The mantra for big-budget Hollywood is simple. Re-discover, re-imagine, re-make, re-brand. Will we ever know the true hero, the fortuitous one who captured lightning in a bottle in that stuffy studio boardroom? The one who stumbled upon that magic formula? Discover, imagine, make, brand. No, that’s been done before. Hollywood needed a re-think.Again we stand to bear the fruits of Hollywood’s fortuitously retro-visionistic labor, with cinema granting the chance to answer the argument that has raged in playgrounds since the late 1930s – who would win in a fight between Batman and Superman?Sure, the franchise suggests neither are going to win, more likely the scuffle will end with the shaking of hands and the “I don’t always agree with you, but dammit, I respect you” sentiment, though not before that pre-pubescent boy in all of us is treated to the city block-leveling rumble we’ve been waiting for.We can cynically take stabs at big budget Hollywood’s aversion to new concepts and new ideas, but Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice isn’t just another Alien vs. Predator, Freddy vs. Jason what-if cash in. If Man of Steel was a dipping of the toe in Zack Snyder’s DC multiverse pond, Dawn of Justice is the show-stopping swan dive. The difference between an Olympic standard 10-point entry and an oafish belly flop could have ramifications measured in the billions when we take the further six titles slated for release into consideration.Snyder has talked the talk, championing Dawn of Justice as a film that will be both “philosophically satisfying” and “physically real.” Here we look at the five burning questions which will determine if Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a success.We can only speculate as to the hijinks the two art school classmates, Zack Snyder and Michael Bay, engaged in during their college years. Those long afternoons, skipping class – Women’s Studies or something equally redundant for aspiring blockbuster directors – delving into the hours of vigorous discussion, debating the merits of the low-angle 360-hero-shot, speed-ramping-action-zooms and saturated color palettes.While Snyder’s film career took a further decade to bloom, it has mirrored his former classmate’s in many ways. Both commercially-bred directors have distinctive action-oriented styles; instincts that have paid big at the box office as much as they have invited widespread derision from critics. Where Bay hit next level pay dirt with Transformers, Snyder is on the verge of entering the same conversation with the DC multiverse.Early in his career, Snyder was one of the great innovators in CGI filmmaking. Having perfected a hyper-realistic aesthetic in 300 and The Watchmen that served to blur the line between comic book and film, Snyder successfully dialed it back in Man of Steel to deliver a finished product that was slick and spectacular when it needed to be, but with a more grounded feel.Visual aesthetics alone are not going to deliver Snyder the enduring legacy he is aiming for. He needs to present a fresh, unique and exciting angle if he is to confirm the transition Man of Steel hinted at – behind all the flash and bravado, Snyder is a filmmaker capable of telling stories that match his technical skill.Snyder’s biggest gamble was in the signing of Ben Affleck as Batman. With a career that has swung between Oscar praises and Razzie humiliations, Affleck is the kind of polarizing actor everyone has an opinion on, and it was in the opinion of 75% of Variety readers that Affleck would bomb as Batman.To comprehend such a lack of faith, we need only cast our minds back to the turn of the century when the tabloid-fueled Bennifer (Lopez) phenomenon saw a crash in Affleck’s Hollywood stocks. Amongst the steaming cinematic rubble that was Gigli, Surviving Christmas and Jersey Girl, sat Affleck’s first attempt to go super with Marvel’s Daredevil. Here was a comic book misfire so unpleasant for all involved, Affleck swore himself off superhero films for good.Much of Affleck’s assured career resurrection can be attributed to his great skill as a director; there also seems to have been a self-acknowledgement of his acting range, and within that range is Affleck’s ability to shine as the womanizing asshole.Christian Bale’s recent assertion that he didn’t quite nail his performance as Batman poses the question of what kind of role Batman presents to an actor? Where Bale’s Bruce Wayne had to endure his playboy cover, Affleck’s is more suited to enjoy it.Much like Robert Downey Jr. achieved with Tony Stark, Affleck’s Bruce Wayne could be one more memorable should he embrace and celebrate his flaws. And it’s not as though Downey Jr. was the people’s choice when his casting was announced, yet it’s impossible to envision the Marvel universe without him. Given the opportunity to play to his strengths, Affleck could have a similar effect.Traditionally DC Comics and Marvel have enjoyed a friendly and largely respectful rivalry, but Snyder drew a clear line in the sand when he took a brutal swipe at the Marvel Multiverse in the wake of Steven Spielberg’s prediction that superhero movies would eventually go the way of the western.“I feel like he’s right. But I feel like Batman and Superman are transcendent of superhero movies in a way, because they’re Batman and Superman. They’re not just, like, the flavor of the week Ant-Man — not to be mean, but whatever it is. What is the next Blank-Man?”If combat sports have taught us anything, trash talking your revered battle opponent at the weigh-in rarely ends well for the cocky upstart. So yeah, any chance fans would politely assess Dawn of Justice on its own merits have been trampled by the Marvel-sized elephant in the room.The foundation for the Marvel Multiverse was laid with Jon Favreau’s genre-defying Iron Man. Witty, action-packed, and incredibly fun, the film drew widespread critical praise, setting a new benchmark for superhero cinema. From here, the roll call of diverse and left field directing talents such as Kenneth Branagh, Joss Whedon, Shane Black and James Gunn, brought fresh approaches to the same single coherent universe.Snyder is not building an empire from the same creatively sturdy footing. Money aside – of which it made plenty – Man of Steel was competent and politely received but had it been a Marvel film, would have ranked pretty low in the cannon. Like, that time Edward Norton was The Hulk. Yeah, ouch.This places Snyder behind the 8-ball if Dawn of Justice is to deliver on his promise that the DC Universe is inherently more compelling and vital than Marvel’s, and ensure later side-character standalone films such as Wonder Woman, The Flash and Aquaman are to soar above the Marvel so-called flavor of the week productions.Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy was willfully dark and adult. His Batman was one whose inner torment was ever-present, whose Gotham was unrelentingly nihilistic. It was a fresh and vital angle considering that the last time around, George Clooney’s bat suit had nipples and Mr. Freeze’s ice puns were more horrific than any of the actual mayhem he had planning for Gotham.With Synder’s appreciation for this approach and with Nolan serving as a writer/producer on Man of Steel, it was hardly surprising that much of The Dark Knight’s mood and atmosphere flowed through to Man of Steel. We have to wonder, if maintained, how long until this overwrought seriousness becomes tedious?As an origin story, Man of Steel got away with its stoic reverence, but now audiences are on board they expect more in the way of tonal variation if Snyder is to hold their attention. Can Jeremy Irons charm us with his sardonic Alfred, will Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor redefine iconic cinematic villainy, or is it down to Gal Godot’s Wonder Woman to provide welcome relief from all the amped up testosterone?Financially, Dawn of Justice is a pretty safe bet. Shrewdly programmed in Hollywood’s post-Oscar, pre-summer dead zone, Dawn of Justice is the movie event of Easter and failure will likely mean the difference between a modest and mega hit. It’s almost impossible to fathom Man of Steel’s $668 million at the box office not being blown out of the water. Yachts will be bought and sequels green-lit.But it’s not just about the money for Snyder. He hasn’t been quietly rolling out just another movie, with one eye on that Malibu beach house. He’s been calling out the opposition and talking up his work with enthusiastic vigor, like that of a proud parent whose child will be President – or at the very least, a well-respected neurosurgeon.Snyder doesn’t have to deliver a bad movie to deflate interest in the series’ legacy – just another loud and generic CGI-heavy popcorn actioner will seal the deal. With access to such a revered cannon and the opportunity to explore these new relationships and power struggles, Snyder has the chance to bring something searingly unique and interesting to the cluttered superhero table.