After the battle between Superman and General Zod in Metropolis, Bruce Wayne blames the ‘Man of Steel’ for all the death and destruction that happened that day. Making discoveries about Superman’s secrets, the sinister Lex Luthor devises a plan to harness the power of Krypton itself. Superman needs help but with Batman hell-bent on making him pay for his crimes, his lack of allies could be his undoing.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – Director: Zack Snyder

Is Batman v Superman Dawn Of Justice appropriate for kids

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Rating: 12

Running Length: 150 mins

Starring: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams

Genre: Action, Science Fiction, Comic Book

REVIEW

The hotly anticipated ‘Batman v Superman’ is finally here and comic book and action fans alike flock to sold-out theatres for the first major blockbuster of the year. Zack Snyder is once again at the helm of the ‘Man of Steel’ sequel so the tone of the rebooted DC universe continues in the same vein. Clearly trying to emulate the same dark, cold and serious atmosphere of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Batman’ series, Snyder’s angle on the oft-approached hero (and anti-hero) presents similar saturated colours, but unfortunately remains aloof and lacking in the warmth of emotion that a movie like this so desperately needs.

What ruins ‘Batman v Superman’ (and yes, such a promising aspect has been mishandled enough to use the word ‘ruined’) is its bloated length without the strength of plot to justify it. Pushing 3 horus long but with a relatively simple story, there was ample time available to fully explore Clarke and Lois’ flourishing relationship; Clarke’s relationship with his mother (who is barely in the movie until she suddenly becomes Superman’s main motivation); the question of who Diane Price is (played by Gil Gadot) – without assuming the entire audience knows everything about Wonder Woman – and why Bruce Wayne harbours such hatred over Superman’s actions when he himself is a man who has dedicated his life to the fight against evil (and has caused similar destruction).

While the fundamental concepts of the ‘Batman v Superman’ plot are actually quite good, the movie itself is so bogged down in its own self-importance without the necessary substance behind it (do we really need to see Batman’s origin story again?). With DC desperately trying to get started on a ‘Justice League’ franchise of movies, ‘Batman v Superman’ makes for a shaky start.

IS ‘BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

Two people are murdered during a robbery. Although the man’s shooting isn’t particularly graphic, the woman’s is much worse. There is a scuffle between the gunman and both victims, the gun accidentally becomes snagged against the woman’s necklace, resulting in it pointing directly at her face at point-blank range. A number of seconds pass before the attacker shoots her with the gun still held like this.  While the man’s death seems like an unfortunate necessity due to him fighting for the gun, the woman’s is more cold-blooded and unnecessary (the gunman had enough time to reconsider and stop, not needing to murder someone who was physically weaker them himself). The wound is not seen on the woman (a flashback to this moment later in the movie shows some blood on her head) and only a small amount of blood is seen on the man but the visuals are graphic enough to be quite disturbing for a lot of kids.

A woman sits in the bath, naked. The reflections of the water ensure that her nudity is not gratuitous. Her boyfriend walks in and they talk, towards the end of this scene, the man steps into the bath, fully clothed and crouches down to kiss her. Nothing more is seen but it is implied that they are about to be physically intimate.

A number of young women are held captive by sex traffickers, they are terrified of a ‘demon’ and refuse help when the police arrive for fear of it. The police hear loud bangs and screams coming from different rooms within the building and cautiously go to investigate. They come across a man who has been tied to a radiator and branded, the burn mark is shown in close-up but it is not too gruesome.

A man is captured and chained with his hands above his head with several other people. He is scared but holds his composure, another man walks into the room and kills all the other captives by slicing them in half. The direction of this scene ensures that these deaths are not gory and little blood is seen.

A man stands in a mausoleum and sees blood pouring from a gravestone, as he looks at it, a huge, frightening black monster suddenly lunges out and grabs him. This scene is brief but very intense.

A woman walks alone at night and is followed by a vehicle, she tries to escape but is kidnapped by several men. Shortly after, another character is shown photos of her tied up, gagged and in deep distress, she is threatened with ‘death by fire’.

The top half of a man’s body is held up vertically, only the chest, head and part of their arms are there; there is no blood. Parts of the body suddenly start to grow back and the man screams in pain.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

‘Batman v Superman’ had the potential for being great but sadly its pretentiousness, coldness, and lack of depth takes away from what could have been a genuinely good movie, with the strength required to move DC and Batman into a whole new self-contained universe able to rival that of Marvel. Some of the themes are adult in tone but the content should be appropriate for most kids aged ten and over. The spectacle is impressive and will be exciting for most kids but the length, stern tone and sheer amount of tedious dialogue is unlikely to keep anyone with a low attention span engaged.

  • Violence:  3/5 (a man is captured by terrorists, forced to his knees and shot in the head, no wound is seen. A man cuts his own hand and it bleeds profusely onto the face of another character. A man is deliberately pinned against a wall by being stabbed in the shoulder. There are a number of fight scenes where unknown henchmen are shot, stabbed and beaten, the beatings can be quite brutal but there is little gore and suffering is not lingered upon)
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5 (an established character is killed and their loved ones mourn their loss)
  • Fear Factor: 3/5 (a man threatens to shoot a woman and says to her would-be rescuer ‘you will see the inside of her head’. Terrorists hold a woman at gunpoint, she is composed but afraid. This scene lasts several minutes and becomes increasingly intense)
  • Sexual Content: 2/5 (women are often seen in revealing clothing which particularly shows off cleavage and legs)             
  • Bad Language: 3/5 (infrequent mild to moderate cursing and blasphemy)
  • Dialogue: 0/5  
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of vigilantism, self-sacrifice, greed, working with any enemy for the greater good, hero-worship, exploiting an enemy’s weakness and accepting one’s own faults.

Words by Mike Record

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