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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a superhero film that features both Batman and Superman, the first major crossover in the Batman Film Franchise and a prelude to the Justice League movie. It is a sequel to Man of Steel and the start of a shared continuity of projects developed by DC Films.

Plot

Eighteen months after a 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 antiquities 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 a fascist Superman. He is snapped out of the dream by an unidentified being who warns him of Lois Lane's crucial role in the 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 instead fights Superman and eventually subdues him. 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. 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, killing it. In its last moments however, the creature fatally stabs 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.

Cast

Production

Four days before Man of Steel's release, it was announced that Zack Snyder, David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan would return to their respective roles—director, screenwriter, and executive producer (albeit in a lesser role than in the previous film), for a Man of Steel sequel. Goyer had previously signed a three-film deal with Warner Bros. Pictures for Man of Steel, its sequel, and a Justice League film featuring Superman.[1] The movie was officially announced at the San Diego Comic-Con on July 20, 2013. The film is set for a 2016 release and will feature Superman and Batman meeting for the first time in a cinematic format, with most of the first film's main cast set to return, while a new actor will be chosen to play Batman.[2][3] Two tentative titles for the new film, Batman vs. Superman or Superman vs. Batman, were suggested by Goyer during the Superman 75th Anniversary Panel at Comic-Con.[4] Filming will start sometime in 2014 in Toronto, Ontario instead of Vancouver.[5] On August 23, 2013, Hollywood Reporter announced that Warner Bros. Pictures cast Ben Affleck as Batman.[6] On December 4, 2013 it was announced that Gal Gadot had joined the cast as Wonder Woman.

On May 21, 2014 it was announced that the film would be called Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Reception

Batman v Superman was received negatively upon release, often for its tone and storytelling. Particular criticism has often been directed toward it taking a darker humorless tone and trying to emulate The Dark Knight. Some have also suspected the film was created solely to compete with the then-popular Marvel Cinematic Universe, which was then 12 films in and set to release a similar film (Captain America: Civil War) around the same time.

Performances have been praised, notably Ben Affleck as Batman and Jeremy Irons as Alfred. However, the film received a lot of criticism from fans for the character's willingness to kill criminals and endanger bystanders. Though this criticism had also been leveled at the character in Tim Burton films' Batman, some have pointed out that BvS's was somewhat hypocritical, as he seemed to target Superman for collateral damage in the film but was also responsible for a somewhat disregard for the lives of others. Eisenberg's portrayal of Lex Luthor has also been criticized, with many believing that he had been "miscast" in the role and was trying to emulate Heath Ledger's Joker.

Criticism was also directed at how the film seemed to take Batman's favor rather than place equal focus on both him and Superman. It's plot has also been widely criticized as convoluted and mismanaged, often how contrived many of the plot-points felt to necessetate moments, such as the fight itself and Superman's death. Some have also noted that the film seemed to be created specifically simply for the spectacle of the two title character fighting. The setup for the Justice League in the film has also been criticized, often for their "unnatural" feeling and taking focus away from both title characters to build up a "cinematic universe".

Extended Cut

The Extended Cut of the film, which added an addition 31 minutes of time, received comparatively more favorable reception, often for adding more cohesion and explaining Superman's actions better than the Theatrical Cut. However, some have noted that it still is the same film (both in tone and narrative) and was unlikely to change less-favorable opinions.

Trivia

  • Ben Affleck (Bruce Wayne/Batman) and Diane Lane (Martha Kent) both appeared in Hollywoodland, where Affleck portrayed George Reeves, the actor best known for playing Superman on television.
  • Josh Brolin was Snyder's first choice for Batman, but turned down the role before Ben Affleck was cast. The actor would later portray Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Cable in Deadpool 2.
  • Ben Affleck began working out two hours a day on a daily basis, the very next day after he was cast as Batman, to get ready for the role.
  • This is the second superhero film that Ben Affleck has played a starring role. The first was as Matt Murdock/Daredevil in the film Daredevil. Similar to Batman, Daredevil was also a martial artist and was driven to crime-fighting due to the death of a family member.

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References

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