Batman v Superman: esertawn of Justice has to be one of the most polarizing movies of the last decade. Not since Interstellar or Man of Steel have I seen a movie so hotly debated. A movie that is as as fiercely defended as it is savagely ripped apart.
I happen to be in the camp of people who despise BvS, and for no shortage of reasons. So many, in fact, this week’s Unopinionated tackles one-half of an unpopular opinion. The opinion, of course, is that the movie is a “masterpiece” and one of the best superhero movies of all time.
Some of you may be scratching your heads at this, and some are nodding in agreement. So I’m here to provide a comprehensive list of reasons why this movie is a disaster, along with some retroactive “Bonus” updates I’ve added to push up the number. I can see how someone can walk away from BvS feeling sort of mixed, maybe even liking it just fine, simply because there are some genuinely stellar moments to be found.
The key thing to remember is that I hate this movie because of the sum of all these problems, not because of any one issue (though a few come close to breaking the movie on their own). It’s the totality of all these incredibly frustrating issues that overshadows what actually works in this movie, of which there’s really not that much.
Obviously, SPOILERS follow from here on out.
Let’s begin with the most common complaint:
#1 The editing is unforgivable.
There’s a reason virtually every critic and most fans agree on this. Never before in a superhero film (maybe any film) have I seen a movie so sloppily stitched together without any thought given to transition, context, or dramatic buildup. Like I said in my review, it’s akin to viewing the deleted scenes of a DVD in random order.
The biggest culprit has to be the scene where future Justice League characters are hinted at via an…email…attachment. This occurs right in-between two crucial scenes that encompass the main fight — which is what we really want to see — solely in order to tease other movies.
BONUS: Every scene tries to “wow” you
At first glance, this should be a great thing. The movie tries hard to impress with stunning set piece after stunning set piece.
The problem is that when every scene is a spectacle, none of them really are. It becomes monotone, forsaking a pleasant rhythm for a movie crammed with competing eye-candy.
#2 Superman is too invincible.
This doesn’t have to be a problem, because the character can still work when he’s overpowered. But in BvS, his sheer unbreakable nature is inconsistent with what this universe sets up.
What, Superman can kill Zod by twisting his neck, but artillery fire just bounces off him? Nothing seems to ever hurt or phase Superman, and when something finally does, he just heals himself almost instantly. A nuclear blast doesn’t even manage to keep him down longer than a few minutes.
But the real problem is that we’re supposed to believe Superman is dead at the end of the movie. Even if you’re not familiar with the dozens of other reasons why this isn’t possible, the fact that Superman can recover from anything makes this part of the movie feel completely hollow.
#3 Disconnected characterization
There’s a huge disconnect between who the characters are (as they’re presented) and what the characters say about each other.
The main fight is the biggest victim here. A fight between Batman and Superman should occur because these are two characters with differing ideologies. But Batman’s only motivation for killing Superman is a perceived misunderstanding of who the character is, and Superman’s motivation for fighting Batman is to hold him off long enough to tell him that they need to save his mom.
#4 Batman worships the plot
After winning the battle, Batman drags the fight out (literally) and assembles a spear to pierce Superman’s side with kryptonite. He doesn’t do this because of anything related to how his character has been set up. It only happens because the plot demands Jesus imagery.
BONUS: Superman calls his mother by her first name, instead of “Mom”
Look, I know he’s an alien, but who does that? You know, unless the plot/script/Zack Snyder tells you to?
After all, the same effect could have been achieved (and it may have been a lot clearer) if Superman had just said, “I need to save my mom!” But this reeks of a screenwriter thinking it’s a big mind-blowing moment that these two comic book characters have mothers with the same name, so that just has to be emphasized because it’s more “meaningful.”
#5 Batman has a change of everything
The titular conflict is resolved by the main characters having moms with the same name. That’s the best they could do.
Worse, the movie cuts to flashbacks from the same movie to remind people who Martha is. Because it’s convinced we’re too confused at this point to understand what kind of movie we’re watching, which is a fair prediction.
In other words, we got a Mother’s Day movie instead of an Easter one. Well, fine, we got both.
#6 Batman should still hate Superman
Having parents with the same name doesn’t negate ANYTHING presented about why Batman hates Superman. It’s not because he has parental issues, or that he doesn’t think Superman has parents for some reason. It’s because Superman has thus far been a hugely dangerous alien who causes more harm than good and holds the potential to destroy the world on a whim. Nothing about him having a mother named Martha changes that.
#7 The world’s greatest detective had no idea Superman/Clark Kent’s mom was named Martha until the plot needed it to
#8 Batman is terrible at his job
Leading up to his toughest fight ever, Batman seems to know nothing about Superman, or even care about figuring out who the guy is and what makes him tick. This is despite the movie taking place 18 months after Superman’s arrival, giving him plenty of time and motive to do his research .
Again, he’s about to take on the deadliest being on the planet without knowing something as crucial as where the guy comes from and who he’s related to. He only lucks into figuring out the kryptonite thing because he steals files from Lex.
The movie wants to repurpose Dark Knight Returns so it can have the same pathos of that story, even though that comic only works because Batman and Superman start as friends and become enemies. In BvS, both guys hate each other without even meeting, then become best friends in the span of three seconds.
#9 Batman, a character who kills people indiscriminately even when he doesn’t need to in this movie, doesn’t just kill Superman on the spot.
#10 Batman’s bloodlust is off-kilter
Batman has long been a character who takes his role seriously, always teetering on the edge of becoming a criminal himself. The movie alters his character by dropping lines that Bruce now considers himself a criminal, messily setting up a character who kills with indifference.
But like I’ve already mentioned, Snyder is channeling Dark Knight Returns, a comic in which Batman goes out of his way to condemn the use of guns with bullets. Snyder knew this, but he still made a movie where Batman kills people with guns all the time, simply because he thinks his interpretation of the character is better, despite the “no killing” rule being an established character point for half a century (and for good reason).
And yes, I’m well aware that Batman throughout the ages has killed plenty of times before. But Batman has also always reflected the culture of our time. In the 80s, it sort of made sense that a bleak comic like Dark Knight Returns and even the Tim Burton movie would show a Batman as hard on crime as people were during that decade.
But in 2016, gun violence is a much more sensitive issue that is being debated daily. Our culture wants a Batman who has the restraint to not cross that line, especially during an age when police officers are being scrutinized for essentially doing the same thing.
BONUS: The source material doesn’t work here
I’ve debated this over the past few days and have come to the conclusion that doing Dark Knight Returns and Death of Superman was a terrible decision. For one thing, DKR isn’t canon, as it envisions a purposefully darker world with ideas and concepts that wouldn’t fit within the standard Batman character.
What Snyder tries to do with DKR is emphasize the short fight between him and Superman, which wasn’t the point of the comic. But the big issue is that these stories Snyder is working from represent the end of these characters, not the beginning. To kick off a franchise with the end of a story arc we have no connection to is a big reason why so many people are divisive on whether or not BvS can carry these characters forward.
#11 Superman is an alien in more ways than one
He doesn’t even remotely resemble any of the incarnations that made him famous or likable in the first place. His personality in BvS feels hijacked by a madman who actually hates the character, replacing everything interesting about him with insultingly shallow douchebaggery.
Snyder thinks this is fine, though, because he’s borrowing from comics that don’t relate to this take on Superman and using them to tell a story that doesn’t gel within the context of this Superman.
BONUS: Superman is still a metaphorical Jesus
But this shouldn’t only be the case. Superman is also much like the character of Moses, who was sent away as an infant to be raised by another set of people. His optimism is what makes him a great leader for these people, as it’s his power from being born a Hebrew blessed by God that allows him to perform incredible wonders after seeing the burning bush (there’s a reason the Sun gives Superman his powers).
Jesus, on the other hand, is a healer and sacrificial lamb. The people who want Jesus to be some sort of warrior are the same who expected him to overthrow the Roman Empire. There are some small, subtle ways you can present Superman as a sort of “Son of God’ messiah, but his entire character shouldn’t be based on this foundation. BvS relies far too much on this one metaphor, rather than adding layers that make Clark Kent more unique and memorable.
Since Man of Steel, Snyder and company’s vision for Superman is to perpetually be this “God” to people, willing to sacrifice…his public image, I suppose…to save everyone. BvS is overt with its religious symbolism, but not for the right reasons.
#12 Superman’s ethics deserve to be scrutinized
Throughout BvS, Superman shows no indication that he cares about anyone besides himself, Lois, or Martha. During the few scenes where we actually see Superman saving people, the camera focuses on his reaction to the hero worship, instead of the people he saved. Implying that Superman cares more about being loved than doing what’s right.
The exception is how Superman feels about his inner circle, whom he calls his “whole world.” We’re supposed to feel him take on this burden of sacrificing his life to kill Doomsday, but it just feels like he’s doing it to protect Lois. No wonder it makes no sense that he suddenly becomes friends with Batman at the drop of a name.
#13 Superman is a Nietzsche fan
It’s pretty disturbing to watch a superhero based in noble ethics have so much nihilism dripping off his logo. Superman disappears in the second act when things get tough, and he never tries to communicate with any of the people who are sick of him having so much power without showing an ounce of restraint. And when he’s about to finally make his case, the plot blows everything up before he gets a chance to speak.
In other words, his passivity mixed with so much outward aggression is jarring and illogical as a characteristic, making him tremendously difficult to root for.
#14 BvS is devoid of craft
Sure, there are inklings of technique in regard to cinematography and some action scenes. But aside from that, there are no establishing shots. Just closeups that assume you’ll know what’s going on because…you better!
Even the batmobile gets no hero shot, as it just appears in motion out of nowhere, as if we should have already pored over the stills online before bothering to watch the movie.
#15 Superman stops Batman from catching Russian criminals and then lets them get away
“Consider this mercy.”
Yeah, I would want to shut him up, too.
#16 Zack Snyder is irresponsible with these characters
Jimmy Olsen, Superman’s best friend in the comics, is killed off in the first ten minutes of the film without anyone knowing it was even him. And Zack Snyder essentially said he did this because he could and thought it would be “fun.”
I’m not joking. His direct quote:
“…we don’t have room for Jimmy Olsen in our big pantheon of characters, but we can have fun with him, right?”
And yes, I’m aware that in the deleted scenes, this reporter introduces himself as Jimmy Olsen. That only adds to this that Zack knew what he was doing from the beginning and wanted to hide it.
#17 There are FIVE dream sequences.
#18 And a dream sequence within a dream sequence
Best of all, none of them contribute anything to the plot of this movie, aside from your own fill-in-the-blanks theories that Snyder will probably have “fun” with later.
And sure, you can argue that some of the Batman sequences flesh out his character somewhat, but do they, really? Do bats lifting young Bruce Wayne in the air do anything besides give us all miniature panic attacks that the movie is starting off with something so bat—crazy?
BONUS: “The Flash” (if that’s him) manages to time travel to other peoples’ dreams
#19 The action has no consequences
Too much of this movie foregoes any real sense of cause and effect. Just a lot of plot meandering and characters bouncing back from what should traumatize or kill them.
So a lot of “stuff” happens, but none of it seems to matter, at least to the characters. The Senate blows up? Better not mention how this will destabilize democracy, or even just mention it at all ever again.
#20 The last 20 minutes are pointless
(I swear it’s a coincidence that #20 is about the last 20 minutes)
I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see a movie finally end, because the last stretch (or 5th act as I like to call it) of BvS forces us to act like we don’t know Superman is coming back to life, despite the concept art WB has already come out with showing him leading the Justice League.
Look, there’s room for some drama surrounding how his supposed death would affect his friends and the world that took him for granted. But to dwell on it for 20 minutes — mostly with characters who will be forced to move on when they realize he’s fine — is just bizarre for a movie that desperately needed to be cut short.
#21 It’s no fun
Yeah, it’s no fun. And no, I don’t mean “fun” like how Marvel movies have endless quips, as if that’s all superhero movies know how to do in order to achieve maximum funness.
A movie doesn’t need to be humorous or lighthearted to be fun. That’s not what “fun” is. If that were the case, no one would love The Dark Knight. Even for a movie that grim and serious, we had fun watching Christian Bale and Heath Ledger play Batman and the Joker.
Why? Because it’s fun (and thrilling) watching characters you love being handled competently within a cohesive narrative. It’s fun watching a madman carry out a uniquely evil plan that actually aligns with his motivations. It’s earned when Batman comes to terms with the sacrifice that will save Harvey Dent’s reputation. It’s just exceptionally made, which makes it fun to watch.
No one is asking for DC to make Marvel movies (unless they’re just not DC fans in the first place). We just want to have fun watching Batman fight Superman.
BONUS: BvS is intentionally incomplete
Even as I was first writing this this list, Warner Bros. has been coming out with deleted scenes, extra clips, and conversational explanations for what was going on during the movie.
In other words, they’ve admitted to shipping an incomplete product and now expect us to pay full price.
I understand that keeping the running time tight is a priority, but not at the expense of the audience making heads or tails out of your movie. So many questions are raised with so little answers, it’s a wonder more people aren’t asking for a refund until they can buy the 3 hour director’s cut.
#22 Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
Weirdly, this was worse than what we expected. He’s spastic, annoying, and hard to take seriously, even in a movie as serious as BvS. Worst of all, he’s more like an evil Mark Zuckerberg (Social Network comparisons aside), not a believable embodiment of Superman’s greatest enemy.
#23 Lex Luthor’s motivations
Lex Luthor only wants to kill Superman because the plot needs him to. Yes, he goes on about gods, devils, and other vague philosophical dogma he somewhat mixes with his own daddy issues, but none of it connects outside of what was conceived in a cramped writer’s room.
#24 Lex Luthor’s plan
Lex goes to insanely complicated and convoluted lengths to get Batman to do what he was planning to do for the entire movie. All he had to do was just give Batman the kryptonite and capture Martha Kent and the same thing would have been accomplished.
Oh, but he needs everyone to hate Superman first! That’s why he orchestrates events that make Superman look bad! We’ll get to those specific plot points later, but the fact is that people already hate Superman. Not everyone, obviously, but it’s not like Superman’s public image was good enough for a “genius” like Lex to waste so much time and effort undermining.
#24 Lex Luthor’s Plan B
If Lex’s plan failed, in that Batman didn’t kill Superman, he would have to deal with an angered Superman coming after him for kidnapping his mother. Sure, Doomsday is meant to be Plan B, but Lex has no idea what the experiment in the ship is going to create, let alone a way to kill Superman. How is he so sure this creature will be powerful enough to stop Superman at all, considering the fact that he births Doomsday while this is all happening?
#25 Lex Luthor’s imprisonment
Lex Luthor is convicted off-screen, but for what, really? The only people who have proof of Lex’s wrongdoing are either dead or lacking of any credibility. Lois Lane is the only person capable of presenting a case, but without any real evidence (exposing Martha Kent would expose Clark’s true identity), this would just be a long court trial, not an immediate imprisonment. Considering Lex is a billionaire, it’s beyond implausible that he’d get thrown in jail so easily.
Of course, the film could have explained this better in less than a minute, but why bother adding weight to such a crucial plot point? We’ve barely gotten that anywhere else in this film.
BONUS: Lex Luthor’s handling of imprisonment
This guy knows the secret identity of both Batman and Superman (along with the rest of the future Justice League). And you’re telling me that in jail, he’s not going to expose them as revenge? Just because Batman shows up and almost brands him?
#26 “Day vs Night” is anything but
For a Batman vs. Superman movie to work, there needs to be some contrast between the characters, but that’s not the case, here. Superman is just as brooding, violent, and impulsive as Batman. It’s not “day versus night.” It’s 8:00 p.m. versus 8:30 p.m.
#27 Superman’s dialogue
Even when Superman finally does speak for himself, it’s just odd and makes me want to see him be overly quiet and ominous again.
Superman saves Lois after she falls off the building, then he comes back to Lex on the rooftop and instead of saying anything meaningful, he spouts off an eccentric one-liner that makes no sense within the context of the movie. This happens dozens of times, proving BvS was written by entry-level philosophy college students who just watched The Matrix for the first time.
#28 BvS is too “real” when it shouldn’t be
We already live in a world where people complain on the news about things like terrorism. Why does this exist in a Superman movie? It can, but why is it the main focus, when most of us are yearning for escapism, or at least an optimistic escapism that is only somewhat grounded, not buried thousands of feet into the ground.
#29 Superman and Batman are dolts
It should have taken either of these characters less than a day to see through what Lex was planning and put a stop to it. For them to be this easily manipulated by a psychotic millennial is baffling, to say the least.
#30 Batman is the only character with a real story arc
This is a movie that foregoes introductions and establishing shots for pretentious dialogue that would make Aaron Sorkin retire. The reason most people consider Ben Affleck’s Batman to be the best character is because he’s really the only character who has any sort of real set up in this movie, from the quick origin montage to the Metropolis flashback that explains his ill feelings toward Superman.
Superman, Lex, and Wonder Woman get nothing like this, so by the end of the movie, we still have no idea what Superman or Lex really want because nothing for them comes full circle.
#31 “It’s uninhabited!” is actually a line in this movie.
#32 “I’m a friend of your son.” No you’re not.
#33 “I knew you were his friend because of the cape.” No, you did not.
#34 Random techno war music
The techno theme for Wonder Woman sure is cool (really, it is), except for how it fits within the rest of the movie’s music. In that it doesn’t at all.
#35 Lois Lane hates spears, then loves them
As the threat of Doomsday looms, Lois throws the kryptonite spear into the water for no reason. Then she goes back to get it, even though she has no idea the heroes need it. She would have to assume the monster was Kryptonian somehow. She has to guess that…
#36 Lex Luthor builds a giant monster in the Kryptonian ship by mixing his blood with Zod’s dead body and this somehow creates life, even though that doesn’t make any sense
#37 The ship Luthor boards has zero security whatsoever.
It just does whatever Luthor asks because he asks it to do what he asks. Eisenberg clearly channeled Zack Snyder for this part of the role.
#38 Doomsday’s DNA
BvS wants us to believe that mixing the blood of a scrawny human with no powers can create a dead Kryptonian monstrosity that is vastly more powerful than a typical Kyrptonian like Superman.
#39 Snyder’s “clever” way of hinting Justice League is via an email attachment.
An email attachment. An email…attachment. An EMAIL ATTACHMENT.
#40 LexCorp has psychic graphic designers
In said email…attachment…each of these metahumans has a professionally drawn logo attributed to them. Seriously, a logo.
Never mind the fact that these guys are said to be laying low, meaning they aren’t in action yet to use said logos. Some graphic designers essentially drafted logos for these guys, and if the movie continues in the direction I think it is, they’ll ultimately use these logos without the plot ever addressing it.
Avoiding this moronic decision would only require someone to see this in editing and say, “Hey, let’s just put their codenames or something similar to just tease who they are and let the audience be surprised and work for it. You know, because that makes sense.”
But hey, postproduction only lasted well over a year for this movie.
#41 Aquaman isn’t sure how fast he is
In his short, yet oddly drawn out, cameo, Aquaman emerges from a hole in the ocean moving two feet an hour like he’s holding his breath, then blasts off through the water. He looks cool, but they made his movement look more like a first-time scuba diver, not a metahuman. For a movie that needed so much editing, they could have done way more with less.
#42 Three little words
In BvS, our main heroes are just angry, serious, and violent. There’s nothing else to them. Nothing that reveals anything outside of these grim personas and the vague circumstances that force them into action.
For example, the first scene with Superman is bizarrely violent when it doesn’t need to be. He can easily disarm the terrorist who has Lois, but he instead slams the guy through three walls. Why should we root for a guy so out of control that the movie has to lampshade this by unbelievably saying later on that the guy survived?
BONUS: Batman’s origin isn’t even done right
In that first scene, we see Bruce Wayne’s father throw the first punch against the mugger, actually giving the mugger a reason to shoot them.
What. The. $!#@.
The actual tragedy of that scene is that the mugger kills them for going along with the crime in order to protect their son. What we see instead is a father rush to handle the problem on his own, regardless of the consequences.
And that’s the crux of BvS’s take on violence. Every character punches first and asks questions later (if we’re lucky).
#43 Batman has less reason to kill Superman as the movie goes on
During BvS, it becomes clearer and clearer that Superman isn’t the real threat. But Lex’s plan (which is supposed to be planned out from the beginning) forces new plot contrivances that only sort of justify Batman getting angrier and more aggressive because the big battle needs to happen.
#44 BvS feels like too many movies forced into one running time
What we should have gotten was a Man of Steel sequel, followed by a Batman franchise starter, finished with their fight movie that hints Wonder Woman and transitions into Superman’s death, setting up the excitement for his return in Justice League.
DC could have easily taken their time with this cinematic universe, and there’s no reason for them not to. But they went for shortcuts, and these characters deserve much better than that.
#45 The marketing
The trailers ruined the movie for those of us forced to watch them in theaters. If you watched most of them, you’ve already seen the basic structure of the plot (told in the same order), giving away some of the movie’s most crucial twists and surprises, including some of the better dialogue.
#46 Wonder Woman’s purpose
There’s nary a mention of who Wonder Woman is or why she’s in this movie. We don’t need an origin story, but the movie has to at least give us something about why she’s really here and how she has powers. But no one questions it because the plot has other things to do, like show Jesse Eisenberg eating jolly ranchers.
#47 Wonder Woman’s plot
Wonder Woman comes to Metropolis to get that revealing picture of her from Luthor, but when she doesn’t get it, she just leaves like it’s no big deal. Why bother trying to get it at all, then?
#48 Wonder Woman’s motivations
Why does she even care about a photo of someone who looks like her from a 100 years ago? It’s not like any normal person will assume that’s her. It could easily be an old relative because genetics are a thing. Of course, this is a movie where Clark Kent wearing glasses is enough to disguise himself in a building where people make the news and are therefore more than familiar with what Superman looks like.
#49 Clark Kent’s disguise
Clark Kent works at a newspaper as his cover, where people are more likely to recognize him. Also, his disguise actually works, even when news of his death is on the other side of the page showing the death of Superman.
#50 Clark Kent’s employment
Clark Kent should be fired from the Daily Planet. He has no experience as a reporter, as proven by the last movie which showed him wandering around instead of getting a degree. He doesn’t do his job well, ignores his boss constantly, is never at his desk, and yet he gets great assignments like covering Lex Luthor’s charity ball, or whatever that event was.
#51 Lex Luthor’s knowledge of Clark Kent
Lex Luthor brags that he loves bringing people together when he sees Clark Kent talking to Bruce Wayne. But how does Lex know anything about a novice reporter at a newspaper and care enough to talk to him? It’s clear they’ve never met because they shake hands for the first time, so is Clark famous? And if so, why would he work in a job that would allow him to be this recognizable, therefore blowing his cover whenever someone takes a picture of Superman during the dozens of times he lingers around crowds letting them worship him?
#52 Bruce Wayne goes full Wayne
During the whole crisis in MoS, Bruce Wayne decides to…drive over there? Instead of dressing up as Batman and actually using the Batwing to save people during an alien invasion? Gotham is across the bay, so why not go back there and suit up?
You can argue that he doesn’t want the employees to know his identity, but that’s suggesting that Wayne cares more about his identity than these human lives maybe suspecting who he really is.
#53 The Knightmare sequence is a Nightmare
Bruce Wayne dreams about a future in which aliens have invaded earth, and Superman leads them, killing everyone in sight. This came out of nowhere, with no buildup or hint as to what was happening, losing most of the audience and even comic book fans familiar with the story.
It also lacked any purpose. Bruce Wayne already wanted to take Superman down, so this just made him…more mad? Except it’s never mentioned again and clearly only exists to set up future movies.
Also, how can Bruce Wayne see the future at all? Is someone giving him this ability off-screen? If so, it’s a failure of the movie as a movie that we have no idea what’s going on here.
#54 Wonder Woman’s bracelets
Wonder Woman blocks Doomsday’s blast with her bracelets, even though she has a shield. This reeks of “let’s show her using her bracelets!” decision-making rather than letting the character do what the character would actually do. After all, there’s a reason that smile Gal Gadot makes was improvised.
#55 The BvS fight had terrible camerawork
The frame stuttered quite a bit during these scenes, taking me out of the movie completely. Even the effects seemed pretty off during several parts. It was only noticeable because the rest of the movie had a more polished and smooth look, whereas this just felt like a shoehorned effect to make the fight seem more unexpected and chaotic.
I’ll also add that some shots of the movie are needless. There’s a scene where the camera lingers on the logo of the Aston Martin for several seconds, and we see the car in motion for maybe a few seconds before it never shows up again. What was the point of that? To show off the wealth of the character? How does that even matter?
#56 Everyone has an identity crisis
We’re given no real moments where someone figures out who another character really is. Lex Luthor just knows Superman is Clark Kent when it’s convenient. Superman calls out to Batman using his real name, which is never defined despite how easy it would be for him to see through the mask and show the audience what’s going on inside Clark’s head (not that we ever get that).
With identity being such a major theme of this movie, you’d think they wouldn’t be so lazy and vague with how literal identities shape these characters and how they interact. You’re left just guessing at every turn.
#57 The Batbrand
Batman brands his criminals, who then get killed in prison for being branded because…well, who knows? It’s never explained why inmprisoned criminals would kill someone bad enough to be branded by the Batman. Why wouldn’t this be some sort of badge of honor, or a reason for criminals to hate Batman more instead of each other?
#58 Superman is blamed for the desert shooting
When the terrorists are killed during Superman’s rescue of Lois Lane, he’s immediately blamed for the carnage, even though it’s clear they were shot to death. This is despite eye-witness accounts from a reporter (Lois Lane) and the fact that these guys were shot with bullets. How on earth would anyone, including the world’s greatest detective who mows people down with machine guns himself, believe Superman is responsible enough for this? Especially to warrant a court hearing?
The common argument is that the government covered the whole thing up with Lex’s help, so it was convincing somehow.
Oh, is that it?
Again, you have an eye-witness account from Lois Lane, and if this really is a government cover up, they’ve decided to let her (a reporter) just move along without doing anything to make sure they’re exposed. Not only that, but they use special bullets to do the killings for virtually no other reason than for Lois to be able to trace them and figure out who did it.
That’s not screenwriting, that’s just screenfingerpaintingonthewalls.
#59 Superman’s selective hearing
Toward the end of the movie, Superman certainly wasn’t “paying attention” when he heard Lois nearly drowning. Yet he couldn’t hear the bomb in the courtroom ticking away when he had every reason to be vigilant?
#60 Superman’s selective heroics
When the courtroom explodes, everyone inside is obviously killed instantly. But there are undoubtedly a large number of people in the surrounding area and inside the building who certainly need help and haven’t died yet. But instead of springing into action and trying to stop the fire, Superman sulks in the courtroom and does nothing.
This couldn’t describe my issue with Snyder’s Superman any better. Even when he has every reason in the world to do something heroic, he broods, instead.
#61 Lex is basically Zack Snyder
By blowing up the courtroom, Lex purposefully killed off his right-hand woman, Mercy. Why? Why get rid of such an important character connected to the schemer behind the plot? Jimmy Olsen got better treatment than this (almost).
Or, maybe, Mercy made those logos for the videos and Lex hated them. That makes about as much sense as anything else in this film.
#62 Everyone’s selective hatred
I’m not trying to be repetitive, but WHY do people think Superman had anything to do with the courtroom blowing up? None of his powers include explosion-causing, yet no one seems to bat an eye at the fact that Lex Luthor happened to be absent that day. And we’re supposed to believe he went to jail later on the word of Lois Lane, who can’t even make up her mind about a spear or convince people that terrorists killed people?
#63 Superman’s sacrifice
I can get behind Superman needing to be the one to kill Doomsday because Wonder Woman has to hold him down long enough for Superman to make the kill. But why doesn’t even he try to reverse this role? Instead of taking a moment to think, he just believes that only he can use the spear, even though he’s seen Wonder Woman be just as powerful as him.
All it would take is for him to give the spear to Wonder Woman and then get Doomsday in a headlock, subduing him long enough for her to finish the job, therefore sparing everyone.
#64 Superman has a waking dream sequence
Late in the movie, Clark hikes a mountain, channeling his wanderer side plot from the last movie. He then inexplicably hallucinates an entire conversation with his dead father. Is he sleeping? Is Clark finally going crazy? Why does he have so much gear, anyway, considering his power set? Nothing about this scene is explained or set up because too many philosophical diatribes need to be thrown at Clark while he watches with a blank look on his face.
Oh, and nothing of consequence happens right after.
BONUS: These characters are changed in order to fit the plot, not the other way around
It’s pretty simple and one of the biggest issues I have with this movie. I’ve mentioned above in detail about how these characters are poorly realized, but the issue that fuels all of them is how every change made (Batman killing without remorse, Lex being crazy instead of intelligent, etc.) is only there in order to fit the plot for this one movie. Not because that’s how these characters should be written in order to influence the plot.
Screw the editing. That’s way more unforgivable.
#65 BvS is never in the moment
I’ve alluded to this a few times, but a major problem with BvS is that it consistently trades character development for more plot points that help set up future movies. Instead of diving into who Superman is and what he wants, the plot shifts to a side plot with Lex Luthor at random. Just when you’re starting to get intrigued by Lex’s plan, the movie shifts to some unrelated banter between Batman and Alfred for the next Batman movie. There’s just no focus, because there’s too much of it.
After all of this, I still don’t think BvS is the worst superhero movie of all time, mostly because it at least gets some things right — Batman being Batman (most of the time), CGI fight choreography, and some good questions that need to be asked in modern superhero movies, like Should there be a Superman?
But there are so many needless errors and messy flaws with this movie that I can’t help but hold the film up against this laundry list of issues and make my negative conclusions. All superhero movies have their share of flaws and plot holes, but BvS can’t go a few minutes without making my eyebrows fly off my forehead.