‘Batman v Superman’: 5 Reasons Not to Hate the Superhero Mash-Up

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Forget about Kryptonite — movie critics are trying to kill Superman. The reviews for Zack Snyder’s DC Comics mash-up “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” are brutal, and much less forgiving than they were for Marvel’s “The Avengers” in 2012. Snyder’s movie, which introduces Ben Affleck as Batman and brings back Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel, doesn’t have the cinematic gravitas of, for example, Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy. But such a comparison isn’t really fair.

Unlike Nolan (who turned the comic book tentpole into a work of art), Snyder has crafted a popcorn blockbuster roller coaster ride. I mean that as a compliment — the movie is high on adrenaline; what it lacks in story, it makes up for through super-sized action. Often ridiculous and over-the-top, enamored by its own monstrous ambitions, “Batman v Superman” is frequently an entertaining jaunt through Metropolis and Gotham, anchored by strong performances and mesmerizing sweeps of cinematography. Despite what you may have read, here’s why it works:

1. Henry Cavill is a great Superman.
The role of Superman is thankless, as many actors with the part have suffered the curse of being typecast as the man in spandex. In taking over from Brandon Routh (from 2006’s unfortunate “Superman Returns”), Cavill has become a worthy successor to Christopher Reeve (or TV’s Dean Cain) with his modern-day portrait of Clark Kent. In 2013’s underrated “Man of Steel,” his chemistry with Amy Adams (as Lois Lane) and relationship with his parents (Diane Lane and Kevin Costner) kept the picture grounded, even when Snyder’s erratic camera angles threatened to give audiences motion sickness. In this sequel, Cavill once again soars as the heroic movie star masquerading as an everyman. He might be sharing the film’s title with another hero, but “Dawn of Justice” is still Superman’s story.

2. Ben Affleck makes Batman his own.
The fear among many fans was that it was “too soon” to see another Batman, just four years after Christian Bale hung up his mask in “The Dark Knight Rises.” Thankfully Affleck sidesteps any traps (and déjà vu from 2003’s “Daredevil”) by offering a different antihero: a grizzled Caped Crusader pushing 50 who is even more disillusioned with life (if that’s possible) than the previous incarnation. Affleck’s interpretation of the character isn’t among the best — it’s not in the same league as Bale and Michael Keaton from the Tim Burton films — but he’s not among the worst either. He gives us a conflicted Batman with room to grow, which is wise, considering the number of sequels Warner Bros. is planning.

3. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
If “Superman v Batman” is the launching pad for multiple franchises, it’s already given birth to at least one star. That would be Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Like Angelina Jolie in “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” Gadot not only keeps up with the boys, she could devour them — if she wanted to. Her role in the movie is small, yet it’s an encouraging teaser of things to come with 2017’s “Wonder Woman,” directed by Patty Jenkins.

4. Give Snyder credit, too.
He’s become the Michael Bay of the aughts, dividing critics with hits like “300,” “Watchmen” and “Sucker Punch.” But despite a mixed track record on storytelling, Snyder is a gifted technical wizard; on his best days, he can compete with the likes of Peter Jackson or Sam Raimi when it comes to epic action. If “Batman v Superman” seems lost in a fog of angst during its first hour, don’t give up on the movie. As this epic picks up speed, it also delivers, especially during a spectacular fight between its two leads that will have fan boys (and girls) salivating.

5. And finally, one last twist.
“Batman v Superman” takes a brave plunge in its third act, a reminder that the best comic book movies contain deep human allegories. My guess is audiences will be leaving multiplex theaters stunned this weekend.

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  1. Boulevard Denim says:

    Sibelius said “Never pay any attention to what critics say. Remember, a statue has never been set up in honor of a critic!”

    Well there have been a few statues but they are the exception that prove the rule. Critics have gotten it wrong many times and some filmes are considered classics or at least have much better reputations now – Vertigo, Psycho, Citizen Kane, The Good The Bad and the Ugly, Blade Runner, John Carpenter’s The Thing (he was fired in part due to the reviews).

    Critics have fallen all over themselves praising The Force Awakens (basically a remake with no new ideas) and the dumbed-down recent Star Trek films. They go chastising the makers of BvS for Batman apparently killing but yet in Batman Returns he happily burns and blows up members of the Red Triangle gang. (Yes he smiles when shoving the bomb onto one gang member). Yet Batman Returns is vaunted as some pinnacle of Batman cinema getting 80% on RT????

    They cannot follow the plot? I found it to be very cleverly constructed and at least on par with The Dark Knight which wasn’t exactly a model of streamlined narrative (and I loved it!!) But more coherent than Batman Returns or Age of Ultron. I enjoyed Luthor’s machinations from the specialized bullet designed to discredit Superman to the congressional hearing to pushing Batman’s buttons to goad him into the fight (even though he already had quite a bit of impetus!).

    I like the slow build up in the first hour; it laid the groundwork for the finale. And I enjoyed the Easter eggs (like Darkseid’s minions in Batman’s dream foreshadowing the conflict in Justice League).

    Nicely done; I suggest people see it more than once as it has so much to recommend it; one viewing will not suffice.

  2. Cody Murray says:

    This was a terrible movie, acting notwithstanding. Even then, Jeremy Irons was, far and away, the best actor in it. Jesse Eisenfail ruined Lex Luthor – whether that was his fault as an actor, or Snyder’s fault as a “director” is unknown. Oh, by the way, who the hell “wrote” this film? Narwhals? Manatees? Seriously, what a terrible script. And even further still – can you make it any darker? Like, lighting-wise? It was very dark, visually = not fun to watch. Oh, and that SCORE! Hey, Hans Zimmer – you had a *great* run…I guess this is where it ends. What a toilet flush of a soundtrack. I saw one review that claimed the choir was being drowned in lava. Yeah, that’s about right. If the story had created any sense of urgency, nae, interest, in these characters, ok, yeah, maybe a wailing choir would have been stirring. Instead, it was merely annoying. Who wants to hear a choir lamenting…….nothing? For the first 1/3 of the movie, nothing happened. For the second 1/3 of the movie, stuff happened, but nobody cared because the dialogue, story, and character “development” were rubbish. And for the final act….who gives a crap. Why…whyyyyyyyyy…..did “Batman” (yes, quotes) make a spear of kryptonite? A) Batman doesn’t kill (except, apparently, for Zack Snyder) and B) why a bloody *SPEAR*???? THIS IS NOT “300”!!!!! If you’re going to steal (I mean, pay homage to) from “The Dark Knight” (Frank Miller, not Nolan), then why the hell wasn’t Green Arrow included? Stephen Amell or otherwise. Why not have Oliver Queen on standby as a way to “introduce” (yes, quotes – see “Arrow” on the CW) another Justice League member, and have him save the day? You can still do that thing with Henry Cavill (Superishman), but….I mean…WTF???? I’m really not sure it’s possible to crap out a worse film. I mean, I suppose you could have had them say one-liners (a la Martha and Batman….why? out of the blue? why?), but that might have been entertaining.

    • Justin Scheepers says:

      I’m all for honest criticism. I get that you did’t like the movie. But your review is just you complaining about absolutely everything. There were flaws in the movie, but everything you’re whining about is hardly what most critics point out.

      1. This is in large a Batman movie. Batman has always been dark. 90% of his comics, the Arkham games, even most Batman movies are mostly dark. Complaining that a Batman movie is too dark is like complaining about a Pirates of the Caribbean movie spending too much time at sea.

      2. The score was epic.

      Granted, this is my opinion, but what are the odds that the first bad score that Hans Zimmer has ever written just happens to be in the movie that you are hell bent on hating? It’s a very odd coincidence. What’s more likely is that you want to whine about literally everything in this movie.

      3. Regarding the quotes around “Batman” suggests you also think Affleck made a bad Batman. This is another hint that you want to complain about everything as most critics agree that Affleck was one of the redeeming qualities in Batman v Superman.

      4. Batman’s “one rule” may have been a major focus in Nolan’s trilogy, but it is not a universal Batman attribute in all imaginings of the hero. The fact that Superman and Batman kills in this universe is a darker and somewhat more realistic version of the heroes. The fact that Batman manages to take out 20+ armed thugs is already astounding. Him killing some of them in the process is sometimes necessary collateral damage. It is a far more realistic imagining of the hero than the perfect boy-scout that saves everyone with no casualties ever. Superheroes evolve to fit modern-day reality. Necessary collateral casualties is one such example.

      Yes, Batman wanted to kill Superman. What the hell did you expect? That he would just beat him up a bit, say “haha, I win” and then drive away? What would be the point? Batman saw Superman as a threat to humanity. Getting rid of this threat meant killing him. He hesitated at the end because it’s not something he was particularly eager to do, but he saw it as a necessary evil. This was a moral dilemma that again removes him from the dated two-dimensional visions of Batman as the perfect boy-scout. Again I ask, what did you expect Batman to do after beating Superman?

      5. Complaining about him using a spear is another example of you complaining about everything. What is wrong with a spear? Batman has used guns, swords… so why not a spear? What is so anti-Batman about a spear? It seems like a logical way to weaponize kryptonite.

      Most critics complain about there being too many superheroes in this movie, but you complain about the lack of a Green Arrow? Green Arrow wasn’t in this movie for the same reason that Hank Pym wasn’t in Age of Ultron – this isn’t a copy-paste of the comics. Things are never going to be exactly like the comics they are based on. Green Arrow isn’t part of Snyder’s Justice League just like many Marvel Avenger’s aren’t part of the Avengers movies. Deal with it.

      6. “Steal from”? Really? You’re complaining about a comic book movie getting parts of its plot from… a comic book? Like this isn’t what literally every comic book movie does. Just stick to your day-job. Movie reviews aren’t your thing

  3. Lousy story. Lousy direction. The actors did what they could; but, it was not a good film.

  4. Bing Lara says:

    Critics may have unkind words but its the fans that will have the final say on what bvs is all about. Enjoy the movie… not the cryptic words of a group of people who may or may not have even read a single comic book of their lives and yet consider themselves as experts of the genre. Can’t wait to watch it myself. Happy Easter everyone

  5. SERIOUSLY, PERSONALLY.,I THINK IT’S A STUPID IDEA,COMING UP WITH,”BATMAN V.SUPERMAN”,IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!.WHO WANT’S TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THESE TWO,”HEREO’S OF ALL TIME !!!.I WOULDN’T WANT TO TAKE SIDE’S FOR EITHER ONE.

    • Clark Kent says:

      Actually Batman and Superman have fought a few times in the comics now Batman from my understanding didnt want to kill superman but wanted to stop him and show him how it feels to bleed, which i believe is a line in the movie :-) . Also i have removed all credibility from critics as i have seen the move… I enjoyed it alot!

      We are DC fans if you are a marvel fan go watch the avengers and stfu! This is how DC is doing things and i for one am glad they didnt just go and copy everything marvel has done.

      And to just clarify there are justifications for Batman and Superman to battle i mean Superman’s only weakness isnt just Kryptonite its also magic and mind control, which he is vulnerable to and if that happens Batman is usually the dude to stop him. They are very good friends in the comics (well most comics) Batman just needs to chill out i mean Superman went to him to get his help and Batman just wanted to fight. He has anger management issues hopefully Superman can help him with that :-).

    • Justin Scheepers says:

      Umm… apparently every comic book movie fan ever. Comic book movies haven’t seen this much hype from Batman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War since the first Avengers movie came out. Also, I think your cap’s lock is stuck. Might want to get that looked at

    • therealeverton says:

      I suggest you read Frank Miller’s Batman The Dark Knight Returns. Considered one of the best super hero stories ever told and ending with an excellent, well written and believable fight between the two heroes. If you write it well, you can tell any story.

  6. Rich says:

    this film was amazing

  7. Unfortunately, I wanted to like, but couldn’t. The film was a huge mess.

  8. Kamille says:

    Cavill’s Superman is just some dude wearing a costume. Worst Superman to date. ;/

  9. Kurt says:

    WB needs to get rid of Snyder quickly. It’s bad enough that Bay keeps making Transformers movie we got this other director that clearly hates Superman. Instead making a good movie, they are focused on this universe garbage.

  10. Tom says:

    An indestructible alien versus a regular human in a rubber suit. Compelling stuff.

  11. DN says:

    Who the hell wrote this??? Cavill is a great Superman? Really? Superman and how the character is handled is the main problem of BvS. I’m not blaming Henry for this — he’s only doing as directed and written — but his dour moping Superman way WAY OFF and very off putting. Horrible and undermines the story and character to such a degree that it’s impossible to recover.

    Affleck’s Batman isn’t in the same league as Keaton or Bale’s? Are you serious? Affleck and his Batman is far and away the best part of the film Come on, that’s not even something that can be discussed. This is this first time Batman has really actually been presented correctly if you want to be accurate (and I loved Batman Begins and TDK) and Ben does a terrific job with what he has to work with as does Jeremy Irons with Alfred. Far and away the highlights of the film are anything Batman related.

    And brave plunge in the final act? Please. That was such a horrible choice — to earn the way the Doomsday storyline ends you have to get to know and love the character of Superman — and more importantly the WORLD needs to know and love Superman so that everyone is devastated at how it turns out. None of that has happened in either MoS or this film. This is the epitome of story telling by committee. Let’s take bits of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN and slam them together even though we don’t spend any of the required time and story to get there and earn them. Ugh.

    Now BvS is not the train wreck that critics are making it out to be. I actually enjoyed it more than I was expecting but it is really a hot mess of a film. That said it is much more enjoyable than Man of Steel — which was an abortion of a film and of the Superman character to be honest — but the problems of BvS film fall squarely on the script, Henry Cavill’s brooding Superman and the overall direction from Synder. Great choice to spend 30 minutes of screen time on dream sequences that add nothing to the story in an already long film rather than give us actual scenes that give us the info we and the character’s need to move forward and understand or care what is going on. Not even going to mention the problems with Lex and what his plan and motivations were if any.

    Bottom line is that BvS is kind of a mess of a film – like three different films all mashed up — and one of those films is actually decent. That one has a guy dressed up as a bat in it.

  12. Mark Ware says:

    There is only one reason not to hate this film… because it is amazing. I saw it last night and it feels right! If you are a DC fan, you are going to love this movie. If you are not a comic book fan… you are going to love this movie!

  13. therealeverton says:

    Can we please discuss this film, and others, without resorting to inciting some schoolboy Marvel Studios VS DC spat…please? I’m talking to you Mr. “much less forgiving than they were for Marvel’s “The Avengers” in 2012.”. (Forgetting that rightly or wrongly, til this day, they and the public in general, happen to like that film more than any other super hero film (Dark knight probably excepted.

    Either way just talk about THIS film man. If there’s a necessary comparison it is that Man of Steel only had a quality rating of 6.2 with a 56% and was still liked by more of the public than it was disliked. So with a current 5.2 (sure only 31% right now and impossible to go higher than 50%, even with nothing but positive reviews from now on) but a similar outcome is possible with the people who but tickets.

  14. SoBomb says:

    The author invalidated everything he has to say, and in fact every opinion he has ever had the moment he claimed Sucker Punch was a hit, and not possibly the worst thing ever put on film, and Watchmen wasn’t a “hit” either. To be fair once you get past the novelty of the visuals 300 was a terrible movie also. I can’t for the life of me understand why Snyder still gets work.

  15. Cam says:

    What a ridiculous article. Superman returns is the best post Christopher reeve movie. I agree that Snyder hates superman

  16. Cody says:

    This is complete bunk.

  17. Another reason to watch, I would say, is it does a great job of setting up the Justice League. Marvel has fallen into the habit of putting end credits scenes in all of their movies, whether it has anything to do with setting up the next movie or not. BvS, though, doesn’t have an end credits scene, and it doesn’t need one, because the movie itself has a proper amount of worldbuilding. Nothing more is needed to set up the Justice League movies, or even the solo movies to come.

    • Silas says:

      Of course some people are irritated to find the movie they are watching is being used to set up other movies (a frequent criticism of MCU entries). Different strokes.

  18. Nithin Ravi says:

    Yep!!! This is what I wanted to hear!!

  19. jd rockerfeller says:

    The move seemed forced much of the time and the characters weren’t developed very well it seemed. Still just seems like emo teens whining about everything, rather than heroes to look up to and inspire us.

    • Clark Kent says:

      Yeah Superman was created in the 30’s and Batman in the 30’s also….. almost 100 years …. We still need character development? It makes sense to create character development for like lets say Ant Man or Black Panther or Vision or Iron Fist or even possibly Blue Beetle. Why waste our time and have character development we know who they are, we know what they do, just show them throwing people through buildings and get on with it already!!

  20. I saw the movie and thought it was a masterpiece. The audience was totally engaged, I honestly do not see what the critics saw, the movie was funny, Lex Luthor was hilarious, the action and the story was intense and the final was moving. People were crying in the theaters. Don’t expect a campy, forced comedy light tough approach, this is serious film-making. I enjoyed it and my company enjoyed it. We are all going back to see it tomorrow and I have plans to see it Saturday and Sunday as well.

    • Ted says:

      No reason for lex to do what he does and the reasons that batman and superman hate each other is not developed. Risen erg was horrendous and I love the actor. At least it’s better than man of steel

      • Clark Kent says:

        What are you talking about? Lex luthor is “power hungry” so being jealous of an Alien with practically unlimited powers is ummm practical… And they showed us like 15-20 mins of Man of Steel with Batman witnessing everything not to mention a couple personal things involved that some fans might notice that would for sure set him off.

      • Justin Scheepers says:

        Yes let’s go back to the old-school Lex Luthor who was willing to kill millions for… real estate

      • ShawnyB says:

        The fact that people are consistently making the same ridiculous that Lex Luthor had no motivation is proof that trolls like chew up and spit out the same garbage over and over. Lex Luther in BvS is the product of dismissive and psychologically abisive father that sent him into a dark place bordering on insanity. He is a megalomaniacal psychopath, what other reason would he need? As for justification for why Superman and Batman go at each other, well the only thing I can say is you either didn’t watch the movie, or you decided before you walked in that you were going to hate it no matter what. Every time I read that tired lack of motivation argument I immediately wonder if you are wearing a drool bib.

      • Dave Netherton says:

        I guess everyone would much rather have had another Lex (Land Scheme) Luthor instead, This version was a new more modern version. Remember Lex has buildings in Metropolis that were probably damaged during Man Of Steel that’s all the motivation he needs.

    • Silas says:

      Why would anyone expect camp? Have there been any campy superhero movies since Batman and Robin in 1997? (Two Fantastic Four movies were cheesy but not campy.)

  21. Silas says:

    This movie is not well described as ‘superhero mash-up’. ‘Mash-up’ suggests an incongruous mixing of genres. If Batman and Superman existed in different fictional worlds then ‘crossover’ might be appropriate. But not even this is true; they are both characters in the DC comics universe, where they have interracted repeatedly.

  22. 211of211 says:

    I just saw it, and it was great! Without giving away any spoilers (although some may be able to read between the lines, proceed with caution) I finally got to see my favorite Superman comic book story on the big screen. I’m still not crazy about Eisenberg’s Lex but the rest of the movie (especially the ending) definitely made up for it. I didn’t think they’d do it, but they did, and I couldn’t happier!

  23. Carter Gwynn says:

    You forgot that I am in it and I was spectacular!

  24. Mike Foley says:

    the woman they have playing wonder woman isn’t wonder woman. doesn’t look like any past incarnations and having a glare and being able to kick do not a wonder woman make. there’s more to her than sneering

  25. Ant says:

    You obviously don’t read comic books to bash something that you don’t understand, Zack Snyder’s Batman is adapted from Frank Miller. I mean I can liste to you in the early ’39 & ’40 when Batman was created he was killing his enemies everywhere. You’re the mainstream audience who hopped on the bandwagon when Christopher Nolan’s Batman became popular in which Bale did let Ra’s Al Ghul die. I’d prefer Batman not kill but it’s not like he did it directly. So you’re saying Affleck isn’t in Bale’s league or Keaton’s league, obviously show you are one of the mainstream Batman fans who have no knowledge of his true history. But everyone is entitled to their opinions.

    • Mark-o says:

      Seriously who cares. More Superhero comic book tripe as the vile Hollywood studios give Americans jobs to H 1-Bs.

      Ben Affleck is too fat and too old to play Batman. He would be better cast as Superman’s arch enemy Fatso.

  26. warren says:

    Warner Brothers needs to get rid of Snyder, he will single handedly destroy the DC universe. They need to take him off the Justice League movies NOW, or he will completely screw it up and it may never recover. DC could be doing so much better than it is, geeze, get Berlanti to direct.

    Affleck was also an incredibly bad choice for this role.

    • Clark Kent says:

      Umm BvS has made more money than a movie not opening in the summer… Yeah dude close to 500mil the opening weekend what a horrible net!! I mean you morons and your trolling it was reported the movie costed approximately 220mil so your telling me a profit margin in the very first weekend is already at 280mil …. But you are right DC could be doing much better they need to start making movies that generate revenue this is ridiculous!!!

    • I enjoyed Snyder and everyone I know enjoyed MOS, in fact MOS outsold the billion dollar Iron Man 3 movie on DVD so others think so as well. You probably didn’t see the movie and only are repeating what negative reviews you have read. You want camp and forced comedy.

    • EricJ says:

      Okay, Warner? Listen carefully, so we don’t have to repeat it: We DID NOT LIKE Man of Steel. I know it would fit into your corporate “Linked universe” scheme to believe we did, but we DIDN’T. Like the saying goes, “Reality is part on the -outside- of the head.”
      And Zack “Chuckles” Snyder was a big whopping reason for it. If you still give Chris Nolan money to make Batman movies, okay, we get it, you’re hoping Dark Knight will happen again, but what are you expecting with letting Snyder make more movies…Another Watchmen??

      (And “Critics less forgiving than the Avengers”?–Huh? Don’t you mean “Less forgiving than Avengers 2”, which also took the pretentious “Analyze the heroes psyches for two hours, until you remember that they have to fight some CGI baddie or other” route, and also just planted advertisements for better followup movies.)

  27. Marco says:

    1.-3. You are absolutely right – the actors are all great. Cavil is a great superman, the best since Reeves. Also Afleck is so good as Bruce Wayne and Batman that i really want to see him in a solo movie. Gal Gadot is the first female actor that could carry a solo movie IF the script and directing are good.

    4. No. Snyder is far away from Jackson or Raimi even on his best day. 300 and Watchmen were superb because they were so close to the comics – Snyder is great when he adapts panel for panel as scenes.
    The movie is also far too long. 30 minutes could be cut and it would have been a better movie. The last act and battle with spoiler is obsolete.

    5. 3 people were applauding. The rest was not so impressed.
    I saw the movie with 2 friends – one a comic fan, the other not. Both gave the movie 6/10, i gave it 5,5/10.

  28. Chizz says:

    Want proof that Variety is nothing but a shill for Hollywood studios?

    Read this damage control article, paid for by Warner Bros.

    • Justin Scheepers says:

      “Someone disagrees with me? The only logical conclusion is someone paid them to”

    • I thought the movie was a masterpiece, maybe the negative critics are the ones who are being paid, you know the ones that praise crap like Age of Ultron, Thor 2…….need I go on?

      • therealeverton says:

        These critics happen to like D~ark Knight, Batman Begins, X-Men DOFP and so on. Maybe they just do not like this film, think of that?

        There’s a consensus here. That doesn’t mean you have to hate the film, or that the film maybe seen differently in the future, but this obsession with conspiracies and so on is weak. There’s no conspiracy for Transformers films or the Twilight sequels, which, generally started getting worse and worse reviews aas the public liked them more and more. You like his film, great, but critics have different standards ad they can sometimes be t odds with what other people like.

        Thor 2 and Age of Ultron weren’t universally praised. Just because more citics liked them than this, so what. They are allowed opinions and you are allowed to dislike “good” films and love bad ones and so on.

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