Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a 2016 Superhero film featuring the DC Comics characters Batman and Superman, directed by Zack Snyder and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is the second installment in the DC Extended Universe.
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.
Why It Sucks
- Executive meddling: Initially the movie was supposed to be a sequel to Man of Steel without any plans for a DC movie universe, but due to the massive success of Marvel's The Avengers which came out shortly before Man of Steel, Warner Bros. mandated that Man of Steel 2 had to be turned into this movie as means to start up the DC Extended Universe.
- There's hardly any focus on the rivalry of Batman and Superman for much of it's almost 3 hour legth and instead the movie focuses on countless shoved-in plot points that just drag on and only exist to set up future sequels.
- To drive the point home, Batman and Superman only have one very brief encounter 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.
- The sequel baiting gets so desperate that at one point the movie literally pauses to have Wonder Woman watch teaser videos for Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman.
- The movie is plain boring with an overly grim and dour mood; even the other bad DC movies Batman & Robin and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace had fun moments. While a darker tone for a superhero movie isn't inherently bad, the tone of BvS is too dark and completely devoid of any humor and it takes itself way too seriously, something that even the Dark Knight Trilogy, known for popularising the dark superhero films didn't do.
- Speaking of the Dark Knight Trilogy, even that had some lighthearted moments to balance out the dark themes. Characters in those movies also had more personality beyond dull angst.
- Just like Man of Steel, the movie constantly going on and on about "deep important topics" but never does anything with those themes, which along with it trying too hard to be dark and serious, makes the movie very pretentious.
- The highly controversial destruction of Metropolis in Man of Steel, which the movie promised would address, is almost never mentioned again after the opening scene and no one besides Batman seems to care that it even happened. About the only way it is "addressed" is with handwaving comments that the parts of the city the heroes are accidentally destroying have been evacuated in this film.
- The trailers made it seem like Superman would be put in trial over the destruction of Metropolis, but in the movie itself the reason Superman is put in trial is because they think he killed a terrorist using bullets.
- Superman is portrayed very negatively. Zack Snyder painted Superman as some kind of grizzled messiah without any of the traits that people actually admire him for. Rather than the iconic symbol of justice that gives people hope, Superman is an eternally depressed grump who almost never smiles: even when he's saving people or having blatant Jesus symbolism foisted on him, he still looks depressed all the time.
- Superman only has 43 lines of dialogue in the entire movie. Many of those lines of dialogue are very short phrases in a dull monotone voice.
- 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 being edgier than The Dark Knight version.
- Batman never gives a proper reason to want to kill Superman other than paranoia.
- Snyder attempted to justify Batman killing in interviews by claiming that Batman "only indirectly causes deaths by accident", however there are several times where Batman directly murders goons without any restraint or second thought.
- 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.
- The rivalry between the two is so forced and poorly executed that Superman's mother randomly had to be kidnapped out to get Superman to want to fight Batman, meanwhile Batman only wants to fight Superman because he's being paranoid. The fight itself starts out of nowhere without any build up.
- Batman's origin of falling into the pit full of bats and his parent's deaths, which has already been shown many times before in recent years, was shown yet again.
- The "Save Martha" scene has become a very infamous moment for the whole DCEU.
- Abysmal acting (save for Ben Affleck, Jeremy Irons and Gal Gadot). Most characters speak in a dull monotone tone trying to sound deep, but only come off as boring.
- Multiple plot holes
- How does Superman get blamed for the deaths of terrorists when those terrorists were very obviously killed with bullets?
- Clark Kent investigating Batman's vigilante activities is barely mentioned after first establishing it.
- Why did Lex even create Doomsday if he hates Kryptonians and he already had planned to have Batman kill him? And what would Lex have done with Doomsday if Batman had killed Superman?
- Lex's motivation to hate Superman is vague at best and he's never given any reason why he also hates Batman.
- Lex's subplot of trying to corrupt a Senator is wasted because he just kills her in an explosion with zero payoff.
- Superman being blamed for that explosion is meaningless because no one believes he did it, and why would Superman even need a bomb?
- How does Superman sense that Lois Lane is in danger from a continent away but can't sense Martha was kidnapped?
- It is never explained how John Kent somehow talked to Superman when he was in the artic.
- Terrible, embarrassing interpretation of Lex Luthor by Jessie Eisenberg. One of Superman's most iconic enemies looks like a college student, has a lot of awkward nervous ticks, rarely 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.
- His plan is also confusing , nonsensical, and often self-contradicting.
- There's a very brief moment where it is explained that The Joker murdered Robin, but because the DCEU version of Robin was never seen this has very little impact and it is easy to miss this detail.
- Terrible editing that constantly jumps from plot thread to plot thread without any flow.
- Darkseid 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 Darkseid'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 Darkseid or Injustice? Not that it matters because Justice League outright retconned the scene.
- 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 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 and instead it just pissed off fans.
- The "Death of Superman" story arc was completely wasted due to Doomsday being shoved in.
- Wonder Woman, while epic, didn't have any contribution to the movie besides sequel baiting and joining the fight against Doomsday, which as metioned above was also pointless.
- Superman dies 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 because he was revived in Justice League and everyone already knew he wouldn't stay dead for long.
- The popular Mercy Graves and Jimmy Olsen (Superman's best friend!) are unceremoniously killed off in a few minutes flat.
- Good soundtrack.
- Great action and the scenes of Batman and Superman fighting are really well done, despite how short they are.
- The opening scene of the destruction of Metropolis shown from Bruce Wayne's point of view is excellent.
- 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 announcement of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was met with strong hype and excitement from fans as it would be the first time that Batman and Superman would be in the same movie and this would be the official start of DC's cinematic universe to compete with Marvel. Likewise the film had promise to address the controversial prequel Man of Steel. Concerns were quickly raised however when the first trailer was released as it suggested the movie would have an even grimmer tone than Man of Steel, the second trailer met mass backlash because it spoiled Doomsday's inclusion.
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 and fans resulting in a 27% score on aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Common criticisms included the overly-dark tone, bad characterization of iconic DC characters, the convoluted and overbloated plot filled wtih sequel-baiting, the lack of focus on Batman fighting Superman, and the controversial decision to kill Superman as early as the second DCEU movie. The general consensus was that the movie "is more interested in setting up sequels than being a movie".
The "Ultimate Edition" cut was widely considered to be a significant improvement on the theatrical release, as it fills some of the massive plotholes and re-adds previously deleted scenes that help the story make more sense and feel less cluttered. At the same time however, audiences were outraged when they learned that the "Ultimate Edition" was supposed to be the theatrical edition in the first place.
The film opened up at #1 on its opening weekend with a domestic gross of $166,007,347. The total domestic gross was $330,360,194. In foreign countries, the film grossed $543,274,725. Overall, the film made a worldwide gross of $873,634,919 against its $250-300 million budget. Despite grossing a large amount of money, the film was a box office disappointment, as Warner Brothers had assumed that the film would make at least a billion dollars at the box office.
- Red Letter Media's Rich Evans dubbed the film "Murder Man versus Captain Hypocrite".