When deciding to see a movie in theaters there are many factors I like to go over before I actually purchase my ticket or accept my screening invite. I like to get a general idea what other critics are saying about the movie, of whether or not the trailer is interesting, and I also take a look at the cast and crew. But even these factors are not always enough to push me either way. Most of what I saw from critic and fan reviews after early screenings and the NY/Mexico premieres was overwhelmingly positive, but those sites have been over hyping this movie since it was announced, so, that came as no surprise. But, I hated Man of Steel, and even the trailers for this MoS sequel/ Justice League prequel were underwhelming. It has a great cast (Ben Affleck, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot, Jeremy Irons) and a big name director (Zack Snyder). All of this lead me to see the movie with the off chance I would be wrong about it being awful.
I was not wrong.
First, let me start by telling you what was actually good about this movie. Gal Gadot stole every scene she was in, either as Wonder Woman or as her alter ego, Diana Prince. She actually looked happy to be there and we now finally have a good DC female character who isn’t a hopeless damsel in distress (cough Lois Lane cough). Gadot was a pure badass and actually made me excited for her standalone Wonder Woman film next year.
The only other good part about the movie was Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of Lex Luthor, with no help from the screenplay. Eisenberg has proven he can play any character he is given and this role was a perfect fit for him given his career to date. He was so good that you actually are rooting for Luthor’s victory throughout the incredibly, way too long, 151-minute run-time. I don’t know if that was more because he was good, or because the rest of the movie was that bad.
Visually, the movie was fantastic, but if you’ve ever seen a Snyder film (300, Watchmen) you could expect this. He is establishing himself as the Michael Bay of super-hero movies, where the story sucks, but it’s fun to watch because of CGI and explosions.
I also have nothing negative to say about the new Batman/Bruce Wayne, as Ben Affleck did a good enough job, but he was more Bruce than the caped crusader, which was disappointing and no fault of his own.
Everything else in the movie was either misleading or just the spitting image of its predecessor.
It’s called Batman v Superman and there was only one fight scene pinning the titular heroes against each other. The scene can be best described as a disinteresting pissing contest between two characters that each can’t seem to understand why they are fighting each other. It’s just alternating big punches by each man and then “let me throw you through this building over here” type of fighting followed by maybe the worst line in the entire movie, used to get Batman to jump ship and join forces with Superman to face off against the film’s central villain. I was more invested in the fight scenes between Brennan and Dale in Step Brothers than I was in this scene. And the line mentioned above rivals the “did we just become best friends” line from the Will Ferrell/ John C. Reilly comedy.
The movie struggles the entire time to find what the major plot is. It switches gears from focusing on Batman to focusing on Luthor to Superman to Wonder Woman to, eventually, intertwining the stories together in the least satisfying way possible.
My suggestion to Warner Bros (take my suggestion, I know my shit) is to hire a new director. Snyder cannot do it. He is slated to direct both Justice League films and, after two Superman movies under his belt, he has not become any better. You’ll never be Marvel, you’re not even in the same league as them, so don’t try to compete. Be your own thing, but just be better at it.
You simply can’t have a superhero cluster-fuck of a movie with only two good scenes throughout, especially if it’s over 2.5 hours long. The extended version coming to DVD, frankly, terrifies me. What are those two good scenes, you ask? Wonder Woman kicking ass and when they tease three additional Justice League characters to set up the future of DC Cinematic Universe. And the second would have been better if they had revealed who is playing Green Lantern. Such a missed opportunity.
Even after all of this negativity, don’t let me dictate whether or not you should see this. I am just one man, and this is just one opinion. See it to form your own. Or don’t, that’s your choice. It does currently sit at 38% on Rotten Tomatoes after 95 reviews, but again, you make your own choices. I can only suggest that you save your money.