Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is apparently a very polarizing movie. Either you love it or hate it. I loved it. The story is a little convoluted, but, for me, worked out well, setting the stage for the next movie or two in the series from DC. There are some early plot spoilers in this review, but nothing for the second half of the movie, which has a runtime of 151 minutes.
The film starts where Man of Steel ended. Superman (Henry Cavill) has defeated General Zod and his forces, leaving Metropolis destroyed. The death toll is large, and many blame Superman for the devastation. Among them is Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), who owns Wayne Industries. One of the buildings of his corporation was utterly destroyed in the fight, and becomes convinced that Superman will lead to the destruction of the entire human race.
On his own, there are other consequences to Superman’s actions. He rescues Lois Lane (Amy Adams) from the clutches of a probable terrorist leader, which leads to the massacre of innocents within that country later on. They blame him for either causing it or failing to stop those who actually did it. It’s all uncertain. Back in the U.S. Senator June Finch (Holly Hunter) is holding congressional hearings as to the nature of Superman’s behavior. Is he a menace who acts without thinking of the aftermath, or is he aware of the situation and does nothing to stop it?
The relationship between Lois Lane and Superman has really gelled in this film. Gone is the silly pretense that one of the best investigative reporters in the world has no clue that Clark Kent is his secret identity. That always annoyed me in past films.
We are introduced to Lex Luthor(Jesse Eisenberg), who is beguiled by the presumably unstoppable Man of Steel. He finds out that the U.S. government has discovered Kryptonite in the wreckage of the two ships from Krypton that were left behind after the failure of General Zod. He attempts to gain access to all of these via Senator Finch, who isn’t so ready to let him. Bruce Wayne is also aware of the discovery, and realizes he needs the Kryptonite to bring Superman down. There’s a bit of interplay between Luthor, Wayne, and Clark Kent that comes into play.
The story goes on from there, and to me, was quite satisfying. It was no the typical linear story that you’ve seen in many other superhero movies, and it was a welcome relief. In those films, the heroes discover the villain, who has a plan to defeat them. They attempt to thwart him, but there’s a twist that prevents them from initially becoming victorious, but our heroes find a way to do that, eventually. There are no nuances and very little in the way of surprises in those. In this film, some of that occurs, but things are more complex than previously expected, which showed more depth than most of the films.
I do have a couple of gripes about the film, but most of them pertain to Batman’s portrayal. He’s a bit more single-minded than we’ve seen before. Alfred (Jeremy Irons) is an effective voice of reason in the movie, even if he’s a bit ignored. Wonder Woman is introduced in the film, and is used well, IMO. There is one moment in the film that just seemed too convenient, but I’ll just leave it at that.
I cannot comment further on the storyline and such without spoiling the rest of the film. The scripting seems more adult-aware and less comic-booky than most of the other superhero movies. I’ll just say that the choices they made were quite surprising, given the subject matter and the long history of comic books.
I’m one of the few who can recommend this movie. I expect that it may polarize some people, but so be it.