This review was written by me on 25th March, 2016 for MTTN (Manipalthetalk.net)
First things first – In the last few days, I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard how critics around the world have really not held back in expressing how disappointed they were with Zack Snyder’s newest film. And while I personally feel that the film isn’t as bad as they’re making it to be, it’s not nearly as impressive as it could have been. Perhaps the mere fact that it was already overburdened by impossible expectations ever since it’s early stages, didn’t help it’s case either. Now that we’ve settled that, I guess we can dig deeper into the many factors that both, work in the film’s favor, and also against it.
It’s almost redundant to discuss the plot of the film at this point. Acting as both, a direct sequel to Man Of Steel (2013) while simultaneously setting up the basic storyline for the upcoming Justice League films, this film mostly focuses on the biggest gladiator match in the history of the world, as Lex Luthor would put it. Superman is made to answer for what he truly stands for, and Bruce Wayne aka the “Bat of Gotham” holds him responsible for bringing with himself, a war that caused the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians in the final act of it’s prequel. What follows, is a predictable rivals-turn-friends storyline which was intended as nothing more than a kick-starter for the DC expanded universe.
I really pity the characters Thomas and Martha Wayne. By this point, they’ve already been killed onscreen at least four times, and I’m just counting the live-action feature films. (Yes, as horrible as it was, Batman And Robin  also makes it to that list!) Thankfully, not much time was wasted on all that here, and we jump straight into the last act of Man of Steel, and how those events affected a much older Bruce Wayne. Ben Affleck’s take on the caped crusader is a pleasant detour from Bale’s realistic portrayal of the character in the Nolan trilogy. He makes the character his own, not once seeming to take cue from any of the eight other iterations of the character so far. Henry Cavill’s Superman on the other hand, feels underdeveloped and card boarded, which is quite a pity. The third part of the trinity, a rather amazing Gal Gadot really makes you feel that the role of Wonder Woman was tailor-made for her. I’m sure the upcoming films will dig deeper into her origins, but this’ll do just fine until we get there. Jeremy Irons too, made a lasting impression as Alfred Pennyworth, our favorite DC butler. The more underwhelming ones were the other supporting characters in play, particularly Lex Luthor (who goes unnecessarily extreme sinister) and Lois Lane (who’s almost used to playing the damsel in distress). Also, when you drag Doomsday into the plot, you drag along with him a classic comic book storyline I’m sure most fans already recognise. But the entire final act focusing on him goes more into the “exhausting” territory rather than the “exhilarating” one.
When it’s a Zack Snyder flick, you already know what you’re getting yourself into – a film that is bound to focus too intently on the visual flair aspect when it clearly needs to concentrate more on the intricacies of character development and audience compassion for the same. Glorified cameos of familiar DC characters are a welcome presence, but they’re never truly as awe-inspiring as you’d want them to be. They are simply there to tease the upcoming Justice League film, which seems to be quite heavy on the Injustice: Gods Among Us storyline and revealing anything more about these cameos would be giving too much away, so let’s take a step back.
It also goes without saying that all the set pieces are simply staggering, since the visual aspect has never been much of a problem in Mr. Snyder’s films. It’s more about the predictable plotline and use of underdeveloped characters that concerns me. There came a point when the awe-inspiring moments were simply overshadowed by some frustratingly long and unnecessary sequences, that did nothing except play around with the tone of the film. The whiplash that was induced by these shifts in tone and perspective was almost too much to overcome, which is a shame considering the amount of work put into making this epic. While it does score decent points for its soundtrack, the audience being constantly served too much of the same thing doesn’t really work in the film’s favor.
In the end, I never truly warmed up to the film and hence ended up only liking it in parts. Uneven, but at the same time – ambitious and inspired, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice tries to pack in far more substance and intrigue than most comic book screen adaptations in it’s 150 minutes runtime, but ends up falling short of the unreal fan expectations. And while that may not be a unanimous opinion, I’m going with a 3/5 for this DC flick, recommending it for a mere one time watch. Oh, who am I kidding? You’re probably gonna watch it anyway!