Batman and Superman. Two of comic book’s powerhouses and the entertainment world’s finest, whose origins date back to the 1930s and whose names carry such fanfare throughout generations. From the ruffled pages of old comic books to the glistening silver screen, these two fictional heroes have made their mark in history and trail-blazed the way for other astonishing superheroes to rise.
Whilst the pair have been featured together in comic books and animations, as well as individually in numerous films, never before in their entire history have these two indomitable beings come together in a feature film.
This year, the year of superhero movie juggernauts, finally brings the caped crusader and the man of steel face to face in one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a movie directed by Zack Snyder, of Watchmen and 300 fame.
Aptly titled, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice sees the two titular heroes at opposing ends after the events of Man of Steel, Snyder’s reboot of the Superman franchise, which sees much of Metropolis (the city in which Superman operates out of) destroyed after General Zod’s attack. The world within the movie has long since been aware of human heroes, the likes of Batman, Gotham City’s Dark Knight, but now have become exposed to another type of hero, the superhuman, with God-like abilities no human could ever match or even defend against.
Right from the get go, we see Superman’s position as a hero being questioned and his magnificent powers condemned after his great attempts at saving Metropolis from Zod leaves hundreds of lives lost and Metropolis in ruin. The Superman we saw in Man of Steel was a man who was only focussed on defeating the enemy and saving the world, without a single thought of the consequences of his actions. Here in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, we see him struggling from an inner turmoil after many brand him as the cause of the city’s great suffering, largely due to his very nature as an alien from Krypton as opposed to a man from Smallville, Kansas.
Batman, on the other hand, has seen much in his years of being a masked vigilante and appears to have lost his sense of true justice. Where before Batman was a more forgiving and virtuous hero, the years and the pain he has been through have made him darker, harsher and with a new concept of being Gotham’s judge, jury and executioner. Having blood on his own hands and the death of his parents still haunting him after what can only be 30 or so years, this Batman appears to have become somewhat broken and needing of someone else to blame. With much of the world already questioning Superman as an uncontrollable force and a potential threat to mankind, Batman too lays the blame with the alien being he has determined as being unworthy of Earth and sets out on a vicious hunt to put an end to Superman. Thus starting one of the biggest wars in the history of mankind, that between two of the world’s greatest superheroes.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a movie that I personally felt lived up to the hype. With a plot filled with twists and Easter eggs that would make any comic book fan ecstatic, the movie was everything that I expected and more. Unlike Man of Steel and dare I say, Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, the Batman and Superman in this movie showed more human emotion from the struggles of being a hero, the pain of losing the people you love and the weight of carrying blame. Even their alter egos appeared to be more ‘real’ than earlier portrayals with Clark Kent being much more of a serious journalist rather than a bumbling fool and Bruce Wayne being much more ‘human’. Of course the great surprise in terms of character is that of Lex Luthor, Superman’s greatest villain, who in this film clearly depicted the blackness of his soul and every bit of the evil, psychotic genius within him.
Whilst many have questioned the depth of the characters and plot complexity, I found Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to be an exciting new beginning for the DC Universe with a great potential towards creating a larger DC film universe wherein more of DC Comics’ superheroes will have the chance to shine on the big screen.
This opinion came about the very moment Wonder Woman sprung into action and made her debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Despite earlier reservations of Wonder Woman transitioning from comic books to the big screen (having only had one successful TV series in the 70s to fall back on), the Wonder Woman of this film was every bit as fantastic and goddess like as depicted in the comic books. The Amazonian princess made the heroic battle scene her own and brought together the DC Comics legendary Trinity into what was by far the most visually stunning battle scene I have scene. Not to mention the epic soundtrack that played as she fought the monstrosity that is Doomsday, the deadly and highly destructive creature threatening the world in this movie.
Action and heroism are not the only things to be taken away from this movie. Other than the visual delight that the movie offers, deeper meanings and philosophical questions can also be taken away from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. For example, what gives Batman or mankind for that matter the right to determine what God is and what he/she can and can’t do. What gives us the right to prosecute some while turning a blind eye to others? Why does Superman, an alien who has no reason to protect Earth, have to answer to human laws when Batman, a human being who abides by his own law, is allowed to carry on? An interesting food for thought.
With so many varying aspects to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it is impossible to write out all that there is to love and enjoy about this movie. Whilst this movie does come with its own flaws, for fans of the DC Comics universe, it is nothing short of a brilliant heavy hitter worthy of the big screen treatment and does justice to the much loved, legendary characters of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Never before had the world seen Batman and Superman on screen together. Now, we may never want to stop. If you have yet to see the movie, do so now.
P.S. As a quick aside, I do have to mention how witty this version of Alfred Pennyworth is and how much I loved the relationship between Lois Lane and Clark Kent/Superman. For the first time in years, the pair have become a true team once again with true love and support being an important part of their relationship, something which hasn’t been depicted on the big screen in a long time.