Okay so let me first start by saying I will do my absolute best to make this review spoiler free as I don't want to be "that guy", no promises though...
So the latest (soon to be) box office smash by is now upon us, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice pits two of the most iconic characters from the DC universe against each other in a battle for the ages. The opening scenes start off with a bang, aimed at quickly implanting Bruce Wayne into the final battle for Metropolis that was seen in Man of Steel, it does an okay job at generating enough hate within Bruce to create the vendetta against Superman that carries about 3/4 of the entire film.
On the topic of Bruce Wayne I must say this, I really, really enjoyed Ben Affleck's portrayal of The Dark Knight, reflecting upon it now I liked him more than Christian Bale (haters gonna hate). Affleck slid right into that reinforced latex batsuit with ease, giving the character a sense of grittiness, edge and presence we haven't seen before, Affleck looks to be in the best shape of his life, the new musclebound Batman looks like an equal match to Cavill's Superman. You see this Batman doesn't care, he's been in the game for 20 years, seen alot of bad shit go down in Gotham, which is conveniently over the river from Metropolis and seems to take pleasure out of crushing evil guys skulls and even scorching their skin with his own bat brand.
Newcomers to the series Gal Gadot and Jesse Eisenberg both tackle their roles admirably. Gadot to me IS Wonder Woman, she managed to steal just about every scene she was in, not only with her looks but also being an uber badass warrior woman; she has brought new life into a 5,000 year old Amazonian princess. Eisenberg with his eccentric, slightly unhinged portrayal of ALEXander Luthor had me tossing up comparisons of Jack Sparrow and Jim Carrey's Riddler, at times I felt myself rolling my eyes but overall I enjoyed this younger lushous haired Luthor. Sadly I never found myself buying into him being some form of super villain, he was more so a mini boss leading up to the big bad guy.
Also a quick shout out to Jeremy Irons playing Alfred Pennyworth, nothing against Michael Caine but this re-imagining of Wayne's faithful butler as a disheveled tech wiz who enjoys a scotch was fantastic.
Getting back to the film, in a nutshell it's a revenge movie, Batman feels like Superman is exempt from rules and deserves to pay for the destruction and lives he has taken (curse those laser eyes). Over three quarters of the movie has Batman plotting to kill Superman, they finally battle only to team up to save Gotham/Metropolis/Planet Earth from Alexander Luthor.
The two sentences listed above are exactly what lets the film down, sure there are some great fight scenes, decent characters and effects but there isn't a whole lot of meat on the proverbial story line bone. Throughout the movie I found myself wondering do I really care about anything I am seeing on screen? For the most part I was just impatiently waiting for the big showdown to actually take place. One particular payoff Snyder managed to achieve during the film was revealing other members of the upcoming Justice League film, the classified reports hidden in LexCorp's archives give the audience 10 seconds of footage unveiling Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg. These very brief clips laid the platform for future films and definitely moved my excitement needle in the right direction.
When the two heroes(?) do finally confront each other it is a sight to behold, Batman in his Supermanbuster suit (please don't sue me Marvel) is more than a match for Kal-El, whooping his blue spandexed ass all across town. The two leads really do put it all on the line, putting forward a brawl that would make Muhammed Ali jealous. The fight scenes throughout Batman v Superman are great, Snyder certainly dialed up the violence levels within the movie even showing the Dark Knight kill multiple people (something that has been non existent up until now). The amount of destruction, blood and dark undertones hit new levels within the DC universe (even more than Nolan's Batman trilogy).
One thing I didn't enjoy were these awkward dream like scenes that occurred regularly for both title characters, they were aimed at fleshing out backstory, highlighting the emotion trauma they deal with for being heroes and generally trying to make both leads more human. They fell flat to me, I couldn't give a rats ass about what Steampunk Batman would do in an apocalyptic future ran by an evil Superman, instead these sequences bogged the film down and were completely unnecessary.
The ending will certainly leave you stunned and have you talking around the water fountain at work but overall Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice just couldn't reach the very ambitious heights we all hoped for.
Now don't get me wrong Batman v Superman is by no means a bad film, it's just a popcorn film, one you watch when you're seeking simple entertainment while needing to kill close to 3 hours of time.
PROS: Ben Affleck's Batman - Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman - Fight Scenes - Special Effects
CONS: Hollow Story - No Real Villain