Directed by Zack Snyder, US, 2016
Part of me can’t believe I’m writing this, but I didn’t hate this movie. Given the number of characters introduced, the hot mess that was Man of Steel (2013), and the amount of negative press the film has gotten thus far, I expected it to be horrible. Legendarily horrible. Sean Connery in Zardoz (1974) horrible. Instead it wasn’t awful.
Ben Affleck makes a fine Batman, and Gal Gadot makes a fine Wonder Woman. Gadot is underused, but she makes the most of her limited screen-time. Affleck nails the “older Batman” role with a fine balance of weariness and general Batman-ness. Even the final battle sequence avoids the indulgences of Snyder’s previous action movies.
That being said, it’s not a great movie. Henry Cavill is still soulless and dull as Superman. Jesse Eisenberg is a bit off-putting as “all of a sudden Lex Luthor is Marc Zuckerberg.” I liked the “Lex Luthor is more of a Nelson Rockefeller type” that the comic books had in the 1990’s.
Overall, the Superman characters are fine. Not perfect but fine. This is, after all, mostly a Batman movie. The real issue with the film, why it’s merely okay but not great, is that there are long stretches of boredom. Case in point, I actually left the theater for about ten minutes during the first act and missed absolutely nothing. It was almost like Snyder was overcorrecting for the non-stop “boomfest” that was Man of Steel.
Overall, Batman v Superman isn’t a bad comic book movie. It’s better than probably a third of the comic book movies out there. If you just need a decent diversion this weekend and an excuse to go to the movies, you can do much worse.
You might like Batman v Superman if: You just feel like seeing a comic book movie and you’re fine if it’s mediocre.
You might not like Batman v Superman if: You are expecting it to be great in any way, shape, or form.
(c) 2016 D.G. McCabe