So many spoilers are coming, so proceed at your own risk.
I finally forced myself to sit down and watch this film. Because I felt that before seeing Suicide Squad (which, yes, isn’t coming out until August, but I wanted to be prepared), I should first see Batman V Superman, at least to get a feel for Ben Affleck as the new Batman. Coincidentally, that casting choice was why I had to force myself to watch it.
But I wanted to give him a chance. After all, look at Jared Leto. When I first found out he was cast as The Joker, I was extremely upset. Then, as stills and trailers were released, I got more and more excited. Now, I physically cannot wait to see how amazing he is in this film.
Maybe Ben Affleck would be the same? Maybe he would be everything that I could have possibly hoped for! This is what I tried to keep in mind sitting down to watch this movie.
But after one of the longest two and a half hours of my life, I can safely say that yes, my first instinct was right. Ben Affleck is not Batman.
I love Batman, I really do. And while I loved Christopher Nolan’s universe, I’m also getting into the comics, so it’s not like this was a loyalty problem. No, it’s just that this portrayal of Batman was so different than what I expected, and not in a good way.
Now, this isn’t entirely Affleck’s fault. I also blame casting, and of course, we have to admit that the writers definitely played a part. The truth is, Batman felt really antagonistic in this movie. Was it just me? He was kind of shady. And sure, Batman’s always been a dark superhero, even described as an anti-hero. But there is a huge difference between being dark and being bad. Especially being up against Superman. I mean, its Superman. He was the clear hero in this film, and maybe that’s the way they wanted it, but personally, I don’t think it works.
Take Captain America: Civil War. I think the reason that worked so well was because there was no clear hero or villain. Both had valid points and were making sense. Steve, you want to help out a bud, prove his innocence. You think the accords are a bad move, because you may not be able to help out when you should be able to. Fair, that’s cool. Tony, you think the accords are a good idea because a lot of innocent people have died because of your actions, and you want to stop that. That makes sense. Neither side is being ridiculous, and so you can still love them both. It’s harder to take sides, and even if you have a clear favourite, neither is an obvious baddie. Whereas with Batman v Superman, there was. And there didn’t need to be! Superhero vs superhero only works, in my opinion, when there is not a clear good guy. As soon as there is, there’s a clear antagonist, and you’ve just changed the way fans view that superhero.
I’d like to bring up the fact that Batman is now branding his victims? Just like to point that out. And you know what, maybe it wouldn’t seem so off the wall if we actually knew this Batman. But we don’t. And they introduce him to us in this light that is, let’s be honest, not the best. How else are we supposed to feel? This was actually a huge problem throughout the entirety of the film, because it felt like we were playing catch-up. Wayne Manor was burned down, but there’s no reference as to why that is, for example. It’s those small details that really could have helped this movie. But because they weren’t included, Batman was just thrown at the audience, and we had no interest in catching him because we don’t know who the hell this guy is.
I know this is probably seeming like a ‘hate on Ben Affleck’s Batman’ post, but I swear, the bash is almost done. I just want to talk about the voice. A lot of people made fun of Christian Bale’s ‘throat cancer’ voice, but you have to give him this much: it was his voice. Affleck’s is so computerized, there were multiple moments where I had to rewind and still couldn’t understand what he was saying. Also, it was way too similar to Bale’s. They’ve rebooted Batman very early, very close to the last one. And when you do that, you have to make the distinction between the old character and the new character very obvious. Take a look at The Joker. Short hair, metal teeth, and covered head to toe in tattoos, this Clown Prince of Crime looks exceedingly different from Heath Ledger’s. While you may not have as much room to play around with Batman costume wise, they definitely could have changed the voice. Because all we think of is a Christian Bale wannabe when we hear Affleck.
Batman aside, I really liked the Superman plot. I liked the controversy among the people, and thought it felt realistic. Lois and Clark were as cute as ever, but I wish we had seen more of them and less of Batman. I also wish Clark wasn’t always saving her! I mean, yes, he’s Superman, but Lois is awesome! I wish there would have been more scenes putting her in the spotlight. That being said, there was another powerful woman in this film. And that, of course, is Wonder Woman!!
From what we saw of her, she seems amazing, and she definitely knows what she’s doing more than Clark and Bruce put together! But we saw so little of her!! I think she was in two small scenes throughout the film, and then showed up at the end. I was expecting more. I know it was supposed to be just a teaser, like a glimpse, but that’s all this film felt like. It felt like they were saying, “Listen, we know we made a mistake with Batman. But look at what’s coming! Wonder Woman! Aquaman! The Flash!” Yes, they all look amazing, but that does not make up for this film.
And as for the villain himself, Lex Luthor, I actually didn’t mind him! I like Jesse Eisenberg, but I was just as confused as everyone else when this casting news was announced. You wouldn’t put the two together, but it actually kind of worked! He played him really twitchy and unhinged, which I liked. It wasn’t the best performance I’ve ever seen, but it was much better than what I was expecting. I was impressed.
And then we come to the ending. What should have been an extremely emotional final act just felt dragged on and unnecessary. And seriously, if you didn’t believe me about spoilers, A HUGE ONE IS COMING SO CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!!
So Superman dies. Whatever. Even though Batman is one of my favourites, I actually kind of wish it was him instead. I never thought I’d say that. But here we are.
Superman is awesome. And I think Henry Cavill has done a wonderful job. And under normal circumstances, I would have been bawling. BUT WE KNOW JUSTICE LEAGUE IS COMING. GUYS. WE KNOW.
One of two things were going to happen. One, they were going to kill Superman and leave him dead, losing the entirety of their fan base in the process, or two, bring him back. And so the whole ending just felt unnecessary and painfully obvious. It was really too bad, because this movie did have potential. They could have made it much better, but it just fell flat.
Some think that the highlights outweighed the issues. Others point out that this film is really just an introduction to the Justice League. If that is the case, it was much too long. And while I am not at all excited for the Batman film that will be released, I desperately hope we get some explanations and that Affleck does a much better job.
In the meantime, we can hopefully look forward to seeing Jared Leto’s Joker kick his ass in Suicide Squad. Always look on the bright side!