Movie Review: Batman V. Superman
Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice can be called a lot of things, but more than anything else, it’s a lot take in—especially for comic book fans.
A follow up to Snyder’s inconsistency received Man of Steel, a 2013 retelling of Superman’s origin, this grandiose superhero epic introduces another head on DC Comics’ Mt. Rushmore, Batman, and pits the two against one another atop a plot jagged with flashbacks and dream sequences.
This Batman, the latest big-screen incarnation since Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, is vastly different from any version of the vigilante ever seen on any screen.
Ben Affleck does an outstanding job portraying a dark and weathered Bruce Wayne, one who has fought crime in wake of his parents’ death for over 20 years—and one who simply doesn’t care for pleasantries any longer.
Affleck’s polarizing Batman comes face-to-face with Henry Cavill’s Superman we saw rise to save the Earth from Zod in Man of Steel.
The opening scene of the movie is Affleck, as Bruce Wayne, swiftly driving his way through Metropolis as the climax from Man of Steel occurs. After saving a young girl from falling debris, Wayne learns the girl’s mother has died during Superman’s fight with Zod, and from then on, it’s truly Batman v. Superman.
But the real man pulling the strings is young billionaire CEO Lex Luthor, played by Jesse Eisenberg. Luthor, his head flowing with hair, is a free spirit when we first see him, although we suspect he’s up to something. At a charity event where we see Wayne, Luthor and Cavill’s Clark Kent (as well as another surprise appearance), it becomes clear both Wayne and Luthor are plotting to take down Superman.
Meanwhile, we see the American public struggle with the idea of Superman, whether he is their hero or, rather, a threat. The idea of him being a “false God,” is rife throughout, and never slows down.
Wayne, alongside his longtime butler (and vigilante compatriot) Alfred Pennyworth, played wonderfully by Jeremy Irons, finally confronts Superman, but not before Luthor gets to Cavill first, giving him an ultimatum in advance of the anticipated showdown.
The climactic battle scene did not disappoint, and in fact the action-packed fight scenes may have been the strongest part of the movie. After the duel, the heroes quickly learn there are more pressing matters at hand, and attention is driven back to Luthor.
Once the larger threat is upon them, Batman and Superman are joined by another iconic hero, and the trio are able to take down this monster, but at a great cost, leading to a finish that will take the last 20 minutes of the movie to wrap your head around.
Overall, the movie was enjoyable, but sort of drowns itself in inconsistencies as well as its boldness, especially when it came to Affleck’s Batman. This incarnation of the character is the polar opposite from what we saw in Christian Bale’s version from The Dark Knight; Affleck’s is brutal and dark and willing to defy everything you think about the character.
That being said, it made Batman hard to root for in this movie. While the filmmakers certainly drew from a lot of source material in the comic book realm—namely Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and the ongoing Injustice: Gods Among Us saga—this Batman is not true to his comic self and doesn’t really stand for anything.
The movie is almost hippocritical in that it feels like a true comic book movie—it’s not the hyper-realistic film that Nolan gave us with his trilogy—but there are so many parts that don’t fit the mold. While the special effects and epicness of the movie was surreal, and totally believable for something you’d see in comics, inconsistencies when it came to this Batman and even Luthor to an extent, took away from it.
Clearly, that was Snyder’s choice—to break away from the realistic and give fans of the characters something more extraordinary, but almost more familiar if you’re a comic book fan.
And that’s where it contradicts itself. Affleck’s Batman is almost perfect, but it’s ruined by the filmmakers’ choice to make Batman something the character has never been.
Truly, the movie was epic and an admirable follow-up to Man of Steel. The showdown of Batman v. Superman was highly theatrical and lived up to the hype. Still, some bold moves by Snyder and Co. just didn’t pan out, and it keeps this movie from transcending to greatness.