Superman debuted in Action Comics in 1938 with Batman following one year later in 1939. For the past 70-plus years they've entertained the world through comic books, radio shows, television and individual films.
And now for the first time both of these characters grace the big screen side by side in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice."
With such a long and storied history, it's easy to understand the anticipation and the hype surrounding this movie, and naturally there are millions who are hoping that this film lives up to such lofty expectations. Sadly, in this reviewer's opinion, this film falls far short of its ambitious goals and as a result overshadows its own merits with its multiple, massive flaws.
Director Zack Snyder, who also directed "Man of Steel," certainly knows how to frame a shot as the cinematography is often very well done and the action scenes are fast-paced and kinetic. Henry Cavill returns as Superman with Ben Affleck picking up the mantle of the Dark Knight, and both provide good performances despite the script giving both very little to work with. Even Gal Gadot manages to give Wonder Woman a superb onscreen presence that DC fans have been waiting years to see on the big screen.
However, what brings this film down lies mainly in two categories: story and character development. It would seem as though the writers had a good idea. Batman and Superman fight each other, and then try to work backwards from there no matter the cost. As a result, there are events shoehorned into this movie that feel out of place, characters make choices that make no logical sense, and plot holes open up big enough to swallow up whatever credibility the film has left.
Neither Batman nor Superman ever feel like true three dimensional characters as most of their dialog is meant to build up their nonsensical rivalry and rarely feels like two people actually talking. Batman and Superman over the past 70 years have both developed unique personalities and character traits - it's what's kept us coming back to them over and over. Superman is an otherworldly guardian who stands for hope and freedom. Batman is a brooding loner who uses fear to uphold justice and even uses his brilliant mind to find the truth.
And in this film you never truly see either of those characters.
Superman throughout "Batman v Superman' is angry and brooding, so much so that you can count on one hand the number of times he smiles during the film. And Batman, because the script demands that he hates Superman, makes wild assumptions and actions that don't fit his character at all.
As previously noted, the film does have its strong points - think action scenes - but action without reason is pointless. This movie could have been great; you can see the better product there under all the flaws. But sadly this is one grudge match that fails to deliver. Give it two out of four miners.