Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is set 18 months after the events in Man of Steel. In that movie, there was a titanic battle between Superman/Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) and General Zod (Michael Shannon), which almost destroyed the city of Metropolis. People including Gotham’s Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) think that Superman is responsible for all the death and destruction. They also think Superman is a vigilante who is a threat to the entire world. Superman has a similar opinion of Batman and is determined to publicly expose him.
The rivalry between Batman and Superman is fuelled by criminal mastermind Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), who wants to get rid of both men. Luthor convinces US Senator June Finch (Holly Hunter) to import Kryptonite recently found at the bottom of the Indian Ocean so he can use it as a weapon against Superman. Senator Finch also gives Lex access to General Zod’s body and his crashed Kryptonian spaceship, which Lex intends to use for evil purposes.
While Batman and Superman are trying to destroy each other, both are also determined to defeat Lex. Simultaneously, the mysterious Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is investigating Lex. When Lex unleashes a monstrous genetically engineered creature with superpowers, Batman and Superman must put aside their differences and work together if they are to have any chance of saving Metropolis.
Aliens; superheroes; genetic engineering
There is a lot of intense violence in Batman v Superman. For example:
- In flashback scenes a young boy sees his parents shot. The scenes include images of the father and mother lying on the ground dying, as well as sounds of the young boy screaming.
- An alien spaceship attacks a city and causes mass destruction. The spaceship fires missiles into buildings, which explode and collapse to the ground. People scream and run for their lives. Gigantic fireballs rain down on the city and a man stands in a skyscraper praying. The man asks God to have mercy on his soul before a laser beam causes the entire building to explode. After the city is destroyed, a man lies on the ground pinned beneath a large steel girder. In a later scene the man appears in a wheelchair with his legs amputated above the knees.
- In a scene that shows mass murder, a woman stands with a hood over her head while a man kneels on the ground. Gunmen point their machineguns at the man and the woman. The kneeling man is shot dead, but then several of the gunmen turn their guns on the others and shoot them.
- A man screams, and the scene shows a bare-chested man tied to a heater. He has bloody cuts on his face and chest and the shape of a bat is burned into his chest.
- Two men have a bare-knuckle boxing match while a crowd of men watches. The two men brutally punch each other in the face and head until one of them falls to the ground unconscious.
- A bomb blows up in a court building, completely destroying the building and all the people inside. Superman stands in the building as it explodes. He is engulfed in flames but unhurt.
- A man pushes a woman off a tall building and she plummets towards the ground before being rescued by Superman, who snatches her out of the air.
- A woman is chased and forced into a car. A later scene shows a video of the woman tied and gagged with the word ‘witch’ written on her forehead.
- One scene shows a brutal fight between Batman and Superman in which they repeatedly punch each other in the face and head. They throw each other hundreds of feet through concrete walls and buildings. Batman picks up a large sink and smashes Superman over the head, then throws him down a hole in the floor. Batman wraps a cable around Superman’s leg and swings him around, crashing him into stone pillars. As Superman lies on the ground Batman puts his boot to Superman’s throat and cuts his cheek.
- A villain stabs Batman, leaving a bloody gash in his chest armour. Batman pulls the knife from his shoulder and uses it to stab his attacker in the chest, pinning him to a wall.
- Superman and a superpowered monster have a big battle that involves giant boulders, cannon fire and missiles. Superman stabs the creature with a large green glowing spear and it falls down dead. But before the creature dies bony structures grow out of it and stab Superman through his chest. Superman lies on the ground motionless with his eyes staring blankly.
- A man slices off the tips of an alien’s fingers to remove the fingerprints. Later the same man lowers the alien’s body into a pool and uses a knife to cut his palm and drip blood over the dead alien’s face.
- There is a brief image of the head and torso of a man strapped to a frame with tubes attached. A device moves towards the man and the man screams.
Content that may disturb children
Most of Batman v Superman is likely to be very frightening for children in this age group. As well as the violence described above, there are demonic creatures, scary dream scenes and transformations. For example:
- A man visits his dead parents’ tomb. While he’s there, he hallucinates and sees blood oozing from the tombstone. The man uses his finger to wipe up some of the blood, but then the head of a demonic creature with sharp teeth breaks through the tombstone and lunges at the man. The man wakes from his hallucination.
- In an alien spaceship, tentacles feed a large cocoon suspended in a pool, which also has several strange creatures swimming in it. A giant troll-like creature with sharp teeth tears its way out of the cocoon.
- Batman has a nightmare in which he’s trapped in a terrifying, post-apocalyptic world. In this world he’s captured by Superman and attacked by hundreds of gruesome winged creatures. He also has other nightmares that involve scary monsters.
- Superman is suspended in space after a nuclear explosion. He seems to be unconscious and his face looks withered and mummified.
Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by many of the violent and disturbing scenes mentioned above.
Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by scenes in this movie.
Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Batman v Superman has some sexual references. For example, a woman goes into a men’s toilet to talk to a man. The man says, ‘With balls like yours, you belong in here’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Batman v Superman shows some use of substances. For example:
- Adults drink socially in several scenes.
- Bruce drinks a lot of wine.
Nudity and sexual activity
Batman v Superman shows some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- Women wear tight-fitting and revealing clothing.
- A naked woman lies in a bath full of water. We see her bare shoulders, upper chest, the tops of her breasts and knees. A man enters the room and climbs fully clothed into the bath. The couple kiss passionately.
Batman v Superman features some brand-name motor vehicles.
Batman v Superman has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a superhero action adventure that targets older teenagers and fans of DC comic books. It’s likely to entertain these viewers, who are also likely to be pleased with the promise of more movies to come.
You should be aware that the movie is very dark and full of intense violence, mass destruction and scary characters. These things will disturb younger viewers. At 151 minutes it’s also very long. It’s not recommended for children under 13 years, and we also recommend parental guidance for children aged 13-15 years.
These are the main messages from this movie:
- Cooperation and working together can overcome all obstacles.
- Knowledge is power.
- People can be manipulated to distrust and fight each other.
You could talk with your children about the two superheroes as role models and what the movie reveals about them.