Fearing the actions of a god-like super hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day saviour, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.
So we’re here, the versus movie to end all versus movies. We’ve had Freddy vs Jason, Alien vs Predator and that timeless classic Anaconda vs Lake Placid. Even J-Horror is getting involved with The Ring vs The Grudge later this year (which I can only imagine involves two dead asian women crawling at each other?). This follow up to Zack Snyder’s tepid Man Of Steel finds our man, Supes, up against cinema’s newest and darkest incarnation of the Dark Knight. When I mean darkest I mean this Batman openly shoots, stabs and kills criminals willy nilly. This isn’t Lego Batman (I wish!).
Batman v Superman is a step up from the tonally-off Man Of Steel which seemed unable to make up its mind what film it was; Was it a Nolan film? A Snyder film? A Superman Begins? Batman v Superman uses the polarising events from the end of Man Of Steel (You know where Supes commits like nine 9/11’s on Metropolis) as it’s jumping off point. Understandably not everyone has warmed to Superman’s city-levelling arrival; especially Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, Holly Hunter’s Senator Finch and Scoot McNairy’s understandably disgruntled Wayne Enterprise employee. But especially miffed is Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne, who lost an entire workforce in that super dustup. Thus begins the ultimate superhero scrap. There will be rubble.
Snyder is a self-proclaimed comic book guy. If he wasn’t a director he would probably be one those guys making video reactions on YouTube and holding discussions about Superman’s shaving technique. This is why ultimately Batman v Superman will be a hit with who it was really made for…comic book fanboys and girls. For everyone else Batman v Superman will feel like a hit to all their senses, especially their sight. Batman v Superman is what the term ‘hot mess’ was made for; this is a frenzied patchwork of more than one film (possibly more than five). So many many other films are being setup in this one film that they cancel each other out. This desperate attempt at franchise building is a disservice to some genuinely intriguing characters like Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor (unhinged daddy issues) or Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman (enigmatic but pointless). I always feel sorry for Henry Cavill who makes for a solid Superman (that jawline though!) but his Man Of Steel has been no more than a prop for DC to catch up with Marvel’s rightly deserved dominance over superhero movies. The big moments in Batman v Superman don’t feel earned, because this is only film number two in DC’s claim for the throne Marvel currently sits atop.
Now what you really wanna know: does Ben Affleck make a good Batman? Yes. Not an instantly likeable one (lacking any moral code, does Crossfit, etc) but his Batman is more in keeping with Batman’s from other mediums. He looks just like Bruce Wayne from the popular 90’s animated TV show ( massive chin), his fighting style is straight from the Arkham games and he’s got the jaded alpha male swagger of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight. When it comes to Bats and Supes anticlimactic showdown, you’ll be disappointed to find that the numerous Batman vs Superman trailers pretty much gave 95 per cent of it away. You’ll probably find the frenetic super-powered melee at the end more satisfying or just another attack on your senses. In this CGI doused monster punch up, I was half expecting to look down at my hands and see a PS4 controller in them.
Batman vs Superman is the stuff of a 13 year-old’s wild fever dream. Ultimately If you enjoyed Man Of Steel then Batman vs Superman is an enjoyable empty upgrade. But if you didn’t? There is always Batman meets Scooby Doo (seriously, it exists).