Fearing the actions of an almost godlike alien super being, Gotham’s guardian, The Batman decides to take action against what he perceives as a threat to Mankind. But whilst the planet’s two greatest saviours battle it out amongst themselves, an even greater threat emerges that may ultimately cause the extinction of all life as we know it.
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane, Holly Hunter. Written by: Chris Terrio and David S.Goyer. Directed by: Zack Snyder.
Take my hand dear reader, as I transport you back to a time when a wide eyed six year old child first discovered a character who would ultimately have a major impact in his life. It is the late seventies and a young boy is given an issue of Detective Comics #466 by his Mum as a gift. This was his first ever foray not just into the wonderful world of The Batman, but comic books themselves, and after devouring the issue a half dozen times in a row, he would go on to be one of the staunchest supporters of DC Comics and would conclusively tailor his life around these characters not just at home but also in the workplace.
The young boy I refer to is obviously yours truly, and it didn’t stop with the Caped Crusader, at nine I discovered the other character who would go on to be a life long obsession, the amazing Amazon, Wonder Woman. Since that time all those years ago, the one thing that I have longed to see were my favourite heroes united together on the silver screen, and finally that young lad’s dream has been fulfilled, with Zack Snyder’s astonishing adaptation of DC Comic’s original Trinity. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman finally stand united on the big screen for the first time… and it’s awe inspiring!
This will be a mostly spoiler free zone, so don’t fret if you haven’t yet managed to watch the film. There are minor details that have to be written about in the course of the review but none of them will spoil your enjoyment of the film.
Before we start with our review, let’s quickly address the response of the ‘professional’ critics, who have been generally unfavourable in their opinions. I refer you to a piece we wrote about this earlier in the week (right here).
Let’s begin with the character that most people are (let’s be honest) going to see the movie for… The Batman, and there just aren’t enough superlatives we can commit for Ben Affleck’s truly astounding performance as not just the Dark Knight, but also his alter ego Bruce Wayne. Affleck’s rendition of the World’s most popular Superhero is peerless, effortlessly eclipsing previous versions of the character with an emotional and staggering portrayal of an older, conflicted crimefighter, on the edge of losing himself to the very darkness that he has spent his adult life fighting against.
This IS The Batman, ripped straight out of the comic books themselves, brutal, calculating and unforgiving, yet also calm, collected and compassionate to those who deserve it. Affleck’s Batman is world weary after twenty years spent tangling with criminals and lowlifes, and ultimately feeling powerless as age encroaches, and a new breed of super powered hero slowly appear on the horizon. Distrustful of such immense power, Batman decides that, for the safety of human kind, he should rein in these heroes before another tragedy like the calamitous Metropolis incident two years earlier happens again. Not only does Affleck play the Batman to the Nth degree, his depiction of billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne is also fantastic, contrasting the two sides of the same coin superbly. Credit where credit is due folks, this is a career defining performance from Mr Affleck.
Henry Cavill once again steps into the red cape and boots of Superman, following on from his promising performance in the 2013 Batman v Superman prequel – Man of Steel. Haunted by the demons of his recent past, after the traumatic events just two years previous when he had to use lethal force to stop a rampaging General Zod from completely destroying the city and people that he has sworn to protect. Held up on a pedestal by many and seen as a godlike saviour, there are those though who still blame him for the catastrophic loss of life in Metropolis and feel he needs to be held accountable for his actions.
Cavill’s Superman is that of a grounded and humble saviour, cognisant of the damage wrought by his defence of Metropolis, and anguished over his inability to halt the vast loss of life brought on by his Kryptonian kin. Continuing his crusade to protect the people of his adopted planet, he eventually casts his gaze across the bay to the festering city of Gotham and it’s ruthless protector Batman, believing him to be as amoral as the criminals he hunts and vowing to put an end to his actions.
Rounding out our terrific trinity is Gal Gadot’s impressive entrance as Wonder Woman, stepping onto the big screen for the first time, this is a stand-out and crowd pleasing performance that kicks open the door for her solo performance in the 2017 dated Wonder Woman movie. Gal perfectly embodies the strength, beauty and compassion of the World’s premier female Superhero, easily holding her own alongside the two main leads. Though her role in the film is rather minor in comparison to the other characters, her performance is intensely memorable and she ultimately saves the day towards the end of the film.
Finally seeing Wonder Woman on the silver screen kicking all kinds of arse is rewarding enough, but nothing can prepare you for how well implemented she is into the story itself, at first an almost shadowy figure glimpsed at a socialite party by a beguiled yet wary Bruce Wayne, before shedding her Diana Prince alter ego to embrace her warrior’s way as she goes toe to toe with the film’s big bad, Doomsday in the breathtaking climax.
Alongside the big three is a talented and capable cast of extras that help flesh out the world, especially notable is the performance by Jeremy Irons as Bruce Wayne’s guardian and confidante Alfred Pennyworth. Irons is a consummate professional, and his portrayal of Alfred is taken almost completely from the comic book and animated versions of the character. The dry sense of humour, constant quipping and chastising of Bruce are all present, as good as the other versions of Alfred have been in previous films, Jeremy Irons nails the absolute core of the character beautifully.
This brings us to the main villain of the piece, Superman’s arch enemy Lex Luthor, played effervescently by Jesse Eisenberg. A divisive choice amongst fans, Eisenberg’s Luthor is a million miles from previous versions of the enigmatic criminal genius. This is a younger, crazier Luthor, though he still manages to retain all the characteristics that make up DC’s iconic Supervillain, a power hungry, psychopathic narcissist. No longer the centre of attention in Metropolis since Superman appeared, he uses his vast intellect and fortune to engineer the fight between Batman and Superman, so he can continue uninterrupted with his deadly scheme for ultimate knowledge and power.
Reprising their roles from Man of Steel are, Laurence Fishburne as the Daily Planet’s Perry White, Amy Adams as star reporter and Superman’s love interest Lois Lane, and Diane Lane as Martha Kent. Plus Kevin Costner makes a small cameo appearance as Jonathan Kent, Clark’s erstwhile adopted father.
The main event of the film comes at about the half way point, as our two leads finally face off on a rain sodden rooftop in Gotham City. This is an epic showdown lifted straight out of the comics, especially Frank Miller’s ground-breaking ‘Dark Knight Returns’. The build up to this fracas really hypes up viewer expectation and the ultimate confrontation is brutal, inventive and exciting, you will not be disappointed by their brawl, it more than delivers on the hype.
Of course this is just one of many action sequences in the film, others include an amazing chase sequence involving the new Batmobile and a heart pumping warehouse scene where Batman faces off against an almost impossible amount of Russian mercenaries, which may very well be my favourite movie fight sequence of all time. This scene showcases Batman’s skill and ferocity better than any previous movie, finally we have a version of the character worthy of the Batman legend.
Once again Zack Snyder delivers the goods with yet another outstanding comic book interpretation, following hot on the heels of his popular adaptations of 300 and Watchmen, Snyder is a comic fan, and it shows. He always successfully manages to encapsulate everything that is important about the chosen characters, every small nuance, every minute detail, cramming in as much lore as he can. His films are a delight to fans of the source material, but are epic and action packed enough to also appeal to the non comic fans.
Batman v Superman is the greatest comic book movie of all time, and I don’t say that lightly. A spectacular love letter to the DC Universe, I never actually thought a Superhero film would ever come along to topple the mighty Watchmen from its lofty perch, but this film has done just that. Ignore the critics, you will be kicking yourself if you allow some random internet review deny you from seeing this astounding film on the big screen. Big, brash and beautiful, Batman v Superman is a modern classic.
Precinct1313 Rating: 5 Anguished Bat Souls Out Of 5