Warning: Spoilers Follow
The beginning of the DC Extended Universe (DC’s name for their movie-verse) truly begins with Batman V Superman, notes Zack Snyder. And he’s actually right about that. There certainly was no plan for it when Man of Steel came out. That was all rushed together to compete with Marvel and their cinematic universe. Marvel was years ahead in those terms, so of course Warner Bros. would scramble together something quickly to get in the game; Big mistake.
Warner Bros put plans together at the 11th hour because they didn’t want to take their time, like Marvel did properly setting up their cinematic universe. With Marvel already in the second phase in their universe, Warner Bros wanted what Marvel had, but decided to go about it differently, probably because they didn’t want to appear like “copycats” going about the method that Marvel utilized. So instead of introducing the players first and bringing them together, they went the other way. However, this we all know, so what’s the point in saying it all again? Because it always help to know where the end of it all started.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice begins with what any DC fan has seen so many damn times we could draw it in our sleep; the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents. For the love that is still pure… why must we see this scene again, and again, and again, and again, times infinity? Seriously, what’s the point? What purpose does it serve for the movie? It’s not needed to help introduce Batman to the audience. Why? Is there a good answer for this?
The movie is so dark, gritty, and lacking so much joy that it’s depressing. Who takes Superheroes and makes them depressing?! Oh, Zack Snyder does. That’s who! It’s one thing to have hurdles and moment of doubt, glum, etc., for the heroes to overcome, but Jesus Christ does Snyder take it to another level. I went in with the mindset of expecting that Snyder wasn’t going to improve BVS whatsoever over Man of Steel, but certainly didn’t expect him to do worse, either. We finally get a movie with Batman and Superman, together on the silver screen no less, and it’s nothing but a mess. Have you ever gotten a piece of candy, all nicely wrapped in a pretty wrapper, then opened it up and then it tasted like crap? That’s Dawn of Justice right there. Snyder lures you in with great looking visuals and then what you actually get is a movie that’s so poorly put together, it makes you wonder if some unpaid intern did it working late at night with no choice.
Transitions from scene to scene don’t feel connected as they should be. It’s like the movie just continues into the next scene, but you feel like you missed something. It’s worse when this happens with the dream sequences because you think it’s an actual scene happening and then nope, just a dream. And why so many them? Man of Steel kept flashing back to the past to tell Clark’s childhood and for BvS, Snyder replaced those moments with dreams instead. Was he trying to out-dream Inception? There’s no need for the competition, Snyder!
While we’re on about the dreams? Why did Bruce dream about Parademons? How does he know what they look like? Or know of them at all? They’re there, like the Omega symbol, to tease Darkseid for the Justice League movies, which is idiotic. It’s one thing to tease future plot lines, but how this was done was just by throwing it in, sense be damned. And the Flash part of the dream is meant to be a warning, which that is a cool idea, but really: “fear him”? Fear Superman? NO! We’re not supposed to fear Superman, we’re supposed to embrace him! Embrace what he stands for! Just like how we’re not supposed to embrace Batman killing people with guns! Even if when we first see this is in a dream, that visual stays with us and ruins his image. When it comes to the dream with Pa Kent- it might be the worst offender. It feels even more pointless than the others.
Then we have the acting: Jesse Eisenberg never felt like he belonged in the role of Lex Luthor from the moment he was announced for the role. It doesn’t help either that he’s actually Lex Jr. and not the “actual” Lex the majority of people believe he is. And that’s because even though he’s the son, they still tried to write him as the father. Then why have him be Junior?! Another thing that doesn’t make any sense: Jesse’s performance as crazy Luthor, who’s trying to tell you in a commercial that he has crazy used car prices you won’t find better anywhere else in town felt like he was auditioning to actually play Mad Hatter, because that’s what it looked liked to me.
For a movie that’s supposed to be about Batman and Superman, why did it take the movie to the halfway point until the heroes meet for the first time? In fact, it didn’t even feel natural because Superman just shows up. And why only now is he wanting to take on Batman? How has this not come up like ever? Batman’s been around for 20 years! 20! YEARS! Say it with me: it doesn’t make any sense.
I will say the fight between The Dark Knight and the Man of Steel (had to use their nicknames at least once) wasn’t terrible. It could’ve been better, but it wasn’t terrible. The same can be said for the fight with Doomsday… kind of. What can also be said is why the hell did Batman bring him back to the city? He could’ve gotten the weapon he needed and come back as it’s made apparent that Gotham and Metropolis are actually next door neighbors. Could’ve saved more destruction from being caused but nooOOOooo. Snyder has to have his destruction porn cake, and it eat it too.
Many people, myself included, hoped that this would be better than Man of Steel; that maybe we wouldn’t have to suffer through another mistake and could find some sort of redemption, even if we knew that wouldn’t end up being the case. Do you know why so many fans keep comparing all of this to the Marvel movies and favoring those? Believe it or not, it’s not because Warner Bros is making the DC movies dark and Marvel is more lighthearted (although yes, it is a factor). It’s really because Marvel realizes that completely changing the tone of the characters and their world doesn’t work. Marvel takes their characters and properly displays them as they should be, as who they actually are. Warner Bros is like that guy who pretends to be cool because he wants to be different, but is being different just for the sake of it instead of being himself. If the other movies in the DCEU continue to be like this, the movies may make money, but they truly will be a failure. With all the money they could/will make, or have made, they’re just simply being done the wrong way.
All that said, if you liked the movie, if you enjoyed it – hey, that’s fine. I would never take that away from you. I sure as hell wouldn’t want that done to me. I obviously disagree that it’s a worthwhile movie. For now, if you really want to see DC characters truly shine as they should, I highly recommend checking out The CW’s Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow, as well as CBS’ Supergirl. They know that superheroes are meant to be super. Or even going back and watching Batman The Animated Series and Superman (and JL, JLU, Young Justice…). Because it looks like there are only three people who can truly bring DC characters to life as they should: Bruce Timm, Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg.