Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (DVD)
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Review of "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (DVD)"
All of my DVD reviews are film only, so do not include pricing information. If you have time, please read and rate my Batman V Superman review.
FILM ONLY REVIEWFearing what might happen if Superman’s actions are allowed to run on unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel. Meanwhile, the world has to decide what kind of hero it really needs.
“Man of Steel” director Zack Snyder’s second stab at bringing the DC superhero universe to the screen is even more tedious than his first. In the wake of Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed “Dark Knight” trilogy, the decision to reboot the superhero franchise so soon seems like a cynical cash-in. What could Snyder have to say about Gotham’s Caped Crusader that hasn’t already been said? As it turns out, absolutely nothing…The director appears to have confused emotionally gritty with visually dark. The production design is sombre to the point of depressing, with a palette of sludgy greys and blues and grubby reds that help to suck the joy out of the act of viewing. The visuals are frequently so murky that it’s all but impossible to see what’s going on. However, that could be considered a mercy, considering the overall quality of the acting. There might be some amazing stunts and fight choreography in there, but it’s all obscured by the gloomy lighting. As a result, every big set piece is wasted and matters aren’t helped by frenetic editing, which makes it even more difficult to see what’s going on. Snyder tries to make up for this with an excess of arbitrary slow-motion shots and epic choral arrangements on the soundtrack. These are presumably meant to give the action a sense of majesty, but merely add length. The expensive special effects are undermined because all of the spectacle in the world can’t make up for the woeful script. The big action set-ups also lack the human element. As impressive as the computer-generated effects might be, it’s very hard to invest emotionally in one bunch of pixels knocking lumps out of another bunch of pixels. In addition, the fever pitch of the first action blowout (in which buildings topple in a manner uncomfortably reminiscent of 9/11) is impossible to sustain. The much-touted face-off between the two heroes is also a massive anti-climax.
The storytelling is pitiful. If I was going to direct a superhero franchise reboot, I’d make damned sure that I differentiated it from its predecessors. But instead, Snyder walks slavishly in their footsteps. He goes straight to the hero’s tragic backstory, telling us how Wayne lost his parents as a child. It’s exactly the same story we’ve been told since 1988 and it’s done in precisely the same way, right down to the slow-motion breaking of Martha Wayne’s string of pearls. The plotting is clumsy – new ideas are introduced so gracelessly that they make no sense. There are grinding shifts in tone as the director lurches from tedious exposition to jarringly loud action and occasionally belly-flops into unearned sentiment.The biggest issue I had with the production is that it is mind-numbingly dull. It’s never much fun watching cardboard cut-out characters speaking in clichés. But it’s even less entertaining when they treat the script like it’s Shakespeare and go about their business in such a po-faced manner. The director has managed to suck all of the fun and the joy out of being and watching superheroes. I might be more forgiving if there was a little humour to lighten the unremitting darkness, but Snyder is too focussed on trying to be dark and brooding, with the emphasis on “trying”. But this approach and the resolutely dour tone throughout, only serve to make the film feel joyless and self-important. Matters are made worse by leads who give dead-eyed, charisma-free turns. Meanwhile, multiple Oscar nominees and winners are wasted on clunky dialogue and pointless plot threads.
The hundred-and-fifty-one-minute running-time is as bloated at Affleck’s Batman, even more so when you consider that it is nothing more than an expensive and overlong set-up for a new “Justice League” franchise. The film continues for at least twenty minutes after the story has been wrapped up, as if the director’s sole intention was to hit the two-and-a-half-hour mark.The screenplay by Chris Terrio and David S Goyer is a nonsensical mishmash of plot points that fails to coalesce into a coherent narrative. The writers seem content to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. Characters flit in and out of the story without adding anything the plot. The women fare particularly badly, as they seem to exist solely to be used as bait for the heroes. There are random dream sequences that add nothing but length and an irradiated monster tips up for no apparent reason. The central conflict is based on a misunderstanding so colossal, that I spent most of the movie wondering whether I’d missed a crucial plot point that gave a satisfactory explanation of the beef between the two caped heroes. In an equally unbelievable stroke, the entire grievance is settled by a single word. Wonder Woman’s introduction is a complete non-event. I suppose it’s telling that the main thing I remember are the plot holes, rather than the actual events. My partner thinks (and I agree) that Marvel films are better than DC ones because Marvel focus on the characters first and their abilities second, while DC are more interested in their superpowers than their personalities. Consequently, when it comes to exploring the burden rather than the joy of being a superhero in morose detail and at excessive length (which is the current fashion), the writers have so much less to work with. This leads to leaden exposition, turgid dialogue, black and white morality, clichés and the aforementioned plot holes.
The characterisation is weak. Batman/Bruce Wayne is written as an ageing, joyless vigilante motivated to mobilise against Superman more by his apocalyptic nightmares than a desire to save the world. Superman/Clark Kent is po-faced personality-free stick-in-the mud who takes himself and saving the world extremely seriously. Lex Luthor is reimagined as an obnoxious, gabbling, manic version of Mark Zuckerberg on a particularly self-indulgent ego trip. He’s irritating rather than menacing. The women fare particularly badly. Neither Lois Lane nor Diana Prince/Wonder Woman nor Clark’s mother Martha get anything substantial to do. Surely it wouldn’t take too much effort to write a script in which women were more than set-dressing or damsels in distress waiting to be saved by the hero? Bruce Wayne’s faithful family retainer Alfred is written as a grumpy old codger, whose loyalty to his employer seems grudging at most. The dialogue is laboured and frequently cliched.Ben Affleck spends the entire film with a constipated look on his face, which must be what he thinks passes for dark and brooding as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Henry Cavill has made it clear in interview that he’s in acting for the money rather than the craft and it shows in his performance as Clark Kent/Superman. He’s square-jawed but dead-eyed and has all the charisma of a piece of stale bread. He indulges in the kind nostril-flaring bad smell acting that makes it seem as though he’s getting a particularly nasty waft from a sewage farm on a hot day (here’s a clue Henry; it’s just your acting that stinks). Jesse Eisenberg tries to compensate for his co-stars by doing enough acting for the entire cast as Lex Luthor. No piece of scenery remains un-chewed, as cinema’s king of the nerds hams his way through every scene, over-egging every line and delivering each one with increasingly idiosyncratic speech patterns. It’s like watching the lovechild of Nicolas Cage and Christopher Walken attempt human interaction for the first time. As Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot is required to do little other than swan around in a variety of slinky dresses. Meanwhile, Oscar-winner Jeremy Irons attempts to distance himself from Michael Caine’s grandfatherly turn as Alfred by making the character so grumpy that it appears the actor begrudges every moment he’s on the screen. Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Holly Hunter are all completely wasted in thankless roles as Lois Lane, Perry White and Senator Finch respectively. Meanwhile Scoot McNairy plays Wallace Keefe as yet another in a long line of bitter and not very likeable characters.
The original music by Junkie XL and Hans Zimmer is as subtle as that pairing suggests. Expect plenty of huge arrangements with pounding percussion, dark or stabbing strings, blaring brass and the occasional epic choral number. There are occasional, less intrusive motifs, but they are few and far between. I suppose the music at least fits Snyder’s overblown style.I absolutely loathed “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice”. I thought it was boring, long-winded and completely lacking in charm or wit. I found the direction self-indulgent and self-important. The writing managed to be both overcomplicated and clichéd. It also wastes a whole raft of decent characters and treats us to some totally tin-eared dialogue. The performances are anchored by two charisma-free leads and a menace-free baddie, while the quality supporting players are left with nothing to do. It bored me senseless and I definitely wouldn’t watch it again or recommend it to anyone.
Product Information : Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (DVD)
Manufacturer's product description
Actor(s): Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams
Actor(s) (Last name, First name): Affleck, Ben
Director(s) (Last name, First name): Snyder, Zack
DVD Region: DVD
Classification: 12 years and over
Production Year: 2016
Video Category: Feature Film
Listed on Ciao since: 27/03/2017