What to expect (and not expect) from “Batman v. Superman”

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As many would’ve expected, “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” has exploded at the box office and topped this year’s charts with 2016’s biggest opening weekend. Bringing in $166,007,347 in just the first three days, Zack Snyder’s superhero face-off film has claimed its spot as the seventh biggest opening weekend of all time.

As not so many would’ve expected, critics have been relentlessly tearing into the movie since its release. With a borderline pitiful Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score of 29% and its remarkable contrast to the viewers’ score of 70%, fans are fighting to give their heroes the praise and ratings they deserve.

But even the true fans will have to be ready to adjust to certain dynamics of the film, particularly the new takes on Batman and Lex Luthor.

First and foremost, Batman is not the traditional, selfless defender of Gotham who refuses to kill. Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman is a much darker and more severe version of the Dark Knight. Batman pushes the plot along more by anger and ferocity than by his duty as Gotham’s protector. And Zack Snyder made sure to show audiences that Batman’s “no killing” rule is not applied in multiple brutal combat scenes. But while the caped crusader’s morals and demeanor seem to be drastically different than what fans are used to, Ben Affleck’s jarring and aggressive performance captures audiences and helps make an easy transition in expectations.

Secondly, the new Lex Luthor feels more like a new Joker than anything. Trading in the charismatic and sophisticated philanthropist villain for a borderline-schizophrenic madman was a choice that many fans don’t seem to be completely on board with. While Jesse Eisenberg’s performance was not one to be discounted, it still feels like a completely different antagonist than the one that fans have grown up with. The new take on Luthor seems to be more of a poor directing choice than a poor acting choice. It appears that Jesse Eisenberg did exactly what he was told and did it well, but the decision to make the character less of a businessman and more of a psycho was not a smart one.

As a whole, “Batman v. Superman” is an entertaining and exhilarating, superpowered gladiator match. However, the movie strays from the well-known dynamics and characteristics of many its principle roles.

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