Created during the 1930’s Great Depression, comic book characters Batman and Superman have endured. Changing tastes have undimmed their allure with various TV series and movies increasing their popularity. Fans have either enjoyed one or both heroes with an on-screen teaming eagerly waited.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice should easily sate that thirst. Although a cynical excuse for Hollywood to combine franchise to make more dollars, it works as escapist fare with its megaton of CGI dazzling the eyes.
After the near destruction of his adopted home city Metropolis, Superman (Henry Cavill) seeks to make amends. Wanting to help rebuild, his efforts are soon derailed by masked vigilante Batman (Ben Affleck). Determined to battle Superman for a past wrong, Batman’s lethal zeal knows no bounds. Soon a battle is commenced with other players such as Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) setting their sights on destroying those standing in their way.
As a vehicle in establishing further franchises Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice almost works. Unlike Marvel’s The Avengers films, it introduces characters fleetingly without giving them much to do. Of course, the main focus is Batman and Superman who are better developed with stronger story arcs. Whilst Cavill’s Superman is better realised than in Man of Steel, it is Affleck’s Batman which most impresses. Quickly stamping his own persona on the role, Affleck successfully embodies his character’s tortured soul and determination.
The solid characterisations enable full investment in the many action scenes. Predictably they are all amazingly realised with genuine tension felt. Even at such a huge run-time, the pacing doesn’t feel too slow even if some sequences don’t quite work. Zack Snyder’s direction makes the most of the story and CGI even if he is let down by some performances. Eisenberg especially seems ill-cast as Luthor, playing him far too over the top compared to his co-stars. Such misgivings are minor as the film delivers on providing glossy spectacle amongst a generally engaging narrative.
Although the Marvel films are still more fun and exciting, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a good ride to be on. The best of the DC comics films to date, it generates a tantalising taste of things to come, with further heroic adventures certainly not unwelcome.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 7
Editor’s Postscript: Gal Gadot also provides a sensational introduction to the fabled Amazonian superhero, Wonder Woman, bringing to life a character that has previously struggled to make it successfully on the big screen. While only a secondary character in the overall arch of the film, she holds her own as both the royalty and warrior that she is. The modernisation of her costume works, as it has with the two central characters, and Gadot easily stands proud as a worthy successor to the iconic role. Returning once again as Lois Lane, Amy Adams also features as the strong, independent Daily Planet reporter and proves once more that you don’t have to have superpowers to be a hero. These two strong female leads provide an exciting and equal balance in this testosterone-filled action flick without resorting to stereotypical gender roles.