Last night, reviews for Batman v Superman broke cover. This is the moment at which you should look away if your eyes are sensitive to even the tiniest of spoilers, or you don't want critics' opinions to influence you going into Dawn of Justice this weekend.
Below, I've rounded up highlights (or lowlights, in some cases) from five reviews of the movie. The general consensus? Sorry, but there isn't one. It seems nobody can agree on whether or not this movie is a "beautiful disaster," a feast for the eyes, or just a good, old-fashioned car crash. Let's dive in.
1. Variety (7/10)
Let's kick things off with a mostly positive review from Variety, who summarize Batman v Superman as "an exhilarating [but] scattered showdown between two comicbook titans."
While “Batman v Superman’s” Dark Knight may be more of a pure punisher than some fans would prefer, Snyder’s conception of the character at least feels fully formed. Superman remains something of a work-in-progress ... and [Lois Lane] has plenty to do but little to say.
The review also describes Lex Luthor as "the chatty brogrammer from hell," noting that his scenes are the only real moments of light in a very dark movie, but criticizing the pacing and lack of "breathers" in a 150-minute, relentlessly plot-driven action flick.
2. Screencrush (4/10)
It's fair to say Screencrush did not pull any punches in their massively critical appraisal of the movie, which cuts straight to the chase...
[Batman v Superman is] a burdensome 150-minute slog about two men fighting over who is in the right when both are very clearly in the wrong.
The review goes on to label the film "dark and disturbing in ways that should make parents with little kids think twice before buying tickets," but anyone who thought they'd be taking little Jonny and Alexandra to Dawn of Justice clearly needs a reality check. The review does reserve high praise for Wonder Woman, though:
[Wonder Woman] exudes an alluring aura of mystery and power whether she’s flirting with Bruce Wayne or beating the crap out of Doomsday. If nothing else, Batman v Superman makes you excited to see Gadot take center stage in her solo movie.
3. The Hollywood Reporter (Negative)
The Hollywood Reporter's piece didn't come with a score but erred more on the negative side than the positive, in particular singling out Jesse Eisenberg's take on Lex Luthor as the film's wildest miss:
The villain here, Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor, is so intensely annoying that, very early on, you wish Batman and Superman would just patch up their differences and join forces to put the squirrely rascal out of his, and our, misery.
The review praises Affleck's take on Batman and describes Cavill's Superman as "likable enough," but takes a negative view on Wonder Woman, who "doesn't seem meant to mix it up with these big guys."
4. Comicbook.com (7.8/10)
Comicbook published a largely positive review of Batman v Superman which has considerable praise for Ben Affleck and the film's epic visual and close resemblance to a comic book:
The first seven minutes of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice are the most stunning bits of film sequences so far in 2016. The giddy feeling they'll offer to Batman fans probably won't be topped ... [but] from then on, as far as story telling goes, it was as many fans assumed: congested.
The review mentions that the film restricts most of its proper action to the final hour, but when it does arrive, it doesn't disappoint...
When the fights start, the action of Dawn of Justice is second to none. Be it a car chase, hand to hand combat, or a trio of super heroes taking on a spiked alien, Snyder crafts some of the most amazing comic book movie action of all time.
I can't lie: that's got me borderline moist with anticipation. Here's what they had to say about Ben Affleck's interpretation of the Caped Crusader:
Affleck's Bruce Wayne is the best and most entertaining to date. His introduction as Batman is as epic as they come, with comic books and video games being plastered onto the big screen in a display of masterful, dark, and at times genuinely scary cinema ... [he] is, hands down, the best part of the film.
The review does observe that Dawn of Justice attempts to introduce perhaps too many heroes and villains for its own good, but huge praise is reserved for the score from Junkie XL and legendary composer Hans Zimmer:
The best part of film as a whole: the score. Man of Steel's Hans Zimmer teams up with Mad Max: Fury Road's Junkie XL for one of the most compelling, emphatic scores in cinematic history. It is an absolute home run.
5. The Guardian (6/10)
The UK's Guardian newspaper had big praise for the clever way in which Batman's beef with Superman is established with the revisiting of a certain sequence from Man of Steel, but notes that the way the film "races from one thunderous set piece to another ends up militating against it," with Alfred and Lois Lane feeling shoehorned in.
Although the critics are clearly divided, most singled out Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot as the stars of the show, with lots of praise for Zack Snyder's visual style and the film's epic score.
Some noted that Superman's story feels convoluted and that Lois Lane is less a character, more a plot device, while Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal of Lex Luthor seems like a huge opinion-splitter.
Batman v Superman currently has a less-than-pretty 47/100 on Metacritic and a decidedly rotten 36% on Rotten Tomatoes. Ultimately though, what the critics think is irrelevant. It's the fans who will make or break this movie.