Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Movie Review
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The gauntlet has been thrown. And as far as gauntlets go, this is a big one. Batman against Superman. Man against "god". Hope against doom.
Warner Bros' soon-to-be international blockbuster hit, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, directed by Zack Snyder, is redemptive and, at times, compelling, but its flaws mar the film's overall appeal.
Henry Cavill returns as the Man of Steel, with Ben Affleck defying all odds and pulling off the role of the Caped Crusader (contrary to popular belief). Jesse Eisenberg joins the cast as maniacal genius Lex Luthor. Amy Adams reprises her role as Lois Lane. Gal Gadot steps in the gladiatorial boots of Wonder Woman in this battle of superheroes.
These iconic comic book champions, in all their film and television adaptations, stand for justice and bring hope to the downtrodden. Superman wages war against those who would use their power to dominate humankind. Batman fights the evil that plagues his hometown of Gotham.
In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Snyder and his writers Chris Terrio (Argo) and David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight, Man of Steel) pit these two powerhouse figures of popular folklore against each other. Their creative vision seeps through the 2.5-hour action-packed flick, but the really brilliant, well-written, well-shot moments are muddled by long CGI-heavy action sequences. The potential for strong character-driven storylines are there, but loud apocalyptic scenes weigh them down. There are a lot of characters and a lot going on, but there's not enough Wonder Woman. And if you're not up on your DC Comics, a couple of characters in the movie might need some more explaining.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice doesn't shy away from the spiritual. Taking a hint from Superman's origins, the writers explore God and humanity's need for a "messiah". Images of crucifixes show on screen, one very noticeable one rising from rubble at an especially crucial moment. Our villain argues against God. Batman finds strength within himself. But, Superman's heavenly beginning and redeeming qualities shine through and offer renewed faith.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comes with a 'caution is advised' caveat. It's violent, but not terribly bloody. The dialogue contains a number of obscenities and profanities (with a few of the characters taking God's name in vain). The darkness is real and creepy, but light always pierces even the blackest night. The sensuality warning is because of a steamy scene between Lois Lane and her boyfriend, in a bathtub.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice clears a path to a whole host of new DC Comics films (2016: Suicide Squad; 2017: Wonder Woman, Justice League: Part One; 2018: The Flash, Aquaman, Batman solo movies). The nature of superhero movies begs a certain amount of over-the-top action, but Batman v Superman overdoes it and by doing so downgrades the film's beautiful moments and clear and present takeaways of justice, redemption, and sacrifice.
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