“I am vengeance!…I am the Night!…I am BATMAN!”
Those immortal words uttered by the famous Kevin Conroy made me fall in love with Batman. Superman, however, was my first superhero ever. I longed for the day when DC made a movie starring both of them.
In this concise review I will give my thoughts on how my two favorite heroes did in their first live team-up.
First of all, the build up in the first forty minutes of this film were intense and well executed. We get a glimpse of Batman’s tragic loss and the aftermath of the Man of Steel. We learn that many people, Batman included, resent Superman for the disaster he has caused and fear the potential for future chaos at his Kryptonian hands. Not surprisingly, Lex Luthor, a gemius billionaire, also fears Superman and is the first to act when he discovers the reality of Superman’s bane: Kryptonite.
What follows however, is a long-drawn out plot that promises an anticipated fight but never seems willing to deliver. Snyder wastes our time with exploding courtrooms and nightmares haunting Bruce Wayne. These teasers could have been effective if they had been shortened and tied more directly into the plot. This non-stop teaser-show had me thinking ‘Am I watching Batman vs Superman or a documentary on why there needs to be one?’
During the buildup, however, we get an an introduction to a mysterious Wonder Woman (as she should be! Good job Snyder!) and the conflict between Wayne and his butler. Alfred actually defends Superman, which made for an interesting dynamic with Wayne who insisted he was bigger than criminals, who he compares to weeds.
Despite those good tenets of storytelling the plot drags on and on with no end in sight. By the time we get to the inevitable encounter between Batman and Supes we already have a subplot happening with Luthor and Zod’s body. On top of that Luthor forces Superman into fighting Batman by holding Martha Kent hostage.
Why? This was unnecessary. It forced their battle to be more about Superman trying to get Batman to listen to them. This undermined the fact that these two wanted to fight each other! The hostage situation does end their fight on a poignant note (clever, Snyder, clever) but the fight was shortened and distracted by that very crisis. (Sigh)
Once their fight ends Batman rushes to Martha Kent’s aid. His fight was a good one and he outdid Bale’s fighting sequences in terms of physically overpowering foes. Kudos!
Unfortunately Luthor’s subplot becomes the main focus of a film that already clearly wasted a lot of the audience’s time. I myself was tired and wanted the movie to be over but I held out patiently for the appearance of Doomsday.
What we got was a poorly animated CGI troll from Lord of the Rings! (Ugh) Doomsday is aggressive but looks clumsy and lumbering. It would have been nice to see him growl the word ‘Kal El’ in a distorted Michael Shannon voice, since he was the distorted reincarnation of Zod. Sadly we didn’t even get that. What’s more Doomsday releases energy blasts and breathes fire. This is not true to his first appearance in comics and had me wondering if I was watching DC Comics or Dragon Ball Z. This Doomsday design was atrocious.
Following yet another drawn-out battle we see Doomsday and Superman killing each other.
I was left in silence. This wasn’t disbelief silence. No. This was an expectant silence. ‘When is he gonna heal up?’ I thought to myself since Superman was just healed from a nuclear blast by the sun’s rays. ‘Surely he’s gonna get up.’ Oddly enough I was more dissatisfied with the death of Superman in this film than if he had resurrected before the film’s end.
Now his return will appear a bit hollow in the grand scheme of things. Superman could have walked away, had a stare-down with Luthor and helped start the Justice League. Now the league will form without him.
Why? Was that really necessary?
Snyder, what have you done?
The film by the end does what it did much through the whole movie. Scene after scene follow one another: an engagement ring, Bruce Wayne telling Diana they’ll have to find the others and Lois crying over Supes’ grave. I was so tired and didn’t really see a point to all those scenes back to back.
In Summary, this was a fun movie to watch. It featured a more poignant relationship between Alfred and Bruce, it creatively introduced Wonder Woman and three cameo appearances, and showcased Luthor as an insane genius with something to prove. However, that didn’t save this movie from being drawn-out, poorly paced, containing an inconsistent narrative and ultimately being a let-down.
By the time this movie was over I wanted only to see how the Justice League and Wonder Woman movies turn out. I can say that it’s no surprise that this film did well on its first week but did not continue to gross well thereafter.