10 Things Parents Should Know About ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has finally arrived, meaning we won’t have to endure any more awful trailers. But should you take the kids?

1. What’s it about?

It’s about Batman versing Superman, obviously. Well, not really. It’s actually about lots and lots and lots of setup to get to a brief fight between the two of them.

2. Do I need to see Man of Steel first?

I’d have a hard time recommending that anyone see Man of Steel for any reason ever, but do you need to have seen it in order to make sense of Dawn of Justice? Well, there are some parts that will probably make sense if you have. The opening sequence of the movie is a retelling of the final battle from the other movie, but this time told through the eyes of Bruce Wayne. (And, might I say, it’s a much more interesting retelling of that battle? If the first movie had ended with the opening scene of this movie, rather than the never-ending sequence of action figures punching each other through walls that it had, it might have been an almost-decent movie.) But there are so many other plot points in Dawn of Justice that make little or no sense that you probably won’t even notice what doesn’t make sense because you didn’t see the first movie and what doesn’t make sense just because this movie isn’t very good.

3. Will I like it? Will the kids?

As to whether or not adults will like it, I’d refer you to Shiri’s longer review. I will say that I pretty much agree with her: while it certainly never rises to the level of “good”, it certainly isn’t as horrible as I expected. I’ve definitely seen worse; in fact, I’ve seen worse already this year (How To Be Single, anyone?). It’s also a whole lot better than Man of Steel.

But what about the kids? Well, I won’t be inflicting it on my kids, but that’s a personal choice. The movie is very long and very, very dark. It’s also inexplicably slow in a whole lot of places. There was a mom and her daughter sitting next to me. I’m guessing the daughter was about eight. She crawled into mom’s lap at about the one hour mark, and when I looked over towards the end she seemed thoroughly bored.

4. How long is it, exactly? 

The movie clocks in at 2 hours, 31 minutes. So yeah, it’s long.

5. Is there anything after the credits?

Thankfully, no.

6. When’s a good time to sneak out for a restroom break?

I’m pretty sure I’m the only person in my row who didn’t have to get up at some point. The movie contains so many dream sequences, and so much backstory (including yet another depiction of the murder of Bruce’s parents, because apparently it’s actually illegal to make a Batman movie and not include that), none of which advances the plot in any way, that you can pretty much pick any random scene to miss and not worry too much. You can definitely go anytime they start to rely on news clips to tell the story, or during the science/training montage.

7. What’s it rated? Why?

The MPAA gave the movie a PG-13 rating for “intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality”. Well, yeah, obviously there are lots of sequences of violence. Anyone who saw any part of any of the trailers will know that.

The sensuality was addressed by Shiri: for no good reason other than that Zack Snyder is a pretty gross misogynist, there is a scene where Amy Adams’ Lois Lane is nude in a bathtub while she talks to Clark Kent. Nothing at all is shown, though, so it’s mostly offensive by how unnecessary it is.

There is one utterance of the “s” word towards the end of the movie.

8. Is it worth seeing in 3D or IMAX?

I saw the 2D version, because there was no way I wasn’t going to let MoviePass cover the cost of my ticket. But I can’t imagine how any part of the movie would have been even slightly improved by 3D or a bigger screen. Save your money and see the 2D version at the matinée.

9. Does the movie pass the Bechdel-Wallace test?

Oh god, no. It seems like there were enough women in the movie–besides Adams, the movie also has Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Holly Hunter as an anti-Superman Senator, along with the return of Diane Lane as Martha Clark–that they could have maybe had a moment or two where they connect as humans, but if you think there was ever a real chance of that happening you’ve clearly not paid attention to Zack Snyder’s career. By my count, there are only a few sequences at all where more than one woman is in a scene with another woman, and only one–yes, one–where a woman talks to another woman. But only one of the women in that scene (it’s very close to the end, so I don’t want to be more specific so as to not reveal spoilers) says anything at all, and since the one line by her is about one of the men, this movie is so far from passing the Bechdel-Wallace test that it can’t even see the test from where it’s standing.

10. Is there any hope for the future of the DC film universe?

Hope? Sure. There’s always hope, right?

I would argue that Affleck’s Batman is the best part of the movie. I’ll freely admit that I don’t hate Affleck, not do I really understand the hate directed towards him, but I do think he does a fine job in this role. I mean, there’s a whole lipstick-on-a-pig element to be considered here, but given the extraordinarily weak material he was given to work with, he does fine. I would certainly pay to see a stand-alone Batman movie with Affleck. (And hopefully that movie might finally explain what happened to Bruce’s parents).

I thought Gal Gadot showed promise as Wonder Woman, although she’s in so little of this movie that it’s hard to be certain. We also get cameos of Jason Momoa’s Aquaman and Ezra Miller’s Flash.

What gives me a lot less hope is that everything I’ve heard so far indicates that the studio is going to stick with Zack Snyder. If that happens, then there’s basically no chance at all that we’re going to see anything decent in the near future.

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