Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the much anticipated follow-up to 2013’s Man of Steel and is the second instalment in the DC Extended Universe. The film which starts showing in theatres islandwide on 24 Mar 2016 islandwide, is the first live-action film to feature Batman and Superman and the first live-action theatrical film in an entire slate of DC live-action films, which include Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is directed by Zack Snyder who had previously directed Man of Steel. Much of the Man of Steel cast reprise their roles including Henry Cavill and Amy Adams as Superman and Lois Lane respectively. New to the universe are Ben Affleck, who portrays Batman, and Jeremy Irons as his faithful butler Alfred Pennyworth. Wonder Woman, played by actress Gal Gadot, also makes a cameo in this instalment. The film pits Affleck’s Batman and Cavill’s Superman against each other and they remain largely at odds throughout the course of the film, the film’s events serving as the precursor to the formation of The Justice League.
The film takes place about 2 years after the colossal battle between Superman and the Kryptonians led by General Zod, which left Metropolis devastated. The large scale destruction and loss of life has left many feeling a sense of anger and powerlessness and many, including crime-fighting billionaire Bruce Wayne, are left particularly disillusioned with Superman as they believe he unilaterally poses the greatest threat to humanity. In light of the events, the majority of the population still look to Superman as a saviour figure as he protects the weak and helpless. While Batman and Superman are at logger heads with each other of the latter’s place in society, billionaire mad genius/villain, Lex Luthor, schemes to bring the two to an explosive collision. This culminates in the showdown between Batman and Superman and their eventual partnership to combat the machinations of Lex Luthor, even forcing Wonder Woman to step in.
The film’s visuals are largely similar to the Men of Steel but take on an increasingly darker feel as the two titular characters draw closer to their ultimate showdown. The film’s emotional storytelling may feel quite heavy handed for those used to the lighter and more upbeat touch of the Marvel Films but in this case is particularly apt given that the conflict between Superman and Batman take on an increasingly darker tone. The final battle is a spectacular visual treat with breathtaking action sequences that put those in Man of Steel to shame.
Affleck’s portrayal of the angry Caped Crusader coupled with Cavill’s conflicted Man of Steel create a strong emotional draw to both the characters and story. Cavill’s conflicted and reluctant superhero is particularly relatable to those of us living in the modern context. Even as Superman struggles with measuring up to the expectations of the world at large, his efforts to juggle holding true to his beliefs and dealing with his distress is readily evident. Affleck’s cynical Batman, however, draws an interesting parallel to our first-world fears and his ultimate decision to regard Superman as a threat based solely on the Kryptonian’s godlike powers and the subsequent creation of a weapon to counter him feels chillingly familiar to that of modern diplomacy.
Despite the heavy themes and dark visuals, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a brilliant emotional and personal film that explores the motivations of our favourite superheroes and reveals their humanity to us. While some will criticise the film for being incoherent and overly dark, overall we feel that Batman v Superman is still an enjoyable film stunning visuals aside and we are excited to see how the rest of the DC Extended Universe will turn out.