If while watching Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice you felt that Superman felt a bit too much like a supporting character in his own movie, it turns out there’s a pretty good reason for that.
As discovered by one curious Redditor by the name of coolerthanabagofice, Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent/Superman only speaks 43 lines of dialogue in all of Batman v Superman (42 if you don’t count his scream at the end). That’s a shockingly low amount of dialogue for a top-billed star and things get even more interesting when you look at how that dialogue is split up.
The Lex Luthor party scene is Henry Cavill’s most verbose moment in the film, as it’s the only scene where the actor is given more than five lines of dialogue. In all, only about six of Cavill’s lines are more than two sentences long and there are a surprising number of scenes where Superman is present but doesn’t say a word.
Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with giving a character — even a main one — a small number of lines. Arnold Schwarzenegger barely spoke a word in The Terminator and it’s one of his best roles. The problem is that, in a film such as Batman v Superman, a lot of the conflict and drama lies in verbal exchanges, as there is a fundamental difference between the two title characters’ viewpoints (that’s why they’re fighting, after all). When you give one of your co-leads a much more sizable role than the other, it kind of leads to some unbalanced storytelling.
Now, we don’t actually know how many lines of dialogue Ben Affleck’s Batman gets, but it seems like a pretty safe bet that he had far more than Cavill. Many have criticized Cavill’s performance for being bland or uninspired, but it’s hard to fault the actor too much when he’s only given 43 lines to work with.
Hopefully the R-rated cut will give Superman a few more lines…or at least a couple more screams.