When I left theatres in 2013 after watching Zack Snyder’s reboot of Superman, Man of Steel, I was pretty certain of one thing: Warner Brothers absolutely hates the character of Superman. Now, after watching the follow up Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, an egregiously long title for an egregiously long film, my opinion has been proven to be a definite truth. The company that’s putting all it’s weight behind this film for their own DC Comics Cinematic universe hates the leader of their super team the Justice League, so much so that he’s delegated to being a secondary thought in not just the title of this film but the film entirely. Yes, Kal-El is just a single step to get to the prize for Warner, Batman himself, the big blue Boy Scout is just an annoying superpowered gnat that they used to disguise their greed for another Dark Knight movie.
Even worse than the blatant changes to everything that makes Superman the real “Man of Steel”, Warner and DC continue on this flawed formula of making their own inclusive series of superhero films based on all the characters that they are even really fans of. This shows in the complete mishandling of everything I have seen up until this point and is hammered home with a stake to the fan boys heart in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, a loud, horribly plotted and scripted film that is a glaringly obvious ploy to rush to meet the precedence set by Marvel Studios. The only difference is Marvel actually treats their characters with respect and a genuine love for the characters. Fancy that.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is all about Bruce Wayne and Batman from the beginning. Showing the third act events from Man of Steel, but from the billionaire’s perspective as he frantically tries to make his way to the ill fated Wayne Enterprises in Metropolis, it’s an almost exhilarating sequence that, in the original film, played like a bad 9/11 parable. Wayne witnesses the building fall then runs headlong into the dust that plumes up, trying to help the survivors in the aftermath. Rescuing a little girl, he asks where her mother is. “Up there” she replies and Bruce Wayne casts his eyes to the clouds to see Superman whip by. An angry look plays on Wayne’s face as the clanging score of Hans Zimmer rings out, ruining the scene as his score will continue to do throughout th film.
This sets up our main story. Batman blames Superman for the destruction of a large portion in Metropolis and deems him a global threat. Along comes smart mastermind Lex Luthor, played in a way too over the top fashion by Jesse Eisenberg, who comes to manipulate things to facilitate this fight between the two superheavies. As is in the comic, Luthor is more than untrusting of the Kryptonian orphans super tendencies and wants to eradicate him in any way possible, which includes the search and discovery of a large piece of Kryptonite, as should be expected in a Superman related film.
As a courtesy to those going to check out the film I will leave my plot description there, but know that there really is a limited amount of plot to this one as they had to leave so much room open for all the universe and future film set up that is so painfully forced onto the viewer. Of course, we get the whole Wonder Woman set up, who even gets her own theme song teased when Bruce Wayne finds a picture of her on a flash drive. Yes, Warner and DC have gone so far that they are actually doing movie promotion within a movie. Say what you will about Marvel but they don’t stoop this low, which almost feels like the begging of an insecure film studio that has never heard of subtlety.
This brings me to Zack Snyder, a complete cancer on anything DC Comics at this point. His character development lacks any shred of originality or even a spark of ingenuity. The continuing romance of Lois and Clark plays like any cliched romance film and you cease to care at all anytime the film switches to either of their stories. Had Snyder made any of this interesting in the first film we might have had a little bit of carry over to this one, but no. To add the cherry to this absolute mess, none of the action scenes work. NONE! The choreography is clunky and slow, the CGI is muddy and unclear and we get a final villain in the film that essentially looks like a grey lump with teeth. Every single piece of Snyder’s direction is a fail. Well, except the beginning credits, for some reason he consistently nails those.
The acting is yet another downtrodden and lackluster layer to this movie. Cavill wasn’t anything to turn your head at the first time around, so no real surprise that it continues in this, as does Amy Adams, who actually may have gotten worse. The newcomer of Ben Affleck in the Batman role actually worked for me and would have been better given he had more to work with script wise. This also applies to Jeremy Irons who tries his damned best as the stalwart butler Alfred. Eisenberg, on the other hand, made me cringe every time he spoke. He is a far, far better actor than this film would ever lead you to believe. Both him and Laurence Fishburne, as Daily Planet editor Perry White, are laughably awful in this movie, stinking it up every moment they’re on screen.
When the credits rolled on this debacle of a movie, I realized that for all intensive purposes I should just burn all of my DC Comics because they really mean nothing to the company making the films, who are, in part, the same people who produce the source material. For every uncharacteristic Superman part or bad guy that Batman blatantly killed without regard, I was reminded exactly how little Warner Brothers cares about getting this right. They don’t want quality, they want quantity and they don’t want your love, they want your money. They almost literally pissed in my face and asked if I like “Grandma’s Peach Tea” and killed this fanboy’s small notion that they even cared. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a one out of five.