Henry Cavill: Batman v Superman's biggest liability

Few things excite fans more than a premise like the one in Batman v Superman. Batman's gonna fight Superman while Gotham City and Metropolis are on the verge of being destroyed?! Sign us up. Sadly, as audiences experienced for themselves, the final movie didn't live up to their massive expectations. One of the big reasons why had to do with the Superman half in the movie: Henry Cavill. How exactly did Cavill misfire? Allow us to show you the light. Just be warned: this post contains major spoilers.

His press tour was a disaster

In the lead-up to Batman v Superman, Henry Cavill embarked on a press tour on par with the casts of The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron and Fifty Shades of Grey. In other words: it was not very good. Arguably the lowest point of his tour came when he gave an interview to Man of the World magazine, during which he pretty much said he's only in the acting business to make money.

"I'm slightly wary of saying this, because it can be frowned upon, certainly by members of my community and people outside my community," he began. "But I'm not just doing this for the art. The money's fantastic and that's something which I deem—and again, it is frowned upon—very important." Later, he complained about how awful it is flying Economy Class on a plane.

"People will be calling me a c**k as they're reading this, but travel's great as long as you're going first class," he said. "I mean, traveling to New Zealand in economy, it sucks. Especially if you're over six feet. But first class? I'm not going to ever pretend to be coy about that. I love it." Things eventually got so bad that Jezebel dubbed his press tour a "beautiful disaster." Seriously, what average moviegoer is ever going to relate to be able to relate to statements like that? We can barely afford Superman's $20 3D admission fee as it is. Boasting about money, fame, and girls isn't going to do him any favors.

He played Superman way too seriously

One of the overall criticisms of Batman v Superman was that the entire movie felt way too dark and serious, like an uptight professor who doesn't know how to take a joke. Such was especially true of Cavill's performance. Whether he was trying to save Lois Lane in Africa or battling Laurence Fishburne's headline demands over at the offices of the Daily Planet, Cavill played each scene like a Greek statue: incredibly handsome, brooding, and demanding of your presence, and yet completely hollow underneath. For someone as overwhelmingly attractive as Cavill is, there needs to be some level of charisma or humor put in place to make him feel more relatable and likable to audience members, as he displayed so brilliantly in the criminally underrated reboot The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Otherwise, you're just spending two and a half hours looking at a smug guy who loves to make money and fly First Class to New Zealand. Where's the fun in that?

He lacked chemistry with his co-stars

Cavill's stiff and brooding performance had negative impacts on some of the key parts of Batman v Superman, mainly in his chemistry with his co-leads. For starters: he was unable to drudge up any romantic chemistry with Amy Adams, which fans will remember was the same case in Batman v Superman's predecessor, Man of Steel. Being the five-time Oscar-nominated actress that she is, Adams certainly gave it her all; however, Cavill stumbled through their big scenes together with the awkward traits of Clark Kent and Superman combined. In their big tub scene early on, for example, Cavill was supposed to be romantic and charming. Instead, he came across awkward and robotic.

This carried over into his scenes with Ben Affleck, as well. What Batman v Superman so desperately needed in this particular case was a sense of rivalry between these two dark and complicated superheroes that extended beyond burning down cities and destroying innocent people. We're talking zingers, one-liners, and below-the-belt insults that make you love (or at least love-to-hate) each character. Not letting Cavill try to prove that his strength in words matched his strength in, well, strength, just made his character feel all the more boring. Which is never a great sign for a movie built around a gigantic fight.

His part of the movie felt stale

One of the strangest parts about Batman v Superman was how it managed to feel both new and completely familiar at all times. On the one hand, audiences had access to a new Batman played by Ben Affleck. On the other, every aspect of Superman was really just recycled from Man of Steel. Included on that list was obviously Cavill, who had to carry the burden of a movie that really wasn't all that popular to begin with.

As a result, Cavill's mere presence in the movie often felt as if it was holding Batman v Superman back from being something truly fresh and unique. While Affleck was attempting something new with Batman, Cavill was really just starring in a sequel to Man of Steel, one that only recalled the mediocre reviews he and that movie received in the first place. Granted, with every other member of Man of Steel on board for Batman v Superman, including director Zack Snyder, it might have felt weird to not include Cavill here. At the same time, it's hard not to wonder if re-casting the role would have given Batman v Superman the facelift it so desperately needed.

He actually makes you root against Superman

The combined effect of a dull-as-nails Superman who can't muster any chemistry with his co-stars ultimately put a major damper on the last 30-or-so minutes of the movie, in which Superman fights not only Batman but the evil Doomsday, brought to life by Lex Luthor. By the time Batman v Superman reaches this point, audiences are so bored by Cavill that they begin to flirt with the idea of Superman actually meeting his maker. "Batman might kill Superman? At least something exciting would happen!" one might think. "Doomsday might destroy Superman? Well, at least that would solve the Cavill problem."

As a result, any tension or psychological complexity is completely erased from the ending and replaced with the same kind of apathy and shrug that Cavill brought to his performance. Instead of worrying about the state of Gotham City or Metropolis, you really just become fixated on how you're going to beat everyone to the nearest exit when the film's over. This makes things doubly bad when the film tricks you into thinking that Doomsday actually did kill Superman in the end. Seeing Superman's grave shake in the film's final seconds, indicating that, duh, Superman never really died, is a painful reminder to audiences that 1.) their wish did not come true; and 2.) Cavill will be back to snooze his way through at least two Justice League movies. And that's not a great way to end a movie.