In an ultimate showdown between two of the most iconic superheroes, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a dark, special effect-driven, action-packed thrill ride that pits the Bat of Gotham against the Man of Steel.

Coming from someone who isn’t an avid comic book reader but followed the superhero cartoons, stories and film/TV adaptations growing up, “Batman v Superman” is fresh enough for an appealing new take on the source material while giving plenty of nods to previous Batman character interpretations and creating a nice follow up to director Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel”. It is far from perfect, but that didn’t stop me from having a geeky smile on my face and goose bumps from start to finish. 

After years of watching Marvel Comics dominate the genre by creating films that featured classic characters such as “Iron Man”, “The Hulk”, and “Captain America”, it was time for DC Comics to step up. 2013’s “Man of Steel” opened the door for a new kind of franchise, similar to what Marvel has been doing with individual character films and now “The Avengers”. With mixed feedback and continued development, DC was able to create “Batman v Superman”, which serves as a sequel of sorts to “Man of Steel”, while also introducing Batman and other popular DC Comics’ characters into the newly created universe while opening the door for a interesting future.

In the aftermath of the destruction caused from the battle between Superman and General Zod in “Man of Steel”, Bruce Wayne considers Superman to be an alien invader from another planet who has only brought death and chaos to the world. Similarly, while trying to clean up the planet in his own way, Superman considers Batman a threat who has taken the law into his own hands. While Batman ventures to the city of Metropolis to confront Superman, a new evil threatens not only the people of Metropolis and Gotham City, but also the entire world. 

Various trailers have surfaced leading up to the release of this film, with a certain one offering way too much information into the movie. While this may spoil parts of the movie for some viewers, there is more than enough Easter eggs, teasers and surprises. Snyder and writer David S. Goyer, who wrote Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” Batman trilogy as well as “Man of Steel”, reportedly took inspiration from Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” and take the story in strange but exciting direction. The film features several plot holes, questionable narrative choices, and changes from the source material that may have looked good to the makers, but for multiple reasons isn’t as clear or necessary as it should be to the viewer. 

This is the kind of film that is driven by its special effects and computer generated imagery. If you’ve seen “Man of Steel”, “The Avengers”, or other superhero movies of this nature, then you know what I’m talking about. The visuals are pretty spectacular, but Snyder has a very specific, dark and almost cartoonish style that’s different from most, as seen in films like “300” or “Man of Steel”, and this film is no different. It also has great amounts of large scale, building destructive, smash-each-other-through-the-walls fight scenes, which some people like and others don’t. 

The new cast additions, such as Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, who gives a mediocre performance hindered by the story, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, who is very impressive, Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, who I very much enjoyed, Jeremy Irons as the wise and comedic Alfred Pennyworth and more, are very welcome. Hans Zimmer, who worked on “The Dark Knight” trilogy, “Man of Steel”, and many others, composed the film score, and the music adds major value and thrills to the film. I try not to give away spoilers, but I will say that there is an ending that sets up a very interesting future for the franchise and characters involved.

Rotten Tomatoes states that this film “smothers a potentially powerful story in a grim whirlwind of effects-driven action”. Personally, I loved the film and the experience, but I will agree that there were a few elements I had issue with. There’s suppose to be a longer director’s cut version that will go with the DVD release, which could explain or make up for some of the things missed in the story, but the film as it stands it’s a must see for fans, whether they end up liking it or not.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is rated PG-13 for intense action sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality.

3 out of 5 stars.

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