Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice Poster.jpeg
Why did you say that name?!
Genre: Superhero
Action
Directed By: Zack Snyder
Produced By: Charles Roven
Deborah Snyder
Written By: Chris Terrio
David S. Goyer
Based On: Characters from DC Comics
Starring: Ben Affleck
Henry Cavill
Amy Adams
Jesse Eisenberg
Diane Lane
Laurence Fishburne
Jeremy Irons
Holly Hunter
Gal Gadot
Photography: Color
Cinematography: Larry Fong
Distributed By: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: March 19, 2016 (Auditorio Nacional)
March 25, 2016 (United States)
Runtime: 152 minutes
181 minutes (Ultimate Edition)
Country: United States
Budget: $250–300 million
Box Office: $873.6 million
Prequel: Man of Steel
Sequel: Suicide Squad (Chronologically)
Justice League


Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a 2016 superhero film featuring the DC Comics characters Batman and Superman. Directed by Zack Snyder, written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is the follow-up to Man of Steel and the second installment in the DC Extended Universe.

The film premiered at the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City on March 19, 2016, and was released in the United States on March 25, 2016, in 2D, 3D, premium large formats, and 70 mm prints.

Plot

The movie opens during the destructive battle between Superman and Zod, where Bruce Wayne witnessed the two destroy a Wayne Enterprises building and causing the deaths of many of his employees. In response Bruce decides it's time to come out of retirement and become Batman once again, however this time he's more brutal and willing to murder criminals. Nearly two years later, Superman is involved in an incident where multiple terrorists are killed off and the media blames him for those deaths, causing Clark Kent to question if being Superman is worth it or not, as Earth has been less than welcoming towards him so far. Lois Lane investigates the murders and finds some evidence that points towards Lexcorp. At the same time Batman discovers that Lexcorp is also tracking Superman's activities.

Lex Luthor, CEO of Lexcorp, is attempting to obtain more power from a senator to initiate a campaign against Superman, whom he believes to be an evil alien threat. Bruce Wayne sneaks into a Lexcorp event to hack Lex's computers but a mysterious woman named Diana Prince intercepts him and takes the information, however Bruce is able to find out that Lex is experimenting with Zod's corpse and a strange green stone that harms Kryptonians, dubbed "Kryptonite". Tension raises between Batman and Superman as both disagree with the other's vigilante methods, with Superman warning Batman to stay in retirement. Later, Diana gives Bruce the information she had stolen from Lexcorp, as the data is decrypted. Bruce has a dream about a post-apocalyptic Earth that is ruled by an evil Superman, followed by a vision where a man with a red suit came from the future to warn Bruce to keep Lois Lane alive. Batman decides to steal Kryptonite and prepare anti-Superman measures.

Superman is called to a trial regarding the terrorist incident but before he can explain anything the capitol is destroyed by an explosion during the trial. Batman learns from the Lexcorp files that multiple "metahumans" have been spotted in recent years, including a man who lives deep in the sea, a teenager that runs faster than the speed of sound, a teenager who became part-robot, and an Amazonian warrior who fought during WWI. Batman recognized the latter as Diana Prince, so he sent her the information regarding metahumans. Lex Luthor kidnaps Martha Kent and Blackmails Superman into murdering Batman otherwise Martha will be killed. Superman reluctantly goes to meet Batman, who promptly begins attacking. The two vigilantes have a fight that culminates in Batman pinning down Superman and preparing to kill him with a Kryptonite spear, but when Superman calls out the name "Martha" Batman has a sudden change of heart and opts to spare Superman. Superman clears the misunderstanding, Batman goes to rescue Martha while Superman confronts Lex about his schemes. Lex, refusing to accept defeat, reveals that he mutated Zod's corpse into a giant monster that he named "Doomsday".

Doomsday awakes and begins destroying the nearby area, Batman and Superman try to fight the monster but find themselves overpowered, however Diana appears wearing an Amazonian battle armor and joins the fight. The three fight off Doomsday while Lois Lane brings the Kryptonite spear. Superman takes the spear and charges towards Doomsday to stab it, but Superman is also fatally stabbed in the process. The fight is over, but Superman is dead. A funeral is held for Superman, during which Bruce asks Diana to help him find more metahumans knowing that a dangerous threat will be coming in the future. After everyone leaves, the dirt atop Clark's coffin levitates.

Bad Qualities

  1. The whole point of the rivalry between Batman and Superman, and what made their fight so iconic in the comics, is their opposing ideals and views of the world; Batman is dark and cynical, while Superman is light and hopeful. However, in this movie, both Batman and Superman are dark gloomy vigilantes with questionable morality, which completely destroys the point of their rivalry and makes it feel forced.
    1. In fairness, yes, Superman is experiencing his own emotional struggle and tries to think about whether or not Superman is needed, much like post-Crisis Superman. The problem, though, is that in that version, Superman still retains his charm and positivity while dealing with his own emotional struggle. Here, he is presented similarly dark and cynical like Batman, thus making them feel too similar to each other in this film.
    2. There is barely any focus on the rivalry between Batman and Superman, despite the title of the movie being "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice". Through the almost three-hour length of the movie, Batman and Superman have very little interaction with each other prior to them fighting.
    3. On top of that, it is never explained as to why they hate each other aside from the fact that the other one is a vigilante.
    4. The rivalry between the two is so forced and poorly executed that Superman's adoptive mother randomly had to be kidnapped to motivate Superman to fight Batman; meanwhile, Batman only wants to fight Superman because he is being paranoid.
    5. The titular fight itself felt like an afterthought, as it starts out of nowhere then is completely forgotten about less than five minutes after it occurs.
  2. Sequel baiting: There are multiple plot threads that were left completely unresolved without any sort of payoff intentionally; instead, those threads were supposed to be filled in future sequels. Several characters and plot threads are also added for no reason other than to set up future installments in the DC Extended Universe.
    • Due to Justice League being heavily edited, and the planned sequels being cancelled after said film's failure at the box office, those plot threads will now never be resolved.
    • At one point the movie literally pauses to have Wonder Woman watch teaser videos for Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman.
  3. The movie is outright boring, due to having an overly grim and dour mood that tries too hard to be dark and serious; even the other bad DC movies like Batman & Robin, Catwoman, Green Lantern, Supergirl, and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace had fun moments. While a darker tone for a superhero movie is not inherently bad, the tone of this film is too dark and completely devoid of any humor and it takes itself way too seriously, something that even The Dark Knight trilogy, which was known for popularizing superhero films with a darker tone, didn't do and had some lighthearted moments to balance out the dark themes and characters that also had more personality beyond dull angst.
    • The atmosphere in this movie tries to be incredibly grounded, that everything is just extremely dull.
    • Even Batman Returns, which is far darker than this film (ironically), didn't take itself seriously like this film, and its dark tone and depressing atmosphere were executed well and much better than this.
  4. Just like Man of Steel, the movie constantly goes on and on about "deep important topics" but never does anything with those themes then throws them all away for mindless action, leaving all those supposed themes with no payoff.
  5. Tries to cram in too many comic stories (The Dark Knight Returns, Knightmare, Superman: Red Son, Flashpoint, The Death of Superman, and Injustice) for the sake of pandering references without caring if those stories have any relevancy to the actual plot of the movie while also completely missing the context of those stories that the film is referencing.
    1. The Nostalgia Critic pointed out in his collaborative review of the film with Angry Joe that he felt it was trying to be Batman vs. Superman, The Death of Superman, Marvel movies, The Dark Knight trilogy, Justice League, and Wonder Woman all rolled into one when the first would be more than enough, also stating that Batman vs. Superman was never a retelling of The Dark Knight Returns or a prequel to Suicide Squad.
  6. The highly-controversial destruction of Metropolis in Man of Steel, which the movie promised would address, is almost never mentioned again after the opening scene and no one besides Batman seems to care that it even happened. About the only way it is "addressed" is with hand-waving comments that the parts of the city the heroes are accidentally destroying have been evacuated.
    • False advertising: The trailers made it seem as if Superman would be put in trial over the destruction of Metropolis, but in the movie itself the reason Superman is put in trial is because... they think he killed a terrorist using bullets.
  7. Character butchering: Multiple iconic DC characters are portrayed very poorly to the point that they don't even resemble the characters they're supposed to be based after. Examples include:
    1. Superman is painted as some kind of grizzled messiah without any of the traits that people actually admire him for. Rather than the iconic symbol of justice that gives people hope, Superman is an eternally depressed grump who almost never smiles: even when he's saving people or having blatant Jesus symbolism foisted on him, he still looks depressed all the time.
      • Superman only has forty-three lines of dialogue in the entire movie. Many of those lines of dialogue are very short phrases in a dull monotone voice.
        • In the Ultimate Edition, his first line is 25 minutes in, which is quite late for a titular character.
      • Superman is also killed as early as the second movie in the DCEU franchise, which was only done to give him more blatant Jesus symbolism and sequel-baiting. His death was also made completely pointless by the fact that the sequel Justice League was already confirmed to feature Superman before BvS was released.
    2. Batman, on the other hand, is portrayed as an angry, paranoid psychopath who openly kills criminals without any hesitation and spends most of the movie planning to kill Superman.
      • Batman has indeed killed people in multiple incarnations before, but whenever he does he is given a reasonable explanation as to why he did so. However this version of Batman doesn't have a good reason to kill, he just kills for the sake of being edgier than The Dark Knight version.
      • Batman never gives a proper reason to want to kill Superman other than paranoia and his irrational hatred towards Superman is immediately forgotten after the infamous "Save Martha" scene, no less than 10 minutes after it happens he calls Superman "a friend" without any mention of him attempting to murder Superman in the previous scene.
      • Snyder attempted to justify Batman killing in interviews by claiming that Batman "only indirectly causes deaths by accident", however there are several times where Batman directly murders goons without any restraint or second thought.
    3. Lex Luthor is a spoiled daddy's boy who inherited Lexcorp rather than being a genius billionaire, constantly flip flops between motivations, and very obviously went through a lot of rewrites.
      • Jessie Eisenberg's hammy overacting and obnoxious overuse of nervous tick made the character worse..
      • The scene with the Jolly Rancher candy was a particularly infamous moment for this incarnation of Luthor.
      • His plan is also confusing, nonsensical, and often self-contradicting. His motivation also constantly changes between hating Kryptonians, hating god, daddy issues, and knowing that invaders are coming in the future.
      • He acts more like the Riddler than Lex Luthor.
    4. Jimmy Olsen was made into a CIA agent that dies less than 10 minutes after the movie begins and never interacted with Superman.
      • Zack Snyder stated that the reason Jimmy Olsen was added into the movie only to be killed immediately was because "we don’t have room for Jimmy Olsen in our big pantheon of characters, but we can have fun with him, right?".
    5. The popular Mercy Graves is unceremoniously killed off after only a few minutes of screen-time.
    6. Lois Lane serves no purpose to the story other than finding out Lex Luthor is evil, something that every character in the movie immediately figured out, then she throws away the Kryptonite spear only to go get it back immediately afterwards.
    7. Robin was already killed before he was even introduced, the only sort of mention he ever gets is a brief scene where his costume which was vandalized by the Joker off screen which in itself is easy to miss.
    8. Wonder Woman serves no purpose other than sequel-baiting other Justice League members and joining the final fight against Doomsday.
    9. Doomsday inexplicably is made out of Zod's corpse mixed with Lex Luthor's DNA (Somehow) and is nothing but a mindless monster for Superman to punch. His inclusion also completely wasted the "Death of Superman" story arc as it had nothing to do with the rest of the movie's plot and was done too early in the franchise.
  8. Most of the supporting characters are uninteresting, flat, dull, unimportant, or very unlikable. Examples include Anatoli Knyazev, Jack O'Dwyer, Kahina Ziri, Barrows, and Wallace Keefe.
  9. Mediocre acting (save for Ben Affleck, Jeremy Irons and Gal Gadot). Most characters speak in a dull monotone tone trying to sound deep, but only come off as boring. In particular, Jesse Eisenberg (who performed the film roles of Columbus from Zombieland, Mark Zuckerberg from The Social Network and Blu from Rio series) did a terrible job for playing Lex Luthor.
  10. Laughable dialogue, particularly when Batman randomly and constantly shouts "Why did you say her name?!" after Superman mentions Martha before Lois had him stop.
  11. It repeats the origin story of Bruce Wayne falling into a pit full of bats and his parents being murdered yet again, which is also completely irrelevant to the plot of the film. Not only that, but it's also unimaginative, generic, and empty.
  12. Multiple plot holes, including but not limited to:
    • Somehow, Superman gets blamed for the deaths of terrorists when those terrorists were very obviously killed with bullets?
      • The Ultimate Edition did resolve this problem by showing the scene where the corpses of those terrorists were immolated.
    • "If Superman took down military satellites trying to track him, why the hell didn't he take Zod's ship, a weapon from Krypton, away from them?" - Nostalgia Critic
    • Clark Kent investigating Batman's vigilante activities is barely mentioned after first establishing it.
    • Lex has no reason to create Doomsday, as he hates Kryptonians and he had already planned to have Batman kill him.
    • Lex's "motivation" to create Doomsday is that he thinks Superman is an evil Kryptonian killing machine, but Doomsday is an evil Kryptonian killing machine; thus, Lex is inconsistently portrayed. And what would Lex have done with Doomsday if Batman had killed Superman?
    • Lex's motivation to hate Superman is vague at best and it is never explained as to why he also hates Batman.
    • Lex's subplot of trying to corrupt a Senator is pointless because he just kills her in an explosion with zero payoff.
    • Superman being blamed for that explosion is meaningless because no one believes he did it, and why would Superman even need a bomb? The bombing is also forgotten immediately after it occurred.
    • At one point Bruce Wayne falls asleep and has a dream where Darkseid has conquered the Earth alongside an evil Superman, followed by a dream where the Flash time travels to warn Bruce about incoming threats. How does a random dream solve a real life problem? Also, neither of these two dreams are brought up ever again in the DC Extended Universe.
    • Superman can sense that Lois Lane is in danger from a continent away and rescue her within three seconds, but is somehow unable to sense Martha was kidnapped nor have any idea as to where she is being held.
    • It is never explained how Jon Kent's "spirit" somehow talked to Superman when he was in the Arctic, though it could have been Superman imagining Jon being there.
    • Injecting Lex Luthor's DNA into Zod's corpse can somehow... transform the aforementioned corpse into Doomsday.
    • It is established that Doomsday cannot be killed by Kryptonite, as shown when the Kryptonian gun left no effect on him, even though when he is suddenly spiked by the Kryptonite spear, it somewhat kills him.
  13. The editing is very poor, with the movie constantly having to jump from plot thread to plot thread without any flow.
  14. While the action scenes are impressive to look at, they tend to drag too long in extremely tight situations, like how Batman doesn't save Martha Kent (who is about to be killed by a guy with a flamethrower) until he defeats all of the minions.
    • The climax drags on after Lex randomly creates Doomsday.
  15. The funeral of Superman drags on over ten minutes, and in the middle of it the movie pauses so Batman and Wonder Woman can sequel-bait the Justice League yet again.
    • The scene also completely goes against the entire premise of the movie as supposedly the world was very polarized on Superman with many wanting him dead, yet when he is dead everyone on the Earth is suddenly mourning him.
    • His death was pointless since he's revived again in the next movie, Justice League.

Good Qualities

  1. A great and epic soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL.
  2. Even though the movie tries to cram in too many comic book storylines from DC, the movie is overall still faithful to the comics, especially when Batman tells a gangster who is threatening to kill Martha says "I believe you," which is a line taken straight from Frank Miller's "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" comic book, and the way the scene is pulled off is really cool!
  3. The opening scene of the destruction of Metropolis shown from Bruce Wayne's point of view is excellent.
  4. The action is solid and awesome!
    • Batman fighting the criminals that kidnapped Martha was amazing, with many pointing out that this is the best Batman scene in any Batman movie, saying that it is brilliantly choreographed.
    • The fight with Doomsday was also great.
  5. Great performances from Ben Affleck as Batman, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
    • Although some aspects of Henry Cavill's performance as Superman in certain scenes could have been a lot better (i.e., him speaking in a dull, monotone voice from time to time, or having only 43 lines of dialogue), he still gives an overall decent performance as Superman. He also pulls off most of his scenes that show the audience Superman's inner turmoil really well, and his scenes with Lois Lane are nicely done.
  6. It introduced Wonder Woman, who is the best new addition to the cast. In addition, she was such a popular character, she eventually got her own solo movie and follow-up.
  7. Spectacular visuals, despite the overly dark scene settings.
  8. The Ultimate Edition is a major improvement over the theatrical cut.
  9. Fantastic cinematography that is even better than in "Man of Steel." In this movie, if you pause on any scene/still shot, resembles a panel of a comic book/graphic novel.
  10. In fairness, Superman's death is legitimately brutal, and unlike the comic storyline "The Return of Superman" where he dies from his injuries and is revived in the Fortress of Solitude's regeneration matrix, here in "BvS," he is literally killed from a painful jab in the chest by Doomsday's deformed spear-like bone and has to be brought back to life by Batman and the rest of the Justice League in both "Justice League" and the "Snyder Cut."
  11. Despite the poor execution, the "Martha Exchange" was actually a truly powerful idea, and a great reason for Superman and Batman to fight each other.
  12. While there is still overblown action, there is arguably less than there was in "Man of Steel." Plus, Superman successfully fights Doomsday in the Earth's atmosphere away from cities like Metropolis and Gotham City, rather than causing extensive amounts of collateral damage like in "Man of Steel" during the fight between Superman and General Zod.
  13. "This is my world...YOU are my world," Superman tells Lois before he sacrifices himself.
  14. Believe it or not, the ending was very original before Avengers Endgame
    • As one hero (Superman/Iron Man) sacrifice himself from the villain,
    • The wife (Pepper Potts/Martha Kane) kiss goodbye to her husband,
    • The heroes (Batman and Wonder Woman/Thor and Captain America) and the people who loved him, mourned his death.

Reception

The announcement of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was met with strong hype and excitement from fans as it would be the first time that Batman and Superman would be in the same movie and this would be the official start of DC's cinematic universe to compete with Marvel. Likewise the film had promise to address the controversial prequel Man of Steel. Concerns were quickly raised however when the first trailer was released as it suggested the movie would have an even grimmer tone than Man of Steel, the second trailer met with massive backlash because it spoiled Doomsday's inclusion and rose concerns that Superman would be killed as early as the second movie in the franchise. Those concerns were proven correct, which led to even more backlash as fans felt the Death of Superman storyline was shoved into a movie that had nothing to do with that story and was done far too early.

Following a strong debut that set new box office records, the film experienced a historic drop (even worse than Batman and Robin's) in its second weekend and never recovered. Despite turning a profit, it was deemed a box office disappointment and received mostly mixed to negative reviews from critics and fans for its overly-dark tone, slow pace, bad characterization of iconic DC characters, the convoluted and overbloated plot filled with sequel-baiting, the lack of focus on Batman fighting Superman, and the controversial decision to kill Superman as early as the second DCEU movie, though some praised its musical score, visual style and acting performances particularly Affleck and Gadot. On aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film resulting in a 29% score. The website's critical consensus reads: "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice smothers a potentially powerful story – and some of America's most iconic superheroes – in a grim whirlwind of effects-driven action.". The general consensus was that the movie "is more interested in setting up sequels than being a movie". Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average to critics' reviews, gave the film an average score of 44 out of 100, based on 51 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".

However, audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale. It earned "B–" from men, "B" from women, a "B" from those under 25 and a "B–" from those over 25. According to PostTrak, 73% of audiences graded the film "very good" or "excellent", with a 60% giving it a "definite recommend". BBC News reported that "the film had been widely praised by fans after its first screening in New York".

The "Ultimate Edition" cut was considered an improvement over the theatrical cut as the additional 30 minutes fill out some plot holes. At the same time however, audiences were outraged when they learned that the "Ultimate Edition" was supposed to be the theatrical edition in the first place. It was also noted that the Ultimate Edition still doesn't fix the main problems with the movie and the plot holes filled were very minor threads that didn't really contribute much to the story.

The overwhelmingly negative reception to the movie was a large factor to Warner Bros.' decision to meddle with other DCEU movies and mandate changes in tone and characterizations, most notably Suicide Squad and Justice League, both of which were significantly edited to remove the overly dark tones they were initially meant to have, while Snyder's version of the latter, while still serious, is somewhat lighter than this film.

Box office

The film opened up at #1 on its opening weekend with a domestic gross of $166,007,347. The total domestic gross was $330,360,194. In foreign countries, the film grossed $543,274,725. Overall, the film made a worldwide gross of $873,634,919 against its $250-300 million budget. Despite grossing a large amount of money, the film was a box office disappointment, as Warner Brothers had predicted that the film would make at least a billion dollars at the box office.

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