Batman v Superman Is Terrible, but Don’t Blame Ben Affleck
There’s a reason why Ben Affleck looks a bit sad these days, as his latest attempt at jump starting a superhero franchise, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, is taking a beating from critics.
While the reviews have been far from kind, it’s not Affleck’s fault that this head-scratching take on DC Comics’ iconic heroes has fallen with a resounding thud. In fact, none of the actors deserve any blame for the failures of Batman v Superman.
Affleck’s performance, in particular, is actually one of the few highlights of the film. The Boston-bred star beautifully balances the Dark Knight’s dual personas. He intelligently amps up the brutal intensity while donning the cape and cowl, which is perfectly juxtaposed against Bruce Wayne’s billionaire playboy tendencies (perhaps a wink and a nod to Affleck’s own, real-life vices).
Many fans are already calling Affleck one of the best Batmans (Batmen?) to grace the silver screen, and they may just be right. He’s a badass in every sense of the word, and it should get people excited for a solo Batfleck flick.
So, why are critics hating on Batman v Superman?
Well, if you’re looking for the man behind this dismal dud of a moviegoing experience, look no further than director Zack Snyder. Like the scene where Congress holds Superman accountable for the destruction of Metropolis, Snyder should be brought before a committee of critics and fans to answer for his cinematic wrongdoings.
First and foremost, the film plays like a dark version of a Michael Bay movie. There’s plenty of CGI mayhem and destruction, but also an incomprehensible and overly-complicated plot.
Rather than adapting one, strong comic book storyline, the filmmakers grabbed all of the worst elements from several popular arcs, put them in a blender, and splattered the atrocious results across a screen. There’s an over-reliance of certain comic book clichés, like seeing the murder of Batman’s parents—which has been done to death—or Lois Lane’s (Amy Adams) portrayal as essentially just a damsel in distress, for Superman to save.
The story is so disjointed that it will constantly make you wonder how you got from point A to point B. On top of that, it forces the idea of man grappling with the allure of power down viewers’ throats, without ever fully exploring that theme.
Sure, screenwriters David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight) and Chris Terrio (Argo) deserve some of the flack for the film’s lackluster script and heavy-handed dialogue. But it’s hard to believe this team of talented writers could turn in such a soulless story without some meddling from Snyder and, of course, Warner Brothers Studios.
To Snyder’s credit, the action isn’t that bad. This version of Batman is by far the most fluid and entertaining ass-kicker we’ve seen yet. Even Superman has a few impressive moments, such as when the Man of Steel (Henry Cavill) carries a giant freighter across a frozen tundra all by himself.
While some critics have taken issue with Snyder’s dark tone and palette, it is actually an asset as it sets the film apart from the sometimes campy Marvel movies.
But in nearly every scene where you don’t see a superhero in a cape and tights, the cinematography relies on slo-mo shot after needless slo-mo shot. No wonder the film is over two and a half hours.
And when the big bad guy is finally revealed, there’s so much mind-numbing, explosive CGI that it’s hard to follow who’s beating up whom—or what the hell is actually going on.
Overall, Snyder and company tried to do too much with Batman v Superman and ended up accomplishing very little. It’s stuffed to the brim with heroes and villains, but the film never gets to the heart of these men and women—especially Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman.
As the DC Comics cinematic universe continues to expand, hopefully the never-ending cycle of sequels will finally do these characters justice.