Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is an incredible follow-up to Man of Steel and lead into Justice League. The title characters are honored and rendered in a sincere and sophisticated way like never before on film. The underlying inspirations are respected and taken seriously with genuine affection and artistry. An emotional, suspenseful, and dramatic journey. Smart characters and plotting, stunning visuals and action.
An absolute must-see for superhero fans.
Buy your tickets, mark your calendars to prepare for repeat viewings, it’s satisfying on a visceral level but loaded with nods, homages, citations, references, and ideas which warrant noticing and discussion.
I had the privilege of attending the IMAX event last year which ended in the generous surprise of seeing the film on March 21st in IMAX, which opens with Zack imploring the audience to respect the viewing experience of those yet to see the film. So I’m trying to keep this short. I’m seeing the film again in 70mm opening night and again Easter Weekend, so more in-depth discussion to come. For now, please allow this to act as a reassurance of quality along metrics of concern for longtime fans.
This is The World of “Man of Steel” Introducing The Batman (featuring Wonder Woman). Superman and the Man of Steel mythos is central to the film, from the events, to the fixtures and world building, to the characters, themes, arcs, and plot points. Irrespective of the fears of some Superman fans, Batman v. Superman more than honors the character of Superman within a modern and relevant context. It is a reverse Watchmen in some sense. Man of Steel fans will be surprised. I’ve already said too much.
If Man of Steel was “What if Superman were real?” this extends the concept to “What if Superman was just the beginning?”
While this is Batman’s introduction, it is for this universe, the canonization of everything comic book about the character while in a cinematically plausible presentation. The singular thing this film leaves you with is the desire for more of everything in the best sense. The same sense of potential and possibility, a world teeming with more, found in Man of Steel is magnified several times over due in no small part to Batman’s introduction. It’s The Dark Knight Returns reimagined as Justice League Zero Year.
DC Cinematic Universe Begins
There’s no turning back after this film, it demands more and it is the Empire Strikes Back of the Man of Steel – Batman v. Superman – Justice League trilogy. That hope and yearning captures the spirit of what makes superheroes and comic books so compelling.
This Is Not A Review
Originally, I was going to write blurbs on emotional impact, visuals, soundtrack, action scenes, dialogue, characterization, plotting, structure, and other metrics, but you should experience this for yourself and make up your own mind and then we’ll talk and exchange ideas. On that note, I don’t think this (or any other) work is immune to criticism (valid or otherwise) or disgruntled hatred, so don’t allow others to hold too much sway over your enjoyment or thoughts about the film.
Personally, I feel like this film vindicates many of the creative choices made in Man of Steel and beyond, but reasonable minds will differ and we’ll certainly get into that when the time comes. For the general audience, other than the introduction of Batman and Wonder Woman, the dialogue is more cinematic and coherence and comprehensibility is generally higher (maybe a tad too much spoon feeding in some places for me, but probably best for general audiences)… however, there are still a ton of puzzles to unravel, particularly as they relate to Lex Luthor. The film can be enjoyed and comprehended on a completely visceral level, but I can already anticipate digging deeper on repeat viewings.
I’m not really prone to spontaneity. I mulled on Man of Steel a year after release before I felt like I had to say something and had enough to say. So these are my guarded first thoughts with only the car trip home to reflect and typing this out with lots of self-censoring at 2AM in the morning. The results are admittedly very cliche sounding but no less my immediate and sincere reactions.
I highly recommend this in IMAX incidentally, the aspect ratio and IMAX scenes were incredible. I’ll let you know how 70mm compares as soon as I can.
You owe it to yourself to see this movie with an open mind more than once. Much like seeing The Force Awakens after years of anticipation, that can overwhelm the first viewing and while I don’t think it detracted from my first viewing, I think I was incredibly tense throughout.
I absolutely can’t wait to watch it again. To enjoy it. To study it. To think about it and chew on it. I absolutely see the potential for that with this film.