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By Heinrich Domingo

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is reserved for fanatics who have for so long waited for their favorite DC Comics characters. But for viewers unfamiliar with the world of Batman and Superman, watching the film to discover a new realm is not worth it. It does not sustain excitement, it does not elicit interest, and it does not add to the already popular superhero genre. Scratching off nostalgia on its surface, one can see a hollow plot lacking both in action and story.

BATMAN v SUPERMAN

Metropolis and its people suffered from the battle of Superman and General Zod. Livelihoods were destroyed and lives were lost. Despite Superman’s victory, the populace including Bruce Wayne felt that the latter is no longer a hero, rather, he has turned into a destroyer. With this, Batman started his quest towards defeating him. Aggravated by mogul Lex Luthor, the two engaged in a fight which only one can win. Yet, in the end, both realized that killing each other was just a part of a ploy. A bigger and more powerful villain is on the loose and waiting for them.

It was a story meant to discuss notions of justice, media framing, and power sharing. But with its intention of depicting everything all at once, its discussion felt so superficial. Its superhero film counterparts were known to emphasize specific elements alongside their action-packed scenes – self-awareness for Deadpool, bravado for Iron Man, and comic relief for Ant-Man.  Batman vs Superman could have been about philosophizing justice. It could have been an avenue on weighing what is good and bad and how the public understands it. Instead, the two and a half hour film showed us weak plot with underdeveloped characters.

In the end of the movie, a character’s death solicited no empathy. Despite several back stories featuring Bruce Wayne as a child and Clark Kent with his mother, the movie did not focus on deepening relationships between the characters. The audience felt like they were just watching two action figures intended to die any moment. The plot from the beginning was never about its characters. It was about fighting and hurting others.

In many ways, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is similar to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Both were heavily marketed, greatly nostalgic, and geared towards pleasing the fans. They were created to sustain the fandom that their predecessors have created. Looking beyond the anticipation of the public, Star Wars 7th installment offers uninterrupted epic action battle while Batman vs Superman offers nothing more. The latter’s visual effects were stunning, but they support no strong storyline. Star Wars was about combating the dark force and bringing back democracy while Batman vs Superman was just a fight between two powerful individuals who were deceived by a crazy scientist.

There is no question on the performances of main acts Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, and Jesse Eisenberg. All of them rightfully portrayed the personas they were assigned to play. Yet, the problem comes from the movie’s failure to develop the story’s characters. No matter how the cast may brilliantly perform, they cannot salvage a weak plot.

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is a drop of water to quench the thirst of DC Comics fans. This movie can sustain their clamor for another year or so. But for movie-goers who did not grow up living in their world, watching the film might not be worth your time, money, and effort.

2.5 stars

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