Here’s one of the major issues with the movie: both Ben Affleck, who plays Batman, and Henry Cavill, who plays Superman, are atrocious.
While Cavill can physically pull off being both Superman and Clark Kent, moving back and forth from the role of superhero to the shy young journalist, does not display one charismatic quality. Watching Cavill try to outsmart Batman or flirt with Lois Lane, played by Amy Adams, is torturous.
Affleck on the other hand, in my opinion is the worst part of the movie. He is very stiff and lifeless, appearing overburdened by his own existence. Bruce Wayne is supposed to be charming, mysterious and wicked, but Affleck does not capture any of that. This is an angst-ridden teenager in a 30-year-old man’s body, and that conflicting portrayal kills any momentum the character may have had in the movie.
To quickly compare, while Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight trilogy was portrayed an as extremely serious character, Bale managed to bring a sense of lighthearted humor to the role when necessary. There was a witty banter and sense of humanity within his Batman.
That does not exist with Affleck. Instead, he goes from being angry to sullen to hopeless and back to angry over the span of two and a half hours. After about an hour of watching his character cycle through the same three or four emotions, boredom kicks in and any sympathy that may have existed for the character is gone, replaced instead with a strong sense of disdain for Batman.
It’s through the two incredibly weak performances, however, that two other characters can shine.
Jessie Eisenberg, while at times obnoxious, delivers a powerful performance as Lex Luthor. Like other Eisenberg roles, the actor delivers rapid fire dialogue and uses fantastic facial expressions to accentuate the lines he recites. In a film like Batman v Superman, where Batman and Superman are sluggish and mechanical, Eisenberg’s young villain is a welcome breath of fresh air that manages to feel maniacal and comedic all at once.
It is not an understatement that Gal Gadot’s wonder woman is the most exciting aspect of the film. The actress plays the super heroine fantastically, using every aspect of the comic book warrior to her advantage. She is unbelievably strong, fiercely independent and an utter joy to watch whenever her character appeared in the frame.
Unfortunately, she was not on the screen too long, and the lack of her presence in the film affects the entire feature. Instead, audiences are left with watching Batman and Superman stare at one another and deliver some of the worst dialogue ever written.
Besides Cavill and Affleck’s performance, one of the biggest problems the film encounters is its lack of cohesiveness. Unlike Marvel, which used numerous movies and post credit sequences to introduce its universe of character, Snyder, the director, uses this one film to try and catch up. In the process, the Batman v Superman loses its momentum, dragging your attention from one story to the next without much warning or explanation. It’s disorienting and unmemorable, leaving one to question why certain arcs were included in the first place.
Snyder uses other storytelling techniques, like flashbacks and dream sequences that not only manage to fall flat in the film, but are also pretty confusing at times. It feels like the director is so focused on nailing the visual effects of the film and the fight of choreography that the narrative aspect is completely ignored, used only as a way to allow for more explosions and destruction on screen.
It is difficult to understand how Snyder created the film he envisioned in his head. The majority of the time spent watching this movie is trying to figure out where he wants to go next and wobbling alongside characters on the screen as they move from scene to scene.
It is a visually stunning, disappointing disaster that’s bursting at the seams with a promise that’s never fully realized. It barely scratches the surface of mediocre.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is proof, yet again, that Snyder is a visionary craftsman that can’t helm a story. There’s too much wrong with the movie for it to be saved, even by strong performances from Gadot and Eisenberg. Even worse, a movie that’s two and a half hours long should have enough excitement interjected throughout to carry the audience’s attention, but that does not happen. Instead, I found myself restless and checking the time often, hoping the movie would end. It wasn’t a painful experience, but it was a waste of $10 and disappointing to say in the least.