Why so serious? That seems to be a major complaint from critics who just saw "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" before its March 25 wide release. But, hey, at least they liked Wonder Woman!

The long-awaited showdown between Ben Affleck's Batman and Henry Cavill's Superman has not been embraced by many critics, so far. As of Wednesday morning (March 23) it has only a 40 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, only 62 reviews have been posted at this point, so there's time for a comeback.

Most of the reviews are mixed, whether labeled fresh or rotten. The length and somber tone were singled out in several critiques, as if every superhero movie now needs to be a non-stop one-liner comedy showcase like "Avengers,""Guardians of the Galaxy," and "Deadpool." You can find comparisons to Marvel movies in a few critiques, which seems a bit unfair -- we don't need DC to copy Marvel's formula, they are setting up their own game.
And even though Ben Affleck seems to be accepted as the new Batman, the strongest praise was for Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, who isn't on screen that much this time. Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor was more polarizing, earning praise and blame, depending on the critic.

Here's a selection of sometimes conflicting critiques, to give you an idea of the credits and complaints:

"Overlong, underdeveloped and almost entirely humorless, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice may please die-hard fans by pitting two DC icons against each other. Everyone else may want to wait for the next Marvel movie."
Newsday

"A near-total drag, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice plays like a loose, unofficial quarter-billion-dollar remake of The Odd Couple, in which Oscar and Felix are literally trying to kill each other."
Chicago Tribune

"Constantly threatening to collapse from self-seriousness, this epic has way too much of everything, including CGI and Oscar winners up the wazoo."
New York Post

"Gorging on bombast and self-importance, swamped by its own mythology, Batman v Superman is loud, sprawling, and distracted. The action jumps around almost as fast as a man can fly, but nowhere near as smoothly."
Screen Daily

"When the head-to-head heavy hitting finally transpires -- be patient, for it takes some time to get there -- Dawn of Justice delivers the shock and awe on a level befitting a superhero blockbuster of such massive scale."
Herald Sun

"There are moments that make the whole enterprise worthwhile, and introduces an intriguing new Batman. But it's also cluttered and narratively wonky; a few jokes wouldn't have gone amiss, either."
Empire Online

"BvS will please those either waiting for the two main players to lock horns on a movie screen, or those who've just been pining for Wonder Woman forever."
USA Today

"It's overstuffed, confusing, and seriously crippled by Eisenberg's over-the-top performance. As the megalomaniac tech mogul hell-bent on bringing our heroes to their knees, the actor is a grating cartoon of manic motormouth tics. [...] Dawn of Justice starts off as an intriguing meditation about two superheroes turning to an all-too-human emotion: hatred out of fear of the unknown. Two and a half hours later it winds up somewhere very far from that—but at the same time, all too familiar. It's another numbing smash-and-bash orgy of CGI mayhem with an ending that leaves the door open wide enough to justify the next 10 installments. Is it too late to demand a rematch? C+"
Entertainment Weekly

"In a picture that's constantly in danger of being ground down by its own gloom, the brittle lightness of Eisenberg's high-strung savant is a relief. His sentences unspool like wiry puzzles; in need of Ritalin, he speaks in riddles. The stunning and aristocratic Gal Gadot shows up, all too briefly, as Diana Prince/Wonderwoman: It's a delight to watch her laugh in the face of danger, which is exactly the opposite of the demands placed on poor Cavill and Affleck."
Time

"All the Internet resistance to Affleck being cast as Batman seems silly when you see him sharing the screen with Cavill, as Affleck is easily the superior actor. (Cavill is solid, but there's not all that much difference in his facial expressions registering anger, fear, pain or love. He winces quite a bit.) There's not a moment when we don't believe Affleck as Bruce Wayne or as Batman. Amy Adams' Lois Lane is a modern, self-sufficient, strong woman — but she still needs rescuing from Superman every other week. Jesse Eisenberg's twitchy, self-conscious mannerisms can be irritating in some performances, but he's a creepy delight here as Lex Luthor."
Chicago Sun-Times

"The silver lining in the depressing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice turns out to be that we can still look forward to 2017's Wonder Woman with something approaching a sense of hope. We're calling it better than nothing."
Digital Spy

And here's a "Super Reviewer" critique from a fan:

*sigh* I wanted to like this movie. Honestly, I did. I enjoyed Man of Steel, and I didn't hate this one - it has its moments - but I found myself disappointed and actually bored for the vast majority of it. The cast is all fine, with the exception of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. When I heard he was cast, I was very optimistic. I figured he would play it as a combination of his Mark Zuckerberg and his character from Now You See Me - somewhat of a sociopath and always the smartest guy in the room. But no, he played it very... weird, and almost cartoony.
Martin Bishop


But there is good news for DC/Warner Bros. A full 98 percent of users (more than 117,000) voted that they want to see "BvS," which bodes well for the box office. That may be all that matters with this film, since they need momentum going into "Suicide Squad," which should have the humor that some critics felt was missing in "BvS." And this does seem to tease out Wonder Woman nicely, and her solo film arrives in 2017, after "Suicide Squad."

So as long as fans watch this movie and stick around for the next segments, the DC Extended Universe should be OK. But hopefully fans who watch "BvS" this weekend see it as the movie they needed and deserved.

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Movie Poster
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
PG-132016
Based on 51 critics

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categories Movies