FILM: “Batman v. Superman: The Dawn of Disaster” [Berkshire on Stage]
By Larry Murray
It’s a superhero movie that not even Wonder Woman can save. That is if you have brains and are not easily fooled by video game visuals and pretentious melodrama. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice has been touted as the kick-off for a whole new DC Comics franchise, and while the opening weekend grosses are impressive, it is Week Two and thereafter that will decide whether BvS is a charmer or a clunker. Truth be told, when Wonder Woman is the best thing in the film, we have a problem, Hollywood.
The film itself suggests it’s trafficking in topical notions of politics, religion and moral ambiguity, but its main currency is our contemporary penchant for hip and affected pessimism. Our heroes must be reduced to fallible human beings and stripped of their god-like stature, so that we may wallow in bloviated pessimism. Henry Cavill’s Superman spends a lot of time wrestling with his definition of good vs. evil, while Ben Affleck’s Batman has grown older, and less appealing without his sidekick Robin by his side. But it is Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor who seems totally lost, without motivation or common sense to guide him.
It is a surprise, given how little screen time she gets, that only Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman manages to pull off the DC archetype correctly, a strong, effective woman in the midst of the doubting superheroes in her midst. She could easily give them a class on consistency and what it means to be a superhero. But in the end, even WW can’t save this unholy mess of a film.