Book Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Art Book and Tech Manual

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Critics haven’t been very kind to Batman v Superman, but that sure hasn’t stopped the DC superhero flick from making serious bank at the box office (or regular moviegoers from generally holding a more favorable impression, as is often the case). If you enjoyed the movie or just want to look at awesome art and product photos of the Man of Steel facing off against the Dark Knight, Titan Books has a pair of companion books you don’t want to miss.

First up is The Art of the Film, a 12“ x 9“ landscaped art book that pulls back the mask on director Zack Snyder’s vision for the DC Universe, merging a decidedly different take on Batman from the Nolan trilogy with the aesthetical tone already established by the previous Superman film, Man of Steel. Interview commentary from Snyder, other key members of the creative and production teams, as well as most of the cast–including Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons (aka ‘Jermemy,’ as a glaring typo on one page calls him), Holly Hunter, and Harry Lennix–accompany an assortment of concept art, pencil sketches, posed actor photos, movie stills, production photos from the set and behind the scenes, and Snyder’s own storyboards.

Roughly the first three-quarters of the book is split into sections featuring Superman and the characters, costumes, locales, and props that make up his world, and a similar visual guide to Batman’s side of the story, including a look into the Knightmare Batman scenes. The final sliver focuses on the epic clash between the two superhero icons, with a fleeting few pages at the very end giving a quick nod to the presence of Wonder Woman and Doomsday. Needless to say, the artwork showing Batman and Superman going head to head is the highlight of the book, with a few two-page illustrations that truly capture the epic grandeur of the clash.

Another thing I always look for with art books is what lies hidden behind the dust jacket. This one doesn’t disappoint, the front and back covers featuring rough white on black pencil drawn portraits of Batman and Superman, respectively.

While the art book is divided evenly between the two starring heroes, the Tech Manual is about 90% devoted to Batman. Which makes sense, because Batman/Bruce Wayne is the human hero whose “superpowers” stem from his smarts and use of advanced technologies. Superman’s suit and Wonder Woman’s gear (armor, sword, shield, lasso, etc) do get some page time, though, so don’t worry.

The Tech Manual reveals the functionality and design concepts behind this Batman’s body armor, cowl, cape, utility belt, gauntlets, mech suit, and Knightmare suit; his armory of gadgets like batarangs, batbrand, grappling gun, grenade launcher, and sticky bombs; and his newly remodeled Batcave, Batwing, and Batmobile, the latter of which production designer Patrick Tatopoulos sketched out on a napkin in a coffee shop after his first meeting with Zack Snyder, to establish the design aesthetic that would shape the rest of the Dark Knight’s tech arsenal moving forward. Like the art book, everything is presented via a variety of on-set and prop photos, photos of the actors modeling their costumes, CG test renders, movie stills, blueprints, and concept art.

The section most readers will immediately gravitate to is the vehicles chapter, because what respectable Bat-fan doesn’t love to look under the hoods of the Batwing and Batmobile? This manual doesn’t disappoint, with an abundance of images showing the behind-the-scenes construction of the Batmobile, green screen scene staging and 3D models of the Batwing, views from inside the cockpits, and mechanical drawings that visualize the Batmobile tech in intricate detail. I have to say, I like these iterations of Batman’s iconic vehicles a lot more than those of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy (well, except for the machine gun turret on the hood of the Batmobile).

You don’t necessarily need to be a huge fan of the movie itself to enjoy these books. Obviously there will be a greater attraction to them if you did like the film, but really as long as you’re a DC Universe nerd and hold a special place in your heart for Batman and Superman, you have legitimate cause to check these out. The Art of the Film more so if you really want to learn about what went into Zack Snyder’s world building process, as well as the motivations the actors and actresses brought to their performances. And the Tech Manual, well, it’s packing enough gadget porn to make any Bat-fan feel all hot and bothered under the cowl.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: The Art of the Film is available now from Amazon.com for $39.99. Here is a gallery of sample photos I took from my review copy.
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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Tech Manual is available now from Amazon.com for $39.99. Here is a gallery of sample photos I took from my review copy.
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About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!