Review: Superman vs. Batman: Dawn of Justice, C-
Rated PG-13, 151 minutes
In a world of size that matters, then the new DC Comics superhero film "Superman vs. Batman: Dawn of Justice" should fit in perfectly. Add in loud and dumb to the equation, and this sequel/reboot to 2014's "Man of Steel" is a recipe for a big headache. Fanboys have been clamoring for this for years, and only those diehard fans of either character may find some enjoyment in it, which admittedly has more to offer, though it's certainly not great. It's been nearly two years since Superman's (Henry Cavill) colossal battle with Zod devastated the city of Metropolis. The loss of life and collateral damage left many feeling angry and helpless, including crime-fighting billionaire Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). Convinced that Superman is now a threat to humanity, Batman embarks on a personal vendetta to end his reign on Earth, while the conniving Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) launches his own crusade against the Man of Steel. Directed by "Man of Steel's" Zach Snyder and co-written by David S. Goyer (who wrote some of the most recent Batman films) and Chris Terrio ("Argo"), "Dawn of Justice" is an overloaded, overlong mess of action and a glow of CGI visuals that'll have you reaching for the bottle of Aleve before the end of the movie, with a ridiculous, laughable climax featuring a creature that literally comes out of nowhere. It drowns what is otherwise an intriguing premise: the first-ever cinematic pairing of two superheroes that fight crime in vastly different ways, and ultimately the title is a bit misleading, as it should be called "Superman and Batman" given their "versus" battle is disappointingly brief, with Batman bringing out every gadget imaginable to try to bring down the guy in the red cape, only to befriend him because their mothers have the same name. Snyder and company make what is the weakest and blandest Superman and Batman outing of recent memory, with neither lead actor bringing much to the table; if Affleck's weak acting skills should be called into question (he's better behind the camera, just saying), he's a heavyweight compared to Cavill, who's all eye candy in glassy-eyed, earnest appeal, in comparison to Affleck's gray-haired, cynical Dark Knight. Even worse, the movie is hurt by the crucial miscasting of the nerdy Eisenberg as villain Luthor, a mistake I saw coming early on in the initial trailers for the movie, and one that lacks any menace. However, it isn't lacking in other big movie stars, with Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Amy Adams (utterly wasted here as Lois Lane), Jeremy Irons, Kevin Costner and Holly Hunter all coming in and out of scenes as if they needed the money. One of the few brightspots is that it sets the stage for the upcoming "Justice League" films and some of those superheroes make brief appearances here, the best of which is the underused Wonder Woman (played by the lovely Gal Gadot), reimagined here as the cool, tough chick she should've been all along. Some superhero films work remarkably well (see the recent "Deadpool") and some don't, and "Superman vs. Batman," painted in broad strokes and coming in with a loud thud, is one that clearly does not.