I recently had the pleasure of watching the superhero film, Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.
Eighteen months after his destructive battle with General Zod in Metropolis, Superman has become a controversial figure. Billionaire Bruce Wayne, who has operated in Gotham City as the vigilante Batman for nearly two decades, sees Superman as a potential threat to humanity. After learning of Batman’s form of punishment, Clark Kent, Superman’s alter-ego, seeks to expose Batman via Daily Planet articles. Wayne learns that Russian weapon trafficker Anatoli Knyazev has been contacting LexCorp mogul Lex Luthor.
Meanwhile, Luthor tries to persuade Senator June Finch to allow him to import kryptonite retrieved from the Indian Ocean following Zod’s terraforming attempt, claiming he wants to maintain it as a “deterrent” against Kryptonians, but she denies the request. He also makes side dealings with Finch’s subordinate and demands access to Zod’s body and the Kryptonian scout ship.
Wayne attends Luthor’s party at LexCorp, where he meets an antiques dealer named Diana Prince, and retrieves encrypted data from the company’s mainframe. While decrypting the drive at the Batcave, Wayne has a dream of a post-apocalyptic world, where he leads a group of rebels against Superman. He is snapped out of the dream by an unidentified being who warns him of Lois Lane’s crucial role in the distant future, and urges him to find “the others” before vanishing. Wayne later discovers that Luthor is not only experimenting with kryptonite, but also investigating metahumans. One of them is Prince herself, who is an immortal warrior. Wayne admits to Alfred Pennyworth that he plans to steal the kryptonite to weaponize it, should it become necessary to fight Superman.
At a congressional hearing, as Finch questions Superman on the validity of his actions, a bomb planted by Luthor explodes, killing everyone present but Superman. Believing he should have detected the bomb, and frustrated by his failure to save the people, Superman goes into self-imposed exile. Batman breaks into LexCorp and steals the kryptonite, planning to use it to battle Superman by building a powered exoskeleton, and creating a kryptonite grenade launcher and a kryptonite-tipped spear. Meanwhile, Luthor enters the Kryptonian ship and learns details of its alien technology.
Luthor kidnaps Martha Kent, Clark’s adoptive mother. He reveals that he has manipulated Superman and Batman by fueling their distrust for each other. He demands Superman kill Batman in exchange for Martha’s life. Superman tries to reason with Batman, but Batman instigates a fight and ultimately subdues Superman. Before Batman can kill him with the spear, Superman urges Batman to “save Martha”, whose name is also shared with Wayne’s late mother. Lane arrives and explains the situation, convincing Batman that Superman is not a threat. Unwilling to let someone else’s mother die, Batman leaves to rescue Martha, while Superman confronts Luthor on the scout ship.
Luthor executes his backup plan, unleashing a genetically-engineered monster with DNA from both Zod’s body and his own.[N 1] However, Prince arrives unexpectedly. Revealing her metahuman nature, she joins forces with Batman and Superman to fight the creature. They are soon outmatched by its power, as it can absorb and redirect energy. Realizing that it is vulnerable to kryptonite, Superman retrieves the kryptonite spear. With Batman and Prince’s help containing it, Superman impales the monster. As it dies, the creature stabs and kills a weakened Superman with one of its bone protrusions.
Luthor is arrested, and Batman confronts him in prison, warning Luthor that he will always be watching him. Luthor gloats that Superman’s death has made the world vulnerable to powerful alien threats, and that something bigger is coming to Earth. A memorial is held for Superman in Metropolis. Clark is also declared dead, and Wayne, Lane, Martha, and Prince attend a private funeral for him in Smallville. Martha gives an envelope to Lane which contains an engagement ring from Clark. After the funeral, Wayne reveals to Prince that he plans to form a team of metahumans, starting with those from Luthor’s files, to help protect the world in Superman’s absence. After they leave, the dirt atop Clark’s coffin begins to levitate.
It was an interesting film – designed to spark the expanded DC entertainment universe and eventually lead to the Justice League films. The cinematic release clearly had a number of plot and editting issues, though I am told that these are resolved when you watch a director’s cut of the film – and things start to make a little more sense. There were certainly a number of moments that made me question a great deal about the plot, and plenty of inconsistencies that made a large portion of the film difficult to watch and wrap my head around. Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck were great in their roles, and Henry Cavill was his usual strong self. Overall it was still fairly enjoyable, maintaining DC’s cinematic dark themes, whilst also introducing (although fairly poorly) some of the future characters that we will get to see soon (I was particularly pleased with Ezra Miller’s Flash). It’s a film I’d recommend, but I’d also suggest waiting for the director’s cut.
Thanks for reading.