Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Movie Poster Image
Promising but overlong superhero mash-up is dark, violent.
  • PG-13
  • 2016
  • 151 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 59 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 145 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

As in most movies about more than one superhero, the film has messages about the importance of using teamwork to defeat a common threat -- and of knowing there are those who love and depend on you to make wise choices.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite their flaws, doubts, and animosity toward each other, Bruce/Batman and Clark/Superman both ultimately act courageously to help save their cities from more destruction. They're different kinds of heroes, but both must deal with the burden of their abilities/powers and their responsibility to those around them. Diana Prince must decide whether to become Wonder Woman again or let the men fight without her help.

Violence

A high body count, both from explosions and collateral damage from the superheroes' fights. Assassins shoot and kill many people. An intense car chase leads to lots of deaths. Buildings collapse, an entire room full of people is blown up, and characters/crowds are injured or die. Characters are abducted at gunpoint. Batman and Superman fight and hurt each other.

Sex

Clark and Lois, who live together, kiss several times. In one scene, she's taking a bath (her bare shoulders and legs are visible), and then he gets in the bath (dressed), and they start kissing passionately. Bruce is a player, as always; he wakes up next to a half-naked woman who's sleeping in his bed; her back is visible. He also flirts with Diana Prince. Both Bruce and Clark are shown shirtless.

Language

A couple of uses of "s--t," "damn."

Consumerism

Jeep, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Bruce drinks a lot of wine, and adults drink cocktails at parties.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a dark, serious superhero drama that pits the titular DC comics characters -- Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill) -- against each other, though ultimately the message is one of teamwork. As the two grow distrustful of each other, supervillain Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) sets the stage for an even deadlier battle between the forces of good and a nearly unstoppable evil. The violence can be up close and personal: Characters' loved ones are captured at gun point, an entire room explodes, and people are shot execution style. There's some romance and passionate kisses between Clark and Lois (who live together) -- one that takes place in a tub while she's taking a bath (her bare shoulders/legs are seen, as is a woman's bare back in another scene, as well as men's bare chests). Language is limited to a couple of uses of "s--t" and "damn," and adults drink wine and cocktails. Note: This review is of the PG-13 theatrical release; the R-rated extended cut may contain additional content.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byShadowofchaos41 February 24, 2017

Not for the weak!

This is a dark and gritty movie. Your kids will not like it. This isn't your campy happy, quippy Marvel movie and frankly I LOVE. I love to see this new to... Continue reading
Parent Written bynuenjins March 27, 2016

Forced and overdone with HUGE inconsistancies all around.

I'm a big fan of the recent surge of comic book heroes....but I have to be honest. Batmans portrayal here is as an out of place, irrational, emotionally vi... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 26, 2016

One of the worst films ever!

Firstly I hate this film they strayed to far from the original comic this time and the story makes no sense! There is no intense themes in the film the violence... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byShelSher221 April 4, 2020

La peor película de superhéroes

Decepcionante. La palabra que define a esta película. Es muy oscura y violenta para ser de superhéroes, por eso tuvo muy mala fama. Vuestros hijos serán capaces... Continue reading

What's the story?

BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE starts with a look back at the destructive, climactic Man of Steel battle between Superman and Agent Zod -- from the perspective of Gotham City, where Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) watches as his building collapses, making him angry at Superman. Eighteen months later, the Man of Steel (Henry Cavill), saves Lois Lane (Amy Adams) from a dangerous hostage situation, which once again causes unintended collateral damage. Meanwhile, Batman starts to brand criminals, making Clark Kent want to expose the Dark Knight as a dangerous vigilante. Entering into the fray is young biotech billionaire Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), who's obsessed with getting his hands on enough Kryptonite to render Superman defenseless. Luthor also sets the stage for the two superheroes to battle each other ... until they discover there's a bigger villain they should band together against.

Is it any good?

With charismatic performances and epic battle scenes, this unrelentingly serious start to a new DC Universe franchise is intriguing but also humorless and overdone. Affleck is an ideal Bruce Wayne; he's effortless playing the broody playboy billionaire who isn't sure Superman is so super. He and Jeremy Irons (as Alfred) have a good rapport, but there's so much going on that there's little time to focus on individual character arcs. Eisenberg plays the young Lex Luthor as megalomaniacal with a side of severe daddy issues; he's willing to do whatever it takes to bring Superman down. Since there's so much riding on seeing this film unspoiled, it's difficult to explain exactly where the story becomes overwrought, but suffice it to say that comic book fans familiar with Frank Miller's Dark Knight, League of Justice origins, and the Superman Doomsday comics will understand much more than the casual superhero film fan.

On the bright side, the heroes' big fight scene is full of the kind of action you'd expect, with Batman going the extra mile to train Crossfit-style before he faces the Last Son of Krypton. And if you've seen the posters and trailers, it's no surprise to say that Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) makes a grand appearance, wielding her golden lasso and coming to the guys' rescue to help them face a huge, seemingly invincible threat to all of humanity. Some skeptics weren't sure about the model-turned-actor's ability to capture everything that makes Wonder Woman fabulous, but the former Israeli combat instructor has what it takes. Despite Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice's flaws, it will excite audiences for the promise of future Justice League films that will hopefully be as full of and fun as their rival Marvel blockbusters. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes Batman and Superman role models. Do you think they're brave and selfless? Why have they been such popular superheroes for nearly 80 years?

  • How does the impact of the violence in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice compare to other superhero stories you've seen? Is it just as problematic when the violence affects specific characters as when it destroys buildings and/or unseen/unknown characters?

  • Describe the differences between Superman and Batman. What makes each of them uniquely qualified to help the other? How do they demonstrate teamwork? Why is that an important character trait?

  • What's the role of the movie's female characters? How do Lois Lane, Martha Kent, and Diana Prince initiate change and help the male characters? How would the movie be different without them?

Movie details

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