It’s a Set-Up!
By Aiden Harmitt-Williams
The Dark Knight Returns. Arguably one of the best comic book stories every written, especially when it comes to Batman or Superman. This seemed to be the template leading up to Batman v Superman’s release. Batman’s suit(s) and build were ripped from the pages of the aforementioned book, and the title itself told fans what to expect.
I’m coming from the perspective of an avid comic book reader who happens to also enjoy comic book films. Seeing as BvS is also a comic book film, I’m going to review it with the mind-set that it is based on a solid foundation of rules and lore that should respectfully be followed. I’m also not going to go into too much detail so I don’t ruin anything for future viewers.
So let’s begin.
This was the second showing at my local cinema, I was sitting next to a guy who offered me a Twix bar, and my first thought was, I hope that this Twix isn’t better than this film. It didn’t start off well. For the first ten minutes of the film the projection was out of focus. So it was like watching the film through the eyes of someone who really needed glasses but refused to put them on. Then it was fixed, and we began from the beginning. It was like the transition from potato to 4K. Admittedly the premise was set up well, though I had already seen it in the trailer. Then from there it just got random.
It’s like the writers had an idea, and thought, “Now how can we link every major character to this idea?” went from there and left that same idea in the middle of the story. This is probably because there is a hell of a lot going on. As the second film in this new DC Cinematic Universe behind Man of Steel it shouldn’t have had this much weight on it to set up the entirety of the following movies, but I understand that Warner Brothers are trying to play catch up to Disney and Marvel. Small(er) steps would have been better.
The problem with the plot isn’t that it’s convoluted. There are a number of random plot points that are obviously thrown in to set up things for the future, but its done in a way that breaks up the main narrative and adds literally nothing to the story. Nothing at all. Literally.
Forgive me for comparing this to Deadpool but bear with me. Deadpool was a film that thought was maybe a bit too small in scale, but it benefited from that, especially since a sequel can become bigger and better than its predecessor. BvS is guilty of doing too much. While it is fun to see some of these strange scenarios through, they didn’t offer anything.
What they did get right were the visuals however. Zack Snyder is most notably known for 300, Watchmen and Man of Steel which are striking visually and with the except of Man of Steel have a comic book feel. With this film though it gets a bit grey at times. It tries to be dark and brooding a lot of the time and can be tonally awkward. Batman (Ben Affleck) is pulled off well and is accurately reminiscent of TDKR. If his first proper scene is what the future Batman film may be like, then I look forward to it. SPOILER ALERT But Batman is blatantly killing people? Come on, I know he’s older and angry but he doesn’t compromise his morals. SPOILER END.
Superman (Henry Cavill) is Superman and we all know how that is. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) feels tacked on and doesn’t really have an identity except to have the Justice League trinity together, but Gadot does her as much justice as she can. The one thing that they kind of managed to implement was the political and moral side to the destruction Superman leaves in his wake, though it doesn’t affect Batman in the slightest. Lex Luthor comes off more like The Riddler than the calm, composed genius he is (ding, ding, ding). But that’s neither here nor there.
Doomsday happens to be the biggest farce of the whole movie. Once you watch it (and you know who Doomsday is) you’ll see why. He’s The Incredible Hulk’s Abomination except not as good. He doesn’t even talk.
When I say that this movie is a set-up, I mean in terms of narrative. It’s an overlong introduction to the dawn of the Justice League (pun intended) and it deserved more attention to detail than it got. Snyder has said that there is supposed to be an Ultimate Cut with over half an hour of footage, and maybe that will make it better than the theatrical version. I can only hope. By the end I knew the answer to whether the Twix was better, and It wasn’t. But at least it was worth it.
P.S. There is no after credit scene. Go home.