Andrew’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is my third rewatch of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and my second viewing of the extended edition. I had a blast watching this and it flew by for me despite the nearly three hour runtime. While the movie has some flaws with the script, I enjoyed this take on some of the most iconic superheroes.
The movie starts with Lois Lane (Amy Adams) in Africa where she has plans to interview the leader of a rogue military group. Things go south as some of the men escorting her turn on the soldiers killing them while local civilians are caught in the crossfire. Superman (Henry Cavill) shows up to save Lois but is quickly blamed for all of the deaths in the small town. Clark Kent/Superman, who is now a journalist at the Daily Planet, has been hearing news that the Batman has been branding criminals, which is essentially a death sentence for them. Clark starts following the stories of the vigilante's actions in Gotham since he believes Batman should be held accountable. Batman/Bruce Wayne wants to bring Superman to justice after what happened in his fight against Zod. Hundreds had died and Bruce believes that Superman's powers are too dangerous because he could use them to wipe out large swaths of the human population. At the same time, he's investigating a group of Russian smugglers who have found Kryptonite, the one weakness of the Kryptonian. Lois Lane has been chasing down leads of a bullet she had recovered from the earlier attack. She learns that the bullet is unlike any type of ammunition that is known to the public. All three of these lines of investigation lead to one road, Lex Luthor (Jessie Eisenberg).
I wanted to start with the biggest negative point first. The Judeo-Christian allegories are very unsubtle and in your face. I understand the parallels that director Zack Snyder and screenwriters Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer were going for but the movie was hammering it into your head at every opportunity. I think it would have been better if it was subtly woven into the story and dialogue for the audience to pick up.
Personally, I don't mind the darker tone the film strikes. Clark struggles in his role as a hero since most people hate him and don't want him around. Despite doing everything he can, things just keep going wrong and it takes a toll on him. Then there's Bruce Wayne who is old and jaded, he's battered down by all the criminals he's fought for twenty years, like he tells Alfred (Jeremy Irons), criminals will continue to come out of the woodworks. These two characters are struggling with their inner demons and it brings out the worst in Bruce and saps the hope from Clark.
I like the core issue that the movie presents with Superman and Batman. That they both hold great power over others lives and the danger that causes. The thing is Clark thinks Batman is a dangerous vigilante who acts as judge, jury and executioner. Then Bruce thinks Superman is dangerous due to his unlimited power and that he doesn't care about the innocent caught up in the crossfire.
On a quick side note, I think there's a lot of humor in the movie. There's no one liners or quips every other sentence but the tone of humor fits the movie. The funniest characters for me are the head of the Daily Planet, Perry White (Laurence Fishburne), and Alfred.
Henry Cavill does a good job as portraying Clark Kent's/Superman's growing doubt and insecurity. Like I mentioned in my review for Man of Steel, I enjoy his take on Clark/Superman and that he's not trying to imitate the actors who came before him, such as Christopher Reeves. I quite like Ben Affleck's take on Bruce Wayne's/the Caped Crusader. Personally, I prefer his performance over Christian Bale, which I wasn't a fan of in the first place. I could see Bruce's millionaire, playboy personality and lifestyle but at the same Affleck brings an underlying tension to everything Wayne does. Gal Gadot, who plays Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, has a small role here and, for me, this is my favorite performance of the Amazonian warrior (I've only seen her first solo movie and the original Justice League). There's this mysterious air about her and she brings grace and elegance to Diana. Amy Adams was a big standout for me. She already did a great job as the reporter, Lois Lane, in the first movie but she knocked it out of the park. Some of the best moments is when she doesn't even have lines, her facial expressions and body language says so much.
I wanted to touch on Jessie Eisenberg's take on the criminal mastermind, Lex Luthor. He is an eccentric individual with an odd behavior who often spouts off random facts and get's distracted easily. I didn't remember this from my previous viewings, but Lex mentions to Superman that his father was abusive. The way I see it is, in Lex's mind, his father is essentially "God." He holds all power and authority which he exerts over Lex when he was a kid. His father was also very rich as the owner of LexCorp, similarly to Bruce Wayne. Then there's the religious painting in his father's study, tying these two themes together. Superman represented the power his father had as an older and stronger person who could abuse his son. As a rich individual, he likely wasn't held accountable for any actions which allowed him to treat Lex the way he did. I believe that Lex could be suffering from PTSD since he was deemed unfit to testify at his own trial. I think that Lex wanted Superman and Batman to fight because they both represent what he hated about his dad, unilateral power.
End of Spoilers!
Once again the cinematography is beyond gorgeous, there are so many good shots. Some examples are the family on the roof crying out for help and Batman's fight in the nightmare future, which I believe was done all in one take. Like the previous movie, the volume fluctuations is a big problem. While it wasn't as bad, I still had to adjust the volume frequently.
I enjoyed my time watching Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. While it's not always handled in the best fashion, I like the themes presented, such as the dangers that superheroes can cause and how it affects the person behind the mask (or glasses). If you're a fan of Zack Snyder's films this is a must watch. If you're not a fan of his work, this won't change your mind. If you haven't seen any of his work but want to watch a DC movie, I'd start with Man of Steel first. I highly, highly recommend this!!