There’s no denying that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is one of, if not the, most visually stunning films ever made. And it comes as no surprise too, given that director Zack Snyder’s cinematographic imagination has been leaving jaws on the floor since he made his entry into Hollywood. Even with his stylistic pedigree, the task of bringing two of the most iconic superheroes onto the big-screen together for the very first time can’t be understated. Snyder has not only achieved the vision, but it’s evident from the first moments of the film that Snyder knows exactly what the audience wants to see.
And this inherent fanboyism of Snyder is exactly what elevates Batman v Superman to new heights in the genre. Snyder understands the source material, and to the point where he not only ticks all the boxes fans should expect from the film, but injects another dimension of flair and world-building that sets the stage and darker tone for the DC extended universe that’s to come.
As a kick-start for the DC universe, Batman v Superman is as ambitious in scope and scale as you’d anticipate, but it’s also a spectacular standalone film, which showcases the idiosyncratic characteristics of Bruce Wayne/Batman and Clark Kent/Superman; and it’s in those moments that the movie shines brightest.
Ben Affleck silences critics with his performance as the Caped Crusader. Affleck embodies a bitterness and cynicism that has been overlooked in past Batman films, which is great to see. Affleck’s Batman is desperate, angry, and determined to rid the world of its greatest threat, and his brutality once he pulls on the iconic cowl raises the stakes in the film. A stellar performance by Affleck.
On the other side of the ring is Henry Cavill, who reprises his role of Superman from Man of Steel. Cavill is once again unrelentingly convincing every time he steps on screen, and getting to see the arc of Superman initially trying to move on from the events of Man of Steel, before swallowing a bitter pill and facing the repercussion head-on, created some great continuity in the film and gives the audiences another side of Superman that hasn’t been shown on screen.
The fantastic thing about these ensemble films is the extended cast (as referring to them as “supporting” would be a crime in itself), and BvS‘s gallery of actors is a testament to the incredible casting choices by Snyder and his team. Jeremy Irons makes the role of Alfred his own and we get to see some riveting banter between him and Bruce Wayne throughout the film; Gal Galdot makes her intermittent scene-stealing appearances as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince; and of course, Jesse Eisenberg is as menacing as he is likeable, taking a risky yet rewarding spin on the character of Lex Luthor that will have fans shocked at exactly how unhinged he is.
Eisenberg’s enjoyment of being the puppet-master in this superpowered face-off is captivating as it is despicable. And the much-anticipated fight itself? We can safely say it lives up to the hype and prepares the audience for the bigger end-game in the third act (which, if you’ve seen the trailer, can piece together).
And when all these parts come together, the result is something quite spectacular. As you sit and watch these incredible actors fully embracing these beloved characters, you can’t help but to think you’re experiencing an important moment of cinematic history. Batman v Superman is a triumph for a film of its purpose and grandiose goals. It’s jam-packed with special effects and flashy camera-work, but at the heart of its action is a film about fearing the unknown, and that’s something both man and god can relate to.
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