With the comic book-to-film universe getting more crowded by the day, the two primary production studios will need to take further risks to entice viewers. As we saw with last month’s release of Marvel’s juggernaut “Deadpool”, superhero films can be vastly enjoyable for their serious, crime-fighting comic book personas as well as provide audiences with lighthearted and humorous moments…the exact combo not only invoked by Marvel Studios in last year’s “Ant-Man” but nearly each of its movies since “Iron Man” way back in 2008. Attempting to play catch-up to the superior Marvel Collection, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Studios stumble miserably with this “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” head-scratcher.
“Man of Steel” (2013) director Zack Snyder continues his Superman helm in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”, sliding two-time Oscar winner Ben Affleck into Christian Bale’s former role as the Dark Knight. A sensational cast from top-to-bottom, including Henry Cavill (as Superman), Amy Adams and Academy Award winners Holly Hunter and Jeremy Irons, falls victim to a surprisingly weak script. Very weak. Completely baffling is why the 5-time Oscar-nominated Adams continues to stake claim to her Lois Lane part.
The cinematic problems with “Batman v Superman” are drastic and plentiful. Director Snyder never establishes a believable animosity between the two main superheroes. A garbled plot never comes into focus, leaving impatient moviegoers with boring storyboards on information we already know. For instance, why the Daily Planet’s Editor-in-Chief Perry White can’t find the whereabouts of reporters Lois Lane (Adams) or Clark Kent and the often repeated circumstances behind the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents.
Key relationships have been groomed nicely in past DC Comics movies, like Bale’s one-liner exchanges between Batman and the stealthy Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman) or Bruce Wayne’s rapport with his wise butler, Alfred (played perfectly by Michael Caine). Both bonds brought laughter and excitement to the big-screen…something sorely missing in this DC Comics chapter.
Only after this dull, diluted plot gets simplified down to a hostage situation within the final forty-five minutes, does “Batman v Superman” begin to pack any sort of punch. By this time, however, it’s way too late to matter. At over 2 hours and 30 minutes long, this film deserves to be called “Bladders v Superheroes: Dawn of Anatomy”. Thankfully, being a DC Comics brand, there’s no need to stay for any extra scenes as the credits roll.
The film’s two positives are Batfleck’s inaugural performance and that of former model and Miss Israel, Gal Gadot (from the “Fast and the Furious” film franchise). Both stars can be absolved of blame in this sad tale, where each give us glimpses into their serious potential in future DC Comics productions—provided a script rises to the same level of quality.
With Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” debuting in just over a month, followed by “Doctor Strange” this Thanksgiving and “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” coming out early next year, DC Comics needs to take note of their competitor’s formula of success; better storylines, character development and humor. Without these, the doldrums will continue at DC Entertainment with “The Flash”, “Aquaman” and “Cyborg” all scheduled for release in 2018.
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality. Its running time is 2 hours and 31 minutes.
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