Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice **1/2

The most epic superhero matchup of all time lands with a fizzle and little bang.

Is it worth $10? Yes

The ultimate throw down between the Man of Steel and The Dark Knight is finally here! However, if you are looking for more substance than smack down, you may leave disappointed.

Two years after Superman/Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) and Zod (Michael Shannon) destroyed Metropolis during their fight, the city is rebuilt – but many are still scarred by the disaster. Young billionaire businessman Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) wants to acquire Kryptonite in order to take out the alien menace Superman. Batman/Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) also views The Last Son of Krypton as a threat and goes about his own methods of preparing to take him out. The government is split as to whether Supes is a good guy or mad god and they want him to answer for all of the destruction he caused. Meanwhile, greater threats lurk around the corner and all paths lead to the fight of the century.

This is every fanboys ultimate fantasy film (until we get "Justice League") and the inclination is that you really want to love it. There is so much amazingly good, and terribly bad, about this film. It leaves you utterly exhausted after seeing it. The best thing is Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), even with her limited screen time. She is the perfect sly mystery woman, as Diana Prince, and a fierce Amazonian warrior, when she finally must intervene. Affleck plays one of the best Batmans to hit the big screen. But the writers don't take advantage of his intellect or detective skills; they settle more for his brute aggression and anger. Cavill has the look of Superman down, but still lacks the heart and depth of the character that makes him beloved by so many fans. Eisenberg plays Luthor like a neurotic, coked up, whack, more than the conniving genius of the comics.

Director Zack Snyder puts his dark, brooding, action packed stamp all over this film. Regrettably, it leaves little room for much emotional depth (just tons of anger and slow motion drama) and gets lost in a compilation of dream sequences, sequel set up, and loose plot points. The fights are intense and, for the most part, well-choreographed; but they genuinely make you uncomfortable watching our supposed heroes being so damn brutal.

There are some other important plot points that I must go over, but I will put up a SPOILER warning. I recommend skipping to the last paragraph and coming back to read this after you see the movie. Also, this will exemplify the geeky comic book nerd that I am...

Doomsday wasn't as bad as the trailers showed. The weird experiment caused by Kryptonian technology, mixed with the body of Zod and blood of Luthor, is a formidable foe. He still doesn't have quite the right look to his comic counterpart. I just can't embrace this Superman. The strength and look is right, but it seems like such an empty shell under the surface. He feels so distant from Christopher Reeve's and the comic book's portrayal of the character. The film consistently bashes you in the face with the fact that all the fights are taking place in uninhabited areas. This is in response to the outrage of Zod and Superman's casualty causing romp through the city. Not to be left out is the overly rage filled torture and death that Batman dishes out. Beating bad guys within an inch of their life, branding them, and shooting the hell out of anything in his path, with mounted machine guns on the Batmobile and Batwing, is not Batman (although it's still badass). He is not supposed to be a killer and does not believe in guns. That is the essence of the fucking character! To write him any other way is criminal. Superman's death was always a possibility, with Doomsday involved. But once again, it lacks the gravity since you know he's coming back and it never feels like he's greatest hero the world has ever known. The super brief cameos of Cyborg (Ray Fisher), Flash (Ezra Miller), and Aquaman (Jason Momoa) do give excitement for their addition to the DC film universe. I love Miller as an actor, but he doesn't really look like the Flash and also has a very strange dream/time traveling sequence, warning Batman of something to do with Lois and Superman. There are a ton of Easter Eggs, including a mother box, Parademons (can we say Darkseid), and nods to the Joker and Robin. I'm sure there are tons more, that will take multiple viewings to discover.

"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" is the beginning of a foray into the widening universe of DC films. What could have been the biggest film of the year, and even smash the box office of the upcoming "Captain America: Civil War," is missing one of the biggest elements that Marvel has gotten right: Characters you care about and honoring the source material they come from. If you are looking for something that embodies "Truth, justice, and the American way," perhaps you should move faster than a speeding bullet to another movie. If you're looking for a more modern version, that's grim, gritty, and ultra-violent, then dawn your cowl, throw on a cape, and embrace the knight at your local theater.

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