Review: Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

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Alright, look. Making movies is haaaaard. I know this first hand. Whether it’s film 1 or 100, every movie brings challenges unique to its production. BvS is no different and it’s hard to criticize it whenAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh my god, I’m fully kidding. FUCK that. Every single person with any weight on this production should have known better.

SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT

FOR THE RECORD: I am a super casual comic book movie adaptation fan. I’ve only seen the movies and I’ve never read a Marvel/DC comic in my life. Anything I know about these superheroes that’s considered canon is from pop culture references or word–of–mouth. If you’re a die–hard fan, you should 1000% take my review with the grainiest of salts. Actually, everyone should do this. I just watch movies and write about them when I feel like it. None of this matters and we’re all racing toward annihilation and entropy anyway.

First of all, Zack Snyder. I can’t pick on him too much because the only other movie I saw of his is the first 30 minutes of Man of Steel (2013), or whatever minute mark where Pa Kent dies rather than let people see Clark be Superman for a second. Okay, then. So based on that and BvS, I’ve gathered that Snyder can’t tell a story to save his life. Can’t wait for the steaming mess that’ll be the two Justice League movies.

I don’t feel like writing paragraphs. Here’s a list of things in the movie I’m fine with and vice versa.

THINGS THAT WERE FINE: (this’ll be short)

    Wonder Woman—Yeah, she’s in it for all of ten minutes and her grand entrance was given away in the second trailer because audiences are too fucking stupid to convince themselves to see a movie where the trailer doesn’t give everything away, but she was fine. Not exceptional, not really worthy of the applause the stupid audience I was a part of gave when it happened, but fine. I like her. I’m glad she’s getting her own movie because it’s about fucking time.
    Daddy Ben Affleck—This makes me so conflicted because him and Jennifer Garner divorcing ruined me a little bit but hoo boy those streaks of grey in those sideburns and when he saved that little girl from certain death and those Rocky workout montages when he’s training to bleed Superman dry…yes please I’ll take ten. Also his acting was good or whatever.
    Henry Cavill—DC went the Marvel route with Superman and bred Henry Cavill on a superhero movie role farm until he was ready to put on the CGI spandex because man oh man this dude is the real deal. It almost makes me want to finish Man of Steel. Almost.
    Jeremy Irons—who I referred to in my abridged Facebook review as British Robert Downey Jr. as I genuinely did not realize that was Jeremy Irons because I am the most stupid person to ever live. To be honest, he didn’t really…matter to me that much. He just wasn’t terrible at all, which is why he’s on this list, but I enjoyed Michael Caine’s Alfred much more. That’s also because the Nolan Batman movies are better than this, which is so horrid to even write down or say aloud considering the tripe that was The Dark Knight Rises (2012), but THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THIS MOVIE EXISTS I GUESS.
    Amy Adams—because she’s the best and I love her and she can do no wrong in my eyes. Lois Lane was fucking nothing in this movie, so props to her for working with what she had.
    Laurence Fishburne—I could have watched another two hours of just his character speaking in nothing but newspaper headlines.
    the ice cream sandwich I got from the concession stand
    seeing the Suicide Squad (2016) trailer again (oh god oh god please don’t let this be terrible)

THINGS THAT WERE FINE TO ME BUT EVERYONE ELSE HATED:

    Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor.
    Okay, hear me out.
    Literally the only thing I know about Lex Luthor is that one time he stole forty cakes, which is as many as four tens and that’s terrible. Also apparently he’s supposed to be bald, but he still had the same hairstyle from American Ultra (2015) and I wasn’t sure if this was some kind of crossover and this movie ran out of budget before bringing back Kristen Stewart but then he was bald at the end I guess so maybe this is also his origin story??? NOTHING MAKES SENSE IN THIS MOVIE AT ALL EVER.
    Anyway, I was VERY skeptical after seeing the trailer because this is so NOT a Jesse Eisenberg role and I wasn’t sure how it would play out. And while this particular Lex Luthor is written to have about as much nuance as a saltine cracker laced with speed, I found myself looking forward to scenes he was in because I was heartily sick of everything else and he was engaging to watch, which is more than I can say for the rest of the movie.
    Oh man, he’s so crazy, you guys. SO CRAZY. Crazy enough to leave a jar of piss labeled “Granny’s Peach Tea” on Holly Hunter’s table and by the time she puts together why the fuck this is even a thing, haha oops the Capitol building explodes. A jar of piss is an actual fucking plot point. God bless you, David S. Goyer.
    Look, he’s just having so much fun and I can’t hate it. I just can’t. I don’t have it in me. If Zack Snyder wanted me to take this yet another Broody McSadFace superhero movie seriously, he should have gone another direction with Lex Luthor.

THINGS THAT WERE NOT FINE:

    Everything else.
    No seriously, not only is this not a good superhero movie, it’s not even a good movie.
    A good movie has structure; it has an overall arc that it should be following to get your protagonists from point A to point B. You can have one to several subplots along the way (and my GOD, does this movie have those), but they should somehow tie in to the overall arc. BvS has none of this. It’s a bunch of scenes strung together that loosely culminates into the actual title fight and then the actual fight against the REAL antagonist. Echh.
    It has everything but the kitchen sink—holy shit, if they shoehorned any more future superhero movie references and characters and plot points, they would have needed to stick in a Stan Lee cameo at some point. It like, dude, we KNOW the Justice League movies are happening soon and DC has individual superhero movies for everyone IN the Justice League plus other DCCU movies planned out until probably 2030. How about focusing on juuuust this one first?? NOPE. Every movie cannot stand on its own anymore. It MUST serve as a set–up to future movies and also sell a fuckload of toys. It’s not like the target audience read the comics for the stories, right? Right? Guys?
    It’s funny when it shouldn’t be—take the scene where young Bruce Wayne falls into the hole and the bats are there and the bats form a tornado around him, propelling him up and out of the hole. Yes, I’m serious. That is an actual thing that happens in the first five minutes. The shot that has the credit reading “Directed by Zack Snyder” is a dutch angle of young Bruce rising slowing out of the hole, solely by the centrifugal force provided by the rapidly swarming bats. I can’t make this shit up, but the folks on this production could, apparently. It does a great job of setting the tone of the rest of the movie, which is “please take me seriously even though I defy all logic with a dash of unintentionally hilarious whimsy!”
    The opening—LISTEN CAREFULLY: IT’S 2016. BATMAN AS AN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY HAS BEEN AROUND SINCE 1939 AND THERE’S AROUND ELEVENTY BILLION BATMAN COMICS, MOVIES, SHOWS, FANFICS, ETC. AT THIS POINT. THERE’S SOMETHING FOR EVERY MEDIA CONSUMER NO MATTER WHAT IT IS. BY NOW, IF YOU DON’T KNOW THAT BRUCE WAYNE’S PARENTS ARE KILLED AND THAT’S WHY HE BECOMES BATMAN, PLEASE NOTE THAT BRUCE WAYNE’S PARENTS ARE KILLED BY A STREET MUGGER WHEN HE WAS A BOY AND THAT’S WHY HE BECAME BATMAN. NOW THAT WE ARE ALL UP TO SPEED, WE CAN STOP FUCKING WASTING PRECIOUS TOTAL RUN TIME ABOUT HIS ORIGIN STORY. THANK YOU.
    The closing—really? You’re gonna bookend this trash heap with another funeral scene? Fuck outta here.
    Deus Ex Momina—Bruce’s and Clark’s respective mothers are both named Martha and that’s how they went from super enemies to super buddies. I. Swear. To. God. Let’s not acknowledge that they have a common enemy in Lex Luthor, who’s creating Doomsday goo out of his own blood and Michael Shannon’s corpse while a floating robotic dolphin looks on, and THAT’S why they should be banding together to kick his twitchy, white–blazer–over–a–t–shirt–wearing butt. Nah, it’s because Superman gurgled his mom’s name at Batman just as Batman was about to play whack–a–mole with Superman’s innards using a kryptonite spear. For those who’ve seen the movie, obviously I’m downplaying the true gravitas of that scene, but there were so many other things at stake (like, I don’t know, the classic HOLY SHIT THE WORLD IS ABOUT TO BE DESTROYED chestnut) that could have been a much better reason for uniting instead of just rehashing The Joker kidnapping Rachel in The Dark Knight (2008). Who let Chris Nolan get in on being an executive producer on the same film David S. Goyer was writing?
    In that same vein, having Lois run to Superman as he’s getting throat–stomped by Batman to tell Batman why he keeps saying Martha? Garbage. This is not good character writing. Give her actually constructive things to do or don’t put her in.
    Why did Bruce have to call whoever the shit it was in the building to get out? The guy was watching all these buildings around him collapse while he’s on the top floor and there was no music from The Pixies or Helena Bonham Carter holding his hand to make it seem like he was in control of the danger—nope, it took a call from Bruce Wayne basically going “HEY IDK IF YOU SAW BUT EVERYTHING IN MEGALOPOLIS IS CRUMBLING FASTER THAN BENNIFER: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO SO MAYBE START THE EVACUATION.” I don’t like people this stupid in movies; it lowers the collective IQ of everyone involved.
    The stupid fucking references to the eventual battle. Lex Luthor: “Ooh, what a strong grip you have, Clark! All the better to CRUSH BATMAN WHEN YOU EVENTUALLY FIGHT HIM AS SUPERMAN oh uh, I mean, heheh Bruce, don’t pick a fight with this guy, amirite?? WINK WINK.” Or Perry White telling Clark that “no one cares about Clark Kent going after the Batman.” LOL BECAUSE HE’S SPEAKING IN TERMS OF CHASING THE STORY, BUT THE AUDIENCE KNOWS SUPERMAN IS GONNA GO AFTER BATMAN NUDGE NUDGE. Ugh, I can’t even properly deconstruct this because it’s so stupid and insulting and it happens TWICE.
    Pa Kent who is totally 4 realz dead giving Clark an imaginary pep talk. I missed most of what was actually said because of the family behind me who would not shut the fuck up during the entire movie, but I’m sure it was about doing the right thing or whatever stupid and pointless nonsense that contributed to the bloated running time. Just greenlight Field of Dreams 2 or another white savior Disney movie already and give Kevin Costner something else to do that isn’t this.
    Literally anything that Lois Lane did. God, the abysmal writing for her character could be a review of its own, but it should be written by someone who has a better grasp on her character than I do.
    I know I said that Wonder Woman was fine, but now that I think about it…why was she there? Why not any of the other future Justice League members? Well, that’s because one’s living underwater, one is busy getting put together, and the other is…at a convenience store…or something. Hi, Ezra Miller. I’ll take any excuse for seeing you on screen. I guess she was the only one available to shoehorn into the movie. I feel like it should have been an all–or–nothing deal, with more lean towards nothing. I guess that was where the line was. She saves Batman and help fight Doomsday, which is cool, but I feel like the movie would have been much more efficient if 1. the actual BvS fight happened sooner, which would lead to 2. having them work together sooner and maybe Wonder Woman wouldn’t have needed to be involved at all. There are so many possibilities and all it needed was some hefty script cleanup during pre–production. C’est la vie.
    Batman’s eyes glowing pointlessly on his helmet—Literally this serves no purpose that I could tell except for people to find you more easily in the dark. Great.
    The ending—ZOMG BUT ACTUALLY SUPERMAN ISN’T DEAD MAYBE??!?!?!?!?!?!?! No shit. FUCK, I hate endings like this. It’s just like Spock Kirk coming back to life in Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013). You’ve taken the stakes and lowered them again, and WE KNOW THEY’RE NOT ACTUALLY PERMANENTLY DEAD. You wasted run time on a funeral that doesn’t matter because lol whoops actually is alive for reasons!!!!! Then he’s gonna come back and have to explain himself to an overjoyed–that–you’re–alive–yet–angry–that–you–didn’t–let–us–in–on–this–before–we–buried–you Martha Kent and Lois and ugh god I can feel my blood pressure rising already just picturing this scene in the first Justice League movie goodbye.

There’s probably, no, definitely more bad shit to expound upon, but whatever. This isn’t the only review that’s out there and I put as much effort into this as the writers and director did into the actual movie.


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