In between graduating from university and moving home, I managed to forget all about writing about this film and just recently got a chance to finally write a review. Wow. There are so many words and yet so few to describe this semi-travesty/wasted opportunity. Adding insult to injury, the script of most of the film was incredibly mediocre. I could guess the lines about to be said by characters before they said them because it was like watching a mockery of a Marvel film. The film felt choppy, as if its bits and pieces had been stuck together at random, which was incredibly odd considering how fantastic the 300 series had been.
Firstly, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot singehandedly save this film from being an epic snooze-fest. To be very honest, as I was watching I kept questioning myself why I seemingly wanted to bore myself to tears, then suddenly Bruce Wayne or Diana Prince would appear on screen and it was like the film suddenly rose from the dead. Ben Affleck — about whom I was initially quite suspicious — was commanding, powerful, quiet, and somehow incredibly provocative and compelling as an older Batman. The quiet, and incredible, rage which fills him is evident in every scene and there is something almost epic about his presence in the film. This presence is evident in the trailer for The Justice League making one hope that the proceeding films will finally give Marvel a run for their money.
Gal Gadot was reminiscent of Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman in her provocative and somewhat mysterious role as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. Although I had been rooting for someone like Rhonda Rousey to become Wonder Woman, I was thoroughly surprised by how compelling and human Gadot managed to make Wonder Woman, especially considering how little relative screen time she received, through a few well placed poignant looks Prince goes from potential arm candy to potential ally. Coupling her role in the film with the newly released trailer for Wonder Woman I am thoroughly excited (although a little concerned about the longevity of Chris Pine’s character tbh).
Perhaps the reason some characters were so compelling is the unfortunate mediocrity of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. I had recently watched The Double and was therefore extremely excited to see Eisenberg bring that same odd energy and compelling charisma to this role and was thoroughly disappointed. It was as if the writers had given Eisenberg a general (thoroughly stereotypical) gist of the villain — blah blah Daddy issues blah blah psychopath blah blah troubled genius — and told him to fill in the blanks with whatever he thought best. This was a huge mistake. In fact I called my sister specifically to wax on about how the film could have been far more interesting with all of the Lex Luthor scenes cut out. One of Lex Luthor’s first appearances in the film is indicative of his entire character: he is a bumbling, entitled, and thoroughly immature villain, seemingly incapable of the kind of violence one would expec from a villain of a film like this. There is no sense of dread or fear when faced with his villainy, just boredom. The only reason he manages to get away with things for so long is because Batman and Superman are too busy hitting each other to actually use their words to explain anything to each other.
Speaking of Batman and Superman, their epic fight is incredibly contrived. The whole thing could have been avoided if one of them had just opened his mouth long enough, and walked a little less towards the angry menacing figure, to tell the other what was going on. Instead the studio executives clearly wanted an epic battle and the only way they were going to get one was if both men acted as idiotically as possible. It is important to note, however, that everything that occurs after the battle is basically everything the movie I was hoping to see could have been.
Overall the film rated a 4/10. The only reason it got any rating at all was due to a talented (albeit misused) cast, Jeremy Irons as Alfred (who deserves a special mention all on his own cause damnnn), and the beautiful cinematography. But when a film makes you want to go home and re-watch Gotham to recover, it really makes you wonder whether DC can really match Marvel in this medium, or whether they might perhaps be better off partnering with Netflix to create a gorgeous collection of television shows where they can fully explore these complex characters without the need to bring in mass audiences.