‘Batman v Superman’ is superhuman garbage

batman-v-superman.jpg

This article was originally published for the University of Denver newspaper, the DU Clarion. It has been republished here with permission. The original can be found here.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” a direct sequel to 2013’s highly divisive “Man of Steel,” sees Batman (Ben Affleck, “Gone Girl”) seeking revenge against Superman (Henry Cavill, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”) for the destruction of Metropolis and the deaths of civilians that came as a result of the previous film’s climatic battle. The film also seeks to swiftly set up the Justice League universe by introducing Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot, “Fast and Furious”) and Superman’s nemesis Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”) as well as offering brief glimpses of the rest of the team.

If that sounds like a setup for a fun and exciting battle between two of the most iconic characters in American pop culture, then be prepared for the most disappointing and borderline insulting superhero film ever made. “Batman v Superman” is, in reality, an utterly nonsensical, exhausting slog that leaves one begging for release from its grasp by the time it’s all said and done. It is joyless, unimaginative and expects its audience to adore it because of its characters (which the film has turned from complex heroes into borderline sociopaths) and disregard the fact that it is mindless. To get an overall feel for what the film manages to churn out, imagine a teenage boy playing with action figures for two and a half hours, except he’s pretentious, has a $200 million budget and has no interest in providing anything even remotely entertaining.

The film is a complete mess. It is impossible to talk about Zack Synder’s (“Man of Steel’) direction because there practically is none. He gives the audience no room to breathe, dizzyingly moving from one subplot to another with no regard for story or pacing.

Affleck and Gadot try their best to give life to their roles, but they literally run out of time before the film decides it’s time for another absurd monologue or uninspired montage of explosions. The script is so preoccupied with setting up future installments that it often forgets there is a story to tell. In fact, the titular showdown between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel takes up only around ten minutes of the film, ending because of a reason that may be the dumbest plot point in film history. This is before the film turns its attention to bringing the two together with Wonder Woman to fight Luthor’s homegrown version of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle on steroids, a mind numbing cavalcade of boring effects that lasts for close to an hour. In between these sequences, throw in a couple of pointless and confusing dream sequences, out of thin air rescues and blink and you’ll miss it introductions to other superheroes, and you’ve got “Batman v Superman.” It’s wishful thinking to believe one can even begin to process everything that happens in this trash heap.

Don’t see “Batman v Superman.” No one deserves the torture of having to sit through a film so thoroughly incompetent and disgustingly smug. It’s a film that should not be allowed to exist, and when you see it in the store bargain bins later this year, make sure to bury it deep below the other films keeping it company. It simply doesn’t get any worse than this.

Ryan Ninesling