Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Zack Snyder's high energy Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is fueled by pain, grief and regret -- like the characters at its center. Their stories are familiar and fretful tales of personal (Batman) and planetary (Superman) devastation that they wear like a second skin, or like the uniforms they don to fight evildoers. The film is gorgeous but terribly bleak, the battle scenes stupendous and interminable and the acting not entirely engaging but totally serviceable. The much-maligned Ben Affleck makes a studly though surprisingly dense Bruce Wayne / Batman, and the studlier Henry Cavill a surprisingly randy and adolescent Clark Kent / Superman, whom the hapless Lois Lane (Amy Adams) doesn't know exactly what to do with. I would not suggest that any of this is alien to Snyder's world; they just feel a bit flat for a movie that contains a hefty amount of religio-philosophy about the nature of God and godliness and man's duty. This deep-thinking is delivered mostly by a frantic Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), whose daddy issues have turned him into an affluenza psychopath. As annoying as his tics might be, I enjoyed watching Eisenberg chew scenery; he's one of the best. This introduction to the upcoming DC Universe film series (Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Justice League are all either in production or being planned) is not the film disaster some claim but it will probably be savored mostly by DC comic hounds and admirers of high dollar Hollywood beefcake.