"Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice" has huge boots to fill from the outset. For one, there are the myriad expectations of two fan bases which do not always get along - team bat versus team alien. Because of the deep differences between the self made machine aided hero, versus the deus ex machina kryptonite susceptible super human, many who find Batman compelling find Superman lacking and vice versa - simply because of the way both necessarily get the job done and why. Secondly, there are the tried and true purists who insist upon adhering to the strict guidelines of the ink saturated original DC comics before even accepting anything that would easily introduce these characters to newer fans who are of a purely digital and more immediate internet age. Third, there serious questions of tone given the state of the world today. As a studio, do you give the people a Metropolis that is purely of fantasy as a release from this strange new real world of political discord, demagoguery and terrorist attacks, or do you embrace the cinematic opportunity for allegory as a general warning that seemingly that the world desperately needs when it comes to the global necessity for tolerance, objectivity and a willingness to listen when it comes to those that are different from us? And then, but of course the action has to be mind blowing - period.
Well, never fear. Warner Bros. Pictures actually gets it right on all fronts with "Batman v Superman". Let it be noted that the film is not perfect. The exposition that has to be there from a logistical standpoint for complete newbies to the whole Batman vs. Superman legend - i.e., how Batman came to be, as well as Superman's relationship to Lois Lane, Metropolis and The Daily Planet is done well, but it takes up quite a bit of screen time as an extended 3K running start to get everyone up to speed on the same plane traveling to the same cinematic destination. However, once all of the major players as well as their very specific raison d'être are all out there, the film really takes off as a very compelling question of what exactly constitutes being "good" in a modern world where the devilry of humanity and it's propensity to err often infects the details fatally if left unexamined and unchecked.
By and large, the performances in "Batman v Superman" are subtly naturalistic as an excellent juxtaposition to the larger than life horrors and violence within, which is the key to the success of the film as well as a credit to director Zack Snyder and all of it's stars - with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, and Amy Adams leading the charge. Gal Godot is a great and unexpectedly beguiling Wonder Woman. Holly Hunter gives a very grounded but heartbreakingly transparent portrayal of Senator Finch as a practical lesson on how a politician's path towards doing the greater "good" is often fraught with evils that most of us wouldn't wish on our very worst enemy. Lastly, the flashiest performance that works in the most odious fashion for all of the right reasons is Jesse Eisenberg's slow but determined unraveling as he comes of age as the damaged but gifted criminal mastermind Lex Luthor. He is something that is easy to hate in times that better serve us all if we can find it in ourselves to do "good" by resisting that urge in how we learn to contain it as well as what it represents.
"Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice" opens nationwide in theaters on Friday, March 25, 2016. See the trailer here: