Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (BvS) is the highly anticipated second entry into the DC Cinematic Universe. BvS stars Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman while Henry Cavill reprises his role as Clark Kent/Superman from 2013’s Man of Steel. Gal Godot stars as Wonder Woman and Jesse Eisenberg plays the main antagonist as Superman’s ultimate foil, Lex Luthor. Fearing the near limitless power of Superman, Batman takes on the Man of Steel in a powerhouse showdown of two iconic superheroes. Besides the promise of a really cool superhero movie, the excitement of the film is that it is the gateway into the expanded DC movie universe that is set to release over the next five years.
Con – Past expectations
BvS is a movie that has been released into an era of fantastic superhero movies and franchises. Standing on the shoulders of giants this film has the issues and problems of a little brother trying to measure up. The specter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe appears to hang over the heads of the filmmakers, and it feels like they try too hard to make sure everyone knows they did not crib anything from Marvel. Further aggravating the problem is the main protagonist of this film (Batman) is only four years out from arguably the greatest superhero trilogy ever, which has absolutely no connection to this version of the DC character. This movie sets up its own world, but it is hard not to compare it unfavorably to the villains, vehicles, and tone of Christopher Nolan’s bat-verse. As an example, while I tried to enjoy Jeremy Iron’s techno Bat-butler Alfred, not enough time has passed for me to not long for the pitch-perfect Alfred of Michael Caine. If the audience had not seen all these past superhero films, most of this would not be an issue. The problem is, most of us have.
Pro – Great moments
Make no mistake, this movie is full of great moments. The second scene of the film actually takes place during the climatic fight scene between Superman and General Zod from 2013’s Man of Steel. It places Bruce Wayne square in the middle of this battle of titans at ground level, giving us the perspective of a normal citizen trying to avoid the death and destruction going on throughout the city. I found this scene to be fascinating, and it was cool to experience that fight again from a much different perspective. Ben Affleck, who was much maligned when casting was announced, gives a great take on an older, angry Batman. Gal Gadot is fantastic as Wonder Woman, and the most interesting scenes in the first half of the movie features her in civilian clothes. When she shows up in her full regalia as Wonder Woman, it is a GREAT moment. There are also lots of great actors popping up in smaller parts, but I was greatly disappointed we did not get another scene of Kevin Costner’s Jonathon Kent playing catch.
There are many reasons to like this movie and even more reasons to go see it, but it suffers from little brother syndrome and trying to cram too many movies into one blockbuster.