Anyone who knows me will understand that I would try to be at the first showing of Batman versus Superman: Dawn of Justice. I did try and came away very frustrated; I tried again at another theater the next day and did see it, but not in IMAX. It is worth seeing, and I may try to see it again because it works on several levels and I am sure I missed several important aspects.
The good news is that Christopher Nolan was involved in the production even if he did not direct it. His version of Batman is the best I have ever seen. Whether this is the same Batman we saw in Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is a good question; there are at least two hints that Bruce Wayne is still married to Selina “Catwoman” Kyle and that they have at least one child.
I was apprehensive when I heard that Ben Affleck had been cast as the next Batman, but I found him more than tolerable. His version of the character is even darker than Christian Bale’s, perhaps too dark. This Batman uses torture, guns, and other dubious tactics to gain information from criminals; in the comic books of the late 1930s and early ’40s, Batman did use guns but swore off them.
The film is a bit too long; since it is a prequel to an anticipated series of Justice League of America films, that may be necessary. The buildup to the big fight rarely plods, but it could have been trimmed. The fight between the two heroes is dramatic; of course, the fight is unnecessary because both heroes have been manipulated by a very sneaky villain. It eventually morphs into an even larger battle with one of Superman’s deadliest foes.
I am impressed with the new version of Wonder Woman, but the brief scene of the Flash in action does not mesh with the current television version of that character. Henry Cavill repeats his role as Superman, but he was better in Man of Steel. Jeremy Irons has replaced Michael Caine as the long-suffering Alfred; he is credible, but Caine was much better.
Spoiler alert: the ending makes this an unwise choice for small children who are not familiar with the Superman mythos. Except for that, I recommend the film.