Movie Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman_v_Superman_posterZack Synder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (C) is schizophrenic in virtually every way, from its title that purports to be both an unexpected showdown as well as a Justice League origin story to keeping up with each of its title characters and their respective alter egos. I swear you’d need a 3-D modeling kit to diagram this plot; and for comic book fans already accustomed to a multiverse of known rules, the film complicates the landscape even further and not always in good ways. The first hour is rather compelling as we see ways earthlings are grappling with its Kryptonian savior, resulting in intercontinental espionage, congressional hearings and noirish double crosses. It gets complicated though when Alexander Luthor, played with relish by Jesse Eisenberg, hatches a way to kill Superman/Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) that somehow involves Batman/Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) using Kryptonite to level the playing field and fight to the death as mere mortals. All of this is made even more vexing by it not being entirely clear why Batman is near masochistically intent on destroying a super guy who he may have one or two passing disagreements with. And, oh yeah, there’s a Kryptonian villain plus Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) to introduce, the latter with guitar riffs that sound composed by Bill & Ted. It’s not a complete folly, but there’s a bit more blistering bombast than any film should contain. So many aspects actually work that it’s a shame it just gets overstuffed. The production values, the always reliable Amy Adams as Lois Lane and some of the set-pieces are first rate. Alas Affleck and his hybrid butler/inventor (Jeremy Irons, collecting a paycheck), seem lost at sea. Which reminds me, where did Aquaman go? You’ll ultimately be exhausted as this buffet often has explosive consequences. Although much of the movie is lively and engaging, beware whatever they’re smoking in Snyder’s basement.

I've reviewed films for more than 20 years. Current movie reviews of new theatrical releases and direct-to-video or streaming films are added weekly to the Silver Screen Capture movie news site. Many capsule critiques originally appeared in expanded form in my syndicated Lights Camera Reaction column.

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Posted in 2016

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