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Review: Batman vs Superman

Warner Bros.’ Batman vs. Superman is currently the number one movie in the world, featuring appearances by several DC Comics superheroes and known to be the next step towards a Justice League film. Directed by Zack Snyder, a veteran filmmaker of the superhero genre, and written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer, the film stars Henry Cavill as Superman, Ben Affleck as Batman, and Israeli actress and model Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Also starring are: Jeremy Irons as Batman’s faithful butler, Alfred Pennyworth, Amy Adams as Superman’s love interest, Lois Lane, and Jesse Eisenberg as his nemesis, Lex Luthor.

I had been waiting to see Batman vs. Superman since the film was announced, over two years ago. My anticipation heightened by the film’s recent trailers, I entered the Cinemagic in Portsmouth last Thursday with high expectations. But the film did not meet these expectations. I did enjoy it, but I didn’t love it like I had hoped I would. I had expected to be blown away, but I was only enormously fazed.

In the world of the film, Superman has become a controversial figure; some people hail him as the hero the Earth needs, a welcome force for hope and global safety. Others distrust Superman for his great power, and blame him for the devastation caused by his destructive brawl with the antagonists of Man of Steel. Batman and Lex Luthor are both the latter; each believes that Superman’s very presence on Earth puts the planet in danger and seek a way to defeat him. Although Batman and Superman are forced into the inevitable battle with one another, they soon realize the greater need for them to work together instead of against one another, and team up with Wonder Woman to defeat an apocalyptic weapon created by Lex Luthor.

While most of the actors did a superb job performing their roles, Henry Cavill continues to fall short as Superman. His performance in Man of Steel had previously drawn criticism, with audiences feeling the character lacked emotional range. The problem with Cavill’s Superman is that he doesn’t give his role a personal interpretation; he plays a remarkable person as an unremarkable character.

Ben Affleck, in contrast, plays an excellent Batman, an interpretation second only to that of Christian Bale. But really, who could top Christian Bale? Anyway, Affleck captures the darkness and grit of the character perfectly. The fans who blasted Warner Bros.’ casting choice have all been proven wrong.

I appreciated Jesse Eisenberg’s interpretation of Lex Luthor, though it was not as spot on as Affleck’s Batman. Eisenberg’s portrayal was too goofy, as though he was trying too hard to establish the character’s insanity. But what Eisenberg’s Luthor lacks in seriousness, he makes up for in menace, firmly reinforcing the character’s status as Superman’s greatest enemy.

The film’s excellent cast made up for an uneven plot, which took too long to get going and then felt rushed when it finally did. For example, it spent too much time detailing Batman’s origin story and not enough time building up the reason for him and Superman to fight. I feel like this is more the fault of the director than anyone else; some fans to whom I’ve spoken believe that Warner Bros. should dump Zack Snyder as director of the upcoming Justice League films, given the fact that Man of Steel and now Batman vs. Superman have both failed to meet fan expectations. But trust me, Batman vs. Superman was still way better than Man of Steel, so I am hopeful that Zack Snyder’s subsequent DC superhero films will continue to improve.

If you’re a comic book fan, then see the movie. While the question of how much you’ll like it remains, be honest about the trust: no matter what, you’ll get a kick out of seeing your heroes on the big screen.

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