Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Gal Gadot
Please note, I have done my very best to keep this review spoiler free and will reveal no more than that which is seen in the trailers – enjoy!
After causing widespread destruction to Metropolis, Superman (Cavill) is coming under heavy fire from those who condone his actions. Maniacal mogul Lex Luthor (Eisenberg) is hellbent on destroying Superman, and decides to bring the Metropolis hero face to face with Gotham’s caped crusader, Batman (Affleck) for the ultimate showdown!
I haven’t seen a film quite as divisive as this one in a long time. Rotten Tomatoes shows a huge gap between the critics scores and the fans scores, and one of them has to be right…right?! I consider myself having one foot in each of these camps so let’s get into the good bits.
What the film gets right, it gets really right! The action scenes are spectacular, both in the hand to hand combat and in the more effects heavy big action set pieces. It’s a shame a lot of it was spoilt in the trailer, but it’s still wonderful witnessing the full package! Also the Batmobile is maybe the best Batmobile we’ve seen on film so far, and there is a brilliant car chase sequence where we see it in all its glory.
This certainly feels like a film for the fans in a lot of ways, and I love that we’re thrown straight into the story with little background and establishing of characters. It is made with the assumption that the audiences know the origin stories already so there’s no need to waste unnecessary time there. We do see some of Bruce Wayne’s past briefly, but aside from this it is acknowledged that these are long established characters and it’s so nice that we can just get straight into the movie and this universe.
The cast are pretty great on the whole. Ben Affleck does a marvellous job as Bruce Wayne/Batman and firmly puts the minds of the doubters at ease. Henry Cavill seems born to play the role of Superman, and continues to build on the character established in Man of Steel.
The real surprise for me was Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Based on the trailers I really thought I was going to hate his portrayal of this character but I stand corrected! He really made the character his own and got just the right balance between menace and madness. He has very obviously taken some notes from Heath Ledger’s Joker, but it isn’t a copycat performance and he manages to be memorable in his own right. Gal Gadot didn’t have loads to do as Wonder Woman, but boy does she look the part, and she completely stole the show. Bring on the solo movie!
Tonally I really liked the look and feel of this film. It’s very dark and a far cry away from the brightness of the MCU, but I like that. It fits with this story in particular, and with the characters. Suicide Squad might be an altogether more colourful affair, but I like the look this universe is establishing for itself, and I hope they maintain their identity as it progresses.
As many feared from the trailers, this film is incredibly dense. Superman and Batman do seem to have equal amounts of screen time, but it comes across as a bit of a struggle to fit everything in. At times it feels like a hit parade, which gives great fan service but is a pretty big blow to the coherence and flow of the plot. It has a weighty run time of 151 minutes as well, and you really feel it. The first hour is a slog, but the second hour and a half is better and the payoff is absolutely worth it.
Whilst the narrative does a good job of linking the events with those that preceded it in Man of Steel, and in fact negates some of the things that film got very wrong, the plot does feel incredibly convoluted. There’s a lot of long-winded set up in place before we get to the action, and as already mentioned, the first hour does drag. Parts of it are necessary in terms of establishing characters, particularly Batman as this is the first time we’ve seen the Affleck incarnation, but I think it could’ve been trimmed down.
At times it also felt like the plot was simply there as a means of bringing the characters together and served no real purpose when viewing this as a standalone movie. It’s the perfect introduction to the characters, brings together some DC characters we’ve seen and some we will see soon, but it kind of feels like the teaser trailer for the Justice League movie. A very good teaser trailer though I admit!
I saw this movie and you should too. Whatever your opinion is on this movie, you’re guaranteed to have someone disagree with you, but isn’t that great?! It’s so boring when everyone agrees! For the most part I really enjoyed this film. It has it’s flaws but in terms of establishing the DC cinematic universe and introducing the key players, it serves it’s purpose. Definitely one to check out!
Agree with everything I’ve said, or am I a terribly misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Please let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to share as well.