When the military needs to make a tough call – like approving the launch of nuclear missiles – they can rely on a clear, secure connection from Nortel. When billionaire Bruce Wayne needs to race through the rolling dust of a Metropolis battlefield, no car can handle the potholes like a Jeep. And when Wonder Woman has had enough of this big city crap, she knows a comfortable seat and welcoming staff are just a click away with Turkish Airlines. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the baby rocket of DC’s cinematic universe but, like all babies (and rockets), it takes a long-term commitment, a village, and a handful of commercial sponsors to raise it into something people will look up to. Like a bird… or a plane… or an asteroid the size of Australia…
Back in 2013, Superman (Henry Cavill) saved a city – and killed most of the inhabitants in the process. It turns out that one of the buildings that broke his fall belonged to Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) who, despite being Batman, was powerless to save thousands of his employees. Two years later the country still worships the best Mr. Universe to date, but some are beginning to think a contingency plan might be a good idea, just in case their lovable rogue goes… rogue. CEO Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is (secretly?) at the helm of this movement. He plans to import a very large chunk of glowing, green, un-copyrighted “stone”/“mineral”/“rock” in order to keep Superman under control. While the stone makes its way through customs, Luthor uses one of Wayne Enterprises’ ex-employees who was traumatized by Superman’s actions to stir up hostility between Wayne and Superman. All this in the hopes that maybe one vigilante will take out the other. Layers of backup plans turn Lex Luthor into the craziest, most prepared man in Metropolis. During the plots that just won’t stop, Batman spends his personal time digging up reasons to hate Superman, while Superman tries to convince his editor that he doesn’t know enough about basketball to write a compelling article.
After this first hour or so things get a little fuzzy. Batman swears death to Superman and Superman tries to talk sense into a man encased in an impenetrable metal helmet with no ear holes. Luthor plays all his cards and ruins a few designer suits to build another backup plan that will destroy Superman just in case his other two schemes fall through. It’s a mystery why Luthor’s secret, ultimate, alien-targeting weapon isn’t Plan A. There are several more plot holes on top of this which push characters into doing what the script tells them to do, rather than what they as characters are driven to do… which sort of takes the fuel out of that rocket I mentioned earlier.
Yes Batman v Superman is disorganized and blurry around the edges (visually as well as conceptually), but it’s not too late for the actors. Batfleck surprised me – he really did. He stoically carries the kind of aura that says, “I have seen things”. What’s maddening is what the film has done with our iconic character. We’re dragged along on not one but two surprise dream sequences that do nothing but throw Geekster eggs like hot grenades. Why does traumatized, little Bruce run past a tombstone marked “Robin” during his parents’ funeral? – Wait, never mind, it’s a dream. Why is Batman (the strict no-guns guy) spitting out bullets like watermelon seeds? – Never mind; it’s another dream. Or is it? Batman v Superman has to bring Batman up to superhuman level, so what do they do? They discredit the most popular anti-gun advocate comic books have ever championed and give Butflex a grenade launcher.
But like I said, the performances aren’t that bad. Most of the time. Gal Gadot is a champ and I’m actually looking forward to seeing more of her as Wonder Woman. What’s truly frustrating is the jellybean they chose for Lex Luthor. Luthor isn’t the strong, manipulative, regal genius we remember – he’s Yoshi from Mario Cart. Eisenberg would have been better cast as the Joker than the CEO of Slytherin House.
Batman v Superman gives both heroes equal screen time but doesn’t cut back on the filler stuff in between. I for one would rather skip over another Batman origin story and instead hear how Wayne Manor turned into a charred, empty shell. Or what happened to the Robin who wore that vandalized, memorialized suit? Batman v Superman is a foggy version of what a hero movie should be. It’s unnecessarily long and fails to make its wobbly, complex plot tight and interesting. I’m very sorry to say I think it’s a 4/10.