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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The name itself speaks volumes about the movie . . . the long-awaited showdown of said superheroes, the questions as to what exactly justice is, and the complete US blockbuster package, aggressively wrapped in hyperbole, exaggeration, and barely any suspension of disbelief.
It is to be expected from Zack Synder, who has worked on 300 (2006) & Sucker Punch (2011). Naturally, he is the choice for this film, directing the prelude, Man of Steel in 2013. If grandiose is what you’re chasing, this film will deliver in spades. DC Comics heavyweights? Check. Slick 3D action scenes? Check. Complimentary over-the-top soundtrack by Hans Zimmer & Junkie XL? Check. Stereotypical villain? Check. You cannot argue with the visuals of the film, and its attempt to deliver the whole, gargantuan package. Indeed, it will do exactly that for various cinema-goers, but you need to go in with the right expectations.
At the helm we have Ben Affleck taking the reins as Batman (replacing Christian Bale), and Henry Cavill returning as Superman. Complete that with Amy Adams as Lois Lane, and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, and it’s a resplendent cast. Even if Eisenberg plays a hammy villain, it’s more entertaining than anything else, drawing parallels to The Joker in Batman.
Kicking off with Batman’s story and the tried and tested development of everyone’s favourite anti-hero, it’s comfortable territory. Bring in Superman, the moral questions surrounding his position as a god-like figure in Smallville, a villain who is eager to exploit that fragility through many subversive means, and with a little U.S political spice and alien technology to complete the recipe, you thus have a rollercoaster of a film. Whether this rollercoaster is for you, entirely depends on what you’re looking for in the film. Personally, I found it hard to join the two DC universes: Gotham City and Smallville, and found it even harder to imagine they were a hop, skip, and a jump away from each other. Nonetheless, the contrast between these two heroes certainly makes for an interesting match up, in which the main thrust of the film continues on from the aforementioned Man of Steel.
The plot was a little tricky to follow. I saw the connections and leaps they were trying to make plot-wise, but the chasm for me seemed just a little too far to bridge. The initial focus of the plot is more relatable: fear of the unknown, and the way that each hero faces their demons, or at least, society’s questioning of their presence. It had a darkness and grittiness that was appropriate, but that quickly gets washed away as the movie picks up the pace.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a tricky film to review. As I mentioned earlier, it will tick all the boxes for some people, and so it should. Visuals, effects, and childhood heroes rolled in to one package. It doesn’t try to trick you in to thinking it will be anything else: that is the power of a film like this. On the other hand, it’s easy to roll your eyes at yet another blockbuster superhero action matchup, and wonder how they keep at it. It’s an even harder pill to swallow when you see such a blatant possibility of numerous sequels.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens in cinemas March 23.