Setting The Scene
I count myself quite lucky as a fan of film, that I have seen precious few films that I actually disliked. And even fewer still that I hated.
For this edition of Screen Savers, I have decided to talk to you all about one of those rare pieces of cinema that drew my undying hatred.
This film took what could have been, with the proper director and a decent script, one of the best super hero films of all time and instead gave us a cinematic dumpster fire.
The film I am talking about is none other than Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The Wrong (Super) Team For The Job
At first I was going to dissect this film scene by scene, act by act, line by line. But I think this film suffers most due to its casting and the artistic choice of its director, so this is where I will direct my scorn.
Zack Synder, you have so much to answer for here. The film is a wash of greys and blacks, making it so so ugly and dull. The pacing is absolutely diabolical, and worse again if you were unfortunate enough to have seen the ultimate edition.
Mr Synder, let’s get one thing clear; while I love Watchmen, I really did, it does not give you a licence to churn out sub-par films thereafter. How you persuade Christopher Nolan to help you get jobs in Hollywood, I will never know.
Some Not So Superheroes
What chance does a superhero film really have when its heroes are not up to scratch? Maybe it’s because most of Hollywood’s actors credible in such roles are working for Marvel, but there is nothing particularly super about the cast of Dawn of Justice.
While many complain Henry Cavill suffers as the big blue boy-scout due to poor scripting, I say it’s because he always looks so disinterested on screen.
For an actor who had proven his acting chops during his stint as Charles Brandon on The Tudors, when he dons Superman’s iconic garb, he looks like he doesn’t care.
Amy Adams is guilty of much of the same; an actor of the absolute highest calibre Hollywood has to offer and she just phones it in in this film. Her lack of chemistry with Henry Cavill doesn’t help either, but given her acting pedigree, I am inclined to blame her co-star.
I actually feel sorry for Ben Affleck; much like George Clooney in the truly awful Batman & Robin, Mr Affleck is a good Batman in a horrible Batman film.
Well, Ben Affleck would be a good Batman if it wasn’t for the fact he kills practically everyone he lays eyes on. Unless Zack Synder was in some way paying tribute to the caped crusader’s murderous routes, which I doubt he was, this is needless misuse of a pop culture icon.
Jesse Eisenberg also deserves a dis-honourable mention for attempting to channel Heath Ledger‘s iconic performance as the Joker during his turn as Lex Luther. Instead, Eisenberg manages to channel something more closely resembling Jim Carrey as The Riddler.
Grit Is The Route Of The Problem
Certain parts of this film are really just terrible; the dystopian dream sequence, turning General Zod into Doomsday and two superheroes calling off their epic clash because both of their mothers have the same name. Lame.
I honestly found myself utterly dumbfounded by how bad the story of this film was when both of the titular heroes have such a wealth of source material to draw upon.
But it is pretty simple what is to blame here; Warner Brothers’ obsession with gritty superhero films. Ever since Christopher Nolan‘s Dark Knight trilogy, Warner Brothers have been trying to create a gritty and dark DC cinematic universe.
Why do I think this is to blame? Look at how successful the Marvel Cinematic Universe films are. They present their characters as colourful, larger than life superheroes. And the billions of dollars these films make proves the Marvel formula is the right formula.
It’s not only the vibrant, colourful nature of the characters that make them popular either, it’s also the comedic edge the MCU films have that make them so popular and just plain FUN. Even the recent Fox produced R-rated film Logan, a violent film which plays out like a dystopian Western, has a few moments of comedy.
I Demand Justice
You can argue that I have spoken very little about why Dawn of Justice is bad in this article, but you only need look at its Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic scores to know. This is a bad movie.
I actually feel like if I elaborated any further than I did I would be flogging a dead horse. Shooting fish in a barrel. And going for fruit that hangs so low, it’s practically a root vegetable.
Hopefully Warner Brothers are not about to repeat the sins of this film in the upcoming Wonder Woman and Justice League films.
But reader – whatever you do – if you haven’t seen Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice, take it from me. It’s not worth your time.