I remembered watching that scene from that film and actually yelling out loud how incredibly stupid and unnecessarily melodramatic that was.
That’s exactly how I felt after watching Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD SO PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Before I pile onto the multitude of things that went wrong with this film, I want to at least be generous and start with what DID work:
1. Despite the naysayers convinced that he wouldn’t be able to deliver, Ben Affleck did a great turn as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Jeremy Irons as well delivered a stellar performance as a slightly younger and rougher Alfred (imagine the transition from the first Dumbledore to the second Dumbledore in the Potter films and you get an idea of what it’s like to go from Michael Caine to this version of Alfred).
2. They didn’t give her much to do, but what Gal Gadot was able to get in during her limited screen time as Wonder Woman was good. She did a good job.
3. Holly Hunter gave a believable, grounded performance as Senator Finch, a politician who is caught between whether to support Superman or go against him.
4. We get a glimpse of the other superheroes, and whatever they did show of Aquaman, it made me incredibly intrigued for his solo movie, to the point that I wish I could leave the theater where I was watching BvS, time travel, and watch this film right now.
And that’s about it. The hammer is about to come down because I am going to be downright ruthless with the many things that did not work for this sloppy hodge-podge of a film. I say this with a heavy heart because I really, really wanted this film to be good but that simply did not happen:
1. Jessie Einseberg’s mustache-twirling overacting — that echoes Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey’s equally over the top acting but done in a millennial, aggressive nerdy Social Network kind of way. It may have worked in the previous Superman films where the tone was lighter, but in this uber gritty dark world that Zack Snyder is creating, it is extremely out of place and gets excessively annoying every time he is on screen.
2. Henry Cavill’s acting. Watching his extremely stiff and wooden performance makes me miss Christopher Reeve terribly — to the point that I would even take Brandon Routh’s take over the bland nothing that Henry does with this role.
3. The utter and complete waste of Tao Okamoto as Mercy Graves. In the comics, she is Lex Luthor’s extremely tough bodyguard and chauffeur. Here, she’s almost a featured extra (except with a few lines) where she just hangs around in the background until she is killed off without any warning. I’m extremely sad by this because she’s the only Asian person to be in the film, and this is such a thankless role that she was just downright wasted.
4. Why the heck is Ezra Miller cast as the new Flash? In the little segment that we do see, this version of the Flash is portrayed as such a hobo hipster. And for whatever reason, this is preferred over just getting the fabulous Grant Gustin?
5. Lex Luthor using General Zod’s body to turn him in to Doomsday — which looks like a rejected Michael Bay Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle but grayer and uglier.
6. The extremely melodramatic and lazy plot device of using the common name of Martha for both Batman and Superman as a way for them to get along with each other. This moment in this film had me have the same verbal outburst as the Jonathan Kent death scene in Man of Steel.
7. Everything in this film felt rushed and crammed all together as this film becomes concrete proof that they are playing catch up to Marvel Studios by desperately attempting to do a ton of world building for all the superheroes involved. By doing so, there really isn’t a plot to this film.
8. And finally, the eighth and biggest problem for this film is why Batman and Superman are even against each other in the first place. Throughout the film, they build up Batman’s dislike of Superman with one of the main problems being that Superman has caused so many unnecessary casualties from the events of the first film. However this becomes problematic to the story because Batman is responsible for the most deaths in any live screen version, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
From willfully firing on the bad guys with machine gun fire from his Batwing to his hand to hand combat scenes (which, I must say, are rather well done and perhaps the best in a live action Batman film yet) that end up becoming utterly destructive in the casualties he racks up from gunfire and grenades blowing up the bad guys. For a Batman fan, this is a problem because Batman never has casualties when he fights. For an average audience moviegoer, it is still a problem as the conflict becomes fundamentally flawed as it is rather hypocritical for Batman to criticize Superman’s actions when he himself is actually worse. Sure, some can argue that this is the grittier and darker version of Batman but for the film’s entire VERSUS storyline to be dependent on these principles? It simply does not work.
Oof, that was rough to write. I had my doubts with this film but like I said in the beginning, I secretly hoped that Zack Snyder would prove me wrong and that this would be, at the very least, a good film to start the DC world-building superheroes franchise, but if this is going to be the standard, then I will be extremely pessimistic about the other films coming up in Warner Brothers’ slate. To end this review, I’ll leave you all with a parody poster of the film I would at least be more entertained by: