This film was at a slight disadvantage with me going into see it, as I’ve never really connected with any DC characters. I enjoyed the 1990s Superman TV series when I was younger, but never bothered to catch Man of Steel in the cinema, or on DVD. Maybe the fact I hadn’t seen this reincarnation of Superman’s origin story meant I didn’t fully appreciate him in this film, but honestly, I’ve always found Superman a bit bland and one dimensional. Batman V Superman was no different.
So why did I go and see this film in the first place? Two words; Wonder Woman. I wasn’t going to miss the chance to have my first glimpse of the Amazonian warrior princess on the big screen. And I was hoping to be impressed by an epic film, worthy of both the legacy of Batman and Superman.
Turns out Batman V Superman is everything that is wrong with superhero films right now.
Batman V Superman starts with a completely unnecessary scene in which we see Mr. and Mrs. Wayne murdered in front of their infant son. Yawn. Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past 15 years knows this story. Opening with it meant that I immediately switched off, and while Bruce Wayne’s perspective of the final battle of Man of Steel caught my attention again, disengaging your audience at the very start of what felt like a three hour long film isn’t a great cinematic move.
We move on from there to watch Lois Lane get (unknowingly) used as a cover for the CIA to bust some nameless terrorist cell in the middle of a desert. Superman somehow knows she is in danger and comes to rescue her. I still don’t know how he managed to be aware of that fact. This event actually turns out to be super important because Lois uses her super journalism skills to work out that Lex Luther is actually supplying the nameless terrorist cell with weapons! Why is this point relevant to the rest of the film? No idea.
I could go on making fun of plot points, but I’m not going to. We all know that things have to be exaggerated slightly in Hollywood, so some things can be forgiven. What can’t be forgiven is that fact that I was just plain bored during this film. We spend the better part of two hours waiting and waiting and waiting for the stand off between two DC giants and it’s a giant let down. So is Wonder Woman’s eventual appearance. She kicks butt, and Gal Gadot was an excellent casting choice, but she did not get enough screen time. I could probably count the number of her lines on my hands. Did no one think to give the Amazonian warrior who can fly the Kryptonite spear? You know, since it wouldn’t have made her pass out and she probably won’t have died in the process.
The one thing that really saved this film for me was Jessie Eisenburg’s Lex Luther. He killed it! His performance was incredible and I was a little less bored every time a scene with him happened. A friend said that she would have liked to have seen a bit more reasoning for his murderous rampage, but for me, being white, rich, and smart enough to believe you have all the answers is justification enough. While Batman and Superman were squabbling, we got to watch Lex play his own game, manipulating them both just enough to create a deadly rift between two of the most powerful people in the city. Naturally, he ultimately gets it wrong but it was a damn good fireworks show as he went down.
There were four named females in this film, Lois Lane, Wonder Woman, Senator Finch and Martha Kent. Did any of them speak to one another about anything other than a man? Of course not. Did Lois wear unrealistically high heels at key points of the film? Naturally. Did one of them end up dead? You bet ya! However, these four women were all pretty decently represented in their own fields. It was nice to see woman in different facets of life; a journalist, a superhero, a politician and a mother. Although we have a long way to go before woman are complexly represented in films, even just having four in different job markets is a step above the usual. It’s really tragic that I’m actually praising a film for something as simple as that, but yay for baby steps?
Over all, Batman V Superman was a bit of a yawn-fest. It didn’t break any new ground and it didn’t even tell the same story in a very enjoyable way. There was nothing outstanding about the cinematography and special effects have become so commonplace in films that I wasn’t even impressed by any of that. The only thing it made me feel was tired.
I’m tired of rich, entitled, white superheroes acting out their petty revenge and squabbles on the big screen. I am tired of woman being shoved to the background, even when they are as awesome as Wonder Woman. I am tired of the way we are fed the same plot in a slightly different manner, with a different mask on.
Superhero films, you need to up your game.