Super-Feud is A Super-Flop

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Shot like a wannabe-arthouse film, directed like a cheap video game and filmed like a cliché  crime show, “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a mess. Despite excellent special effects, an Academy Award-winning cast and a $250 million budget, the film is forgettable and does not live up to its hype.

The action is fast-paced, but the prime issue in the film is the plot itself. Marvel prides itself on making its films relatable to the public, using terrorism and other modern conflicts to form the basis for their superhero doctrine. Director Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” films used domestic terrorism and crime to modernize its villains. “Batman v. Superman” director Zack Snyder shuns both these ideas to return to aliens without a cause and heroes cloaked in melodramatic grimness that make the plot even harder to endure. The sloppy writing frequently loses the audience. Snyder crammed five films into one: a new Batman original story, an introduction of Batman and Superman with some sort of backstory to explain Bruce Wayne’s burning hatred for Clark Kent, a trailer for the long-awaited “Justice League” movie, the unexplained history between Superman and Lex Luthor and a Wonder Woman original story. With so many things going on, the movie does not develop the characters apart from a senseless darkness that detracts from the overall story.

Ben Affleck’s characterization of Batman seems to be Snyder’s concession to modernization, breaking the traditional Batman tenet of “no killing.” His interpretation of the caped crusader is consumed by an us-or-them rhetoric that was birthed by the War on Terror. Snyder claims in interviews that he was inspired by Frank Miller’s 1986 landmark adaptation of Batman in “The Dark Knight Returns,” where as he ages, Batman becomes increasingly cynical. This series was a reaction against the light-hearted do-gooder heroes that would cause a revolution that birthed Marvel heroes like Deadpool. But if Snyder wanted to create a contrast between the often comedic Marvel franchise, he picked the wrong time. Superman (Henry Cavill), in particular, lacks current relevance and, while Affleck’s Batman is more of a vigilante we want to see in the world, he shattered a tenant of the character. Snyder instead created an “Avengers” wannabe, with similiar shots and dialogue that does not fit the stiff characterizations of the DC Comics universe. Lex Luthor’s (Jesse Eisenberg) speech comparing Superman to God almost perfectly mimics Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) monologue in “The Avengers.” The film’s only saving grace was its brief introduction of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). Her power rivals Superman’s power, and she is easily more helpful during the “final battle” than Batman. As the first and only superheroine slated to helm her own film, her backstory was the only original part of  “Batman v. Superman.”

DC rushes to immortalize its two gods, Batman and Superman, rather than logically introducing the heroes who make up the foundation of the Justice League. “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” is not the Dawn of Justice, but rather the dawn of a franchise making money–not off of creativity, but faded names of worn-out heroes like Batman and Superman. And, as much as I hate to say it, I will be in the audiences next time, waiting for those few moments where the super-heroines get their few moments and actually save the day, while the depressed superheroes are still squabbling amongst themselves.