Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a 2016 American superhero film featuring the DC Comics characters Batman and Superman. Directed by Zack Snyder and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, the film is a follow-up to 2013's Man of Steel and is the second installment in the DC Extended Universe. It was written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer, and features an ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter and Gal Gadot. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the first live-action film to feature Batman and Superman together, as well as the first live-action cinematic portrayal of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg. In the film, criminal mastermind Lex Luthor manipulates Batman into a preemptive battle with Superman, whom Luthor is obsessed with defeating.
The film was announced at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International, after the release of Man of Steel. Snyder stated that the film would take inspiration from the Batman comic book series The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, but clarified that it would follow an original premise. The incarnation of Batman in the film would also be different than the character's previous portrayal in The Dark Knight Trilogy, serving as a cinematic reboot of the character. The film is also inspired by narrative elements from the "Death of Superman" story arc. Pre-production began at East Los Angeles College in October 2013, with principal photography starting in May 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. Additional filming also took place in Chicago.
It's been nearly two years since Superman's (Henry Cavill) colossal battle with Zod (Michael Shannon) devastated the city of Metropolis. The loss of life and collateral damage left many feeling angry and helpless, including crime-fighting billionaire Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). Convinced that Superman is now a threat to humanity, Batman embarks on a personal vendetta to end his reign on Earth, while the conniving Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) launches his own crusade against the Man of Steel.
- Overtly grim and dour; even the other bad DC movies Batman & Robin and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace had some light-hearted elements. Sometimes it's so dark that it's actually hard to see anything.
- Superman is portrayed very negatively. It almost feels like Zack Snyder just flat-out hates the character. Rather than the iconic symbol of justice that gives people hope, Superman is an eternally depressed gloomy person with obvious Jesus symbolism that almost never smiles.
- Batman on the other hand is portrayed as an angry, paranoid psychopath who spends over half of the movie planning to KILL Superman! You know, BATMAN, the superhero whose most well known trait is that HE NEVER KILLS ANYONE!
- In fairness, Batman has indeed killed people in multiple incarnations before, but whenever he does he's given a reasonable explanation why. However this version of Batman doesn't have a good reason to kill, he just kills for the sake of making this version edgier than The Dark Knight version.
- The whole point of Batman and Superman's rivalry, and what made their fight so iconic in the comics, is their opposing ideals and views of the world; Batman is dark and cynical while Superman is light and hopeful. But in this movie both Batman and Superman are dark gloomy vigilantes with questionable morality, which completely destroys the point of their rivalry and makes it feel forced.
- On top of that, there is no explanation as to why they hate each other aside from the fact that the other one is a vigilante, making both of them hypocrites for that matter.
- Batman's origin of falling into the pit full of bats and his parent's deaths, which has already been shown many times before, was shown yet again.
- Desperate sequel baiting. The movie focuses more on setting up future DCEU movies than being a movie on it's own.
- Batman and Superman only have one very brief encounter with each other before the titular fight, which itself was very short. You'd expect a movie titled "Batman v Superman" to have more Batman interacting with Superman.
- Abysmal acting (save for Ben Affleck, Jeremy Irons and Gal Gadot).
- The movie shoves too many plots into itself. This was done because DC is clearly rushing to reach Justice League as quickly as possible because Marvel already had two Avengers movies at that time.
- Some of those plots are quickly dropped or never go anywhere, for example Clark Kent investigating Batman's vigilante activities.
- Terrible, embarrassing interpretation of Lex Luthor by Jessie Eisenberg. ONE OF SUPERMAN'S MOST ICONIC ENEMIES looks like a college student, isn't bald, barely acts like Lex Luthor, and very obviously went through a lot of rewrites. It almost feels like The Joker was supposed to be the villain but they changed it to Lex Luthor at the last moment.
- The scene with the Jolly Rancher candy was a particularly infamous moment for this Luthor.
- Out of nowhere, the movie literally pauses to show cameos of Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman for no reason other than to tease Justice League.
- The movie wastes a lot of time pondering about spiritual, moral, and political topics but never actually does anything with them.
- Darkside was foreshadowed in a very vague and convoluted way. In the middle of the movie Bruce Wayne has a dream about a post-apocalyptic wasteland with Darkside's Omega symbol and an evil Superman when suddenly the dream is interrupted by The Flash coming from the future to warn Bruce to keep Lois Lane alive which ALSO turns out to be a dream meaning it's not clear if Flash really time traveled or not!
- For that matter, was that scene supposed to foreshadow Darkside or Injustice?
- While the action scenes are impressive to look at, they tend to drag too long in extremely tight situations, like how Batman doesn't save Martha Kent (who, you know, is about to be killed by a guy with a FREAKING FLAMETHROWER!!!) until he defeats all of the minions.
- Doomsday's inclusion was completely pointless to the plot and it is well known that literally the only reason they included him was so there was a villain for Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman to fight. Doomsday was completely spoiled in the trailers so there wasn't even any shock when he appeared.
- Wonder Woman, while epic, didn't contribute to the plot at all besides joining the fight against Doomsday, which as metioned above was also pointless.
- Superman gets killed off despite this being only the second movie in the DC Extended Universe. "The Death of Superman" story had literally nothing to do with the rest of the movie and it was only done to give Superman more Jesus symbolism.
- Killing Superman was even more pointless after he was confirmed to return in Justice League.
- To add insult to injury, the extended cut was meant to be the version shown in theaters but they decided to leave it out and put a watered down version full of plot holes in the theaters instead.
- The popular Mercy Graves and Jimmy Olson (one of Superman's best friends!) are unceremoniously killed off in a few minutes flat.
- Good soundtrack.
- It has a few touching moments, such as the fact that it is revealed that the Joker killed Robin just like in the comics (this could be hinting a live action version of Under The Red Hood).
- Great action and the scenes of them fighting are really well done, despite how short they are.
- Great performances from Ben Affleck as Batman, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. The scene in which Batman saves Martha is probably the best Batman fight scene seen on screen.
- Spectacular visuals.
- The deleted scenes help the story make more sense and feel less cluttered.
- The extended cut of the film "Ultimate Edition" is much better than the theaterical cut.
- BvS got Wonder Woman right and her role makes a lot more sense after watching her movie. It also helps Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman film was a huge critical and commercial success allowing for DC to have a female-led superhero sub-franchise and making her their golden girl to help revive the DC Extended Universe as a whole.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice premiered at the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City on March 19, 2016, and was released in the United States on March 25, 2016, in 2D, 3D, IMAX 3D, 4DX, premium large formats and 70 mm prints. Following a strong debut that set new box office records, the film experienced a historic drop (even worse than Batman and Robin's) in its second weekend and never recovered. Despite turning a profit, it was deemed a box office disappointment and received mostly negative reviews from critics. A director's cut, dubbed the Ultimate Edition with 30 minutes of additional footage, was released digitally on June 28, 2016, and on Blu-ray and DVD on July 19, 2016.
Following the success of Marvel's Captain America: Civil War, which was released around the same time and follows a similar theme of superheroes fighting each other, Batman v Superman was further criticized and both movies were frequently compared.