Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is a film directed by Zack Snyder starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, and Jesse Eisenberg. It was the second entry in a planned series of films orchestrated by Zack Snyder based on DC Comics characters centering around the character of Superman. The film’s initial impact is well documented, and yet here we are four years later. I feel the urge to write about it while some still feel the urge to tell me it sucks.
BVS has continued to fascinate me over the years. My first time seeing the film I instantly knew it was smarter than me. There were many elements that were awe-inspiring. Notably, the look of the film, the outstanding action, and the incredible acting; with much of the cast turning in career-best performances. What I could not put my finger on at the time or even articulate is how the film operates on a literary and filmmaking level that is lacking in the rest of the “genre” of comic book films.
What can you say about a film we have dissected for four years? A film so “controversial” that there are discussions that have nothing to do with what it is about or the various filmmaking techniques at work. A film that proposes so many ideas, it continues to be analyzed with discoveries still being made amongst its die-hard fans. A “comic book film” that behaves more like a political thriller and, in its finale, like some epic chapter of The Book of Revelations.
For myself, BVS has forever changed the idea of what a film could be. The fact that a 250 million dollar Batman/Superman film by Zack Snyder, one of Hollywood’s true auteurs, exists is just flat out amazing. To fit modern politics, the superhero, Greek Mythology to The Wizard of Oz to The Brady Bunch, The Problem of Evil, Christianity, art history, the media, perspective, empathy, all in one film. To have it all work cohesively and have a true purpose within the story is a feat of modern storytelling.
In this time of great uncertainty and anxiety, we are all inclined to stay away from each other. Exposed to the media more than each other. This is still very true without the current crisis we face. Like in BVS there will be obstacles created to divide us. There will always be those like Lex showing you the worst in people. Those like Bruce who display how hard we can fall. And the best of us, those like Lois. When the dust settles never forget that no matter how many arbitrary and superficial differences you can find in another person; They’re just like you, confused by the chaos of the world and damaged by the past.
To me BVS is perfect. Every piece of slow-motion footage, all the obnoxiously loud musical cues, every single one of Jesse Eisenberg’s high pitched “SENATOR!” screeches all culminate into a beautiful work of art. There is no cut, performance, or epic sword strike that is out of place. For four years this film has rocked me to my core. Every character’s journey is human. Every idea put forth is poetically profound. I believe no one else was making films at this level. The detail, the discipline, the dedication to the material is unmatched. I cannot wait for the return of Zack Snyder. Whether it be Army of the Dead or The Snyder Cut. Until then, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice remains an endlessly fascinating masterpiece.