Book Review: Batman V Superman - Dawn of Justice: The Art of the Film by Peter Aperlo

A highly detailed look at the art of this superhero blockbuster.
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Batman V Superman — Dawn Of Justice is a landmark event in the DC Extended Universe. It marks the first time the company’s big three — Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman — have shared the screen together in a major motion picture. With decades of visually stunning comic pages to pull material from, the film needed to be equally impressive, and it largely succeeds in this aspect. Batman V Superman — Dawn Of Justice: The Art Of The Film takes a look at what goes into making such a film, from concept to finished product, detailing these legendary characters’ worlds.

Written by Peter Aperlo, with a foreword from DC Comics writer Geoff Johns and an afterword from director Zack Snyder, the book is divided into four sections. The first of these is “The World of Superman.” Here we get in-depth analysis about where the Superman character stands after the events of Man of Steel. Kryptonian script has been sewn into the design of his costume and the book offers close-up images of the suit. We also see concept art for some of his heroic scenes from the movie. The chapter details all of the supporting characters in his world, including his alter ego, Clark Kent. Here, the book does a good job at describing the difference between his “human” form and his heroic persona and what each one means to the other. This section gives a closer look at Superman’s mother on earth, Martha Kent, Daily Planet editor Perry White, arch nemesis Lex Luthor, as well as relatively minor characters such as Defense Secretary Stanwick and Anatoli Knyazev.

The chapter doesn’t just describe the people, however. We get great views of Heroes Park, including blueprints for the Superman statue, the inner workings of the Daily Planet, and Lexcorp. Here and throughout, the book is filled with lavish photographs, concept art, quotes from the actors, and an outstanding attention to detail.

Equal attention is paid to the Caped Crusader in the next section, “The World of Batman.” Here, we get concept art for the Batsuit and details for the Black Zero Event, a defining moment in the film and the primary reason Batman is mad at Superman to begin with. Not surprisingly, the Batman section is more gadget-driven rather than people-driven. While there is a section on Alfred, the majority of the chapter is devoted to Batman’s vehicles, Wayne Manor, Gotham City, and the Batcave. The book shows the gruesome concept art used for some of Bruce Wayne’s nightmare sequences in the film as well as highly detailed blueprints and concept art for Batman’s many gadgets. While some of these items, such as the deceased Robin’s suit, are only on the screen for a short time, fans can take a closer, longer look here.

The “Batman V Superman” chapter focuses on the duo’s epic fight scene. Great attention to detail is paid to the many weapons Batman uses, including lead and Kryptonite grenades and fans get a closer look at the Dark Knight’s armored mech suit. The section is filled with many stunning close-up images from the fight, as well as concept art from the scene.

The “Wonder Woman” section of the book is comparatively smaller than the rest, but this may be by design as the movie was meant to merely introduce the character. There will be a Wonder Woman movie and she will presumably be in the forthcoming Justice League film as well. We do get some close-up images of the costume and learn of Gal Godot’s intense training regimen to get herself superhero-ready though.

Batman V Superman — Dawn Of Justice was a historic event for DC Comics fans. Great care and attention to detail went into both the costume and set designs for this film. For fans wanting a closer look, Batman V Superman — Dawn Of Justice: The Art Of The Film offers an excellent, in-depth look at this blockbuster. Aperlo has outdone himself here.

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