As the title implies I am not a fan of this film. For so many reasons, it’s really not worth your time. Honestly if you’re sick and tired of the bad reviews this movie is getting then this isn’t for you. Furthermore, if you actually want to see the movie, this article may spoil a bit of it, so I’d avoid this as well. However I will say up front: nobody should consider seeing this movie, as there are an infinite amount of things that you can do better with your time and money.
Now what is so wrong with this movie? Um, lets see: most of it. Instead of talking about what it got wrong, let’s be nice and say what it got right. First and foremost, Batman and Wonder Woman. Ben Affleck was a serious highlight of the film, really embracing the brooding pain of Bruce Wayne. From an artistic standpoint the Batmobile was an actual car which was nice as Bat Tanks are kind of worn out. The Bat Suit itself looks like something straight out of The Dark Knight Returns and it was really well done.
Even the stilted dialogue was well spoken by Affleck. Of all the controversial casting choices, the Ben Affleck one paid off. The only issue I have with Batman is his odd tendency to kill people... a lot of people. I’m not joking. There is one scene where he’s mowing down criminals with a chain gun and even goes so far to blow somebody up. It’s as if Zack Snyder decided to troll the fans even more than in Man of Steel.
The same goes for Wonder Woman. While her screen time was limited, and some was used as a ham-fisted attempt to set up the other Justice League properties, she was still very well done. Her introduction as Wonder Woman during the climax of the film was amazing, but sadly there was no real surprise to the whole affair as the viewer had seen all her cool moments in the trailers. The movie really could have used more Wonder Woman as Gal Gadot was one of the few people in the movie who looked like they were having fun.
Outside the main cast, the supporting cast led by Jeremy Irons as Alfred and Lawrence Fishburne as Perry White were stand outs. Despite having perhaps only twenty minutes of screen time between the two of them, they stole every single one of their scenes. Even Fishburne who was cursed with some of the worst dialogue in the movie made it work. Honestly an Alfred and White team up movie where they do nothing but crack wise would be far superior to this movie.
With that being said, pretty much everything else wasn’t up to snuff. The core relationship of Lois and Clark was about as passionate as two brothers hugging. Amy Adams and Henry Cavill have even less chemistry together than Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in Twilight, with Cavill in particular having the emotional range of a peanut in the role. There are times within the film where Superman should be having some emotions showing but Cavill looks like he’s mentally preparing a shopping list.
However Cavill’s performance was not the worst. That honour EASILY goes to our villain “Lex Luthor” as played by Jesse Eisenberg. I’ve long said Eisenberg was miscast as he’s a one note actor, really only good at playing socially awkward neurotics. Well here he plays a socially awkward psychotic, and guess what? It didn’t work. Why? Because that’s not Lex Luthor! Eisenberg’s performance reminded me of Edward Nigma from the TV show Gotham.
The fans were right in that the casting choice was all wrong, and the direction of the character made it worse. Literally every time he was on screen I was either snickering or actively cringing. This one is all on Zack Snyder, and I expect like Superman killing in the last film, he will have to answer for this decision for YEARS.
Moving on from the acting, the story just made no sense at times. Too much of the movie was precipitated by characters acting stupidly or events happening that really shouldn’t be happening. In fact the entire third act of the film is set up by a secret being revealed and we the viewers are never shown this being discovered. Things kind of just happened because the plot needed to move on to the next set piece. Logic be damned.
However its biggest sin in the story telling department is until the last twenty or so minutes, the film is decidedly boring. At two hours and thirty three minutes the film is about fifty minutes too long; the run time is padded early on by a political conspiracy we’re supposed to care about. However, the issue is that like most of the film, it makes no sense most of the time, as it relies on people acting dumb and is tangential at best to the overall plot.
This was clearly Zack Snyder wishing to class up his film by making a profound statement about vigilante justice and the meaning of power and responsibility. Much like Nolan and The Dark Knights message regarding privacy against security and the need to do bad to protect the good. However like everything he does, it was heavy handed and poorly executed. Honestly when you have three monologues from the same character on the same subject, subtly is out the window. It’s times like this when the strength of Chris Nolan’s directing in the previous Batman trilogy shines so brightly. As Zack Snyder clearly wants to emulate the tone but is limited by his wanting story telling ability.
That being said, the movie can be very pretty, as Snyder like Michael Bay is at least a good cinematographer. During the fight between Batman and Superman at times it looked as if scenes from The Dark Knight Returns was ripped right off the page, and the homages to the second story they adapted The Death of Superman were also hard to miss. However with so many changes and bad decisions overall, these inclusions almost came off as pandering to his more hardcore audience members and a cheap way of asking for forgiveness. There is also the fact it was all packed into the last twenty minutes which made the first two hours seem hollow.
At the end of the day there is so much more to criticize from a narrative perspective, however it would be excessive, as this movie simply is just bad. Strangely enough though it’s not offensively bad like The Fantastic Four before it, it’s just a mess which is a shame. As underneath all the bloat there may have been a good movie here, as some key pieces such as Batman and Wonder Woman are done well.
Lucky it is a mess one can easily lay blame for, as a fair share of it must lay at the feet of greedy Warner Executives speeding up this franchise to catch up to Marvel. However the lions share must go to an egotistical director so in love with his meager talents he won’t take advice and change course. If Warner Bros. wants the franchise to succeed they need to cut the cord linking them to Zack Snyder immediately. Everything wrong with Man of Steel has infected this film and he made new mistakes on top of it along the way. Right now only a major course correction can fix the franchise going forward. Save your time and money do not go see this movie. It’s not even bad enough to laugh at.