Directed by Zack Snyder. Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot, Kevin Costner.
THE PLOT: After a little backstory revealing just how Bruce Wayne became Batman and how Superman is a misunderstood man who fell to earth, we’re introduced to our baddy, Lex Luther (Eisenberg), your average wise-cracking, sweaty-palmed billionaire in sneakers. And, yep, Lex wants to rule the world, by, eh, pitting the world’s two big superheroes against one another. As ace reporter Clark Kent (Cavill) and his partner-in-investigative-journalism Lois Lane (Adams) set about unravelling the clues behind Lex’s evil plot, Wayne (Affleck) is trying to control his vigilante temper as his Batman starts torturing and branding his child-molesting, sex-slave-caging prey. And that’s all just in the first five minutes.
After that, there’s a whole smorgasbord of plot, involving an upright Kentucky congresswoman (Hunter, of course), a mysterious leggy, female Bond (Gadot), old people looking lost (Costner, Fishburne), an alien corpse (nice work, Michael Shannon) and lots of neck-tattooed terrorists in black SUVs. Oh, and a big mutant monster that might represent Donald Trump.
THE VERDICT: Who keeps throwing money at Zach Snyder? The man might just be Hollywood’s greatest franchise killer ever, having nosedived ‘Watchmen’, ‘Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole’ (not even Troy McClure could beat that title), ‘Sucker Punch’ and ‘Man Of Steel’. And now Zack outdoes himself with a two-for-one, making sure both Batman and Superman will have to retreat for a few more years, to regroup and reboot, and be reimagined all over again. Actually, and without giving too much away, he’s pretty much nobbled the hopes and dreams of Wonder Woman too, which the boy is currently filming – for now – and his in-pre-production ‘Justice League’ outings.
There is so much wrong with this movie, it’s hard to know where to start.
To be fair, the cast line-up is a fair warning, being full of faded or failed would-be blockbuster giants, comeback cowboys and embarrassed character actors. Eisenberg’s naturally nervous disposition should work wonders for playing the desperate, nobody-loves-me Lex Luther, but, instead, Jesse seems to be simply channelling Crispin Glover. Badly.
Even the loved ones back home are weak, with Superman supposedly inspired to save the world by Amy Adams teetering uncomfortably in high-heels and Batman relying for his TLC from Jeremy Irons in hemp crocs.
There’s just no one to root here, or even like. There’s no J.K. Simmons. No Christopher Reeves. Heck there isn’t even a George Reeves here, ironically enough.
As for Snyder, once again he delivers a big, hot mess that’s 10% noir and 90% naff.
Ultimately, what you’re left with is far more ‘Mystery Men’ than ‘The Avengers’, the Golden Raspberry-baiting ‘Batman V Superman’ playing like a series of CGI-drenched trailer-chasing shots held together by the feather-flightiest of plots.
Review by Paul Byrne

Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice
Review by Brogen Hayes
2.0The Dark Knight Fails
  • filmbuff2011

    After Bryan Singer valiantly but ultimately unsuccessfully attempted to recreate Superman for a new generation with Superman Returns, the Kryptonian lay dormant for 7 years. Then Zack Snyder re-booted him in 2013’s Man Of Steel with mostly successful results, boosting the action quotient while giving the character a more realistic edge. What if an all-powerful alien arrived on Earth? How would we deal with that? Eagle-eyed viewers will have spotted references to Wayne Enterprises and Lexcorp in Man Of Steel. Here’s another what if… This being the DC cinematic universe, how would Superman react to another caped crusader stomping around? The answer – Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

    Over the opening credits, the story of Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) is recounted, leading to the Dark Knight rising. The destructive conflict between Superman (Henry Cavill) and his arch nemesis Zod is viewed from the perspective of Bruce, as the trail of destruction spreads from Metropolis to neighbouring city Gotham. A concerned Bruce is worried about the implications of having Superman in the world – with all that power, can people trust him? Having fought criminals and clowns for 20 years, Bruce is weary but still vigilant. His trusty butler/sidekick Alfred (Jeremy Irons) knows this only too well but wonders if Bruce knows that Superman is just trying to do the right thing. Meanwhile, Superman and Lois’ (Amy Adams) relationship has grown stronger, but he still wonders if he has a place in a world that hasn’t accepted who – and what – he is. It doesn’t help that Senator Finch (Holly Hunter) wants to bring him to book about the destruction that resulted. Working under the guise of Clark Kent at the Daily Planet, Superman becomes increasingly concerned about the actions of the vigilante Batman, scaring the wits out of criminals. The nefarious actions of devious Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) will bring these two superheroes into conflict, as Lex seeks to weaponise a rock of kryptonite found in a crash site. Also in the mix is slinky Diana (Gal Gadot), who has an agenda of her own. A storm is coming… and an almighty clash of the titans. Who will win?

    Since Marvel has confidently jumped a couple of years ahead in their world-building, it’s now down to DC to throw down the gauntlet and catch up by creating their own team of superheroes. That’s the unique selling point of this follow-up to Man Of Steel, which operates more as a Superman film with Batman thrown into the mix for healthy measure. If they’re both superheroes out to protect people from criminals, then why are they fighting with each other? The reasons are explained clearly in the film and they’re quite credible. They are diametrically opposed superheroes – day and night, as Lex puts it at one point. It makes for meaty viewing, with these two iconic characters go mano-a-supermano. It takes a good while before we finally get to a massive dust-up, but it’s definitely worth the wait. The sleek Superman vs the bulked-up, tank-like Batman is a tasty proposition and Snyder designs some superb fight sequences that pack a punch.

    Cavill builds confidently on his performance in Man Of Steel, portraying the inner conflict as to whether the world is really ready to accept him. After all the howls of concern from the Internet about Batfleck, it turns out that Affleck does a decent job with Bruce Wayne. The decision to cast Batman as older, with graying hair and a permanent scowl, separates him from Christian Bale’s interpretation (arguably the definitive Batman, despite what Bale has said recently). Credit is certainly due to Affleck – he’s no stranger to public derision, but given his admirable self-reinvention as an Oscar-winning actor/director, he certainly delivers the goods as Batman. Where does that leave the surprise casting of Eisenberg as Lex? Well, it’s a very Eisenberg performance, jumpy and unpredictable with a touch of mad genius. It’ll either grate on your nerves, leaving you longing for the days of Gene Hackman or it may just win you over with its quirky humour.

    For an action-packed film that does what it says on the tin, there’s one almost major fault: it’s just too ambitious and too busy. There’s a huge amount of plot to get through over 2.5 hours, with a lot of characters to set up, wind-up and then watch them have a go at each other. The amount of balls hanging in the air here is mind-bending, as Snyder and writers David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio try to set up the massive Justice League Of America movie. Just when you think that there are enough antagonists in the film, Snyder throws in another one. Has Snyder seen Spider-Man 3? Whereas Joss Whedon managed all this with style in Avengers Assemble, Snyder doesn’t entirely convince. He very nearly drops a few balls here, but just catches them in time (e.g. the sub-plot involving Diana). The at-times chaotic structure of the film (also a fault in Man Of Steel) sadly loses the film a star. Focusing on the central conflict between the trio of Batman, Superman and Lex would have been more acceptable.

    However, Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice is still immensely enjoyable popcorn entertainment. It walks a tightrope at times, weighing back and forth between these two superheroes, pulling at audience loyalties (though this reviewer is always going to be Team Clark). But Snyder has pulled it off despite whatever initial misgivings, delivering a pumped-up superhero film that is rousing, rip-roaring fun. Roll on The Justice League Part One in 2017. ***

  • emerb

    It has finally arrived – Zach Snyder brings us the hotly anticipated showdown of two great DC Comic icons and “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” also sets the scene for an entire DC Comics universe on the big screen. Many of us are feeling overwhelmed with superhero fatigue at this stage but die-hard fans have been waiting for years for the ultimate showdown between the two comicbook titans, expecting this to be the best superhero ever made. I admit that I had also been anticipating a fantastic visual spectacle of epic proportions but sadly I found this movie to be just an overstuffed, overpopulated and awkwardly plotted Batman picture that relegates the Superman to just a glorified supporting role. It just feels like a missed opportunity.

    The movie opens with a quick retelling of the origins of Batman. We start with Bruce Wayne driving into the destruction of Metropolis and seeing the carnage wrought by Superman’s Man of Steel battle against Zod. 18 months later and Superman becomes part of another incident saving his love, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) from a terrorist interview gone awry. However, he’s blamed for the deaths of several African villagers and this attracts the scrutiny of Senator Finch (Holly Hunter), a congresswoman who wants to hold Superman accountable. She gains an uneasy ally in a young industrialist named Alexander “Lex” Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) who hopes to seduce her into allowing him to import a mysterious substance discovered in the Indian Ocean. Meanwhile, Wayne casts a sceptical eye on Superman while at the same time investigating a mysterious underworld figure named White Portuguese, his tracks traced by an equally mysterious woman (Gal Gadot). There are so many threads to the story as we make way for the climatic battle that it becomes hard to keep track of it all and the script gets
    bogged down and convoluted.

    Henry Cavill is a solid, if rather bland Superman, he’s a competent actor and looks the part. Affleck is surprisingly good and moves seamlessly between Batman and Bruce Wayne. Gadot proves to be just as entertaining and watchable as either of the headlining heroes but is given little depth. Amy Adams’ Lois Lane is a modern, self-sufficient, strong woman and gives the story some heart and depth. Holly Hunter delivers strong, sharp-edged work as the Kentucky senator who wants to hold hearings to see if Superman should be held accountable for deaths that have occurred when he appears. Jesse Eisenberg can be irritating at times but he’s undoubtedly creepy here as Lex Luthor. Unfortunately, Jeremy Irons’ Alfred isn’t a patch on Michael Caine’s. First-rate actors such as Diane Lane and Laurence Fishburne sparkle in small roles.

    Snyder took on a mega task here – colliding the two most archetypal of American superheroes and more importantly, paving the way for an extended DC Comics universe of films on which much of Warner Bros. relies. There are a few brilliantly realized moments, some memorable set pieces, some nice snitches of dark humour and the acting is mostly strong. Yet, despite the dizzying display of showstopping special effects, the script is weak and the saga loses control of all its various subplots early on, descending into chaos. “Batman v. Superman” tries to compensate for these flaws and others through sheer scale and volume (it’s a ridiculous two-and-a-half hours long). Undoubtedly the fans will turn out in their
    droves and it will please those either waiting for the two main players to finally face each other or those who’ve just been dying to finally see an appearance from Wonder Woman. We can be sure it will be highly lucrative and certainly will do well enough to ensure future instalments. Occasionally inspired but mostly just competent, this movie was a disappointment for me – I expected so much more.

  • Joseph McCarthy

    Suffers from many of the same problems as Man of Steel, and invents some more of its own. Despite being more than two and a half hours long, it still manages not have enough time to tell all of the three storylines that are ongoing throughout the proceedings, and also provide glimpses of the wider DC movie universe.
    Ben Affleck and Gail Godot shine in their roles, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of them in future, but Cavill (or more importantly the script) still haven’t grasped what it is that has embedded Superman in the popular consciousness, while Eisenberg just plays billionaire industrialist engineer Lex Luthor as an ADD-riddled tech billionaire who never manages to convince us of his genius and is able to accomplish feats of intelligence because…he can?
    Must do better.

  • Clive Bower

    Zach Snyder good grief how does this guy sleep at night, this latest movie of his is just terrible you have got to feel for the actors having to promote what they already know is a terrible waste of time for everyone invoiced. Such a shame really