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Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Underwhelming

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By LEE McPETERS

4/5/16

The highly anticipated film, “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” was released in theaters on March 25 to harsh reviews by critics. At the core, it was a very dark film — and that darkness prevailed throughout. The characters were shallow and confusion reigned at many points in the film, as there was too much going on at once.

At a runtime of two and a half hours, the film was tiring and overwhelming. Fans were hoping for a well-packed runtime, but there was little to the overall depth of characters and content. There was so much information that it was almost too much to take in.

The movie starts at the end of “Man of Steel,” which came out in 2013, in which they show the final battle between Superman and General Zod through Bruce Wayne’s eyes. The Wayne Finance building is destroyed amid the chaos and innocent people are killed, setting Wayne on a path to find and destroy Superman.

Batman is played by Ben Affleck, a new face in the Batman world, while Superman is played by returning actor Henry Cavill. “Man of Steel” already established Superman’s origins yet the audience doesn’t get to see much of Batman’s backstory except for the night his parents were killed, which is a scene we have seen so many times it comes across as redundant and unnecessary.

The audience is then brought into a world that is dark and depressing. Located in what seems to be an open cornfield, Wayne Manor is destroyed so Wayne lives in a small, glass, apartment-like structure on the premises. This opens many questions, as we never learn why the manor is destroyed or why it was not rebuilt.

Jesse Eisenberg plays Lex Luthor, a character who was disappointing to watch. Eisenberg portrayed a Luthor that was slightly deranged and silly, sometimes to the point of breakdown. Viewers never truly learn why he hates Superman and why he puts Batman and Superman at odds with each other. In the end Batman and Superman team up to fight against him and that alliance is a sight I wish more of the movie had been about.

A new character that we have never seen before is Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot. While she is instrumental in the final fight sequence, she too does not have much of a backstory. The audience encounters her through Wayne a few times in the movie, but the only reason she is there is to recover a secret photo, which doesn’t seem to matter in the larger story.

As a whole, the movie is very anti-Superman. Batman, Lex Luthor and even the government are against him. Although they all have different intentions, the message is clear: Superman must go.

A question in my mind was “why?” This was never fully answered throughout the movie. We do get glimpses of future DC movies though, with quick cameos of Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg, which led to excitement and interest. There is hope that those movies will be better.

As a whole, the movie was entertaining to watch, but it didn’t reach the level of past Batman and Superman movies. If the time was filled with deeper, richer content it would have been much better. Viewers, though, can still have hope for the future with the glimpses we received of characters to come, as well as “Suicide Squad,” which is due to be released later this year.

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