Bruce Wayne meets Clark Kent in the latest of an epic list of superhero films, that picks up where 2013’s Man of Steel left off. When Wayne (Ben Affleck) sees the wreckage brought about during the final battle between Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod, he is dis-armoured by the world’s greatest superhero.
18 months later, the government looks for where to assign blame for the carnage. A witch hunt is waged via a congressional hearing, led by sceptical senator (Holly Hunt), who questions whether Superman’s presence on Earth is actually more harmful than the benefits of his daily heroisms.
meanwhile, the CEO of LexCorp, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), challenges the idea that one can be simultaneously all powerful and all good, and attempts to weaponise a chunk of Kryptonite found in the Indian Ocean. Preying on the ignorance of the government, Luthor puts a plan in motion to pit Batman against Superman.
The destruction caused during Man of Steel battle was what bothered me most about that movie, so I’m glad they started this one off by addressing the point:
Was the total loss of civilian life worth it?
In the context of Superman’s migration to Earth, the first half of the movie examines both sides of America’s ongoing debate on immigration , and is well handled by director Zack Snyder. This, however, quickly falls to the wayside once the movie turns to its action scenes through a mess of explosions, bizarre villains and cheesy one-liners.
But enough of the chit chat. When does God meet Man? Well, when it finally arrives, the Batman vs Superman battle (no spoilers here, check the title) feels forced. It was hard to follow why it was actually necessary for them to fight in the first place (besides giving Mortal Kombat fans their fix). Those prone to epilepsy need not watch, the lightning show during that sequence gave me a splitting headache for hours after.
I have to say, seeing Ben Affleck as the new Bruce Wayne made me feel disconnected from the beginning; he acts more like a disgruntled father than the millionaire womaniser we know. Perhaps, if Christian Bale had reprised his role like Cavill did, it would have helped deliver the enormous spectacle promised. Amy Adams is, again, solid as Lois Lane, while Eisenberg is decent as Lex Luthor (although it felt like watching Mark Zuckerberg after too many Red Bulls).
BvS is far more watchable than Man of Steel, but the main issue I have with all the Superman movies is that he is basically indestructible with all his godly powers. It makes viewing fairly dull during the action sequences when there’s no risk of Superman’s death and no reason for concern. Unless there happens to be Kryptonite around, the action sequences are simply showcasing different ways you can smash through a brick wall.
A problem with superhero movies in general, is that they become too invested with their inevitable sequels and forget about the movie they’re actually in. When they keep introducing subplots and character backstories, it makes it hard to know who or what you’re supposed to care about in the long run.
In this movie, Wonder Woman’s appearance felt forced, alongside brief sightings of other Justice League members. Still,, it just had me mostly wondering where the hell Robin was.
There are better Superman movies and there are much better Batman movies. If you lower your expectations though, it’ll be enough to get you through.