When the world was first introduced to Superman (Henry Cavill) it was by way of his battle with a force of alien invaders, fellow Kryptonians gone rogue.
Although the fledgling superhero was victorious, Metropolis and its citizens paid so heavy a price that it cast worldwide doubt on Superman’s virtue.
Across the bay, in the city of Gotham, the Batman (Ben Affleck) joins the ranks of non-believers and seeks to personally test Superman’s abilities.
We say, “It could be the start of something better.”
HOWE: Ben Affleck as Batman is nearly as ridiculous as Val Kilmer playing the role, but for some reason I found that it worked. In some instances, I found Affleck played him better than Christian Bale. He didn’t have to put on a silly, low, growly voice due to a voice changer made by his assistant Alfred (Jeremy Irons).
Affleck’s acting skills were a little more believable, if that is possible in a comic book movie, and he didn’t seem full of himself or over-act the part.
TAYLOR: That’s because he didn’t do anything. Straight face, stare ahead, don’t blink, cut! It’s workable. He sort of made it his own, but we’re talking about Bruce Wayne. Once you put the mask on Affleck and his swollen face is visibly shaking around, it becomes comically distracting. However, I will say this, no one in this movie is aware they’re in a terrible movie. Everyone is taking this very seriously and so I did too, but then it became a cavalcade of disappointment.
HOWE: Even though the movie is nearly three hours long, it didn’t feel it. They touched briefly on the backstory of both Batman and Superman, where they came from, who they are, and that I didn’t mind. If introductions had gone on for an hour, that would be a different matter.
There was lots of action, lots of fight scenes and bat gadgets to keep the most diehard fan semi-happy. I felt that they left the ending just at the right moment and open for the second installment.
TAYLOR: That’s the thing that worries me. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is this big expensive movie, meant to set up a Justice League franchise and it fails on a fundamental level. The effects are there: It’s modern. It’s serious. It looks fantastic. The actors are capable enough to pull of a superhero blockbuster. The problem is story related. The story is silly. It doesn’t make sense. It’s almost as if the plot is an afterthought to placing action sequences at the appropriate markers in a timeline.
Superman and Batman are characters worthy of so much more than speeding pixels in a videogame death match, as are audiences. Batman has interfered in a Superman movie. I’m sure there will be more. Let’s hope they get better story tellers to write the sequels.
– Taylor gives Batman v Superman 1.5 tubes of Grecian formula out of 5.
– Howe gives it 3.5 unseen superhero footage out of 5.
Reel Reviews with Brian Taylor and Peter Howe appears in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.