When an enjoyable action film such as “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is marred with too much style, it causes the lack of substance to stand out intrusively.
After the destruction caused by the climatic fight in “Man of Steel” that leaves thousands dead, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck, “Gone Girl”) dons the Batman suit to take down Superman (Henry Cavill, “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”). The two characters’ disgust for each other is only increased when Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”) arrives on the scene, instigating events to bring the two to fight to the death.
The additions to the Warner Bros. DC cinematic universe are all awesome. This is especially true for Affleck.
While controversy surrounded his casting as Batman, he manages to defy the doubt by bringing a great depiction of this beloved character. He not only is a great Batman but he also plays the billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne flawlessly.
Eisenberg manages to stand above the disapproval of his casting, bringing fun life and insanity as Lex Luthor. His giddy approach to all his lines are a blast to watch.
Other supporting cast members who shine include Jeremy Irons as Alfred and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
However, the film’s greatest weakness is it’s abhorrently long running time.
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” did not need to be as long as it is. This film could have and should have had a plethora of scenes cut. There are several dream sequences that drag on for an extensive amount of time that add little to the overall story. Some don’t make much sense or aren’t even explained.
Director Zack Snyder (“300”) has his signature slow motion prevalent and while these moments look great, they only lead to further the duration of what is already a lengthy movie.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the action scenes that exclusively revolve around Batman are gleefully violent and enjoyable. The creative and vicious ways he dispatches his enemies are an absolute blast to watch.
The fight between Batman and Superman is also intense. Its brutality is wonderfully choreographed as the two superheroes mercilessly thrash each other.
A great cast, some impressive action, and Zack Snyder’s style merge together at certain moments to create some striking scenes. But the awful run time, mixed with an excess of unneeded scenes, causes the pacing to be all over the place. It’s a wavelength of quality. Sometimes the excellence is buried under too much content. Other times the value shines through.
Ultimately, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a tough movie to sit through. Yet, when the film does stuff well, it does it very well.
*Critic’s note: The Batman in this movie is a much darker and more violent version of the character than what has previously been established. Batman kills people; a lot of people. If you’re someone who would be turned off by this hero not falling under conventional characteristics, this may not be a movie you should see.