Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent
Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne
Amy Adams as Lois Lane
Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
Holly Hunter as Senator June Finch
Gal Godot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
Lawrence Fishburne as Perry White
Diana Lane as Martha Kent
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was one of the most criticized movies of 2016. It shouldn’t have been but at the end of the day, this movie is only worth a rental. That said, I think it’s only the combination of these pop culture icons jacking up expectations that has people hating the film. Because there’s nothing that elevates BvS to megafilm status.
Three years after Superman emerged in Man of Steel, people have formed different opinions about him. Some see him as a hero. Others see him as a villain in the making. Senator June Finch wants Superman to speak in public so he can explain himself. But Batman has concluded that the alien is a threat to us and plans his end. Meanwhile, eccentric and opportunistic CEO/mad scientist Lex Luthor has discovered Superman’s greatest weakness: kryptonite. Luthor figures that his best plan is to help “God” and “man” kill each other so both will be out of the way.
I have to say, this is a very good plot. Fear of the corruptibility of power makes for an interesting story. The viewer can see the controversy surrounding Superman and choose whether to side with him or Batman.
Performances are quite strong. I knew Henry Cavill would make a great Superman again. Same with Amy Adams as the tough reporter that is Lois Lane. I was as worried as anyone that Ben Affleck would be a terrible Batman, but the opposite happened. He displays both intimidation and intelligence in the role (unlike Christian Bale who only showed the former in the role). Jesse Eisenberg appears to be playing homage to Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor in his mannerisms and it serves him well, particularly with his analogies to “man” and “God.”
So what keeps this from being a great movie? The ending. First of all, they (spoiler alert) reenact Superman’s death a decade too late for it to have the desired impact. Yes, once upon a time, he died in the comic books and the world was shocked. But that was too long ago. At this point, it’s just a death scene that we know will be less than permanent.
A more nitpicky issue is the cameos. A lot of people liked seeing Wonder Woman in this movie, but let’s be realistic: this is commercial for her own movie, and frankly, it shows in Gal Godot’s performance. Aquaman makes an even more superfluous appearance as well.
All said, BvS isn’t the awful movie some have called it. It’s not particularly good, either. It’s worth renting from Netflix and that’s all.
Overall: 6 out of 10