Review: Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice

One thing is certain, Batman v Superman is a movie that is not to be missed.

At the premiere we were stripped of our phones and shown a recorded message from director Zack Snyder requesting nobody spoil the plot of the film for those awaiting the official release and despite the huge amount of the film already spoiled by the many trailers over the last year, there is definitely plenty more to the film than that.

Unfortunately the general consensus as the crowd filed out of the theatre was that this is a movie that has to be seen, but isn’t particularly enjoyable.

It’s hard to put a finger on exactly where the massive superhero blockbuster goes wrong, for starters the cast are fantastic and the screen adaptations of Batman and Wonder Woman are beautifully realised in the Man of Steel sequel come Justice League prequel.

With that said, perhaps the movie will appeal better to movie-goers that are unfamiliar with the DC comics characters involved. For every iconic visual straight from the pages of Frank Miller or Dan Jurgens books Snyder brings us a Batman bristling with guns and strays uncomfortably close to the “Superman kills Zod” outrage that left fans exasperated at the conclusion of Man of Steel.

Yet again we unnecessarily endure the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne and young Bruce’s discovery of a cave full of winged mammals, this time dripping with over-zealous 3D effects. One section of the film is devoted to nightmares and alternate universe hypotheticals that ultimately have nothing to do with the plot of the film, seemingly crammed into the 153 minute runtime simply to provide more trailer material and hero on hero fight scenes.

“Tell me… Do you bleed?” is the iconic quote of this movie as the promotional material highlights the minor similarities to Miller’s iconic The Dark Knight Returns, but ultimately with a PG rating the attempts to make this one of the darkest superhero movies to grace the silver screen come up short (and bloodless), especially in the wake of Deadpool’s success only months ago.

While Batman v Superman is certainly dark and gritty and grim, the massive amount of violence that forms the backbone of the narrative is often awkwardly implied rather than shown, as countless stabbing, shooting and explosive casualties happen ever so slightly out of frame.

All of these are only minor gripes though, with a strong Lex Luthor scheme and a few brilliant action sequences making the bulk of the movie memorable in all the right ways and fans of Batman and Wonder Woman are likely to rejoice in the viewing.

Unfortunately the sequel to Man of Steel seems to have a major dislike of all things Superman.

Kicking off 18 months after the end of the last movie, the Lois Lane and Clark Kent relationship is all but skipped and Superman himself seems set for failure in scene after scene, leaving the two newcomers (only two as Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg really aren’t in this movie) step up to take the limelight from beginning to end, leaving fans of the cultural icon with a sour taste in their mouths.

Ultimately Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is going to be hugely successful and widely discussed over the next few weeks at the very least, but it’s not a movie I really enjoyed and compared to the offerings from Fox and Marvel, it just doesn’t make the grade.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens in Australian cinemas on the 24th of March.