Fearing the actions of a superpowered being left unchecked following the damage done to Metropolis and Gotham City, Batman takes on Superman, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. With the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight battling each other, a new threat, Doomsday, is created by evil billionaire Lex Luthor. It's up to Superman and Batman to set aside their differences to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis and threatening the world beyond it.
Directed by: Zack Snyder
. Starring: Ben Affleck
, Henry Cavill
, Amy Adams
, Jesse Eisenberg
, Diane Lane
, Laurence Fishburne
, Jeremy Irons
, Holly Hunter
, Gal Gadot
, Scoot McNairy
, Callan Mulvey
, Tao Okamoto
, Brandon Spink
. Music by: Junkie XL
, Hans Zimmer
We live in an age where a comic book movie is not classed as a true comic book movie unless it is brandishing a certain cookie-cutter label. Yes, folks, Marvel now own the franchise on comic book adaptations and - fan boys be damned -' anything else is considered an aberration. More so, when said aberration is interpreted as trying to cash in on the Marvel cash cow and copy its highly successful business model. And that's what we have here: two of DC's most famous characters united in one movie and... the Marvel cinema contingent is having none of it.
Batman V Superman was the target of negative publicity almost from day one and barely stood a chance: there were the accusations of this being rushed; that it was a force-fed 'shared universe' wannabe rather than the expected Man of Steel sequel; plus, of course, the 'Dawn of Justice' tag just seemed added on and rubbed everyone up the wrong way. Then you also had to contend with the fact that Man of Steel's ultra serious tone and dour color palette -' of which this is a successor - contrasted sharply with the humour and shiny pastels of Marvel's fan boy friendly output and you had a recipe, if not for disaster, for the next closest thing to it. But taking all that into account, here is the shock: Batman V Superman is a very good and competent superhero vehicle.
The set up that kicks everything off is very well done, with the events from Man of Steel's conclusion playing out again from the perspective of Bruce Wayne: one of his buildings is demolished in the SupermanZod battle and his employees die. Thus, the roots for hatred are quickly sown and it is through this and a combination of hate inducing dreams that the growing resentment of Superman begins to grow. Bruce Wayne clearly has issues, let's not forget - he dresses up as a bat...
As a superhero movie, ignore all the flack it has received - this really delivers. Rather than being the alleged rushed production most would have you believe, there is actually a lot of thought and ideas in it. It looks great -' genuinely like a comic book - and has some great scenes: Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent trade sarcastic insults at a party, Batman and Superman have a wonderful initial confrontation where Superman tells Batman to consider his 'letting him off the hook' an "Act of mercy" -' it's effective because we know Superman could easily crush Batman at that point. Plus there's a dream sequence where we see Batman wearing goggles and wearing a coat -' while still clad in the Batman outfit -' genuinely thrilling to look at. Plus the scene where bystanders touch Superman as if he's some kind of messiah figure is realistic and plays true to life. And on top of all that, when Wonder Woman eventually does appear in the movie, boy is it one hell of a great entrance.
The Batman suit here is a huge improvement over the one in the Nolan trilogy. Whereas that one seemed to be modeled on the late 80searly 90s Tim Burton iteration of the character, the new suit is bulkier and looks all the better for it. And this suit too marks a welcome return of the shorter 'bat ears' compared to the long, protruding spikes of the BurtonSchumacherNolan interpretations. And then there's Batman himself. Whereas in the 'Dark Knight' trilogy, the Bale Batman used a lot of stealth to take down the bad guys, in this version the emphasis is on bulk and brute strength - you don't doubt for one moment that Batman couldn't take out a group of armed bad guys. He's a hulking guy who's prepared to smash heads without hesitation.
Henry Cavill proves once again why he is the best Superman since Christopher Reeve, not only looking like the character, but also actually possessing the acting chops to play it so well. Ben Affleck is a big surprise in this. He pulls off a very effective Bruce WayneBatman and is very good in the role. So good in fact, his Batman comes across more as a masked force of nature who is all about brute strength, compared to the wiryfast incarnation of the Christian Bale movies. And his Batman sounds better than the much-lampooned Bale version -' a bit of a misstep in the Nolan trilogy. Jeremy Iron's Alfred has a lot more to do in this than previous Alfred's and comes across as a sarcastic, tough, possibly ex- military type. In his relationship to Bruce Wayne, we really believe they've been playing vigilante games for the past ten years.
There are a couple of small missteps, though: Gal Gadot, while looking the part, lacks something in the delivery of her dialogue. The Wonder Woman outfit is hard to get right and looks kind of like Xenia: Warrior Princess. In addition to this, Jesse Eisenberg seems to be doing the exact opposite - overdoing it and trying to do a 'Heath Ledger as the Joker' in his rendition of the Lex Luthor character. Not terrible, by any means, but it could have been reigned in a bit. As for Aquaman, well, the jury is still out on that one...
Still, it's got spectacle, big action, scale, depth and ideas in abundance (how would the public actually treat a real life superhero?) and says things you will not find in any of the Marvel movies in a month of Sundays. But the real fun here is the almost Shakespearean interactions (in tone) between Cavill and Affleck as the titular characters. There are very good scenes in here. Watch it and you will be impressed. If people are willing to cast aside the Marvel bias, they will see it's a better movie than the bile-filled hoards are willing to give it credit for.
Review by Ben_Horror from the Internet Movie Database.