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Movie Review: Grit & Heart In A Superhero War

Pillars of justice — Batman and Superman — collide in this highly-anticipated showdown on the big screen

By Pamela Chow

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Three of the most iconic DC comics superheroes come together in this film — Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman.

 

The anticipation of the battle between DC Comics’ aces has comic-book fans going gaga but, in the comic world, these two legendary superheroes — Batman and Superman — aren’t doing so well.

Fearing that the actions of Metropolis’ revered Superman (reprised by Henry Cavill of Man of Steel) have gone unchecked, Gotham City’s Dark Knight, Batman (played by Ben Affleck of Argo and Gone Girl), moves to wrest Superman from his seat of unbridled power.

In this all-out war that divides the world, mankind is left wondering what kind of hero it truly needs. Amid all this turmoil, a powerful villain — Doomsday — rises from the shadows.

 

A script that the audience deserves?

#148_ent_BVS-FP-0988One significant appearance is that of Doomsday, who is known for causing the death of Superman, in the comic.

 

Affleck, who bagged awards for Best Director and Best Picture with his 2012 political thriller Argo, reportedly “wasn’t thrilled” with Batman V Superman’s initial screenplay, reported Yahoo News. So, much like his superhero alter ego, Affleck took matters into his own hands.

Us Weekly reported that Affleck amended the script on the set — while in costume as Batman. The magazine’s source said, “[Affleck] would go into wardrobe and get all suited up for the day in his Batman suit. Then he would sit around reworking the script.”

I wonder which moments in the film were the results of Affleck’s input and if any of the other characters had their scenes tweaked. Batman V Superman also stars Gal Gadot (The Fast and the Furious series) as Wonder Woman, Amy Adams (American Hustle) as Lois Lane and Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix trilogy) as Perry White.

Joining the top-billed cast is Jesse Eisenberg of The Social Network as the power-mad archenemy of Superman,
Lex Luthor. What surprises does this villain have in store for — as The Independent says — “a Lex Luthor-controlled Doomsday”?

 

Less blood, more story focus

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While the portrayal of these familiar heroes is dark and gritty, in some ways they are also portrayed with more heart.

 

With or without Affleck’s script changes, one thing’s for sure: The movie has an atypically-long running time. According to AMC Theatres’ website, the film is a whopping 151 minutes long.

Batman V Superman has also been edited for a PG13 rating in cinemas in Singapore. This means less blood and sensuality for a wider audience and, expectedly, more focus on character, action and poignant exchanges between DC’s top ‘superfriends’.

 

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice [PG13]

Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg & Gal Gadot
Genre: Action
Run length: 151 min
Release: 24 Mar

 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of Weekender, Issue 148, March 18 – March 31, 2016, with the headline ‘Grit & heart in a superhero war’.

 

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