MOVIE SYNOPSIS: Fearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of hero it really needs. Meanwhile, a new threat is created by Lex Luthor.
Reel Rating: 3 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality
Released in Theaters: March 25, 2016 (2D, 3D, IMAX 3D)
Best for Ages: 13+
Genre: Action/Adventure, Superhero
Runtime: 151 minutes
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Studio: Warner Bros.
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams
MOVIE REVIEW: "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" is not faring well with movie critics. Even so, it managed to rake in more than $400 million worldwide over the Easter weekend. People are obviously going out to see it, despite the bad reviews. It's Batman and Superman, after all.
First, the good stuff. Gosh, it's good to see Holly Hunter on the big screen again. She plays Senator Finch. I checked her IMDB page, and she's done a few things after her TNT show "Saving Grace," which ran from 2007 to 2010, and "Top of the Lake" in 2013, but probably nothing you've seen her in. She has three other movies coming up this year - "Weightless," "Strange Weather" and "Breakable You." She's one of my favorites, and I'm excited to see her again.
And Amy Adams, who plays Lois Lane, always delivers the goods, even when the movie is less than stellar. Actually, the females in this movie are the best part, from those mentioned to Gal Gadot (Diana Prince/Wonder Woman) to Diane Lane (Martha Kent).
It's the guys who turn in kind of wooden performances. Yes, that includes Ben Affleck (Bruce Wayne/Batman) and Henry Cavill (Clark Kent/Superman). Jesse Eisenberg, as Lex Luthor, is Jesse being an ultra nervous, creepy Jesse. A fast-talking, slightly off-kilter crazy person.
As for the plot, the movie begins with a look back at the destructive battle between Superman and Agent Zod, all from the perspective of Gotham City, where Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) watches as his building collapses, killing friends and coworkers inside. Naturally, that ticks him off.
Eighteen months later, Superman saves Lois Lane from a dangerous hostage situation, which once again causes unintended collateral damage. Is this guy a hero, or just someone who creates more problems? That's what the world is wondering.
Meanwhile, Batman starts to "brand" criminals with his bat symbol, which makes Clark Kent want to expose him as a dangerous vigilante. Enter young biotech billionaire Lex Luthor, who's obsessed with getting his hands on enough Kryptonite to render Superman defenseless. Meanwhile, Lex sets the stage for the two superheroes to battle each other - until they learn of a bigger villain they need to join forces against.
You know, my daughter and I watched "Inception" last night (stick with me here), and it reminded me of what a brilliant filmmaker Christopher Nolan is. It made me long for his Batman trilogy - 2005's "Batman Begins," 2008's "The Dark Knight" and 2012's "The Dark Knight Rises." Bonus points that Christian Bale played the superhero instead of the more milquetoast Ben Affleck.
I do like director Zack Snyder's special effects in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," and the fight scenes are pretty epic. Especially with Wonder Woman swooping in with her lasso to help the guys bring down a huge threat to humanity.
But the story is long and clunky, and moviegoers unfamiliar with a lot of the backstory and Frank Miller's "League of Justice" universe might not get all the references and characters (including a brief appearance by Jason Momoa as Aquaman).
Still, despite the movie's flaws, "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" lays the groundwork for future Justice League films. Hopefully, they'll be better than this one.
By the way, unlike the Marvel movies, there's no bonus scenes after the end credits on this DC Comics film, so don't bother sitting through all the credits, which are quite lengthy.
PARENT OVERVIEW: The violence in this movie is both widespread and up close and personal. Characters are shot at close range, buildings collapse, and the body count is high. Clark and Lois live together and share kisses and one bathtub scene (he's fully clothed; her bare shoulders are legs are shown). Language includes a few uses of "s--t" and "damn," and adults drink wine and cocktails.
PARENT DETAILS (May Contain Spoilers):
Violence/Gore: The body count is high. Violence includes explosions, fights, an intense car chase that leads to many deaths, and characters abducted at gunpoint. Buildings collapse and it's clear that many people have died. A main character appears to die.
Sex/Nudity: Lois and Clark live together and kiss several times. While she's taking a bath, he gets in the bathtub fully clothed and they kiss passionately. Bruce flirts with women and wakes up next to a woman sleeping in his bed (her back is visible). Bruce and Clark are shown shirtless at various times.
Profanity: A few uses of "s--t" and "damn."
Drugs/Alcohol: Adults drink socially at parties. Bruce drinks wine.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM:
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender.
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.