One of most anticipated movies of the year (I think?), Zac Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice picks up after Man of Steel, where Superman has quickly become one of the most controversial figures in the world due to his god-like strength and seemingly infinite power. While many view him as a symbol of hope, a growing minority view this caped figure as a threat to humanity, including Bruce Wayne aka Batman, who views Superman's god-like power as a danger and imminent threat to mankind. While Batman and Superman circle each other, and the world questions exactly what type of hero they need, Lex Luthor lurks on the sidelines, concocting a sinister plan which leads to the creation of Doomsday, a creature even more powerful than Superman. While I won't go into much detail about the plot points of Superman v. Batman, Zac Snyder's latest stylistic opus is the bombastic, painfully serious, overly-brooding experience I was expecting. The narrative itself isn't out of the norm for these types of superhero films, with many of the major story beats slowly crawling towards the two inevitable action scenes everyone is here for - Batman vs. Superman and the Doomsday finale. That being said, Batman v Superman's plotting is efficient enough, being really a dual narrative between Batman and Superman which at times can feel incoherent, but considering the amount of characters, the script actually does a respectively good job of not feeling overstuffed. While the narrative and story are certainly dense and a tad illogical, I'm not even going to spend the energy talking about the painful flashbacks and dream sequences throughout, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice's big problem is its characterizations, which by-and-large are humorless, cynical, and at times cringe worthy. Think of it as a super-serious ying to Batman and Robin's yang, offering up an almost direct inverse to the Schumacher's overly playful, consumerist kaleidoscope of bright neon lights. Intentional or not, Batman and Superman are borderline psychopathic and sociopathic characters respectively in this film, with Batman being driven by vengeance and hate, while Superman shows very little empathy throughout the film, almost as if he is saving many of these people simply out of boredom. In an attempt to be fair, some of the problems with Superman may be due to the stoic acting of Henry Cavill, but with Batman in particular, it's hard to even view the character as a "hero" of any sorts. Within these characterizations is where Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice becomes its most interesting though, as both these superheros are predicated out of fear or revenge. One could argue that the film has allegorical intentions about the state of American, and the world in the post 9-11 environment, and while I certainly wouldn't call it an intentional commentary, the overwhelming cynicism and borderline fatalism that envelopes this entire film left me keep going back to this ideal. Batman v Superman is a film that routinely hits the viewer over the head with a cynical viewpoint of the current state of American society, personifying the fear associated with the war on terror, the desire to control and enforce everyone and everything, and the disconnected selfishness of society. Holly Hunter's senator character represents the incessant desire of America to police and control the world through her desire to control Superman, while Lawrence Fishburne at one point rides Clark Kent for wanting to report on the Batman, lamenting "its not the 1920s anymore, no one cares", a very cynical viewpoint that asserts the ideal that people simply aren't interesting in anything that doesn't effect them, as they'd rather be entertained or distracted by entertainment such as sports. Considering Batman being a character who never uses firearms, I also found Batman's excessive use of guns through the film fascinating, as if the filmmakers were making a commentary on America's obsession with guns, using this American icon to make a point. While I'm sure many of these observations are completely coincidence, I'd argue Batman v Superman, unintentionally or not, paints a rather vivid and startling viewpoint of the world where cynicism and fear have breeded 'heroes' who act more out of fear and revenge than kindness or bravery, something we as a society may deserve. In a way, Batman v. Superman is the Ying to Batman and Robin's Yang, a brooding, dark experience that never manages to say much Zac Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a mildly entertaining superhero film which probably will appeal to most fans of the comic book genre, but where the film is most interesting is its most likely unintentional thematic ideals, being a cynical, brooding film that questions if these characters, with all their flaws, are simply what we as a society deserve.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.