Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Genre: Superhero Running Time: 2 hrs. 31 min.

Release Date: March 25th, 2016 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Zack Snyder Actors: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Gal Gadot, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Scoot NcNairy, Tao Okamoto, Lauren Cohan

 


 

E

ighteen months have passed since the arrival of the otherworldly Superman (Henry Cavill) in Metropolis, but his actions remain clear in the minds of the public who adore him, the politicians who want to control him, and the criminals who wish to destroy him. When Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is abducted while on assignment in Africa, and Superman arrives (in the nick of time) to save her, several innocent bystanders are killed, reinvigorating the debate over whether the Man of Steel does more harm than good. It’s not long before ambitious senator June Finch (Holly Hunter) attempts to put Superman on trial for his involvement in civilian casualties and neighboring Gotham City’s own masked vigilante Batman (Ben Affleck) sets his sights on stopping Superman’s apparently calamitous behavior. But as the two caped crusaders prepare to confront one another in the hopes of restoring order, malevolent business magnate Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) cunningly plots to use the feuding superheroes for his own nefarious plans.

It stands to reason that viewers will go into this film possessing basic knowledge about both Superman and Batman; those with little understanding of the two characters should be deterred by the title alone. Yet even with the target audience distinctly defined, and the existence of numerous previous theatrical adaptations, the opening sequences feel the need to reiterate not only the concluding events of “Man of Steel” but also fresh origin scenes for Batman. The Dark Knight might be embodied by a new actor, but that hardly changes his familiarity, especially since the writers (Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer) have given him all the same qualities he exhibited in the previous trilogy – right down to the unnecessarily raspy voice.

With all the former storylines to tie together, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” feels like it starts in the middle, proceeding to do extensive detailing of side characters and plots for future projects (like a Justice League movie). Despite a hefty running time, it doesn’t leave much of an original script to give itself a sense of identity (opting to copy the onslaught of Marvel movies at the box office, which tend to focus more on the entire comic book universe than the individual chapter). It’s bad enough that a single movie isn’t big enough for both Batman and Superman; it’s even worse that they must share the screen with Wonder Woman and several new villains.

And those villains are utterly uninspired; Luthor is a sniveling, precocious twerp, resembling something along the lines of Red Mist from “Kick-Ass,” while the secretive abomination he manufactures from elements of Krypton features all of the major physical, inertial, and gravitational problems of the Hulk. If it weren’t difficult enough to convince moviegoers that all of the colorful nonsense transpiring onscreen is supposed to be serious, the bland monsters floating through the air in meaningless yet destructive combat are sure to evoke uncertainty. Even when particular sequences are surrounded by darker violence, such as multiple gunshots to the head, it’s impossible not to raise an eyebrow at the silliness of Superman striking a stale pose before dispatching enemies.

Whether pondering the politics of superhero involvement in law enforcement, or embracing the thundering bass of Junkie XL, or tapping unnecessarily deep into the DC mythos for inspiration, the bustle of this film will please longtime fans and bore everyone else. In its efforts to produce an epic feel (certainly in length), the pacing slows to a crawl; it takes nearly an hour before the first real action scene transpires. And even after vehicles explode and buildings are leveled, the characters fail to make an impact. Love, loss, and sacrifice have never been so unaffecting. The citizens of Metropolis and diehard devotees alike won’t be surprised by anything, especially after all the laser blasting, brick wall smashing, and alien-unleashing occurs, wreaking havoc and creating problems that, once the film finally grinds to a halt, retain such temporary resolutions that the story practically circles right back to the beginning all over again (like the last several Terminator productions).

– The Massie Twins

  • 3/10


The DC Extended Universe


Man of Steel (2013)

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Suicide Squad (2016)

Wonder Woman (2017)

Justice League (2017)

Aquaman (2018)

Shazam! (2019)

Birds of Prey (2020)

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

The Suicide Squad (2021)

Black Adam (2022)

Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)

The Flash (2023)

Blue Beetle (2023)

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023)