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‘Batman v Superman’ super disappointment

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‘Batman v Superman’ super disappointment

Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice." (Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.) Tribune News Service

Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice." (Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.) Tribune News Service

Tribune News Service. Used by permission.

Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice." (Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.) Tribune News Service

Tribune News Service. Used by permission.

Tribune News Service. Used by permission.

Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice." (Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.) Tribune News Service

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Two titans of comic lore stand face to face, portrayed together in live action for the first time in “Batman v Superman.” The audience catches their collective breath as they realize that they are watching movie history in the making. A brief time later, Wonder Woman, likely the greatest superheroine, makes her silver screen debut, and the audience claps and cheers. Such occurrences would be even more impressive if they had not occurred within the boundaries of the very confused “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” 

Directed by Zack Snyder and written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer, “Dawn of Justice” premiered March 24, 2016, and stars Henry Cavill as Superman, Ben Affleck as Batman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor.

The plot begins two years after Superman thwarts an alien invasion. Consequently, a Senate committee headed by Sen. June Finch (portrayed by Holly Hunter) assembles to decide to what extent the government should be control Superman. The Senator negotiates a deal with Lex Luthor, whose company Lexcorp has recently discovered a chunk of Kryptonite, the Man of Steel’s only weakness.

The flick juggles a ridiculous number of subplots.”

— Jaren Tankersley

Meanwhile, the Senate investigation forces Superman to question what kind of hero he really is, if he even is one, while Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot and Batman, played by Ben Affleck are shoehorned into the plot as well. 

 The flick juggles a ridiculous number of subplots. Among Luthor, Superman, Batman and Lois, each of whom has their own separate subplot, in addition to their character arcs, the main story is confused into oblivion and utterly devoid of consistent tone.

Fortunately, the wretched plot is somewhat redeemed by the fact that every actor attempting to portray it accurately is giving their all. Henry Cavill’s Superman may be written as a bit of a non-entity, but Cavill still manages to portray a sense of warmness and concern essential to the man of tomorrow.

Amy Adams plays Superman’s love interest Lois Lane well, portraying the reporter as independent and dedicated to seeing the truth outed, while Gal Gadot is excellent for the entire five minutes that she portrays Wonder Woman.

The supporting cast of “Dawn of Justice” is fantastic, especially Holly Hunter as Senator Finch, as she gives the character a sense of determination to protect her country, which makes some of Finch’s foolish decisions seem almost logical. Lawrence Fishburn plays a disillusioned yet still very likable Perry White, and Jeremy Irons’s  sardonic yet still concerned Alfred Pennyworth is phenomenal.  

The supporting cast of ‘Dawn of Justice’ is fantastic, especially Holly Hunter as Senator Finch.”

— Jaren Tankersley

Yet it is Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman who delivers the film’s standout performance. As Bruce Wayne, Affleck portrays a man that is still involved in his company and cares about its employees, despite his night activities.

When Affleck does don the iconic cape and cowl, he becomes easily the most terrifying, brutal, experienced and cunning Dark Knight to grace the silver screen. Even with the fact that he kills criminals almost indiscriminately, Affleck’s portrayal might well be the greatest portrayal of Batman in cinematic history.

Sadly, these many great performances are contrasted sharply by Jesse Eisenberg’s depiction of Lex Luthor. The Luthor of the comics is, in a word, intimidating, while Eisenberg’s Luthor is flat psychotic. Although a fresh interpretation of the character may be welcome, Eisenberg’s behavior is usually far more quirky than creepy, and “Dawn of Justice” suffers for it.

Eisenberg’s madness is, however, somewhat forgivable in light of “Dawn of Justice’s” stunning aesthetics. Well choreographed action scenes are captured beautifully by Zack Snyder’s gorgeous cinematography, and propped up with an epic score by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL.

Affleck’s portrayal might well be the greatest portrayal of Batman in cinematic history.”

— Jaren Tankersley

However, Snyder’s cinematography, Zimmer and XL’s score, and entertaining action can only save so much of a plot riddled with so many subplots.

In fact, the best features of “Dawn of Justice” often serve to highlight the movie’s flaws. Watching Gadot’s proud and interesting Diana Prince suddenly reenter the plot with next to no foreshadowing, or Affleck’s intensely engaging Batman operate on the most contrived of logic, is jarring to the extreme.

Ultimately, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a more disappointing than bad film. The good elements, especially the all-star cast, keep the movie from being out and out bad, yet the negative factors drag it well into mediocrity. The flick is still worth watching, if only to see the first cinematic appearance of Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman’s first shared blockbuster, excellent acting and impressive action.         

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About the Writer
Jaren Tankersley, Co-Editor in Chief

Salutations, I am Jaren Tankersley. I am a senior, and I am very excited to spend my third and final year on the Eagle’s Tale staff as Co-Editor-in-Chief....

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‘Batman v Superman’ super disappointment