Reviewed by Daniel Janks: actor, creative director, writer, cynic, father, husband. He was born in 1977 and has still not died. He loves many things, chief among which are his mythic wife and odd girl-child. Visit his website.
Director Zack Snyder
Writer Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer
Cast Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams
AGE RESTRICTION: [PG13] I think this is pretty apt, there’s a lot of violence, and it gets a little dark in spots.
I’m a little torn with this one. It’s hard to decide whether this is a 3/5 or a 4/5 movie. But I guess if you can’t decide, then it’s probably a 3/5. This is hands down one of the most visually stunning and beautiful films I’ve ever seen. Every shot is a oil painting (not literally) and Snyder has really recaptured the striking visual quality of 300. Perhaps he works best in comic book films where he can so vividly capture the visual style of actual comic books.
This film isn’t about a giant big punch-up between Superman and Batman. I mean, there is that, but in fact the film centres more on an ideological confrontation between the philosophies of the two heroes, which ultimately makes for a better film. Superman has always represented the light, a moral approach to shielding mankind from evil. He has always seen it as his duty to save the good guys. Batman’s mission, conversely, has always been to revenge himself on the evil present in man that resulted in the murder of his parents, he wants to destroy the bad guys. He is the darkness. Superman is truth and justice, Batman is pain and punishment. And much of the film centres around the inherent conflict between these viewpoints as well as the question of whether autonomous power and justice has a place in the world. Then of course there’s the giant punch up between Superman and Batman, which is pretty cool.
This isn’t a film that’s going to garner any best performance nominations. Everyone does their job very admirably. Ben Affleck makes is debut as the Dark Knight and he’s very good in the role. He’s sulky and sultry, moody and maudlin, and he has a great cleft in his chin. As much of the film is based on the graphic Novel The Dark Night Returns Affleck is a brilliant choice as he really fits the version of Batman that the graphic novel evokes. In fact there are some images and scenes in the film which are frame for frame replicas of the graphic novel. Respect to Zack Snyder for this as The Dark Night Returns is one of the greatest works of comic art ever created. Affleck seems to have based his Batman very closely on the graphic novel version and he’s done a really, really good job.
Henry Cavill’s Superdweebman (sorry, I’ve never been a Superman fan) is good. He tries admirably to bring a multi-dimensionality to the otherwise very one dimensional character. I’m not sure he succeeds, but A for effort. There is a interesting segue in the film that shows a glimpse into a very dark future where Superman is more of a despotic dictator than a saviour of mankind. And it casts Superman’s motto into an interesting light. With maniacs like D. Trump doing so well on the current American political scene, we have to wonder what could one day be done in the name of truth, justice and the American way. Plus he has a great cleft in his chin.
And there are some other interesting characters in the film. Jesse Eisenberg delivers a great Lex Luthor, Gal Gadot a stunning Wonder Woman, Jeremy Irons a brilliant Alfred and there are glimpses of a slew of other DC heroes on the way to populate a ‘hang on Marvel, we’re coming’, DC universe. Watch this space as The Justice League Part One and Part Two are in the pipeline, both helmed by Zack Snyder.
Snyder’s vision for this film is epic, and awesome. He has firmly stamped his name and style on the piece and it’s gorgeous. Whilst the narrative does scamper around a bit, and every now and then makes some non-logic based leaps, the point of the film is in the its look and feel, its epicness, its moodiness, its grandeur. And it nails that brief to the wall.
It’s an awesome super heroes flik. Awesome.
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