Batman v Superman certainly looked like it was going to be a good movie. The casting of Ben Affleck made it seem like this would be the best on-screen Batman yet. The trailers made it look like it was going to be a truly memorable comic book film. However, the movie turned out to be a disaster. Critics have almost universally given the movie terrible reviews. At 29% on Rotten Tomatoes it has one of the lowest scores of any comic book movie. The top critic score is even lower at a measly 26%.
The reaction that people had to the movie puts the future of the DC Extended Universe in question, and there could definitely be some changes made when it comes to future DC Comics films. The box office will be the true test of what the future holds for this film series, and so far it is getting by with a $170 million domestic opening weekend. However, just imagine what kind of numbers it could have pulled in if the movie was actually good. This article obviously contains spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movie don’t go any further.
15. Dream sequences
There are multiple dream sequences in Batman v Superman, and none of them are necessary. They serve no purpose other than to tell people about a Justice League movie. If you aren’t a comic book fan you will be confused. Batman is distraught about the murder of his parents as he always is, but a bat monster coming out of his father’s coffin is completely pointless. It’s only there to have some creepy special effects.
The Flash dream sequence also doesn’t make sense. If Flash is coming back in time to warn Batman about a potential future threat, why is he coming to Batman in a dream? Superman talks to his father’s ghost and Batman sees visions of Darkseid. Most of these are lazy plot devices for future movies and do nothing to move the story of this movie forward. It’s actually quite fitting there are so many dream sequences in the film because it makes you want to fall asleep.
14. More destruction
Apparently Zack Snyder didn’t learn anything after the complaints about Man of Steel. The movie started out promising showing Bruce Wayne running into the rubble of the Wayne financial building. It showed the repercussions of the widespread chaos that happened in Metropolis during Man of Steel. However, that’s where it ends.
It looked as if the problems of Man of Steel were going to be fixed, but by the end of the movie it’s more explosions and rubble. It looks like a mess, too. The explosions that are so dizzying it will give you a headache to look at them. Don’t worry though, despite all the destruction they make a point to tell the audiences it’s all in an uninhabited part of the city, so there will be no civilian causalities this time. Talk about lack of subtlety.
13. Lois Lane
Just as in Man of Steel, Lois Lane is only in the movie when the writers have written themselves into the corner and need some device to keep the story going. She is not a fleshed out or well-rounded character. Instead, Lois Lane is a device to show exposition.
Superman may have plenty of powers, but Lois Lane has the most amazing power of all. She can magically show up when it is convenient. She somehow finds out exactly where Batman and Superman are fighting, and after throwing away a kryptonite spear she later realizes that spear is needed without actually knowing what’s happening during the film’s final battle.
12. Shoehorning in other DC characters
Marvel Studios has received plenty of criticism for having some films be too much of a stepping stone to set up future films rather than, first and foremost, focusing on a good standalone story. For the most part Marvel gets it right. For every Iron Man 2 there is a Captain America: Winter Soldier. Sometimes Marvel does it perfectly and makes a movie like Ant-Man, which works as a stand alone movie yet manages to set up future movies without having things feel forced.
Batman v Superman shows the mistake of DC doing the opposite of the Marvel. There’s Wonder Woman in this movie, too. She gets the most set up, and since she is one of the main characters, her teaming up with Batman and Superman is palatable. However, the movie also introduces Flash in a confusing dream sequence. The entire lineup of the Justice League: Cyborg, Aquaman, Flash and Wonder Woman are shown as part of a computer file that Lex Luthor was gathering. They even have their own CW-quality intro videos and icons of their symbols on their folders! Introducing the Justice League this way is about as lame as you can get. They didn’t have to be there at all, but at least think of a more intriguing way of introducing them.
11. Having Batman join Superman is forced
Martha. That’s all it takes for Batman to decide that he doesn’t want to kill Superman after all. He shouldn’t really have wanted to killed Superman in the first place, but the fact that Clark’s mother has the same name as Bruce’s mother is grasping at straws.
The moment is incredibly forced. Not only that, but why would Superman even say Martha in the first place? Do you call your mother by her first name? Who does that? Wouldn’t it make more sense if Superman said Lex is going to kill his ‘mom’? If he said that then of course Batman would have killed Superman and the movie would have been over.
10. Lex Luthor Jr. is annoying
Jesse Eisenberg makes Jim Carrey’s Riddler and Jamie Foxx’s Electro look like Oscar-worthy performances. His portrayal of Lex Luthor – actually it’s Lex Luthor Jr. – is so over the top it takes campy to a new level. He has weird ticks, rambles incessantly about gods and is so unconvincing that his ability to be manipulative is never believable.
This is the Lex Luthor that we are supposed to believe is smarter than even Bruce Wayne? Lex does some really weird stuff in this movie from putting a jar of piss on a senator’s desk to sticking a candy in a government official’s mouth. It’s creepy in a laughable way, not in a scary or menacing way.
9. Character motivations make no sense
Lex Luthor’s reasons for making Batman and Superman fight are non-existent in the film. It is never explained why he hates Superman and why he wants Superman to kill Batman. He goes out of his way to frame Superman multiple times even though it is completely unnecessary because the public already mostly hates Superman.
His motivations in the film are so unclear it doesn’t make sense why he does any of the things he does. Batman already wanted to kill Superman way before Lex got involved. It is never explained or even implied why Lex is doing this. There is some nonsense about Lex’s father being from East Germany and some ramblings about gods, but it goes nowhere.
8. It is very poorly edited
Scenes in this movie do not flow together well. The jumps from one scene to the next are jarring. To say this movie is random would be an understatement. It is less of a movie and more of just a collection for scenes.
Throughout the entire runtime of the movie you get a sense that vast portions of the film were cut out, and that may very well be the case since an extended cut is due out on blu-ray later this year. The movie is trying to mix together three separate movies: Batman v Superman, a Man of Steel sequel and a Justice League prequel movie.
7. Even the score is grating
Gone is the menacing, orchestral score of the Dark Knight, and instead it is replaced by a synthesized rock mix that couldn’t be further from the classic sounds of the best films. It’s loud, brash and lacks any subtlety or nuance.
Every time Wonder Woman comes on screen there is a loud electric guitar that accompanies her. It is not heroic in the least bit. It is jarring and cheesy. It’s hard to believe Hans Zimmer did this after scoring The Dark Knight, but much of the blame for the terrible music in Batman v Superman can be attributed to Junkie XL.
6. Cringe-worthy dialogue
Did someone actually think lines like: “don’t give me a bucket of piss and call it granny’s peach tea” was good writing? The things some of the characters say in Batman v Superman are completely mind-boggling. Lex Luthor rambles on incoherently about gods and other such nonsense for what seems like an eternity.
The writing in the film is just plain bad. Having Batman realize Superman has the same name as his mother is not clever, and the attempts at jokes are so bad that even two-bit, amateur stand-ups wouldn’t tell them. Having Martha Kent joke that Batman must be a friend of Superman because they both wear capes is pathetic.
5. It makes a mockery of the greatest DC comics
One of the greatest Batman comic books is The Dark Knight Returns and one of the greatest Superman comics is The Death of Superman. Both these groundbreaking tales are used as influence for Batman v Superman. The influence is mostly visual however. The key messages of these stellar comic books are completely ignored.
Batman’s defeat of Superman in The Dark Knight Returns was to prove to Superman that he cannot be controlled, but Batman never intended to kill Superman. In Batman v Superman he is ready to impale Superman to death. The Death of Superman elements are so rushed there is no time to examine the most interesting aspect of that story – the world’s mourning after the death of a hero.
4. It’s almost entirely humorless
There are a few jokes in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but they are few and far between. The ones that are there are not funny at all. It’s not as if a movie about Batman fighting Superman has to be filled with corny one liners and constant jokes like some of the Marvel movies.
It’s not a comedy like Guardians of the Galaxy or Ant-Man. However, a little humor goes a long way. The Winter Soldier was deadly serious, but it had quite a few belly laughs. A little levity helps a lot; even The Dark Knight had jokes that weren’t forced.
3. Batman is a murderer
Every director who makes a Batman movie decides to have Batman kill people. Why is this? The most vital character trait of Batman is that he is about justice, not vengeance. He hates guns and he doesn’t kill. Burton went down a slippery path with Batman on film. Nolan took a step back, but still had Batman kill people – either by not saving them or through collateral damage. Zack Snyder’s Batman leaves a path of destruction so uncompromising that he seems less like Batman and more like The Punisher. In Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns Batman famously says that “guns are the weapon of the enemy,” and he snaps a gun in half with his hands. In Batman v Superman, Batman happily points a criminal’s gun at a hostage taker and blows him to smithereens.
Cars land on top of one another and the criminal drivers are crushed. Batman even flat out uses guns himself and shoots a Superman terrorist in the face – yes, it’s a dream sequence, but the act is still so unforgivable. For all the visual influence Snyder took from The Dark Knight Returns he refused to look at the true message of the book. Even in his bleakest, most weary and beaten down Batman will go out of his way to not kill. He will break every limb in a mutant’s body and even paralyze the Joker, but he will not take a life.
2. It’s incredibly boring
Even for a Zack Snyder film, Batman v Superman has very little action, and the action that is there is mostly a mess. The CGI looks extremely dated. It’s a video game on steroids and nothing more. After Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which just came out last year, we are now accustomed to a certain level of special effects. There have been numerous blockbusters that have seamlessly blended CGI with real world environments and made us think that what we see on screen is actually happening. This is not one of those films.
You can’t have a movie be overly long, nonsensical and a CGI-green-screen-fest and expect it to connect with audiences. We need more than that. There are long stretches of the movie where nothing happens, and when it finally does throw in some action it is almost always underwhelming. The best part of the movie is when an armored Batman finally fights Superman, but it only lasts 5 minutes and Batman almost kills Superman. Even the most exciting part of this film is a snoozefest.
1. Marvel did it much better
Superheroes fighting, superheroes joining up to fight a bigger foe, senate hearings, political mystery and intrigue – all these things are in Batman v Superman, and they are also in a number of Marvel movies including The Winter Soldier, The Avengers and Iron Man 2. Therein lies one of the greatest problems in Batman v Superman.
The Marvel movies had these elements spread out over multiple movies while Batman v Superman tries to put it all in one movie. Whether you’re a DC fanboy or a Marvelite is irrelevant. Marvel did everything we saw in Batman v Superman much more competently. Watching the late great Gary Shandling as Senator Sterns in Iron Man 2 was infinitely more enjoyable that watching Holly Hunter stare at a jar of urine. Hulkbuster vs Hulk was much more entertaining than watching Batman fight Superman in a dingy building, and unraveling the mystery of Hydra was so much more fun to watch than seeing Lois Lane haphazardly stumble towards revealing Lex Luthor was behind the Superman framings.