Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

My money’s on the guy who can fly. And no, not like a bat.

After nearly destroying all of downtown Metropolis after his brawl with General Zod (Michael Shannon), Superman (Henry Cavill) isn’t quite loved by the general public. The media portrays him as either a “hero”, or a “dangerous alien”, government officials are calling for him to testify to his actions, and even those close to him, like Lois Lane (Amy Adams), still aren’t sure if he’s making the best choices. One person who would definitely agree with Lois is billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), CEO of Wayne Enterprises, and one of the many people who were affected by Superman’s mayhem of destruction. Seeing as how his whole company got screwed-over by Superman, without so much as a “sorry”, or “I.O.U.”, Bruce decides to take matters into his own hands and go after Superman himself, but this time, as Batman. Meanwhile, evil-genius scientist Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is conjuring up his own dastardly plan of sorts, but doesn’t seem to keen on letting those in governmental power know what it is. Obviously Superman and Batman got their issues to settle, but with Luthor somewhere in the background, they may have to push it all to the side and focus on the rest of humanity.

"Hero! Hero! Kill him!"
“Hero! Hero! Kill him!”

I’m going to be nice to Batman v Superman. Even after all of the anticipation, hype, and expectations built-up for this thing, it seems like a lot of people are, predictably, not liking it, which isn’t the only reason why I’m going to give it a break. One reason is that it’s a tad better than a lot of people seem to be giving it credit for in that it’s as dark, as serious and as brooding as you can get with a superhero movie. While Christopher Nolan may not be directing (he’s actually producing), his style is seen everywhere – the overbearing Hans Zimmer score, the countless shots of superheros looking into the distance and being sad, daddy issues, and, oh yeah, the seriousness.

Oh, so very serious.

But that’s one of the main reasons why I dug Batman v Superman in the first place – it’s not trying to crack jokes, wink at the crowd, break the fourth-wall, or make it seem like they’re out to provide knee-slappers. What it’s trying to do is give you this story, these characters, and do so in a very serious, almost unrelenting manner. The world painted here by Zack Snyder is a gritty, cold and bleak one, which definitely works, given how the first ten minutes start-off with us seeing just all of the destruction Superman caused at the end of Man of Steel. While Snyder himself may have caught a lot of flack for using that movie’s last-half as some sort of mindless 9/11 allegory, here, he shows that there’s actually a heartbeat to all of that pain and demolition; it’s not just about blowing things up for the sake of blowing them up, but showing that there’s a consequence for these kinds of actions.

That’s why, if anything, Batman v Superman seems to be, for the longest time, very anti-Superman. If it wasn’t for the first ten minutes portraying his act of retribution as something harmful to the rest of society, the following hour-and-a-half questions just what kind of being Superman is, whether or not he can be trusted, and why his better judgement may get the best of him if he’s not paying close enough attention. So rarely do superhero movies nowadays seem to hold a mirror up to their own characters in a way that Snyder, and co-writers Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer do with Superman and it brings up some really interesting ideas and questions about the idea of a superhero in and of itself.

Like, for instance, would we trust someone who could literally all kill us one day so easily, even if he was just saving us from every cataclysmic event? Or, would the fact that he’s always saving our butts give him enough privilege to do whatever he oh so pleased? And if not, then what would he have to do to ensure that he’s not just free-wheeling on his own? Set-up governmental rules for him to follow by? Or, just let the people decide?

Batman v Superman brings all of these questions ups and while there doesn’t seem to be much interest in actually answering them, the fact that they’re still brought-up at all means a lot.

And most of this is just to get past the fact that the rest of Batman v Superman is pretty messy and odd, even by Snyder’s standards. At two-and-a-half-hours, there’s so much, with so many, going on here, that it’s almost impossible to talk about it all to great length without spoiling something, or just getting lost in the shuffle of this movie, but just know this, there’s so much going on here that it’s basically too much. Snyder doesn’t know how to settle things down enough to where we get a few subplots and leave it at that; instead, the movie has at least five or six subplots going on, all surrounding the main, important one at the center with Batman and Superman coming to battle.

"I see youuuuuuuu!"
Way to hide, bro.

Speaking of them two, the battle they do eventually have is, pretty nice. In fact, all of the action here is pretty well-done and looks great, which is no surprise because Snyder knows his way around a good shot. It’s just that the movie literally takes two-and-a-half-hours to actually get to the ultimate showdown between Batman and Superman, when it definitely doesn’t need to. The movie already makes itself pretty damn clear what Bruce Wayne is going to be doing for the next hour, which is, chasing after Superman, so why take up all of our time, give us subplots of characters we don’t give a hoot about, and further prolonged the battle we’ve all been waiting so desperately for?

Don’t get me wrong, the fight is definitely awesome and it’s not like I would have preferred it if the fight had been in the first five seconds, but still, there’s too much time dedicated to senseless stories, when it could have been dedicated to developing both Superman and Batman more. And while you could definitely make the argument that we already got enough development with Superman, a part of me walked away feeling like Superman was a bit of a dick in this; when everyone is up-in-arms about all of the destruction he caused to the city, he literally says nothing and continues to fly around the sky, pouting, and, every so often, crying on Lois’ shoulders. No inspirational speech, no selective reasoning, no mic-drop speeches, no nothing.

He literally just takes it and leaves everyone to hate him and question him.

If anything, it’s Ben Affleck’s Batman who fares a lot better than most of the people here. As an older, much more grizzled Bruce Wayne, Affleck gets a chance to show a more seasoned-side to himself than we’ve seen in recent time and it works. While there was a public outcry over Batman being handed to Affleck, he shuts them all up by showing, not only is his Batman a freakin’ bad-ass that will literally stab a guy, or shoot him in the face, but will also take no mercy on whoever has done him wrong.

Screw these Justice League movies! Give me the solo Batfleck movie now!

Consensus: Messy and at times, incoherent, Batman v Superman has gotten its haters for a reason, but for those willing to look past its many weaknesses, will also see a very dark, very serious and very exciting superhero movie that gives us a solid new beginning to the DC franchise, that can hopefully pick up the pieces a bit after this.

6.5 / 10

It always takes three to tango. And what a hot and sexy tango that would be.
It always takes three to tango. And what a hot, sexy tango that would be.

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire


  1. “It always takes three to tango. And what a hot, sexy tango that would be.”
    Personally.. I would’ve rather seen a two and a half hour sexy threesome tango than BvS again 😉 great review!

  2. Thank you for the well-articulated review. I find that we definitely disagree on may points, but agree on some others. I appreciate how you support your points, whether I agree or not. So many reviews fail to do so. I enjoyed the sheer magnitude and spectacle of the visual and sound effects–far superior than anything I’ve seen in superhero movies in the past (even recent past). Just wish Snyder had spent more time developing the story for those who are unfamiliar with the comics.

  3. Great review! I like the dark take on the DC movies, this one just fell so flat for me due to it’s lack of focus during the first half. I had no idea what was happening at all. I enjoyed it much more once it found its footing and got going in the last third.

  4. I’m with you. I really am. (Yes, I’m not super jonesing for a solo Batman flick with Affleck in the role).

    As much as it was a hell of a mess at times, I still enjoyed the hell out of myself. Can’t fault the film for that.

  5. I can’t read this because I have to see this movie first — and I have to see it because there is a Russian lawyer who says, “I object.” It’s his only line. He’s not a professional actor. He’s an engineer. A friend of mine from grad school. I’m hoping his performance will rescue the film.

  6. Well written Dan. I too felt the movie doesn’t deserve so much of haters. The only major fault I could find in the movie Superman’s characterization is a bit let down. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie once the main clash begun. A lot could have been done better but nevertheless I thought it was a move that deserved a watch.

  7. Interesting review, I haven’t given the film a rating since I saw the film back on Friday morning, but if I were to give it a rating out of 10 it’d be a 6, maybe. Honestly I’m split about this film, I loved Affleck as Batman, Gadot was better than expected as WW and there were certain moments which were awesome and dramatic. But the story was a messy and had too many moving parts, the editing was irratic, Eisenberg failed as Luthor, Doomsday was unnecesary and I wasn’t keen on the motivations and set up for Bat and Supes’ confrantation either.

    Not a bad film but not a great one.

  8. awesome review, bro! not rushing out to see this but MoS grew on me after a few viewings and I hope that this may turn out to be the same. nice job, Dan.

  9. Too many plot points that complicate the proceedings, but still a good deal of action and Affleck is solid. It’s still too grim for my taste most of the time. If all the films in the DC Universe end up with this tone, there will be a lot of lost money from the studio.

  10. I agreed with the commentary for the most part. I very much agree that there were too many sub-plots in the movie. I did not like Lex Luthor at all! I thought he was nothing more than an upgraded, over-intellectualized version of the Joker. As far as Superman being a “Dick” I agree with that assessment also. There are some points I would like to make concerning the fight.
    1. Where did Batman get such nearly indestructible armor that Superman could not dent overcome it? Ok and here is a VERY OBVIOUS PLOT HOLE! Why is it that high-velocity bullets and missiles can’t budge Superman, BUT a kick from Batman’s supped up armor is able to knock him across the room? HUH? RIDDLE ME THAT BATMAN!”
    2. I was offended that the movie DUMBED DOWN Superman’s abilities in order to give Batman an advantage. In the first movie he battles General Zod and his henchmen nearly destroying a city, but in this movie am I to understand that somehow Batman in his armor is more powerful. I make this observation about the fight BEFORE Batman used the Kryptonite Gas Grenades.
    3. In the scene where Batman hits Supes in the jaw NOTHING HAPPENS! Supes just stands there as if to say, “I really was toying with you!’ So, if that is the case why toy with the Bat and just incapacitate him by wrapping him in a steel girder while he was knocked down? He could have done any number of things to stop the Bat without a prolonged fight and the use of Kryptonite based weapons. In this instant Superman WAS a DICK!
    4. Wonder Woman absolutely stole the fight scene with Doomsday. Did anyone detect her “Thor-like” grin after Dooms Day slapped her away a few hundred yards? AWESOME!

    Another question I have is who was the person in Bruce Wayne’s nightmare? During the hearing at the capitol Superman could plainly see the sudden distress on the Congresswoman’s face as she looked at the cup of “Tea!” Why didn’t he do a SUPER scan of the surrounding area and notice Luthor’s briefcase? Even if he noticed it and tried to scan it and it was made of led that should have led him to conclude that something terrible was about to happen. Once again Superman DICKED out!

    I absolutely DID NOT LIKE the inference with the religious ambiguity! NUFF SAID about that! All in all it was worth my 10 dollars. Oh, one last (seriously) observation. In my humble opinion I see a correlation between Batman and Lex Luthor. Both had serious issues in wanting to destroy Superman to absolve their internal demons. Batman wanted to destroy him because he believed there was that 1 percent chance that Superman would one day show his TRUE nature and destroy mankind and it was HIS RIGHTEOUS mission to prevent that. Luthor wanted to destroy Superman to prove a god (or GOD) does not exist while, ironically, seeking god-like knowledge and power for himself. Interesting.

  11. “Messy and at times, incoherent, Batman v Superman has gotten its haters for a reason, but for those willing to look past its many weaknesses, will also see a very dark, very serious and very exciting superhero movie that gives us a solid new beginning to the DC franchise, that can hopefully pick up the pieces a bit after this.” I’ve read a number of reviews on this movie, but that is the best summary I have seen. 🙂 This film is messy, and at times it is incoherent, but I have to be honest: I did enjoy it. There are good moments, and yes, even flashes of greatness. DC seems to be struggling to find its footing just a little bit, but hopefully everything will come together in the Justice League film.

  12. It’s divided opinions. All the young men I know enjoyed it. Me? I had a new and closer relationship with my watch, which would not move quickly enough. Great review!

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