Let's start with the setting. This takes place as an overlapping sequel to Man of Steel (Review). It was nice to see the parallel sequence of events that happened at the end of Man of Steel in the beginning of this film, except this time, from a different perspective. More importantly, we were given a much more humanized perspective. That led to another strength of this film being the focus of morality.
For the entire duration of the movie, the concept of what is good or bad, and who's responsibility to determine right or wrong was played out very well. It kept a lot of the characters as being morally ambiguous for the most part.
Another highlight was the fact that director Zach Snyder didn't shy away from playing into the dark tones of the film. The impact of death and destruction was nicely emphasized throughout the movie; especially how it ties into the heavy moral burdens the various characters face. (As you can see from the trailers).
If Christian Bale was the Batman we all "needed, but not deserve", then Ben Affleck's Batman is the Batman we all wanted AND deserve. Ben Affleck IS BATMAN! He was made for this role just like Ryan Reynolds was made for Deadpool (Review). His rendition of Bruce Wayne was spot on as an aged, brooding, and fully focused Batman. They did a nice job of blending in the Frank Miller graphic novel version of Batman with the Arkham City video game version of Batman as well. You've never seen a Batman like this on screen before. It's probably easy to say that this is the darkest version of Batman we've ever seen, and it would be hard to find someone who isn't pleased with his performance.
Jeremy Irons portrayed probably the best version of "Alfred" to date. Both Irons and Affleck shared great on-screen chemistry. (And that is no disrespect to Bale or Michael Cain either)
I should also mention that Gal Gadot did perfectly fine in the film as Wonder Woman. So if there were any lingering doubts, they will be gone after this. (You will see why the studio is so confident to already begin filming her solo film)
There were plenty of surprises from beginning to end. What I most appreciated was how unpredictable most of them were. There will definitely be a few moments that will shock you or have you slightly jumping from your seat. Some scenes were so dark that it almost felt like the film crossed genres and became a horror flick.
Without giving anything away, I think overall the big fight between the two heroes was handled very well. The director, I think, learned from what didn't work in the Man of Steel movie, and made this fight more grounded. It definitely lives up to the hype and probably will be one people will be talking about for years to come.
One of my own disappointments in this film was Jesse Eisenberg in the role of Lex Luthor. I thought that his character was a bit too one dimensional compared to how Lex Luthor has always been displayed in various other platforms. In every single depiction of Lex Luthor ranging from the animated cartoon shows, comics, Kevin Spacey (Superman Returns) or Gene Hackman (Superman 1,2, 4), we have always seen a Lex Luthor that had a dynamic personality. The character is typically not only brilliant, but charismatic, witty and arrogant. He is able to win people over in the general public, like a smooth politician, but behind closed doors be a complete nightmare.
I don't know if this is the writers' fault or Jesse's but, either way, his performance as a villain came off to be very generic, stereotypical and overall corny. The way he played Luthor made him seem much more suitable for playing the role of The Riddler instead. (In a perfect world, Corey Stoll or a younger Billy Zane could have been perfect for this role.)
Okay, now that's off my chest, I should say that the movie is about 2.5 hours long. Some scenes could've been left out, but you'll notice that they were there just to add more depth to the character. As for the story itself, it was good for the most part, but if you're a comic fan you may feel like they rushed the plot a little too much. (Especially given the ending)
Unfortunately, I think that the trailers probably robbed many of us from the surprise element of the good scenes in the movie. I try to avoid trailers after the first one is released, but looking back after seeing the movie, I kind of feel bad to know that people have probably seen certain characters' best scenes in the trailers. For instance, the movie itself spends a good amount of time trying to build anticipation for that doomsday monster thing. However, thanks to the trailer, we're all robbed of the experience of being properly introduced to the monster.
Well...we finally have what we've been waiting for. Batman V Superman will probably go down as a staple in comic book movies for the next decade. It made history. This movie could've been monumental had it been released in 2012 or 2013 around the time Avengers came out. Given that we've seen this superhero setup film before, it SLIGHTLY loses its potential from being 100% epic. (Though some may still disagree, which is fine.) So I think it does live up to the hype to some capacity at least.
I think that what's also important to know is that this movie is about 2/3 about Batman and Superman, and 1/3 setup for the next couple of Justice League movies. (As you can tell from the subtitle) To fully appreciate this film, I would highly suggest watching Justice League: War and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 & 2 before watching this movie. Justice League War will fill you in with many of the elements of what's to potentially come within the future movies, and explain some scenes that may not initially make sense if you're not familiar with the comics. The Dark Knight movies will give you better insight on the inspiration behind Affleck's version of Batman, and why he's so different from any other Batman you may be accustomed to.
There are a number of big surprises in this film, which means that you know some internet trolls will eventually ruin the movie with a meme or something. So, I would highly encourage those of you out there to go see it as soon as possible in theaters (IMAX is a great choice). The surprises were such a big deal that during my screening of the movie, director Zach Snyder prerecorded a clip humbling requesting not to go out and spoil it for others. For those who want a sense of where this movie falls compared to other comic book films, I would say that it was better than Age of Ultron and Man of Steel, but not better than The Dark Knight or Captain America 2: Winter Soldier. Also there is no end credit scene, so don't bother waiting. Go see it, and share this review with your friends.
The Rating: 8.5/10