Chief Copy Editor
Well, this critic liked it.
Throngs of reviewers have given “Batman v. Superman” a bad score, for one reason or another.
I honestly enjoyed the film, and whatever flaws the film had I found in the parking lot, as the plot marinated in my mind.
That said, I enjoyed “Man of Steel,” the preceding film in this series, and I enjoyed most of this movie.
I give it seven out of 10, and there are many reasons why.
First of all, Batman fans rejoice. Ben Affleck has pulled off the best live-action incarnation of the Caped Crusader to date.
Yes, I’m serious.
His performance alone was worth the price of admission, and his interactions with Jeremy Irons’ trusty butler, Alfred Pennyworth, establish more of the tension for the titular bout than any other source could muster.
In his fury, Affleck reminds this critic of Kevin Conroy, the voice actor who portrayed Batman in the legendary animated series.
Wonder Woman fans rejoice.
Gal Godot’s role as Diana Prince was just as excellent as Affleck: she holds her own as part of DC Comics’ revered Trinity (Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman, for the uninitiated.)
It comes as no surprise that the next film on DC’s slate is hers.
This movie attempts to create an Avengers-like franchise, and Warner Bros. has made a good case to begin with this character, as portrayed by Godot.
These two characters more than made up for the issues I had with the plot, but I chalk that up to the actors. Their half of the film was superb.
Unfortunately, Superman fans, stick with “Man of Steel.” If you did not like that film, you will likely not enjoy this one.
Again, the movie spends too much time attempting to start the Justice League film series in one movie.
The result is a neutered Henry Cavill, whose Clark Kent is written with little range.
Cavill is a pawn in his own film, whose actions seem to bear little impact on the story itself. While this works for films like “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” this is a film specifically about the fallout from Superman’s actions.
In one scene, Superman pulls a tanker through ice by himself, an amazing shot, but in this film, the story is the one pulling Superman along.
That is not to say Cavill does a bad job. He, Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Laurence Fishburne as Perry White do well with what they’re given, as little as it is.
The other new addition to the cast is Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor.
He too is cursed with a script that modifies the core of his character, but this time it isn’t for the best.
Superman’s character is centered about the public’s reaction to his existence, so the emotional toll of his heroism explains his moodiness.
Lex comes off as a lunatic, more like the Joker from Batman than the calculating genius he should be.
Oscar winner Holly Hunter plays an underused Senator for the first half of the film, and Oscar nominee Diane Lane plays an underused Martha Kent for the second half.
That itself should tell you the issues I have with this film.
The editing and pacing in the early part of the film are questionable, and if not for (and in some cases despite) the stellar acting, character’s motivations seem unclear.
There are several plot elements I would modify, shuffle around, or remove altogether, but then I’m not the visionary director of “Watchmen,” “300,” and that other movie about schoolgirls in dreams or something.
To be fair, the editing in many parts reminded me of comic book panels in a way more subtle than Ang Lee’s live-action graphic novel “Hulk.”
That reminds me that, of course, this is a comic book movie.
It’s not meant to be an independent, festival-going film.
But then, with Marvel’s increasing ability to create consistently great movies, I can see the pressure to perform.
Thus, the studio made changes.
Therein lies the source of every flaw—Snyder and company were forced to shoehorn elements into the film that were otherwise unnecessary.
They couldn’t balance the story Snyder wanted to tell with the demands from executives who are more concerned with the dollar signs.
Perhaps this critical failure will change the way WB produces its DC property. Either way, “Batman v. Superman” would be better suited to stick to its subtitle, “Dawn of Justice.”
This film is just the beginning, of one thing or another.