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Batman vs Superman

Premiered March 25, 2016

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice Directed by Zack Snyder

Zack Snyder’s Justice League [Blu-ray] – Amazon

Review: Batman V Superman

An intelligent film with good action sequences, visual metaphors a plenty, and flashes of very good writing.

But, there are too many scenes of stasis with people standing around (or sitting) just moving their lips with flat dialogue as if director Snyder wanted to cool everything down and create an even bigger contrast once the action cranks back up. Whatever the strategy was, the effect is that there's a lot of space to travel in between the motion parts of the film, and somehow the scenes where the camera is just looking at someone sitting and looking off screen, thinking thoughts we can only guess at, makes B V S seem like it has got an art-film cootie bite it just can't resist scratching.

Batman V Superman gets its bona fides on the table right off the bat, so to speak, with Bruce Wayne's parents getting gunned down on screen simultaneous to their funeral being shown to us accompanied by visual queues of the surviving Bruce falling underground into a supernatural dream sequence with the orphaned Kid Wayne being lifted up by a whirlwind of bats circling him (kind of like a horde of angels).

This visual is then acknowledged as a dream by adult Bruce, and he voices his angst over things he wished were true turning out to be false ("a beautiful lie"), setting up the first part of Snyder's underlying conflict, which is belief/disbelief and the arrival of Superman with his little-G godlikenessness, and Batman being convinced this is a very bad sign of things to come.* This is particularly evident because of the 9/11-ish sequence in which Kryptonian space craft smash up a chunk of downtown Metropolis, and in a fine visualization that sums up Batman for us in a way that is superbly succinct, Bruce Wayne dashes forward into the ash cloud of dust that spreads as buildings collapse and every other person in sight is fleeing for their life in the other direction.

The film is fine but for a few things: the draggy sections (already described as anti-motion cinema, above) and also there's just too much cast. Gal Gadot makes a great addition to create a (phony) triangle between Bats-Superman-Wonder Woman that just never really gets acted upon, but it is good seeing her there and she adds stuff that makes the film better. She is not in the title, and for that matter, neither are the other future-Justice League members the film takes time to examine, but by then the film by then has simply taken on too much baggage to carry. Cavill makes a visually pleasing Superman, but the script only lets him go so far into creating a character and it just isn't enough, he gets crowded by our villain and out side stories, and in the end, ironically, we don't get enough Batman Superman.


* But it's also based upon a simple misunderstanding, that little engine that fuels a thousand movie plots. The misunderstanding of Bruce Wayne biased from the get-go against Superman as a probable bad-guy (which, frankly, is the kind of Batman written into the latter decades Justice League Comics, Batman as Worried Daddy, versus the classic Batman who would not be biased from the outset until there was evidence. But, if Batman had reacted to Superman with ambivalence or even seeing the good guy tendencies, a huge portion of this film would have been unnecessary. So, in effect, we have that the "greatest detective in the world" getting it wrong for almost the whole runtime, which for a classic Batman fan is rather grating.

Superman in Kennett, Missouri

Superman in Kennett Missouri

Amazon Rush Comic Book

Disney v. Warner: How Captain America Beat Batman and Superman

May 27, 2016: New York Times examines what happened between the Batman V Superman V Captain America blowup this spring, and comes up with a lot of the usual ('one film must be better than the other'), but does provide interesting background information on how the films are made and how different the behind-the-scenes efforts were:

"...“Batman v Superman” would seem to have the edge where it really matters to the studios, which is at the box office. It opened first (on March 25). It had the two most valuable intellectual properties in the comic book universe, appearing together in starring roles. And it had enough A-list Hollywood talent to fill a multiplex.

Yet the results are in, and it’s not even close. The theatrical run of “Batman v Superman” is all but over, with a worldwide box office gross of $871 million. “Captain America” has surged past $1 billion in just three weeks.

Warner insists its film will earn a profit. But given that the studio gets only about half the box-office gross, any profit margin will be slim after deducting the film’s enormous production and marketing costs. And that has to be a disappointment considering what the studio must have expected.

...Wonder Woman seems awkwardly gerrymandered into the plot. Batman delivers a ponderous final speech that could (and probably will) run as a trailer for the forthcoming “Justice League: Part One.”

Marvel, too, teases future films (“Spider-Man” and “Black Panther” in “Civil War”) but seems more adept at it. "

In the wake of Batman V Superman

May 18, 2016: Article at Hollywood Reporter on the result of Batman V Superman not plowing up as a high a stack of boxoffice as was intended: 'Batman v. Superman' Fallout: Warner Bros. Shakes Up Executive Roles

Although the article at HR doesn't make it explicit, it looks like Zach Snyder's powers to shape what hits the screen is being seriously curtailed (the article mentions the 'door WAS open for Snyder to completely shape the filmland DCU' ...seeming to imply that arrangement is over).

"Current executive vp Jon Berg and Geoff Johns, DC's chief content officer who successfully launched the comics label's foray into television, will co-run the newly created DC Films, according to multiple sources.

...Comics writer-turned-exec Johns, meanwhile, was key in working with showrunner Greg Berlanti on the ascension of superhero shows such as Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl...

.... the studio is working to smooth out the third act of Suicide Squad, its big August movie from director David Ayer that could change the perception of its DC line. The pic’s trailers have generated massive positive interest in the all-star actioner that features DC villains, and the studio wants to make sure audiences’ expectations are not only met but exceeded.

Suicide Squad recently went under major additional photography (multiple sources say it was not to add humor) to clear up the issues...

And more Batman-Affleck at Hollywood Reporter-Ben Affleck's Stand-Alone Batman Movie Is a Go

"The stand-alone Batman movie has yet to be officially dated, although there's rampant speculation that it will take one of the two slots Warner Bros. recently reserved for two untitled DC films: Oct. 5, 2018, and Nov. 1, 2019. The other could go to Suicide Squad 2."

Spider-Man V Batman V Superman

Spiderman has more lines than Superman

Source: Tumblr

Batman V Superman now at $851m worldwide

April 25, 2016: Though the intake of funds has slowed, Batman V Superman keeps chugging along after 31 days in release with a total to-date accumulation of American-market money $319,521,603, foreign market $532,100,000, with a total worldwide take, thus far, of $851,621,603 boxoffice.

Main Cast for Batman V Superman

Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio
Cinematographer: Larry Fong
Composer: Hans Zimmer

Main Players:

Henry Cavill
Ben Affleck
Gal Gadot
Jesse Eisenberg
Jeremy Irons
Amy Adams
Laurence Fishburne
Diane Lane
Holly Hunter
Kevin Costner* (Cameo)

Producers (this is rather long list)

Wesley Coller (executive producer)
David S. Goyer (executive producer)
Geoff Johns (executive producer)
Curt Kanemoto (co-producer)
Benjamin Melniker (executive producer)
Bruce Moriarty (associate producer)
Christopher Nolan (executive producer)
Charles Roven (producer)
Jim Rowe (co-producer)
Deborah Snyder (producer)
Emma Thomas (executive producer)
Michael Uslan (executive producer)
Gregor Wilson (co-producer)

Batman V Superman at $827.3 million

April 19, 2016: Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill's big launch of the cinematic DCU into direct confrontation with Marvel/Disney has added another $27 or so million after 27 days in release to make a $827,311,730 grand total. This makes it #8 on the all-time Superhero list, worldwide ranking.

Batman V Superman now at $783,485,542 worldwide

April 10, 2016: Domestic numbers are at $296,685,542 and foreign box office has piled up to $486,800,000 for Batman V Superman [Source: Boxofficemojo].

This means that, in terms of worldwide earnings, Batman V Superman is now #9 in all-time earnings for superhero movies (measured by worldwide box office, not just North American market numbers). This puts Zack Snyder's mega-opus just behind the 2004 Spider-Man 2 and just out ahead of the 2014 Guardians of the Universe. Not far behind is Deadpool, now at #12 in worldwide earnings.

None of these numbers are adjusted for inflation, which would throw the rankings around quite a bit if measured in actual dollar-values in ratio to ticket prices. Altered in that fashion, the 1989 Tim Burton Batman and the Chris Reeve's Superman of 1978 might still be the all-time winners. For example, the 1978 Superman, adjusted for inflation, comes in at nearly $1.1 billion in adjusted value. And that's without correlating that sum to ticket prices of 1978, which on average were approximately $2.30 per seat.

Batman V Superman $683,957,793 worldwide

April 5, 2016: Box Office Mojo on the big dip in earnings for Warner's big superhero film of the summer:

"The steep second weekend drop suffered by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will receive the bulk of attention this week and rightfully so as it is the fifth largest second weekend drop for a film that opened over $100 million. That said, the superhero feature maintained the #1 position and has now crossed $680 million worldwide..."

Opening Week: Here comes Batman V Superman and it's "an Epic Mess"

March 25, 2016: A passle of reviews are out on Warner's huge anti-Avengers effort at box office glory. Superhero movies have been able to skate on pretty smooth ice because of Whedon's Avengers movie and Nolan's Batman films, but after years of waiting and a monster-sized marketing campaign, this movie is in the unfortunate position of being the perfect target for movie critic backlash. Here's a round up of some of their words:

"... this very long, very brooding, often exhilarating and sometimes scattered epic succeeds as often it does therefore has to be seen as an achievement..... amidst all the grueling work of saving the world and shouldering a franchise toward the heights, it would be nice to see these heroes, and this series, take a few more breathers to enjoy the view..."

Review at Variety

"Zack Snyder makes superhero movies, but his characters don’t act very heroic. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice features all the other trappings of the superhero genre: Capes, gadgets, outlandish muscles, punching stuff. But the two stars aren’t noble, selfless, or chivalrous; they’re violent, aggressive, and angry — mostly at each other instead of the bad guys. In Snyder’s formulation, protecting the world from evil isn’t a gift or a calling; it’s a burden. And that feeling is reflected in the movie itsel..."

Review at Sreencrush

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Original Page July 2014 | Updated June 24, 2021