Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice director Zach Snyder must have been under an enormous amount of pressure to deliver something special for Warner Bros. With no fewer than 5 spin-off films either in production or announced, it’s pretty obvious how much the studio has riding on the success of the film in their attempt to cash-in like other studios have with the X-Men and Avengers franchises. With the success of an entire franchise riding on one film’s shoulders, how does it hold up? Meh….
Initially focusing more on the Batman character, Snyder sets a foundation for a slightly different Bruce Wayne- more mature, yet with a more pragmatic set of moral standards than previous incarnations, which I found a little hypocritical since it is Batman who takes such a rigid stance against Superman for his perceived threat against humanity. But the big question on everyone’s mind is: how is Ben Affleck? The answer, I was relieved to find, is quite good. Affleck assumes the role impressively and should quiet most critics. Though Znyder forces us to sit through the retelling of Wayne’s story from childhood including the death of his parents yet again, I do see the point. It does contribute to the feeling that the film is very long though (which it is), but the way he started out the film by re-showing the battle with Superman and Zod as a witness at street level is brilliant.
Superman’s battle with Zod has put him in the hot seat, and though many in Metropolis worship him as their hero, many see him as a loose cannon who is accountable to no one. This includes Senator Finch (Holly Hunter), whose uneasy alliance with Lex Luther (Jesse Eisenberg) sets up a series of unfortunate events that solidifies Batman’s resolve to take Superman down. Eisenberg’s take on Luther, though not unique at all for Eisenberg, is quite a unique take on the character which I liked. Other plotlines are introduced (some with the obvious purpose of setting a foundation for the future franchise), but all together the core idea that to Batman, Superman represents such a grave threat to humanity that he must be completely destroyed is just too thin and doesn’t quite wash, and the attempts to strike political chords relevant to the current climate resonate as too blatant and hollow. Luckily, the idea is abandoned (surprisingly quickly) and the two band together (along with Wonder Woman) to fight a new super-foe, which is where BvS: DOJ unfortunately crosses over into standard superhero fare. Though visually spectacular, it becomes extremely formulaic and I would have liked to see the film carry through to the end with a less predictable route.
Thanks to his unique visual style and outstanding combat sequences, you can definitely say with BvS:DOJ that Snyder get’s the job done, and whether we needed one or not, a new franchise is born.
::: Renowned For Sound Technical Director and Film Reviewer ::: Robert is an IT geek, movie fan and part-time movie reviewer/editor. Robert also looks after the ‘behind the scenes’ technical elements of Renowned For Sound.