Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ★★★★★

Leaves. Dead and dry. They fall over the heads of the funeral party. A child is confused and angry at the random act of violence that ripped his family from him. He runs away from these feelings he doesn't want. Into the darkness. The darkness embraces him, and he embraces it. The beautiful lie, that any light could ever live in such darkness. 

Metropolis. The boy, now a man, charges into chaos, determined not to lose his family again, but it's too late. You let your family die. 
Bruce Wayne turns his decades of bottled-up emotion into rage and an unquenchable thirst for revenge. Wayne sees Superman as the one responsible for everything: not only Metropolis, but also for the horror that he still can't reconcile: the senselessness of his parents' death. Mixing grief and rage, the Batman will wage war with Superman. 

Dawn of Justice is a magnificent achievement, and a testament to the prowess and ambition of the man behind the camera: Zack Snyder. 
This many-layered canvas is filled with scenes of wonder and feelings of fear. 
Batman v Superman is one of the most interesting takes on a good versus evil story. 

Batman is a lost, angry, scarred, and sadistic crime fighter, one who has completely lost his conscience and soul to twenty years of living in the darkness of Gotham's underworld. He's lost his moral compass amidst a horror show of violence against his loved ones. He's a cynic who cares not for the lives of criminals.

Superman is just as lost. He's discouraged by split public reaction but driven by his purpose. Superman is viewed as either a deity or an alien by the people, and he's conflicted by his own feelings of guilt over the damage to Metropolis. 

Lex Luthor Jr, a victim of child abuse, also projects his pent-up hatred and forsakenness onto the only God he can comprehend existing: Superman. 

These three are the focal point of the film. All are moved by an emotional trauma from their past. This is a story of broken people with more power than what's good for them.  

The plot of Batman v Superman will easily confuse the viewers who enjoy being spoon-fed every little detail. It plays out like an old legend, like the type of story told around a campfire. 
Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer's screenplay is packed full of betrayal, manipulation, fear, anger, repressed emotion, and heroism. 

Ben Affleck's embodiment of Bruce Wayne and Batman is perfect, and the best in cinema history. Affleck turns his own personal turmoil into pure emotion, displaying shocking rage and frightening physical presence. 

Henry Cavill's performance is much softer. Clark doesn't really know what to do with all the pain he goes through in the film, and it eats him. The guilt he experiences is immense, and Cavill gets it across superbly. His Superman is also vulnerable but remarkably intimidating. 

Snyder delivers flawless image after flawless image, with our heroes and anti-heroes moving through the moody and stark Larry Fong cinematography.

The film's narrative is structured in a very unique way, maintaining that of a comic book. It's like a collection of seemingly disconnected vignettes that converge at the climax of the film.

Lex Luthor successfully manipulates Superman and Batman, forcing them into physical conflict. 
He's taken Martha Kent and has threatened her life, and requests Batman's corpse as an exchange. He wants the world to see such a powerful and God-like figure capable of a seemingly pointless murder. 
Superman requests the help of Batman, but soon realizes there's no reasoning with a man this angry. Superman chooses to kill Batman. 
When things don't go Superman's way, and there's a spear above his head and a boot on his throat, he pleads for Batman to save Martha. This is the defining moment of the film, when Bruce Wayne discovers that he is poised to tear a family apart just as his was. 
Batman finds himself in this very moment, realizing what he's become. Twenty years in Gotham, how many good guys are left?

Batman and Superman, aided by Wonder Woman (beautifully portrayed by Gal Gadot and wonderfully crucial to the plot of the film) become the force for good to combat Luthor's evil and the deformity he's created. 

Batman v Superman is a good versus evil story. It's both internal and external, as Batman must overcome his own evils as well as the three conquering Luthor. 
Snyder insists that no matter what we become, good always triumphs. 
To top it off, Superman sacrifices his own life to save the human race, inspiring a boundless hope. 
The funerals proceed and the grief abounds as cities mourn the loss of a hero, of a symbol. Lois and Martha mourn their loved one. 
At the end of it all, the new funeral proceeds through a field of gold, and dead leaves fall in the cemetery. Bruce Wayne, now a man, laments his actions. 

But there is hope, as he finds new faith in the good of men, of himself. He now has Kal-El's standard of heroism for himself to seek. Bruce Wayne was lost as a child, lost in darkness as sadness. At the first funeral, he saw nothing bright in the dark. At this new one, he sees all of it. 
The bagpiper's rendition of "Amazing Grace" is just as much for Bruce as it is for Clark. 

Zack Snyder's film is about damaged souls searching for what they once were. It's about the unconquerable power of good and the cowardice of evil. It's about the way we handle our traumas and our demons. 
It's about gods among men, the fear that that inspires, and the negative ramifications of such a fear. 

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is an absolutely essential and completely groundbreaking comic-book film, taking on an entirely new approach to such a story and these characters. 
It's a masterpiece that will endure for decades. 
Dawn of Justice doesn't show audiences what they are, it shows us what we can be. This film inspires hope. Just as Man of Steel was, this film is a beautiful and tragic exploration of true heroism.

Andrew | A.J. liked these reviews