In DC Comics, Batman and Superman have been portrayed as both allies (fighting together for good) and enemies (with diametrically opposite views on how to fight crime).  Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice tries to combine both of these concepts, plus lay the groundwork for a Justice League franchise (while borrowing from the comic books Batman: The Dark Knight and The Death of Superman).  The end result is terribly, horribly flawed.

Following the events of Man of Steel, Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) has become convinced that Superman is too dangerous a being to be allowed to live.  Meanwhile, Clark Kent/Superman (Henry Cavill) believes Batman is a dangerous vigilante operating beyond the law.  The public seems to be on both sides of this division of views, highlighted by Senator Finch (Holly Hunter) calling for hearings about Superman.  Meanwhile, a chatty Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) has gotten access to General Zod's corpse and the downed Kryptonian ship, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is investigating a mysterious prototype weapon found in the Middle East, and a mystery woman (Gal Godot) has Bruce Wayne's eye as she looks into Lex as well.
While these storylines could have come together well, the execution is pretty awful.  The actors do what they can, but director Zack Snyder has a terrible sense of pacing and throws together poorly-done CGI, unnecessary slow motion, and scenes that are artificial and inauthentic.  (It doesn't help that Eisenberg's Lex Luthor comes across as manic-depressive rather than evil or brilliant.)  The movie is relentlessly grim, in both color scheme and tone, and at least a half hour could have been cut out of the movie and improved it greatly.  The romance feels forced, and there are numerous plot holes that a small child could have pointed out but somehow eluded the movie studio.
Marvel movies, with their flaws, managed to capture the heroism and fun of the comics.  Much as I'd like to see a good Justice League movie, Batman v Superman is a pretty scary preview of what that could be like.  This movie failed on almost every level (though Gal Gadot could make a good Wonder Woman, with better material) and I couldn't wait for it to end.

Overall grade: D
Reviewed by James Lynch

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