"The idea of pitting Batman (Ben Affleck) against Superman (Henry Cavill) in a fist fight in itself is quite an ambitious task for any creators in the film-making business."
About 30 minutes into Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the first question that comes to your mind is: what the hell is going on? However, due to the all pre-release hype around the film, you wait patiently for something interesting to happen in the film. Eventually, you will leave the auditorium just satisfied with the special effects of two high-budget action sequences.
The idea of pitting Batman (Ben Affleck) against Superman (Henry Cavill) in a fist fight in itself is quite an ambitious task for any creators in the film-making business. Well, when filmmakers take on such a challenge, expectations are sky high. And this film does not live up to the expectations.
The film jumps from one subplot to another without any clarity and towards the end what it manages to achieve is to place all the cards on the table for a sequel and leave audience high and dry.
The film can be best described as a power-struggle between two vigilantes trying to end the supremacy of the other. The sole purpose of the writers seemed to have been forging a plot that sets a stage for a fight between Batman and Superman and in the process, they have compromised a lot on their characters resulting in a weak premise and a weaker plot.
There are several facepalm moments in the film. One of them is when you realise that tech mogul Lex Luthor (brilliantly played by Jesse Eisenberg) was the master of the gladiator match between Batman and Superman and that the superheroes weren't even aware that they were being played all the time. Come on, they are not just two cape-wearing adult males with massive physical prowess, they are better than that. We expect them to be intelligent and top of their game, not to be a pawn in someone's manipulation game.
It seems Batman was out to boost his ego and define his legacy by taking down Superman, who had been fending off alien penetration into the earth for decades now. When Batman is on the verge of finishing his life's work, killing Superman, something happens. Superman asks Batman's help to save his mother. Yes, go ahead facepalm. And that moment they become friends.
Bruce Wayne's vengeance for Clark Kent's Krypton blood begins when the latter topples the Wayne Towers, killing many of its occupants during the Black Zero event in Man of Steel. Many innocent people who died during this alien showdown were known to Bruce, which gives him a reason to pursue Superman as a threat to mankind.
Director Zack Snyder should be appreciated for playing up the damage inflicted on the city and its inhabitants every time Superman goes to war when the existence of the earth faces a threat. In this film, Superman's methods are questioned, he is summoned to a court hearing and his statue is defaced by victims of his actions. This sets the debate, if at all humans need a power like Superman living among them.
Lex, meanwhile, is the one who builds all the means to weaken Superman and take him down. When the plan A doesn't work, he immediately conceives plan B, uses General Zod's dead body to hatch a monster from the amniotic sac that can wipe out both Metropolis and Gotham and their heroes.
Superman reels under identity crisis throughout the film. He spends more time contemplating his purpose of existence and the collateral damage of his antics in the planet earth. In the meantime saving innocents, which is mostly just Lois Lane (Amy Adams).
The major casualty of this weak plot is, indeed, Superman. He gives an impression of a powerful alien just waiting to become a martyr for the cause of human beings.
Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) just comes around as a pretty face in a couple of scenes until the end when she decides to join forces with Batman and Superman in stopping the giant deformed Krypton. Her character isn't explored much in this film as writers Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer were much invested in setting up the stage for the big clash.
Dawn of Justice is deeply flawed. Just a pack of heroes from DC Comics, an evil scientist, an almost unkillable horned creature and expensive special effects is just not enough to deliver an engaging superhero movie. Along with strong visual effects, a strong storyline is required to keep the audience hooked, which this film clearly lacks.