The long-awaited Man of Steel sequel, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, was announced at Comic-Con in 2013 and DC Comics fans had been counting the days until the movies’ release. Who wouldn’t want to see two superheroes go head to head in the name of justice? As a fan of DC Comics, I had been held in suspense since I saw the first trailer, but I and many others harbored some concerns.
Though an interesting film adaptation, having Batman and Superman fight to the death seemed bittersweet. The action was guaranteed, yet the outcome of the movie forecasted death. In my opinion, I would hate my favorite superhero gasping for life at the hands of another favorite superhero. Another issue was casting for the roles of Batman and Lex Luthor Jr., Superman’s nemesis. Multiple fans criticized the choice of Ben Affleck as Batman because he did not seem to exude Batman-like qualities, i.e. darkness, based off his other films. Fans also disliked Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor Jr. because his comedic and light-hearted roles had overshadowed his dramatic ones in the past.
Despite some reservations and dismal reviews from critics, I remained optimistic and bought a ticket (and an over-priced bag of popcorn) at AMC. I didn’t have high expectations, but the film was a pleasant surprise.
The movie is set 18 months after Superman’s (Henry Cavill) colossal battle with Zod (Michael Shannon) which devastated the city of Metropolis. The loss of life and damage of the city left many feeling angry and helpless, including the billionaire Bruce Wayne aka Batman. Convinced that Superman is now a threat to humanity, Batman embarks on a personal vendetta to end Superman’s reign on Earth, while Lex Luthor Jr. launches his own fight against the Man of Steel.
There were more positive aspects to the film than negative. Affleck’s portrayal of an old, disgruntled Batman with a license to kill gave fans a different side of Bruce Wayne they have never seen before. I was completely satisfied with his performance and never expected him to overshadow Cavill. Eisenberg’s performance stood out the most. The actor seemed to embrace his role as maniac and frightened and entertained the audience all at once. I actually found myself eager to see Lex Luthor’s ruthless and corrupt antics more than any Batman or Superman scene.
The action scenes were as good as expected. Zack Snyder, the director of the film, is particularly known for his visuals and fight choreography and it certainly shows in Batman vs. Superman. The fight scene between Superman and Batman, though short, showcases Superman’s physical ability to destroy man, yet how Batman’s use of technology and combat is able to match Superman’s strength.
The film was accompanied with a few cons. The biggest disappointment was Superman. It felt as if Batman and Lex Luthor Jr. overshadowed Superman’s dull storyline, which also contributed very little to his development in his own sequel. Furthermore, the plot was somewhat difficult to follow as there were several jump-cuts, odd editing choices and awkward scenes that didn’t seem to fit into the movie as a whole.
The audience, consisting of all age groups, seemed to enjoy the film and be invested in the characters. Although the beginning of the film was a bit of a snooze-fest, the action-packed ending was worth the hour and half wait. The cliffhanger has set the scene for the next movie in the sequel, The Justice League, which will be in theatres 2017.
Ultimately, critics have bashed the film for being too long or incoherent, but it still delivers what the average comic book fan wants: a battle between the most iconic superheroes for the sake of mankind.