A film that should have been a huge event, looked forward to by the masses and guaranteed box office success, has instead arrived with a bit of a disappointing thud.
Instead of exciting and thrilling, the film is very slow and often dull. This gives it an air of self-importance that alienates the audience. The pressure of the first Batman since Christopher Nolan’s phenomenally successful and loved incarnation shows. It attempts a Nolan-esque atmosphere but fails to execute it well; instead of creating a gritty, dark world, it creates a dull and tepid one. It also treats the audience as excruciatingly stupid. For example, there are clear purposeful, pointed shots and lines of dialogue in the first couple of acts pertaining to a certain fact that becomes important later on in the story. Instead of trusting audiences to have picked up on the obvious hints, Zack Snyder instead resorts to long, unnecessary flashbacks (which do not help the film’s pace either).
The film becomes so caught up in attempting to be seen as a real gritty drama, it completely lack of any humour or lighter moments. This leaves the film with little tonal variety, making the film much less engaging than it could be.
The acting is solid and certainly overrules the fears of ‘Batfleck’. Each actor fills the shoes of their iconic roles, although possibly not to the extent that they will become the actors always affiliated with the characters. Despite the standard of the acting, there is little character development, making it difficult to really care about what is happening onscreen. Similarly, for a film with two of the greatest superheroes, this incarnation of Lex Luthor doesn’t really seem to be such a worthy villain, meaning the stakes feel relatively low.
There is a sense of joy as the film picks up a little in the final battle and Wonderwoman first appears in her superhero form. The lack of female superheroes makes this a momentous moment and injects a much needed sense of excitement into the film.
This film also shows the value of Marvel’s set up. This clash of titans should have been built up with epic anticipation, instead it feels damaged by the fact that Henry Cavill’s Superman is the only character to have been introduced prior to the film, thus the world of each character has not been fully developed, and isn’t in this film. The only upside to this is that it allows some distance and less direct comparisons to The Dark Knight trilogy so helps to diminish some of the prejudice to a new incarnation of the character.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is too long (much like its title) so the audience loses interest, and the lack of character development, both within the film and lack of previous films, makes it difficult to really care or invest in the story.