Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Parent Review
This long superhero movie lacks a sense of "fun" in its dark storyline, although there are good lessons about not judging others.
If you’re a comic book fan, you have undoubtedly been counting down the days for the release of Batman v. Superman. If you’re like the rest of us, you may be thinking, “Who cares?” Either way, this matchup between two of the biggest heroes in the DC Comics franchise is likely to be one of this year’s biggest action movies. I say “likely” because, frankly, it comes off a little over-indulgent and way too serious.
If you recall the release of Man of Steel over two years ago, you’ll remember that Superman (Henry Cavill) arrived on Earth and brought a war with him. While the super-humans duked it out, planet Earth became the boxing ring and we were left with a huge mess to clean up. This next chapter opens with the citizens of Metropolis questioning if the former Kryptonian is really a hero or a formidable foe that will kill them all when he so pleases.
Over in the adjacent city of Gotham, Bruce Wayne: aka Batman (Ben Affleck), is also viewing the debate. Through a series of incidents, he is pulled into believing the potential risk of Superman going rogue is a concern that needs to be dealt with. What he doesn’t know is that someone is purposefully manipulating his judgment. Superman’s old archenemy, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), plays the role of a fight promoter in a gladiator-style clash of might he is hoping will ultimately be to his benefit.
If you come to this spectacle, be prepared to be in your seat for two and a half hours. Multiple scenes of dialogue are part of the build up to the ultimate confrontation that, frankly, feels like the concluding scene of virtually every other superhero movie. There’s also a distinct lack of “fun” in this film. Maybe I’m getting used to Disney’s handling of many of the Marvel characters, but these guys need to lighten up a little and remind audiences they’re supposed to be enjoying a fantasy—not a serious plot that tries to be more relevant by injecting the “terrorist” word into the narrative.
As usual, violence will be the greatest concern for parents debating the suitability of this title for younger crowds. Creating a dark storyline—literally and figuratively—the opening moments depict two characters being shot in the head. This is followed by portrayals of wide scale destruction by alien beings and explosions, intermixed with one-on-one shoving matches between fantastical characters. Stabbings, impalings and more shootings of secondary characters are seen throughout and some blood effects are shown. As well, one of our heroes takes a moment to engage in a sexual interlude with a female in a bathtub—no explicit nudity is shown. A few mild profanities and some social drinking are included too.
There are good lessons here about judging others and investigating the source of gossip before believing everything you hear. Yet there are still reams of pretentious soliloquies in this very long battle of bats and tights—too bad the scriptwriters didn’t take a page from The Incredibles so they could have avoided the dangers of monologuing.Directed by Zack Snyder. Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg. Running time: 152 minutes. Updated July 19, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice here.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Parents Guide
This movie features cameos by real world news reporters and anchors, along with the logos of television networks. Why do movie creators use this technique? Do you feel it makes the fictional story more “real” or “legitimate”? Do you think this is an ethical practice for professional journalists?
In this film some women are depicted as victims, others as fighters. How do their roles contrast with the men? What message is included about mothers? Why is the role of motherhood such a powerful tool within a dramatic script?