Okay, let’s talk about the good things first. Ben Affleck, both as Batman and Bruce Wayne is really great. The most talked about fight scene between Batman and Superman is pretty cool and well shot. Gal Gadot’s entry as Wonder Woman is fantastic. Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL’s background score is excellent, although sometimes a bit loud. And that is about it. Everything apart from these few things does not work for the movie.
Let me say this straight away, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is an extremely bad movie. In fact, calling it just bad would be an understatement. Rather; pathetic, terrible are the words which should be used to describe it. Snyder’s directional approach, as much as it takes inspiration from the brilliant graphic novel “The Dark Knight Returns”, does not work at all cinematically. David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio’s screenplay is horrible. I am not sure if this was a fruit of lazy clueless writing or an attempt of trying too much altogether going horribly wrong. For most of the first half, the scenes seem disjointed, unnecessary and confusing. During that phase, the film tries too hard to be some kind of intelligent, political drama/thriller and fails miserably. It breaks into the mould of a full blown Superhero movie in the second half, which is slightly better than the first, and certainly not enough to save the movie from being a disaster.
And the problem does not really lie in the studio’s intention of keeping this cinematic universe dark, gritty and grounded, unlike their most obvious rival movie universe. Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, although not exactly faithful to the source comic material, was similar in tone with Snyder’s Man of Steel and BvS, but those were actually great, entertaining films (baring The Dark Knight Rises maybe, but still). And while Man of Steel was still decent (with Nolan being a contributor), BvS went south.
Now, I do not hate Zack Snyder. Even though I made a post on facebook which goes like “Fuck you, Zack Snyder, Fuck you…” right after watching the movie, I do not have anything against him. I really liked his “Dawn of the Dead” and “300”, especially the later for its hyper-stylized action, dipped in uber-cool sepia tone. And although “Watchmen” was not half good as the graphic novel, I thought it was a pretty decent movie. I also defended “Man of Steel”, although the final fight between Kal-EL and General Zod bored the hell out of me. I have always seen Snyder as a visionary. But BvS has made me realize that Snyder is simply not a good director. He is a visionary and a comic book fan alright, but not a great filmmaker. And Warner Brothers shouldn’t have given him the responsibility of a live-action movie that features Batman and Superman as its two central characters. Unfortunately though, Snyder is helming the Justice League movies for this cinematic universe which really does not seem to be the ideal piece of news at this moment.
Coming back to BvS, as I have already mentioned before, Ben Affleck did a real good job as Batman. Even in this disastrously scripted movie, he did shine a lot. This is a glimmer of hope for future solo Batman movies if that really happens. Gal Gadot, although had a real small part to play, was simply the best thing about the movie. Amy Adams, being the great actress she is, was earnest. And Jeremy Irons’s Alfred was nice. Henry Cavil was never a great actor, and with a script like this, he couldn’t do anything good here. But the biggest disappointment would be Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, which was most definitely the worst thing about the whole movie. A fine actor otherwise, Eisenberg’s was cringe-worthy, while delivering the worst performance of his life. People around me in the theater were actually comparing him with the overly melodramatic, hammy Shah Rukh Khan at the early days of his career, that bad it was.
In the end, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice stands as a gigantic monstrous mess. And for a fan of Superhero movies like me, it is a very painful, frustrated experience; for which Snyder and his writers should be held accountable.