When Man of Steel came out in 2012, the general consensus was that the movie could have been better than it was. As a result, Batman v Superman has been viewed with cynicism and low expectations by fans and critics alike. However, now that BvS has been released, can this cynicism be forgotten?
BvS takes place some time after Man of Steel ended, and while Superman (Henry Cavill) has done good since, there are some who still view him as a threat rather than a hero. One of those people is Batman (Ben Affleck) who, after seeing the damage Superman caused in Metropolis at the end of Man of Steel, is determined to end Superman. Combined with the threat of Lex Luthor, Superman is forced to clash with these characters through violence and destruction.
Of course, the biggest selling point of BvS is the fight between our two caped crusaders; a scene given plenty of build-up as it happens in the last third of the movie. It becomes clear why the heroes would view each other as the enemy, and so the tension between them becomes believably intense. As all of this comes to feel overly drawn out — with the confrontation feeling like it could have happened much sooner — it unfortunately ends in a major anticlimax.
Henry Cavill reprises his role as Superman with excellence; the turmoil he feels about being a hero is portrayed so convincingly. However, it is with regret that he becomes the least impressionable of the three heroes that we are presented with. Ben Affleck’s dark take on Batman is strong, depicting a great mental struggle. While he is still recognised as a protagonist, the character’s moral lines are blurred more than ever before. Also brilliant as Wonder Woman is Gal Gadot. Tough and independent, she holds her own fight without relying once on the title characters. Because she proves to be such a fantastic character, it is a shame that she only truly starts becoming a part of things during the climactic scenes.
Whilst it is evident that the heroes are perfected, the main villain of BvS is something that will cause division amongst viewers. This version of Lex Luthor — as played by Jesse Eisenberg — is much unlike the methodical, older character in the comic books. Instead, he is young and socially inept; bordering insanity in a poor attempt to create another Joker-esque villain. By the third act, he is practically forgotten about, especially following the appearance of Doomsday; a character who would have made a fine plot twist if it was not for his appearance in the trailers!
With the focus of the film being on Batman and Superman, many of the characters and much of the subplot are left feeling irrelevant. Whilst it is nice to see the familiar faces of Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and Alfred (Jeremy Irons), they lack relevance in plot and solely feel like they are present for fan satisfaction. Whilst the film does contain further fan services, it is best to see the film as they make great teasers for what is to come.
Batman v Superman learnt a great deal from Man of Steel; it does not drag out action any longer than necessary. Whilst it is still explosive and lights up the screen, it does not become extensive and questionably boring. This is one of the many elements that divides fan opinions and though the movie may not blow you away, it certainly makes an entertaining couple of hours.
- Reviewed by Xenia Grounds