Review Roundup: "Batman v Superman" is a Jumbled, Gritty Yet Visually Pleasing Spectacle

UPDATE March 24 at 11:45 PT: Reviews continue to roll out for "Batman v Superman," and they remain overall unfavorable. As of this update, Rotten Tomatoes has it listed with a 33% freshness rating based on critics' reviews. 78% of audience reaction are favorable, down from the mid-90s two days ago.

With only four days left until the big premiere, reviews for Warner Bros.' "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" have started flooding in, and -- at the time of publication -- the film has scored 41% on RottenTomatoes' Tomatometer.

Entertainment Weekly's Chris Nashawaty gave the film a C+, writing, "I get that this mano a supermano story line is a sacred text among comic-book aficionados, but 'Dawn of Justice' doesn't do the tale any favors. It's overstuffed, confusing and seriously crippled by [Jesse] Eisenberg's over-the-top performance... 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."

Likewise, Todd McCarthy at The Hollywood Reporter called the movie "imposing, but it's not fun."

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"Genuine surprise is the rock-bottom agenda item for this latest offering from the TimeWarner-DC Comics juggernaut," wrote TheWrap's Alonso Duralde. "That face-off between two comics legends becomes but one in a series of big things bashing into other big things, which is what [Zack] Snyder and writers Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer mistake for storytelling."

On the other hand, Brian Truitt at USA Today gave the film 3 out of 4 stars. "'Batman v Superman' does well laying groundwork for a cinematic universe that could hold an entire Justice League. But it unpacks too much material for even a 2½-hour film, leaving 'Dawn of Justice' a superpowered jumble at times," he explained.

However, "for those wondering why these two have to fight, there is a very good storyline reason for the two frenemies coming to blows, and in the director's action-packed movie resume, that faceoff and their inevitable alliance with Wonder Woman against Lex's vicious monster Doomsday vault to the top of Snyder's best-told fight sequences."

Variety's Andrew Barker had a more positive takeaway. "That this very long, very brooding, often exhilarating and sometimes scattered epic succeeds as often it does therefore has to be seen as an achievement," he said. "As a pure visual spectacle, however, 'Batman v Superman' ably blows the hinges off the multiplex doors."

CBR's own Kristy Puchko called the film "a trainwreck."

"I'd forgive poor plot if the movie is fun enough. But this is not. 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,' is too gritty to be fun and too grim to be thrilling," she wrote. "Overambitious and overlong, 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' aims to tell a collection of stories instead of focusing on one. In doing so, it underserves its classic characters, undercuts its battle scenes, and disrespects the audience who has been waiting decades to see this epic showdown on the big screen."

Directed by Zack Snyder and starring Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Laurence Fishburne, Amy Adams and others, "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" hits screens on March 25.

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