Batman V Superman


Batman V Superman is a strange abomination – it is neither a proper sequel to the dismal Man of Steel nor a good, respectable introduction (or continuation, depending on how you look at it) to the cinematic reincarnation of Batman. All of the problems that existed in the first film – chaotic fights that were incoherently unwatchable, the patchwork storyline but most of all, the fact that the premise seemed designed for juvenile, fanboy gratification and little else, exist in the sequel too, except, well, seem worse when viewed on the bigger canvas.

Let’s take the films title for instance. It’s a tenuous ruse to hook you in. The film promises to be the final authority on the age old debate of who would win when a God like superhero is pitted against an ingenious, resourceful justice-serving vigilante but has very little driving it. In the films introduction we see a repeat of the climatic, messy battle from Man of Steel, except from Bruce Wayne’s point of view. He sees the destruction first hand. His building is destroyed. He is pissed off. He remains extremely pissed off for the next 18 months. The perma-frown on his face makes it droop. Even when wearing his Batman costume, he sports a cool, chic 2-day stubble because it adds to the broodiness of the pissed off Batman. But why exactly does he want to go after Superman with such singular vengeance? Because one of his buildings was destroyed? It’s never clear and for all the liberal borrowing that the plot does from the long and varied mythology of both characters (the film is a poor mashup of at least 3 major DC storyarcs) it could have perhaps attributed the cause of their differences to some sort of ideological clash based on their different approaches to serving justice for example.

Of course the films real draw is that fight and it takes a long, long time to get there – after we aimlessly follow Bruce Wayne conducting some clandestine search, reporter Lane performing her own investigation, Lex Luthor (an annoyingly, unwatchable Jesse Eisenberg) hatching his own plan while Superman faces the courts – only to be served what can only be described as a long skirmish and not the so called “greatest gladiator match”. Up to this point at least, the film remains borderline watchable. However it really falls apart in the third act, when the main adversary is introduced in a commotion of loud sounds, lifeless battles and hollow bursts of colourful yet ugly special effects that look painful and sound deafening.

In doesn’t help that Snyder, having now firmly established his diminishing reputation as a poor man’s Michael Bay after topping with 300, uses the same old visual tricks – lots of cool, stylish slomo where nearly everyone, whether in the thick of battle or saving someone’s life, is always ready to strike a pose. The films focus on trying to hold Superman accountable for his actions feels rhetorical and the novelty of this angle quickly dies out the moment it resorts to the same level of mayhem and catastrophic destruction without any sense of scale or proportion. The films only saving grace, surprisingly, becomes the introduction of Wonder Woman because not only is she a fresh face, but she also keeps saving the men from being whooped multiple times. But despite this, she feels like an unnecessary addition – her real purpose being to prepare us for the next big (and loud and no doubt even more chaotic) Justice League film, which, in Snyder’s hands, will probably make Batman V Superman feel elegant in retrospect.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

About Faizan Rashid

A veteran Dubai based film critic, Faizan has been reviewing movies for nearly a decade. His work has been published in local newspapers such as 7days and on prestigious online websites such as MSN Arabia and