It’s fascinating to see how this film has divided audiences and critics alike, love and hate are spread all throughout the reactions, it’s certainly a different type of superhero film than we’ve seen before. Starting with seeing the repercussions of the events of Man of Steel, thousands dead and no one to hold accountable so when Superman (Henry Cavill) gets into another situation where bodies are plentiful, some people are ready to hold him responsible, most of all Batman himself (Ben Affleck), who won’t stop at nothing till he’s taken him down.
Affleck was a risky choice with his past record in superhero films but with Batman taking a turn for the battle-hardened, unforgiving presence, the choice worked out quite well. His performance is satisfying, there’s no real complaint to be made and it feels like a fairly natural direction to take the character, although there could be call for slightly more effort when demonstrating his origin, with it only being shown briefly. Moving on to other new additions, firstly Lex Luthor played by a very energetic Jesse Eisenberg, the version of Lex he’s created is fantastic, it’s certainly a very early form of the character but there’s so much charisma and a slowly building formulated evil which though it takes a while to grasp the story, pays off. Then you have Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, who was a great choice to all appearances, but the use of her character feels very lightweight and half simply advertising for her solo release next year. It feels as though they have made her seem somewhat afraid at times, which doesn’t quite fit with her nature of being strong and fearless but it could perhaps be attributed to the story taking place 100 years after her solo film. Forgetting that for a minute, it can’t be denied that her part in the most significant scene of the film is extremely satisfying and her first appearance in full costume is a definite highlight.
On the other end, there’s our returning heroes in Clark and Lois Lane (Amy Adams), Cavill is a great version of Superman and cemented that with this film because even those going in on team Batman will come out with an increased respect for the man of steel himself. Adam’s is relatively the same, it’s an increased role for her and she gets a decent amount of screen time but there are still a few too many damsel in distress moments, which while following the tradition, aren’t exactly necessary. Whether the definitive use of the Lois & Clark relationship strengthens the film or dilutes it, is a question of personal preference.
The set up and story of the film seems to be the biggest fault you’ll come across in reviews and feedback, and it’s entirely understandable because though as a whole it’s still good and coherent, there are several moments which feel like unnecessary embellishment where the writers have gotten carried away. The main example being use of dream scenes which though aesthetically are pleasing and in another context may have added something, in this instance it feels messy and completely out of place. The same goes for the use of Alfred which is practically simply sarcastic contempt as he goes about various tasks, though whether that’s due to the writing or the misguided choice of Jeremy Irons is unclear.
Altogether, the film does not deserve to be slated as much as it has and it’s certainly best to go in with an open mind as it is decent, most of all its epic scene that is the entire purpose of the film, our two heroes battling it out which has been done extremely well. It has undeniable pitfalls, especially the too obvious attempts to set up both Wonder Woman, Justice League and every other solo film, which is something any franchise does but there’s a fine line between a satisfying connection or appearance and flat out advertising. Overall, most fans will enjoy this film as it is the very definition of made for the big screen, every film has weaknesses and this is no exception but Zack Snyder and co. have created a great DC film to begin a real and definitive franchise to finally rival a market that has been dominated by Marvel.