What the critics are saying about Batman v Superman

The reviews are in for Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. According to the critics, things aren't looking too good for the heroes of Gotham and Metropolis. We've pulled together reviews from top American critics to help you decide whether to see this anticipated superhero epic. It doesn't matter if you're a fan of the red cape or the black cape, you're going to want to read these reviews of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As you'd expect, there are minor spoilers ahead.

The Hollywood Reporter

Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, critic Todd McCarthy describes Batman v Superman as "big but not fun," claiming the studio "had to know what it was getting with director Zack Snyder," who helmed Man of Steel three years prior. McCarthy's biggest issue with the movie lies in the performance by Jesse Eisenberg, who plays the film's main villain, Lex Luthor. "Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor, is so intensely annoying that, very early on, you wish Batman and Superman would just patch up their differences and join forces to put the squirrelly rascal out of his, and our, misery," McCarthy writes. Ouch.

Later, McCarthy rips into Eisenberg further: "Loaded with vocal ticks and gushing with smarmy ripostes and threats, the character is loathsome without an ounce of insidious charm." McCarthy also takes issue with the central premise of the film, implying that filming a movie around a fight between Batman and Superman seems like kind of a stretch. Also a stretch: adding Wonder Woman to the mix. McCarthy says the film "simply hurls her into the epic final battle without significant preparation at all." "With just her sword and shield, she doesn't seem meant to mix it up with these big guys right off the bat," he writes. So, yeah. Not great.


The Hollywood Reporter's counterpart, Variety, was less harsh on the movie, offering immediate praise to Snyder for pulling off such a "Sisyphean task." "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," critic Andrew Barker writes. Barker also showers Ben Affleck's Batman with kind words, writing that Affleck "is a winningly cranky, charismatic presence even when out of costume." Still, much like The Hollywood Reporter, Barker concludes that the film never quite lives up to its premise. "The essential clash of ideologies promised by the central conflict—vigilante justice vs. self-sacrificing restraint, night vs. day, Dionysus vs. Apollo—never develops quite as forcefully as it should," Barker writes. "The life-or-death battle between the two icons ultimately comes down to a series of misunderstandings."

Entertainment Weekly

As was the case with The Hollywood Reporter's review, Entertainment Weekly writes that Batman v Superman is "seriously crippled" by an "over-the-top" performance by Eisenberg. "As the megalomaniac tech mogul hell-bent on bringing our heroes to their knees, the actor is a grating cartoon of manic motormouth tics," critic Chris Nashawaty writes. "He might as well be wearing a buzzing neon sign around his neck that says 'Crazy Villain.'" Nashawaty concludes that audiences are given an intriguing presence; the film just never really lives up to it. "It's another numbing smash-and-bash orgy of CGI mayhem with an ending that leaves the door open wide enough to justify the next 10 installments," he added. "Is it too late to demand a rematch?"

The Wrap

If The Wrap's review is any indication, anyone hoping to find a surprising or refreshing take on the comic book movie should avoid Batman v Superman with a 10-foot pole. "Genuine surprise is the rock-bottom agenda item for this latest offering from the Time Warner-DC Comics juggernaut, since it's been designed to launch the company's own set of superhero team-up and solo adventures," writes critic Alonso Duralde, who later says that Snyder's main agenda is simply "blowing stuff up." "[The] 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," Duralde adds. Later, he takes issue with some of the film's bombastic technical elements, at one point comparing its big fight scenes to "Michael Bay levels of visual cacophony," which, yeah, is never a good thing. On the bright side: Duralde had nothing but love for Gal Gadot, whom he writes "injects some real vitality into the sludgy superhero sameness." At least we have Wonder Woman to look forward to.

Chicago Tribune

Of all the negative reviews of Batman v Superman, the biggest pan was reserved for the Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips, who flat-out refers to the movie as "Yawn of Justice." "A near-total drag, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice plays like a loose, unofficial quarter-billion-dollar remake of The Odd Couple, in which Oscar and Felix are literally trying to kill each other." Yikes. Phillips also takes issue with Henry Cavill's performance, arguing that, between Batman v Superman and The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Cavill "seems to have crossed an invisible line of smugness, from which it is difficult to return." Ultimately, though, Phillips says the film isn't any good simply because it's too darn grim. "The film is only slightly more pessimistic than Lars von Trier's Antichrist," he writes. "You'd have to go back to Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ to find this much Christian iconography wedded to this much sadism." In other words: hide your kids, hide your wives.

USA Today

Of course, not everybody hated Batman v Superman. In fact, USA Today critic Brian Truitt was pretty high on the movie in his three-star review, claiming it should sit well with the good majority of its audience. "[Batman v Superman] will please those either waiting for the two main players to lock horns on a movie screen, or those who've just been pining for Wonder Woman forever," Truitt writes. "And for the nerdier crowds, a fleeting glimpse at other superheroes hints this is the Dawn of something potentially sensational." Truitt also has high praise for the film's lead actors; he says Cavill is an even better Superman this time around, and praises Affleck for his "surprisingly emotional" take on Batman. But that doesn't mean he thinks the movie is perfect. "[Batman v Superman] does well laying groundwork for a cinematic universe that could hold an entire Justice League," Truitt adds. "But it unpacks too much material for even a 2½-hour film, leaving Dawn of Justice a superpowered jumble at times." Let's just hope the Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, the Justice League, Flash, Aquaman, Affleck's solo Batman film, and the inevitable third Man of Steel flick all make for better movies than what we've heard so far.

DC has already announced the sequel to Batman v Superman. Watch the first trailer! #batmanvsuperman

A video posted by Looper (@looperhq) on Mar 16, 2016 at 1:55pm PDT