Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — Dark and gritty superheroes

Zachary Headings – Horizon Media Columnist

Photo from CNBC


Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg

Director: Zack Snyder

Synopsis: After Superman fought General Zod in a battle that destroyed much of downtown Metropolis (“Man of Steel“), Batman fears that Superman will wreak havoc on the world if he is not put in check. The Dark Knight takes it upon himself to bring Superman to heel. The two heroes battle is escalated by the ever-manipulative Lex Luthor. When faced with an opponent of greater strength than both of them combined, Superman and Batman must put aside their differences and team up with Wonder Woman to win.


Zack Snyder’s “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” is an action packed hero film that, while sporting a long running time of 151 minutes, presents a complex story with great effects. This film sets a dark mood for the upcoming DC Cinematic Universe, starting with David Ayer’s “Suicide Squad,” releasing to theatres in August 2016.

From the get-go, this movie has been railed by professional critics. “Batman v Superman” received a 29% on Rotten Tomatoes, and I can tell you why. These critical reviewers simply didn’t enjoy comics as children, or didn’t get introduced to the right ones. The reviews that I have read accuse “Batman v Superman” of having a “long, drawn out, and confusing plot.” Which perplexes me. At no time during the admittedly long movie did I feel confused or left behind as the plot advanced. I wonder if the critics were asleep, or if they were bought off by Disney. Just speculating.

I will say this: In previous years, it has been hard to like a Superman movie. (Looking at you, “Superman Returns.”) When you know that one of the characters in the film you are about to watch is all powerful, you go in with certain expectations. “Man of Steel” dispelled some of those assumptions, and now “Batman v Superman” has completely thrown them out the window. This new Superman is not the immortal, invulnerable figure that he once was. He is a brooding, torn man.

My favorite part of this movie has to be the controversial casting. Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. What? Those choices are crazy! Someone needs to fire their casting director. After seeing the movie, I think that casting director deserves a medal. Ben Affleck’s Batman/Wayne is incredible. He is older and jaded. Through Affleck’s acting and some vague Easter eggs dropped in the movie, you can tell that this version of Batman has been through a lot. Eisenberg’s Luthor diverges from the traditional upright businessman that we seen in most of the comic series’ and replaces him with a younger, psychotic version. While some say that Eisenberg is guilty of overacting, I say that his portrayal of Lex is the one that fits best with this new universe that Snyder has set up. Why would an upstanding businessman want to destroy Superman? Because he’s completely insane. That’s why.

robin suit
Easter eggs: Robin?

While most of the acting is captivating, Amy Adams presents a rather dreary take on Lois Lane. She doesn’t have the fire, the spunk, the raw journalistic fire that we have come to expect from Ms. Lane. And while I’m all for sticking close to the storylines from the comics, if I have to see Clark Kent and Lois Lane inevitably fall in love one more time, I might just lose my mind.

Another thing that takes away from this film is the runtime. Like any Zack Snyder film, “Batman v Superman” is incredibly long. Cutting off at 151 minutes, it tends to drag story elements out just a bit. I don’t have the biggest bladder, but leaving the theater to pee twice in one film is excessive.

Most of the population has become big fans of superhero movies in recent years. The build-up of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is largely responsible for the huge jump in popularity. And with good reason. The MCU movies are fun and lively, sporting interesting stories and fantastic characters. These make for great semi-family friendly movies that one can be entertained very easily with. These new DC movies aren’t going to be the same way. They’re different. They won’t hold your hand through the plot, explaining every possibly confusing detail as you go. Zack Snyder’s new universe of superhero movies isn’t made to be family friendly. And for the people that say “But superhero movies are made for kids! That’s the point!”, I reply: Pick up a comic book. Read some of the horrifying stories about Batman and Superman. Sure. Some of these stories are for kids. But some aren’t. Let’s all agree to let a great director tell a story for adults the way it should be told.

Despite its flaws, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” presents a great story that is reinforced by fantastic acting coming from some controversially cast actors. The special effects are dazzling, and the ending leaves you ready for the rest of the DC Cinematic Universe. Be prepared for more gritty superhero movies to come!

About the author: Zachary Headings is a Sophomore at Hesston College where he is completing an Associates of General Studies. His primary focus is music, but dabbles in other things like writing and astronomy. In his spare time, he watches movies and TV shows, plays video games, and fangirls about anything and everything Star Wars. In the future, he would love to write for a gaming magazine, like IGN or PC Gamer.


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