Film Review: ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ trips on its cape

Rating: C

Out of the superhero films that have come out in recent years, none have featured two big players from two different franchises pitted against each other in a heated battle of strength and dominance. Falling behind “Deadpool” as the most anticipated superhero film so far in 2016, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” brought its own brand of action and heroism, and while many fans expected it to be a great film, there are many pitfalls that need mentioning.

Playing the billionaire playboy of Gotham Bruce Wayne/Batman is Ben Affleck, who seems to do a better job than the former star of “The Dark Knight” trilogy Christian Bale. Henry Cavill reprises his role as Superman, whom he previously portrayed in the 2013 film “Man of Steel.” Amy Adams also returns to star as Daily Planet journalist and Clark Kent’s lover Lois Lane. Both give wonderful acting performances in their respective roles, but the most interesting character was that of Lex Luthor, Superman’s longtime nemesis. Jesse Eisenberg portrays Luthor as a psychotic criminal mastermind looking to destroy Superman by pitting him against Batman, and the way he carries himself on the screen is menacing, yet intriguing and unpredictable. This is certainly an effective performance that helps carry a slow and dreary plot line.

After the opening credits, the largest problems that the film has occurs, in that if you did not watch “Man of Steel” immediately before walking into the cinema, you will certainly be lost. It jumps right into the action, which would not be a problem if there wasn’t a lack of context as to what is going on. Once that ends, the movie zooms forward in time 18 months. From here on, you may struggle to ascertain why Batman has hypothetically labeled Superman as “public enemy #1.” It’s not until later on that all questions are answered.

Another basic issue is the length of the film. According to IMDb.com, the movie is 151 minutes in length, which could have been greatly reduced if several unnecessary action sequences were removed. Let’s just say that long movies are great as long as they are not boring.

The addition of Wonder Woman was a nice touch by the writers. First appearing in 1941, Wonder Woman has been a longtime fan favorite of DC Comics’ franchises. She is portrayed by Israeli actress Gal Gadot in this film.

Besides the crafty decision to put two big-name superheroes in battle with each other, which has happened in comics a few times before, the film followed the same story arcs that we’ve seen before in other franchises, including ones produced by their cross-genre rival Marvel Comics. It’s time for something fresh — which will require more work — but will make this duo and accompanying characters survive for a good time.

To sum up, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” has some good elements, but ultimately falls short of everyone’s expectations. It yielded plenty of good emotions but generally stunk up the superhero film genre. This might be good for viewers, though, because seeing the bad side of DC Comics may prepare us for one of the year’s biggest expected hits, “Suicide Squad,” which will make it’s debut on Aug. 5.

Nathaniel is the Culture Editor and is a fourth-year journalism and business administration student at the University of Maine. He have been writing for The Maine Campus since November of 2014, covering everything from community events to films.

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