Throwback Thursday: Movies to Watch Before “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”

Charles Liu

Two superheroes will collide on March 25 when the ruthless Batman (Ben Affleck) faces off against the mighty Superman (Henry Cavill) in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” In order to help you prepare for this epic showdown, The Daily Texan suggests you watch these movies made by the filmmakers of “Batman v Superman.”

“300” (2006)

The film that put “Batman v Superman” director Zack Snyder on the map was “300.” Brutal and frenetic, the film is an adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel about 300 Spartans who defended their homeland from the invading Persians. 

“300” doesn’t aim for historical accuracy — it’s an extremely stylized and gory affair, loaded with slow motion action and chiseled abs on its ludicrously muscled characters. Snyder’s
philosophy behind the film seems to be one of excess, and thanks to his collaboration with cinematographer Larry Fong, his eye for stunning visuals certainly shines through.

Fong, who’s also the cinematographer for “Batman v Superman,” and Snyder will definitely provide eye candy for the superhero showdown, but it remains to be seen if Snyder has improved his grasp on character and story.


“Argo” (2012)

A collaboration between actor and director Affleck and “Batman v Superman” writer Chris Terrio, “Argo” shows off the former’s acting chops and the latter’s knack for words. 

“Argo” is a dramatic retelling of the Iranian hostage crisis that took place from 1979 to 1981. The hero is CIA agent Tony Mendez (Affleck), who devises an exfiltration plan for six American embassy workers caught in the revolution. Affleck molds Mendez into a likable hero, an underdog who risks capture and death. Terrio’s dialogue is crisp and witty, and his research about the 1970s and the real story shine through for most of the script; the climax does lack accuracy but most certainly not excitement. “Argo” will give you a good idea of what both filmmakers will bring to “Batman
v Superman.”


“Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Parts I and II” (Part I – 2012, Part II – 2013)

An animated, direct-to-video adaptation of Frank Miller’s seminal work, the two-part “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” is the story of 55-year-old Bruce Wayne (Peter Weller) coming out of retirement to battle a gang of mutant criminals and donning the Batman costume for what may be his final time.

Batman once again encounters the Joker (Michael Emerson) and Two-Face (Wade Williams), and he takes a new Robin, Carrie Kelly (Ariel Winter), under his wing. 

Snyder drew inspiration from Miller’s work to create his Batman, even modeling the armored suit Affleck’s Batman wears after the one in “The Dark Knight Returns.” 


“Man of Steel” (2013)

Zack Snyder did away with the whimsy and levity in the classic Richard Donner Superman films, firmly placing the Last Son of Krypton in reality. In “Man of Steel,” Clark Kent (Cavill) grapples with his alien heritage and the question of whether to reveal himself to humanity, fearing they will reject him. When another Kryptonian, General Zod, arrives at Earth and begins transforming it into Krypton, Clark must become Superman and save the world.

“Man of Steel” boasts some iconic imagery, heart-pounding action and impressive visual effects, with Henry Cavill as a worthy, relatable Superman. Unfortunately, it also suffers from awkward pacing and relies too much on cinematic shorthand in its first half, unable to find comfortable footing until the alien invasion begins. 

The direct predecessor to “Batman v Superman,” “Man of Steel” is a necessary watch because it allows one to get a feel for Cavill’s rookie Superman and witness the events leading to Bruce Wayne’s animosity toward him.