Video review here:
Okay, this may potentially be the most hyped movie of 2016. Yes, Civil War looks pretty awesome, but we’ve never seen these two on the big screen together, nonetheless fighting against each other. So the expectations were crazy high, even though Zack Synder’s last outing Man of Steel was very divisive. Let’s get into it.
It’s two years after the events of Man of Steel. Superman (Henry Cavill) destroyed a huge portion of Metropolis while fighting another alien named Zod. There’s a huge debate over if the world even needs a Superman. One man has it out for Superman, named Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). Wayne lost a lot of friends in this tragedy and sees Superman as a threat. A young Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) also sees Superman as a threat and might have found a way to take him out. That begins our story.
We also have a mysterious woman who turns out to be Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Bruce’s butler Alfred (Jeremy Irons), Superman’s love interest Lois Lane (Amy Adams), and his editor at the Daily Planet (Laurence Fishburne).
This movie is cool. That’s the best word I can use to describe it. Zack Snyder’s work all looks very similar but it’s always really cool (see The 300, Sucker Punch, The Watchmen). Here, it’s no different. You want to see Superman doing all sorts of epic stuff? You got it. You want a cool fight scene or two? You got it. This movie is a series of moments that Snyder undoubtedly drew out in order. These are the pictures he wanted to show us.
And if you go in thinking “I just want a cool movie,” you’ll leave happy.
Usually with movies like this, there are controversies when it comes to casting. This movie had three big controversies. Luckily, they mostly turned out okay.
Ben Affleck steals the show as Bruce Wayne/Batman. His morality is a little skewed as opposed to what we’d usually expect, but he plays a very different type of hero and added a jolt of energy to the movie whenever he was on screen. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman also did a decent job, though her role is fairly minimal. I read she only has 12 lines in the movie, which seems about right. I’m excited for her solo movie, so that must say something.
Jesse Eisenberg’s character didn’t make much sense, but I had no problems with his performance. People are comparing it to Jim Carrey in Batman Forever but I don’t think it’s even comparable. I think the faults were on the page.
What didn’t work?
While these pictures and moments were beautiful and really cool, the threads that connected them were really flimsy. Most notably here is Lex Luthor (Eisenberg) who has an elaborate plan that somehow conveniently falls into place but it’s unsure why he’s doing any of this (and some of it is almost counterintuitive). Literally most of the movie I was wondering why these things were happening.
The movie is also really long and surprisingly slow. The entire first half is almost empty of action sequences, focusing instead of an uninteresting investigation by Lois Lane and Luther’s convoluted plans. If you’re bringing kids, they may not enjoy this movie for big sections.
The big villain was spoiled in the trailers and unfortunately he looks just as awful as the trailers led you to believe. This really detracted from the final battle unfortunately.
Lastly, the movie points to a lot of upcoming DC movies. I don’t mind that but these references were confusing and lazy. Once you see the movie, I outline my full thoughts on these in the spoiler section of my video review (top of the page). I just don’t know if it did a great job setting up the DC Cinematic Universe. It’s not a very firm foundation.
If you go into Batman v Superman just wanting some cool stuff to happen, you’ll leave happy. Once you start to really think about it, though, it all falls apart. The performances are generally really good and the action sequences are great, aside from the faulty CGI in the finale. Wonder Woman was a fun addition but the other references to the future of the franchise felt like afterthoughts. Don’t overthink it and you might have a great time.