Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice

The greatest superhero showdown of all time is out this week and as a lifelong disciple of The Dark Knight I’m truly sad to say I didn’t get to see this one on the big screen. Batman V Superman was one of the most highly anticipated comic book films ever made and it was immediately put through the ringer by critics (and fans of the squeaky-clean slop regurgitated by Marvel year after year) but as with all of The Caped Crusader’s on-screen adventures, I like to let them speak for themselves. In a world that has given us both Heath Ledger’s Joker AND George Cloony’s Bat-nipples anything is possible in Gotham City (and in this case Metropolis.)

Director Zack Snyder (300, Man of Steel) created a world that struck a perfect balance between the gritty, hyper-realism of the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy and the whimsical world that was Tim Burton’s Gotham. It’s something that even Nolan, as skilled as he is, struggled with and resulted in Bane sounding like a fucking Muppet. I digress, however the greater point I’m trying to make is everyone has an image of who Batman is and how he functions within Gotham and although I’ve never been a fan of the “Big Blue Boy Scout” I’m sure Superman’s fans also have a well-established image for how he operates within his Metropolis. When what’s being presented on screen doesn’t exactly live up to that mental image, it’s easy to see why some people might be put off, case-in-point, The Dark Knight Rises.

This being said, I’m not sure how anyone who is a fan of the seminal graphic novel “The Dark Knight Returns” could have been too disappointed by Batman V Superman. If you haven’t read Frank Miller’s classic tale I highly suggest you do before watching this behemoth of a movie. Snyder hit all the high notes, almost like a cover song that is independent from the original but done with so much love it retains every ounce of spirit that made the original so beloved in the first place. From Batman’s costume (and badass battle armor) to the dissonant “talking heads” on the news debating the moral acceptability (and accountability) of these heroes and most certainly in the titular battle. This film may be as close as we ever come to Dark Knight Returns played out in flesh and blood and that’s fine by me.

I can’t say enough about the stellar cast in this one; Ben Affleck’s Batman (and in turn Bruce Wayne) was perfectly obsessive and tenacious while Henry Cavill’s Superman is a misunderstood tool that really just wants what’s best for humanity (but more importantly for Amy Adams’ Lois Lane.) Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was fantastic but severely underused but I understand her truncated appearance here given the epic scale of this movie (the theatrical version running about 2.5 hours). Last, but certainly not least Jesse Eisenberg was FANTASTIC as Lex Luthor, a character I have never liked and previously had a hard time seeing as an actual threat to anyone. Eisenberg’s portrayal of the budding supervillain was delightfully unhinged almost like Luthor by-way-of The Riddler; once again striking that balance between realistic grit and whimsical world of comic book supervillainy, that by any other name might just be called terrorism.

I cannot wait to see what the extended (R-rated) cut of Batman V Superman has to offer in terms of character developmental expansion and am just counting down the days until the next big movie from the DC Universe next month. Do you think Suicide Squad will be as divisive as Batman V Superman? Leave us your opinions in the comments.

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