This review contains spoilers, you have been warned.
So...Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, one of the worst movie titles around for some time. As the start of a Justice League series this had a lot of interest, especially considering it is yet another new version of Batman and the first big screen appearance of Wonder Woman.
The movies' plot is quite simple,yet at times is excessively convoluted. In essence, Lex Luthor tries to make Batman and Superman kill each other. Why is...unclear at some occasions. More on that in time.
Mention must be made of two 'origin stories' in the movie. There's a new Batman, played by Ben Affleck, and to my great surprise he is actually quite good. His story and arc is quite understandable, and is probably a highlight of the film for me. Mention must also be made of Jeremy Irons as Alfred, also a stand out performance. It's not easy to step into the shoes of Christian Bale, but Affleck presents a very strong portrayal which gives us all the information we need without yet another origin story.
The other newcomer is Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot. I felt she did a very good job, though unfortunately she just seems to appear and little explanation is given - presumably to make us interested in her movie next year.
Superman/Clark Kent is again played by Henry Cavill, and he presents the same rougher performance he gave in Man of Steel.
The villain of the piece, Lex Luthor, is played by Jesse Eisenberg. This is a strange choice and the performance given is rather manic and not entirely satisfying.
The Good:
  • As noted above, Bruce Wayne and Alfred are a good team. The abridged origin story is enough for those who haven't seen a Batman movie for a few years.
  • Wonder Woman is a character who can go wrong. However, from what I've seen I like this portrayal. She's tough without being excessive, and the actress is capable. I am interested in the next step.
  • The action is good for the most part, especially the titular Batman v Superman battle.
  • Some very interesting concepts are explored relating to how indeed the world would deal with such a person as Superman coming to Earth.
  • The opening in Metropolis showing the end of Man of Steel from Bruce's perspective is incredibly well done and even powerful.
The Bad:
  • This manic version of Lex Luthor does not work for me. His motives are largely opaque, and much of the time he is reduced to being a stereotypical ranting madman. This might work for the Joker, but in this case I found it merely annoying.
  • The end of the movie, like Man of Steel, devolves into a flashy, noisy brawl. Superpowered people hitting each other is only fun for so long. Doomsday being essentially a mindless beast means it has no personality, no reason to remain engaged.
  • Whilst it raises interesting questions it's neither capable or willing to answer them. In the end it is swept aside in favour of a big brawl.
  • Like Man of Steel, the movie is so dour and humourless. There is no joy in here, and precious few jokes. I'm not wanting a comedy, but something to relieve the endless grimness....
  • The end, whilst dramatic, has no real tension. Superman is dead...but only until the next movie he's needed for.
Overall I kept thinking of Man of Steel with this. That movie had some great concepts and some fun action, but in the end devolved into an overlong action scene. This is not a terrible movie, it's not a great movie, it's an above average movie.
I am interested in seeing Suicide Squad (the preview of which looked amazing) and Wonder Woman. Compared with the Avengers though, Marvel wins out.