Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice begins during the final moments of Man of Steel, General Zod (Michael Shannon) and Superman (Cavill) wrecking havoc all across Metropolis. There's a lot of collateral damage, to say the least. Amongst the destruction, we focus in on billionaire Bruce Wayne (Affleck), who just so happens to own a building that's been destroyed, killing a close friend of his. Cut forward two years. Superman is a figure of controversy, much like his last movie, and is being put up for trial, being held responsible for a series of murders. Batman has just about had enough of Superman's actions, and after an unexpected disaster for which Superman is once again blamed for, Batman takes actions into his own hands, facing up against Superman in a one on one battle.
Right off the bat, I will just say that the performances in this film are unreal. Henry Cavill once again proves himself to be the ultimate Superman, easily worthy of justifiable comparisons to Christopher Reeve. The thing is, he's not the stand out actor here. Don't get me wrong, the guy gave a great performance, but it's Ben Affleck who really steals the show as Batman/Bruce Wayne, nailing both personas and providing us with the best parts of the movie. His Bruce is flawed and old, whereas his Batman is brutal and unforgiving, branding his victims with a bat signal. He means business, and he gets shit done. He is, and I'll apologise to all Christian Bale fans now, the perfect Batman. He's not in a perfect movie, but he's perfectly cast. When I look at him, I see Batman. Not once since watching the movie have I even thought about Daredevil until mentioning it just now.
It moves at a slow pace, but it doesn't drag. It's light on action for the first hour or so, but it deals with the politics of superheroes and the aftermath of their giant battles, and it works. The dialogue by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer is powerful and piercing, the delivery of all the lines really hitting hard, and when the action goes down, boy does it go down. Batman is relentless, and as the film progresses, his anger continues to grow, so when we finally get to see the two confront each other, which occurs later than you'd expect and finishes sooner than you want, it's insanely cool. Batman shouldn't be a character that can beat Superman, but he proves himself to be a worthy opponent, even if I wanted the fight to be a little bit longer.
All of the action is fun, and somewhat less destructive than it was in Man of Steel, but it's what it leads up to that is most exciting. Obviously, I won't delve into spoilers in this review, but I will say that you're in for an emotionally driven finale that's powerful and went places I didn't think it would go. It's a solid ending that leaves things open for future films, but it's not without flaw. Like many epics before it, most famously The Lord of the Rings, Batman V Superman falls into the trap of ending a few too many times. There were about four different moments that could've worked as the very final shot of the film, but didn't. It just kept going and going and going to the point of exhaustion. It overstayed its welcome.
There are scenes that are irrelevant, and then there are scenes that are just forced into the movie for the sake of forcing it in. Whether it's a Justice League tease or an "important" subplot, there are plenty of moments that just don't work, especially the appearance of Aquaman, which has been hyped up ever since Zack Snyder posted a picture of Jason Momoa in costume on twitter. We were promised Aquaman, but what we got was 5 seconds of pointlessness, and that's not the only moment like that, either. Again, I obviously won't spoil a thing, but the whole sequence involving Aquaman was so unbelievably lazy. I was irritated, that's for sure.
To sum up, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is far from a perfect movie. It tries to put in more stuff than it needs and it ends way too many times, but the action is intense, the performances are unreal and the finale is emotional and powerful.