Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (PG-13) ★1/2

Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill star in "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice." Photo Credit: Warner Bros./DC Entertainment
Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill star in “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Photo Credit: Warner Bros./DC Entertainment

A Battle of Titans That Faults Way Short of Its Potential (PG-13) 1/2

Superman and Batman in the same movie…sounds good on paper. Both have devoted fan bases and a history of bringing in big bucks at the box office. However, as history has shown us, pairing two superstars (or in this case superheroes) does not always mean they will work well together. Batman v. Superman – Dawn of Justice is a long, disjointed movie that tries to connect two very popular characters in a common narrative, but in the end does neither character any favors and will disappoint even its ardent fans.

Batman v. Superman – Dawn of Justice actually begins at the end of Man of Steel, but this time is seen through the eyes of Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck, Gone Girl, 2014). Wayne, who is on the ground in Metropolis, witnesses firsthand the destructive impact of Superman’s battle against his fellow Kryptonians, which demolishes a Wayne Enterprise building killing numerous employees inside. The story then flashes 18 months later where Wayne, now seen as Batman, is hunting gangs and arms dealers while still having flashbacks to his parents’ murder. The story then jumps to Lois Lane (Amy Adams, Big Eyes, 2015) who is being transported under blindfold in Africa to an interview with a warlord. Things go awry as one of her cameramen is actually a spy and Superman (Henry Cavill, Man from U.N.C.L.E, 2015) comes in to rescue her. It’s not clear yet, but both Superman and Batman and their allies are seemingly following clues that will ultimately lead them to Superman’s nemesis, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg, American Ultra, 2015). Luthor, who is the public face of a growing anti-Superman movement, has been able to get access to the ship the Kryptonians used to invade Earth and has recovered a sizable chunk of kryptonite, the one thing that can harm Superman.

The superheroes’ paths eventually converge at a fundraiser hosted by Lex Luthor when Clark Kent, who is reporting on the event, meets tycoon Bruce Wayne. Without knowing each other’s identity, the audience can see the rivalry and anger building towards each other’s alter egos. Clark Kent calls Batman nothing more than a vigilante who takes the law into his own hands, while Bruce Wayne thinks the idea of Superman as an all-powerful savior figure is dangerous as he has the power to destroy the entire human race. Eventually, Lex Luthor is able to drive a wedge between the two that ultimately leads to a showdown and distracts them from the real threat that Luthor has been plotting all along.

Batman v. Superman has quite a bit of snags. The two and a half hour runtime still feels like it has numerous holes that made the story hard to follow and didn’t ultimately pay off in any way. Also, the animosity that would drive these heroes to come to blows felt contrived and hard to believe.

Affleck, Cavill, and Adams do their best to make the movie work, but any good work accomplished by them is overshadowed by Jesse Eisenberg’s annoying performance. The ultimate battle scenes and action are entertaining, but it takes way too long to get to that point in the film. The movie did introduce some new blood into the story, as Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot, Furious 7, 2015) enters the fray as well. However, the character does not build enough development before being dropped into the action. It’s clear with her introduction (and other characters), that Warner Brothers/DC Films is trying to build a rival to what Walt Disney/Marvel Studios has done with the Avengers characters. Unfortunately for Warner Brothers, The Avengers franchise grew in a much more compelling and entertaining way than Batman v. Superman. Hopefully, they can right the ship in the (very likely) next installment.

Bottom Line: Unless you are a diehard comic book hero fan, Batman v. Superman is not worth seeing in theaters and probably not worth renting either.

Credits: Directed by Zach Snyder; Written by Chris Terrio and David Goyer

Cast: Ben Affleck (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Henry Cavill (Clark Kent/Superman), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Jesse Eisenberg (Lex Luthor), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Jeremy Irons (Alfred Pennyworth), Laurence Fishburne (Perry White), Holly Hunter (June Finch), and Gil Gadot (Diana Prince/Wonder Woman)

Studio: Warner Bros./DC Entertainment

Running Time: 151 minutes

Jessica Aymond © March 25, 2016