; there’s plenty I didn’t like about this film, and not enough I did. It is quite bad, though not the worst superhero movie I’ve ever seen; I think the Fantastic Four’s last outing still holds that title.
Okay, first of all, let’s talk about the length: this film came in at a shade over two and half hours, and they could have easily cut a good half hour of that. It started very slowly with a recap of Batman’s origin (inevitable, though I don’t know why) and a few fast scenes featuring Superman being… well… God, basically. The cuts were so fast that you couldn’t possibly get a handle on the characters as they whipped in and out, saying very little but wrecking whole cities in their wake. The acting was uninspired, as was the script, and the special effects were so frequently over the top that I came pretty jaded after the first half hour or so (Superman saving a rocket; Superman towing a ship through the arctic…). We had a flash forward to the future, for no apparent reason, and lots of symbolic dream sequences that really didn’t help with the overall feeling that the movie was thrashing about, looking for a plot thread to hang on to. I got the impressions that the level of on-screen destruction was trying to hide the fact that there was little else going on.
Wonder Woman was shoehorned in at various points, introducing yet another element that only made the whole thing appear a little bit messy… and long.
The battle scenes were brilliantly choreographed and magnificent to watch for the most part. The best by far was the fight scene featuring Batman against unpowered criminals. Superman doesn’t really do fighting, but then he doesn’t have to – he’s powerful enough to destroy the planet on his own, so what’s the point?
And I think that’s the main problem with the film; the players (and I find this with a lot of DC characters) have no humanity, and this makes them very difficult to identify with or care about. There is no fragility or humour in this movie and I think that’s why it fell short for me.
Will it kill the franchise? I hope not, because I think the directors/producers/scriptwriters can look at the criticism and turn it around for the next one (featuring The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg by the looks of it). If they do their homework, the next outing should be a hundred times better. Remember: humour and humanity.
However, I didn’t really like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – so four out of ten.