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REVIEW: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice


So now that you’ve had you’re perfunctory spoiler warning we can really start taking this bad boy apart.

Even the most rabid comic book fan probably couldn’t have prepared themselves for the lengths Snyder goes to foreshadow the future of the DC movie universe. There’s a whole lot of fan service in this movie, with references that are probably lost on many moviegoers, but that rest of us can’t help but enjoy.

The earliest trailers had shown a trench coat wearing Batman operating in what looked liked a sub-Saharan desert. This in fact proves to be a future Gotham, one with a familiar Omega sign branded across the ruins of the city, the flames of a immense pillar of fire rising flaring in the distance.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, a swarm of locust-like soldiers descended from the skies. That’s right people, there are Parademons in this film!

For those of you familiar with DC’s ultimate big bad its clear from all this that Darkseid will be making an appearance in these films, and maybe sooner rather than later, with a recently shorn Lex Luthor promising that “he is coming”.

In this possible future Snyder has also included elements of DC’s ongoing Injustice web comic, a series based on the video-game of the same name. This series depicts a grieving Superman taking over Earth after Lois Lane is murdered by the Joker. His reign is opposed by a cadre of super-powered insurgents led by Batman, who find themselves up against an army of black armoured stormtroopers.

These same troops are shown to be fighting along Darkseid’s Parademons, with Superman himself making an appearance in this dream sequence/flash-forward, admonishing an imprisoned Batman for taking “her” from him. The point is driven home even further by a cameo from a (presumably) time-travelling Flash.

The possibility of a Superman/Darkseid team-up is clearly a terrifying prospect, as in the comics they’ve been repeatedly shown as two of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe.

Gal Gadot’s brief appearance as Wonder Woman also provides lots of fodder for predictions about her own stand-alone movie, as in this film she’s seen hunting for a photograph that depicts an unchanged Diana Prince standing alongside a rag-tag group of soldiers on a WWI battlefield.

During the climatic battle with Doomsday, Wonder Woman makes allusions to this not being the first being from another world she’s fought, which raises the question as to what her origins truly are. Will they keep it grounded in Greek mythology, or will they take the same path as the Thor franchise, and make the Amazonian an alien from some distant planet? Fingers crossed that it isn’t the latter.

And speaking of Doomsday, let’s talk a little bit about the films second most important antagonist. Thankfully the original shots of this behemoth from the trailer proved to be the larval stage of the monster’s continually evolving form. As the final battle progresses Doomsday takes on the more brutal, crystal encrusted state fans of the Death of Superman book will remember.

In fact, the final act of the movie echoes this storyline closely, with Superman making the ultimately sacrifice to kill this supposedly un-killable foe. At this point Snyder unfortunately segues into Michael Bay flag-waving territory, with Superman’s funeral played out like that of a dead President.

However Clark Kent’s private burial very clearly implies that the Man of Steel is not as deceased as we may have supposed, thanks to a shot of levitating grave dirt hovering just above his plywood coffin.

Aside from the Flash, the much-anticipated appearances of the rest of Justice League are played out via video files Lex Luthour has been compiling on the emerging meta-human population. The Flash is glimpsed a second time, now on CCTV, averting a liquor store robbery. A very photogenic Aquaman poses for a deep-sea recon submersible. And Cyborg is merely a torso in the laboratory of his father Dr. Silas Stone (played by Terminator: Judgement Day alum Joe Morton, ironically enough).

This last cameo proves to be the most telling, as it ends with the near-death Victor Stone being fused with what is unmistakably a Mother Box, once again bringing us back to elements from Kirby’s classic Fourth World series. With the forces of Dakseid’s Apokolips already in play we could also be poised to see the inclusion of their heroic counterparts, the New Gods of New Genesis.

The most logical theory for this progression of these films will be the emergence of a second wave of earth’s heroes seeking to fill the void left by the departed Superman. Yet whilst in the original comics this saw the introduction of characters like Steel and Superboy, they will most likely be sidelined in favour of our core Justice League members.

Ultimately we can expect the return of the Man of Steel just in time to take on Darkseid, but until then Snyder has solved the interesting conundrum of how not to have Superman turn up in every other DC movie currently in production. And given the way this film’s marketing was handled, we all have to pity the team that has to market a Justice League film sans-Superman.

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Karim Flint

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