Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice review: a tedious and disappointing bore

In a battle between Gotham's Dark Knight and Metropolis' Man of Steel, the audience is the biggest loser

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is such a bleak, disorienting and incoherent mess that despite the few promising moments that sporadically appear, it's nearly impossible to enjoy.

Like much of Snyder's previous work, Batman v Superman overindulges in its attempts to be gritty and morose. The dialogue comes off as clichéd and awkward because of it, and the characters suffer, appearing entirely two-dimensional. The fight choreography, a divisive aspect to Snyder's films, is robotic and monotonous, leading to uncontrollable yawns and eye rolling, even during the biggest scenes. There's so much wrong with the movie that it's difficult to find moments where Snyder gets things right, but there are a few that tend to revolve around Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor and Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman.

Ultimately, however, Batman v Superman fails to entertain and, perhaps worse, generates a sour aftertaste even before the credits begin to roll.


The premise of Batman v Superman is simple: Bruce Wayne, in a perpetual state of testosterone fueled anger and fear, is on a mission to destroy Superman after seeing him wreak havoc on Metropolis two years prior. Superman has his own qualms with Gotham's Dark Knight and decides that it's his duty to take down the Caped Crusader, including using his position at the Daily Planet to pen scathing editorials.

It's through an accidental meeting at a party hosted by Lex Luthor, CEO of Lexcorp, that the two meet and throw polite quips at one another, each defending their own secret identities.

Here's one of the major issues with the movie: both Ben Affleck, who plays Batman, and Henry Cavill, who plays Superman, are atrocious.

While Cavill can physically pull off being both Superman and Clark Kent, moving back and forth from the role of superhero to the shy, young journalist decently enough, there isn't one charismatic quality about him. Watching Cavill try to outsmart Batman or flirt with Lois Lane, played by Amy Adams, is torturous. It's almost comparable to watching paint dry, except that feels insulting to paint.

Affleck, on the other hand, is by far the worst part of the movie. He's stiff and lifeless, appearing almost overburdened by his own existence. Bruce Wayne is supposed to be charming, mysterious and wicked, but Affleck doesn't capture any of that. This is an angst-ridden teenage in a 30-year-old man's body, and that conflicting portrayal kills any momentum the character may have had in the movie.

Ben Affleck, who plays Batman, and Henry Cavill, who plays Superman, are atrocious.

To quickly compare, while Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy was also portrayed as an extremely serious character, Bale managed to bring a sense of lighthearted humor to the role when needed. There was witty banter and, above all else, a sense of humanity within his Batman.

That doesn't exist with Affleck. Instead, the latter goes from being angry to sullen to hopeless and back to angry again over the span of two and a half hours. After about an hour of watching Affleck cycle through the same three or four emotions, boredom kicks in and any sympathy that may have existed for the character is gone, replaced instead with a strong sense of disdain for poor Bats.

It's through the two incredibly weak performances, however, that two other actors can shine.

Jesse Eisenberg, while at times obnoxious, delivers a powerful performance as main baddie Lex Luthor. Like other Eisenberg roles, the actor delivers rapid fire dialogue and uses fantastic facial expressions to accentuate the lines he's reciting. In a film like Batman v Superman, where Batman and Superman are sluggish and mechanical, Eisenberg's hopped up, young villain is a welcome breath of fresh air that manages to feel maniacal and comedic all at once.

Lex Luthor

Eisenberg also brings a much needed sense of youth to the film. Batman v Superman feels older than it should. The entire movie plays out like an attempt to brand itself as the opposite of a Marvel movie, doing away with playful banter and replacing it with a continuous stream of war-like images and themes.

When Eisenberg is on screen, however, the movie gains back some of what is lost, and feels less dire for a couple of minutes. There's a sense of life to Eisenberg that only one other actor delivers, and that's Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.

It's not an understatement that Gadot's Wonder Woman is the most exciting aspect of the film. The actress plays the superheroine fantastically, using every aspect of the comic book warrior to her advantage. She's unbelievably strong, fiercely independent and an utter joy to watch whenever she's on screen.

Unfortunately, she's not on screen for too long, and the lack of her presence in the film affects the entire feature.
Instead, audiences are left with watching Batman and Superman stare at one another and deliver some of the worst dialogue ever written.

Wonder Woman is the most exciting aspect of the film

Aside from Cavill and Affleck's performances, one of the biggest problems the film encounters is its lack of cohesiveness. Without getting into too much detail, Batman v Superman is the springboard for Warner Bros.' Justice League films — and this movie doesn't let you forget that for a second.

Unlike Marvel, which used numerous movies and post-credit sequences to introduce its universe of characters, Snyder uses this one film to try and catch up. In the process, the Batman v Superman loses its momentum, dragging your attention from one story to the next without much warning or explanation. It's disorienting and unmemorable, leaving one to question why certain arcs were included in the first place.

Snyder uses other storytelling techniques, like flashbacks and dream sequences, that not only manage to fall flat in the film, but are also pretty confusing at times. It feels like the director is so focused on nailing the visual effects of the film and the fight choreography that the narrative aspect is completely ignored, used only as a way to allow for more explosions and destruction on screen.


It's difficult to understand what Batman v Superman is trying to be, because Snyder — it seems — doesn't know what the movie should be, or how to go about creating the film he envisioned in his head. The majority of the time spent watching this movie is trying to figure out where Snyder wants to go next and wobbling alongside the characters on screen as they move from scene to scene.

It's a visually stunning, disappointing disaster that's bursting at the seams with a promise that's never fully realized. It barely scratches the surface of mediocre.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is proof, yet again, that Snyder is a visionary craftsman that can't helm a story. There's too much wrong with the movie for it to be saved, even by strong performances from Gadot and Eisenberg. Even worse, a movie that's two and a half hours long should have enough excitement interjected throughout to carry the audience's attention, but that doesn't happen. Instead, I found myself restless and checking the time every five minutes hoping the movie would just end.

Watching Batman v Superman isn't a painful experience, but it's not a pleasant one. It's just one disappointment after the next, and that sour aftertaste I mentioned before?

That's still there.