Reviewed by: Curtis McParland
Who is the real Savior?
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
“VOTING” FOR MOVIES—Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.”
How can we know there’s a God? Answer
What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer
If God made everything, who made God? Answer
What does God say? Answer
Is Jesus Christ God? Answer
marriage in the Bible
Is formalized marriage becoming obsolete? Answer
|Featuring:|| Ben Affleck … Bruce Wayne / Batman
Henry Cavill … Kal-El / Clark Kent / Superman
Amy Adams … Lois Lane
Jesse Eisenberg … Lex Luthor
Diane Lane … Martha Kent, Clark’s adoptive mother
Laurence Fishburne … Perry White, the editor-in-chief of The Daily Planet
Jeremy Irons … Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s chief of security and trusted confidant
Michael Shannon … Zod
Kevin Costner … Jonathan Kent
Patrick Wilson … POTUS
Holly Hunter … Senator Finch
Gal Gadot … Diana Prince / Wonder Woman, an Amazon princess and 5,000-year-old demigoddess daughter of Zeus
Carla Gugino … Ship Voice (voice)
Scoot McNairy … Wallace Keefe
Callan Mulvey … Anatoli Knyazev
|Director:||Zack Snyder—“Man of Steel” (2013), “Sucker Punch” (2011), “300” (2007)|
Too dark, brutal, scary, violent and unrelentingly bleak—joyless and empty
Batman is angry. Superman is angry. But whom are they angry at? Each other. Yes, a civil war has exploded as Batman and Superman share the silver screen in Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Following a destructive battle in the city of Metropolis, Superman, aka Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), has become a very controversial figure. He has especially caught the eye of Batman, aka Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) who blames Superman for the destruction of the city. But Clark Kent begins to have suspicions about Bruce Wayne and seeks out what plans he may have up his sleeve.
Meanwhile, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) has plans of his own. Wicked, dark plans. Beginning to side with Wayne, Luthor seeks a way to destroy Superman for good by recovering pieces of kryptonite. Killing Batman is of second importance. As Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) enter the picture, the tension continues to rise as both friends and enemies are made, and vengeance is sought out.
“Batman v Superman” is a pretty messy picture—overlong, bloated, and somewhat confusing. Sure, the action scenes are well shot and edited, but there are too many, as director Zack Snyder focuses way too much on the action and does not give enough attention to the story. After about half an hour, I started to think, “What on Earth is going on?” With only two storylines merging into one, the film began to feel like it had multiple subplots. Yet, it didn’t. Henry Cavill makes a great Superman, and Ben Affleck is a surprisingly solid Batman. Jesse Eisenberg, on the other hand, was greatly miscast as Lex Luthor. “Batman v Superman” is just CGI overkill despite some great cinematography and impressive editing. The film could have easily been cut down to two hours, and, after explosion after explosion, I realized I should have brought my sunglasses into the theater. Zack Snyder has officially become the Michael Bay (the “Transformers” series) of comic book films.
The film slopes into some dark, violent territory, profane language, and some sensuality. Many characters wear skin tight/formfitting outfits, and, on a handful of occasions, women wear low cut and backless dresses. Some shirtless men are displayed on screen, and, as expected, Wonder Woman’s outfit is a bit suggestive as it reveals much skin. A bare corpse is seen a few times, but its private areas are obscured. A couple kiss on a few occasions, Bruce Wayne gets out of bed with a woman in it (both are completely covered, and he’s unmarried), and Lois Lane is seen in the bathtub. There is no nudity, but the scene is lengthy, as Clark enters the scene and eventually jumps into the tub with her fully clothed. The scene cuts away quickly, though. Also, Clark and Lois live together, but are not married.
The language is brief, but profane, as God’s name is abused about four times (paired with d**n twice) and Christ’s name is abused thrice. The s-word is clearly heard once and another may have been quickly and quietly said. Around a half-dozen or so milder profanities and vulgarities pop up like h*ll, d**n, b**ch, and p**s. The phrase “Son of a *****” is cut short.
There is no smoking in the film, and alcohol consumption is limited to a couple of scenes.
But the violence. Oh, the violence. It is very heavy indeed, yet mostly bloodless, while there is much frenetic gunplay, including mammoth machine guns and numerous car chases and explosions. There are tons of intense fist fights with characters being thrown left and right, smashing into walls and falling off buildings. The body count is very high, and many characters get pummeled and hit with heavy weaponry. A boy’s parents are both shot right in front of him (off-screen), and the same boy is later swarmed by an army of bats.
A man’s legs are crushed by a heavy piece of metal, another is executed (off-screen), and a couple guys get branded with Batman’s symbol. Some injured characters are seen on screen and have many scrapes, bruises and some bloody wounds. An entire city nearly gets completely demolished, as well. In one scene, Batman destroys just about everything in his sight, as he drives through dark city streets. A car glides into a truck filled with gasoline. No need to say anymore there. A protester carries a sign with a noose attached to a dummy of Superman. An intense and bloody underground, glove-less boxing match takes place, characters get trapped in a building fire, and a space rocket explodes after take-off. Superman burns numbers of things with his heat vision, and characters get gassed a few times.
Almost done. I promise. An image appears to be electrocuted into a form of being in an experiment, a frightening bat image pops out in front of a character, and another character gets cut in the face. One other intentionally cuts his own hand. I must also mention that a character gets his arm broken, another hit hard with a very heavy object, and a bad guy gets stabbed with one of Batman’s bat-wings. Another character gets stabbed in the chest with a knife, and two more are impaled. One bloodless wound is revealed. A grotesque creature evolves, and apparently molts and unleashes nuclear energy. A character’s face begins to deform, some people nearly drown, and photos of a tortured woman are briefly seen, as well.
There are quite a few frightening and unsettling images that may bother some viewers. The monster at the climax of the film is very frightening, some images of corpses, although not graphic, may be unsettling, and one character is a double amputee.
“Batman v Superman” contains some spiritual elements, as well. First off, if you saw “Man of Steel,” it can be very easy for some to see Superman as a form of savior. In “Batman v Superman,” many people ask just that. Where did Superman come from? Is he a god? An alien? One man goes as far as to graffiti “False god” on a monument. Many look up to Superman as their redeemer and protector, but, at the same time, many see him as a potential threat to the world. Batman certainly thinks so. Lex Luthor lacks faith in God. He even goes as far to say that God cannot be both good and all powerful, at the same time. In other words, Lex views God as just as flawed as any human being. Luke 18:19 and Isaiah 45:7 say differently. Lex continues his psychopathic conversations by telling characters that God bends to his own personal will and that if “man can’t kill God, the devil will do it.” He claims that devils fall out of the sky and do not come from below. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
”Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the Earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.” —1 Chronicles 29:11 (ESV)
It appears that characters do believe in a Transcendent, but are unsure of who He actually is. As I mentioned, some begin to wonder if Superman is, in fact, God. My personal impression of Lex Luthor is that he views man as their own personal god. Obviously, Lex’s evil plans don’t go on as he expects them to be, and his flawed philosophy of God and a Higher Power are crushed. But the film mainly asks questions and does not provide any answers, leaving the audience empty and confused. Here lies the very problematic spiritual message in “Batman v Superman.”
“You shall have no other gods before me.” —Exodus 20:3
“Batman v Superman” has some very good positive themes, though, as characters admit to failure, friendships are made, and the blessing of parents is highly cherished. Characters commit to teamwork and begin to realize that they cannot handle certain situations all on their own. There are a couple of tender moments, as Superman looks to his mom for advice and envisions receiving wisdom from his deceased father. Overall, the value of family and friendships is greatly respected. Superman is a very selfless character and cares much about the people and community. Self-sacrifice plays a big role in this story. A man says a prayer, a woman crosses herself, and another character says “May God have mercy on us all.” “Amazing Grace” is played during a funeral service.
“No one stays good in this world,” says Superman. He is right… to a degree. There is no possible way for us to be good as fallible human beings. Only God is good. Luke 18:19 explains this perfectly. We cannot stay good, because we were, well, never good to begin with—being born into a sinful world. However, one man was good. Always good. Sinless. Blameless. His name: Jesus. Remember His words from the Gospel of John:
Superman can be seen as a Christ-figure, as he cares about the people of this world so much that he is willing to sacrifice his own life for them. However, this treads into dangerous water, since Superman can be seen as a god placed before the one true God. When people seek help, the only one who can truly help them is the Creator of the Universe.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” —Psalm 121:1-2
All this being said, I do not recommend “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” due to its heavy, continuous dosages of frenetic action violence, momentary profane language, sensuality, and problematic spiritual messages. This film is a dark journey that both Christians and young audiences should certainly stay away from. There may be some great positive themes and storytelling elements to applaud here, but one does not need to sit through a two and a half hour feature filled with almost non-stop violence taking place within a dark and dreary fictitious world.
Violence: Heavy to extreme / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy
Superman and Jesus Christ—our interview with author Stephen Skelton concerning parallels between the popular, fictional superhero and the Son of God
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…Big but not fun… lumbering steamroller… The solemn, grandiose atmosphere is severely disrupted by Luthor, portrayed by Eisenberg… intensely annoying… Loaded with vocal ticks and gushing with smarmy ripostes and threats, the character is loathsome without an ounce of insidious charm…
—Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
…the most incoherent blockbuster in years… Marvel can rest easy. Zack Snyder’s superhero spectacle is a meatheaded, humourless mess that squanders its cast and makes little sense…
—Robbie Collin, The Telegraph
…This overlong and humorless slugfest may knock you unconscious. …[1½/4]
—Rafer Guzmán, Long Island Newsday
…For a film so concerned with its characters’ inner lives, there’s a fundamental disconnect going on here—enough to make you yearn for the lighter touch of the Marvel films…
—Andrew Pulver, The Guardian (UK)
…not much fun… Batman v Superman’ lunges for greatness instead of building toward it: It’s so top heavy with false portent that it buckles under its own weight. …
—Stephanie Zacharek, Time
…about as diverting as having a porcelain sink broken over your head… overstuffed and preposterous… The theology is invoked not to elicit meditations on mercy, justice or sacrifice, but to buttress a spectacle of power. …
—A.O. Scott, The New York Times
…a burdensome 150-minute slog about two men fighting over who is in the right when both are very clearly in the wrong…
—Matt Singer, Screencrush
Yawn of justice… Snyder is not without skills, or ideas, but when a critic finds himself at odds with almost every aspect of a director’s visual approach to material like this, material like this becomes pretty joyless. …
—Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
…the life-or-death battle between the two icons ultimately comes down to a series of misunderstandings. …That this very long, very brooding, often exhilarating and sometimes scattered epic succeeds as often it does therefore has to be seen as an achievement…
—Andrew Barker, Variety
…Constantly threatening to collapse from self-seriousness, this epic has way too much of everything, including CGI and Oscar winners up the wazoo.…
—Jake Coyle, Associated Press
…That face-off between two comics legends becomes but one in a series of big things bashing into other big things, which is what Snyder and writers Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer mistake for storytelling. …
—Lou Lumenick, New York Post
…overstuffed and undercooked… the experience is rather empty… “Batman v Superman” is an exhausting showdown… a smash to the senses, the same way being tossed around in a rollover car accident would jolt one’s system. …
—Adam Graham, The Detroit News