“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a film directed by Zack Snyder that follows 2013’s “Man of Steel.” Henry Cavill once again stars as the Last Son of Krypton, who is now dealing with the consequences of his actions after his fight with General Zod. As he faces the question “Must there be a Superman?” another hero begins to show his face. Batman, played by Ben Affleck, fears that Superman’s actions have been left unchecked, so the Dark Knight faces off against the Man of Steel while another threat looms over the two titans, the city of Metropolis, and perhaps the world. There is a lot riding on “Batman v Superman,” right? However, critics have been unforgiving with this two-and-a-half-hour-long hero-fest. Is it as terrible as they claim? Well, let’s discuss.
I really liked “Batman v Superman.” For starters, Henry Cavill is one of the best actors to portray Superman in a long time. While Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman may be seen as the “golden boy of comics,” Cavill brings out the emotional side of the Man of Steel. Cavill has mastered not just the look and physique, but what it means to be Superman: a selfless, powerful, godlike being living among men.
However, he isn’t the best character in this movie. Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman, steals the show. There are so many layers to Batman in this movie. Although Affleck’s performance has been criticized by comic fans, he is the most interesting, the most relatable, and has one of the best action scenes. The casting of Wonder Woman also raised concerns among fans, but Gal Gadot is great. I like the way she plays off Batman and makes her mark in her action scenes.
One thing I really appreciate are the themes the film explores, especially with Superman. The plot delves into the consequences of actions, and Superman must grapple with his actions in both this film and “Man of Steel.” It’s a relatable lesson for a new generation of fans who will see this movie.
The score is excellent too, although it wasn’t like the “Man of Steel” score. But without a doubt, the film excels in its action. It’s one of the most pulse-pounding, high-octane superhero flicks of the decade. You’re immediately hooked by the energy of the very first action scene. Each sequence has its “that just happened?” moments, usually involving Batman. This Dark Knight is the deadliest and most brutal version to be seen on screen. And when Batman and Superman finally trade blows, it’s awesome. The film is titled “Batman v Superman,” after all, so the title fight has to be the highlight. And it lives up to that. Even the final fight, when Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman face the monster Doomsday together (which isn’t a spoiler because it was in the trailers) carries that intense nature of the title fight.
Of course, there are problems with this film. The first is Lex Luthor, played by Jesse Eisenberg. Eisenberg’s Luthor is so much like a cartoon that he isn’t interesting. His motives are all over the place, and his plan made little to no sense.
The tone of the film is all over the place as well. From serious and dark scenes, the movie suddenly switches to light. Flip-flopping back and forth, the movie begins to feel unbalanced.
The last thing that irked me is the awkward way the film introduces the rest of the Justice League. Some of the members make cameo appearances, and the way it’s done felt like it should be a post-credit scene, not part of the main movie.
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is flawed for sure. But because the performances of the DC Trinity are top-notch, the themes are presented with the most realism possible for a film about a super-powered alien and a man dressed as a bat, and the action is high-octane. “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a piece of cinematic history that demands to be seen on the big screen.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.