*Warning: Spoilers ahead? Actually I am not even sure, but let us be safe eh?*
Many people have asked me the question, “Why would Batman fight Superman? I just don’t understand”. And after watching the movie, they would still be none the wiser. I have answered them with the classic rhetoric that the confrontation is to draw you in but the real plot lies in them fighting as one. This was most certainly true but the steps taken to get there were giant strides of plot jumps, nonsensical scenes and terrible dialogue.
The movie begins with clear intent, one that addresses the problems many people had with the previous movie: Superman allows innocent people to die. Bruce plays that exact role in making sure he can help as many people as he can, and as heroically as he can. He looks to the sky and sees the problems with the Man of Steel. However his resolution focuses not upon a dialogue with Kal-El but to become more violent with low level thugs, forget the reasons why he became Batman, and find a strategy to murder old Clark. Man of Steel saw Superman kill but there was an understanding to it as alternate perspective at the very least. This Batman deserves similar inspection because he is intent on killing, forgets about the city he loves, and completely loses his super sleuthing skills. His role in the entire plot comes into contention, as he is a bit part to the overall Luther shenanigans. If he was truly the detective he is known for, then he would realises Lex was conniving and planning his downfall. You could argue that Luthor is a very clever man, but the plot points and devices are so base and unintelligible that it lowers the average IQ of the movie. That is not to say that Eisenberg does a bad job of being Lex because he doesn’t. In fact, together with Holly Hunter, they produce the best acting performances of the film. He may not been the cold calculating Lex that is familiar to many, but his ramblings are entertaining and bear a passing resemblance to a tortured genius. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of Caville because he is so unconvincing as Clark that his relationship with Lois is just non-existent. Affleck produces a decent performance as a one-dimensional depressed Bruce Wayne, but he does do that well. Adams is poorly utilised and has no real role in the movie, outside of some garbled mess in the Middle East. Therein lies the problem: incoherent motivation and story.
At the outset, Clark is depicted through the eyes of the few as a dangerous being who lets people die. This is then oddly counterbalanced with the deity like imagery of Superman performing gargantuan feats of heroism and being worshipped by the public. The scenes are powerful but so much so that you struggle to really believe why anyone would think ill of him. This is a failing of the film in its believability of its main characters. On the one hand it rewrites the heroes known and adored but on the other it fails to produce solid characterisation. There is some obtuse dialogue about being all powerful and all good, taking from some classic philosophical God and evil discussions. Unfortunately it rambles with a heavy hand instead of focusing and developing motivations, especially seeing as Batman and Luthor dislike the omnipotent Clark for the exact same reasons. It even progresses further into the idea that Superman is God territory as we see the themes of judgement, penance and resurrection play out. There are almost no significant events in the film until the final fight setup. The first confrontations between all the characters are dull and exceptionally badly written. The Wayne dream sequences providing exposition for the future Justice League movie were far too long and esoteric. It was just boring and uninteresting.
The initial hour seems to be recorded by a teenager with attention deficit disorder using a handheld camcorder, who has no idea about story development. It is so thoroughly unenjoyable that when Batman finally fights Superman, it brings a sigh of relief. The action was well produced, over CGI’ed, and too explosive to comprehend but it was fun to watch. It was the one redeeming feature of a very dull movie, which I never imagined I could possibly say. Having said that, it was entertaining to see Gal Gadot as Wonder Women, though a little wooden, she played the role of an elusive enchantress well and shone in the action sequences.
Man of Steel was a coherent movie, albeit one that was unrecognisable, unexpected and unimpressive. That is more than can be said for Batman V Superman which failed to entertain in such a significant way that you looked forward to the ridiculous fight sequences, that deterred so heavily in the first film. It is genuinely saddening and upsetting as a fan of Batman and Superman, and as a lover of movies on the whole. Plus I really miss Jimmy.