5 Reasons Batman V Superman Is Better Than You’ve Heard

For the most part, critics have not been kind to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but a case could be made that they’re unfairly holding this film to the Marvel standard of excellence. Rather than embrace the charming, inconsequential tone of that studio’s many blockbusters, director Zack Snyder has built a brooding superhero epic full of high stakes violence and stylized science fiction. The results aren’t always thrilling, but don’t let the critics burst your bubble just yet. Here are five reasons Batman v Superman is better than you’ve heard.

1. Two superheroes are better than one


The Avengers movies have already had tremendous success with an ensemble approach to superheroes, but Batman v Superman’s multi-hero approach is a bit more precise. Bouncing back and forth between two iconic characters, Snyder is always able to find an interesting new place to take us. Structurally, this bears some resemblance to another epic crime saga (that already played an important role in inspiring Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight): Michael Mann’s Heat.

2. Star power


Just in case superpowers aren’t enough, Batman v Superman also comes equipped with an abundance of star power. In addition to the returning Man of Steel cast members (Amy Adams, Henry Cavill, Kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane, Michael Shannon… sort of), Snyder has enlisted the help of three new Oscar winners (Ben Affleck, Holly Hunter, Jeremy Irons) and 2011 nominee Jesse Eisenberg.

3. Eisenberg’s annoying (in a good way)


Jesse Eisenberg has emerged as a critics’ punching bag for his unique take on Lex Luthor, but it should be noted that this character is not simply annoying, he’s intentionally annoying. Remember how badly you wanted to punch Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network? You’ll feel exactly the same way about Eisenberg’s Lex, making his newfound power even more maddening—and effective.

4. Batfleck goes down easy


Ben Affleck has made many problematic acting choices over the years, but his latest superhero effort features one of his most subdued, no nonsense performances. His Bruce Wayne lacks the charm and enigmatic drive of Christian Bale’s take on the character, but he gets the job done—with little or no embarrassment.

5. Zack Snyder’s in rare form


2009’s Watchmen proved that Zack Snyder is at his best when indulging his most eccentric impulses, but they’ve been curiously subdued in his subsequent films, particularly Man of Steel. Liberated from restraint by the success of that film, Snyder fills Batman v Superman with wild genre flourishes that are far more interesting than the bland, standard issue effects found in most of today’s superhero movies.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens in theatres tonight. If you need something to tide you over just a little bit longer, watch the trailer below.