Spoilers aplenty. You have been warned.
From the title and the trailers, you would think this movie would be about Batman fighting Superman, with Wonder Woman showing up and some sort of tie-in to the upcoming Justice League movie happening at some point. What it’s actually about is two oafish morons alternating between petulance and naval gazing while Lex Luthor gambols about like a deranged elf and implements increasingly implausible plans.
It starts with the obligatory Batman origin, just in case we forgot, and proceeds through the first of several funerals and the first of many bizarre dream sequences into the climactic battle sequence from Man of Steel as seen from the point of view of the civilians frantically, and not always successfully, trying to escape from the numerous collapsing buildings. Bruce Wayne witnesses the carnage and the seeds of his obsession with Superman are planted.
From there, the movie becomes an interminable and incoherent mess. Superman is blamed for all sorts of things, and Batman becomes more and more convinced that Superman is a global threat. More bizarre dream sequences. And even with the quantity of information thrown at the audience, the movie still manages to drag. Yes, it’s true. A movie about Superman and Batman is simply boring for much of its runtime. And every scene with Lex is a truly painful experience. Portrayed as a spoiled, self-absorbed millennial who forgot to take his Ritalin, I am unable to believe this guy could mastermind a convenience store holdup.
The dialogue is horrible, the fight choreography is worse, and just how many cameos from bloviating television pundits do we really need?
Once the movie finally gets going, one is rudely reminded that director Zack Snyder also made Sucker Punch. Far too many of the action sequences are simply absurd, even for a super hero movie. Batman, while chasing some bad guys in this movie’s dark and edgy version of the Batmobile, uses a harpoon to drag a car for what seems like a couple of miles just so he can eventually send it flying into a van full of mooks. And that’s just one example.
But eventually, after Batman steals a block of kryptonite from Lex and weaponizes it, engages in a training montage that seems primarily designed to show off a shirtless Ben Affleck, decrypts a drive full of Lex’s data, discovers Diana Prince has been kicking around for at least a century, and sends Diana a copy of the data so she can watch some videos of meta-humans who are going to become the Justice League in the next movie, it seems we’re finally going to have the fight we’ve been waiting for.
Superman still needs convincing, though, so Lex pushes Lois Lane off a building. Not to worry, one of Superman’s superpowers seems to be “know exactly when and where Lois will be in trouble” so he catches her. But Lex has also captured Superman’s mom, and she’s going to literally fry if he doesn’t go kill Batman.
So now, at long last, the titular battle we’ve been waiting for. And it’s lame. It’s as if Superman and Batman are competing to see who can carry the idiot ball longest. Superman toys with Batman. Batman shoots an explosive round full of kryptonite gas. Superman is weakened. Does Batman finish him? No. Batman throws him around and toys with him. Oops, gas wore off. Batman’s in big trouble now. Nope, he’s got another kryptonite gas bomb and Superman is stupid enough to fall for the same trick twice. Knowing the gas will wear off, does Batman finish him? Nope, Batman makes some speeches, drags Superman around a bit, and cuts his cheek with a kryptonite spear.
And then, quite possibly the most ludicrous, incomprehensible moment that I’ve ever seen on film. Batman has been obsessing over Superman for years and considers him to be a danger to the entire planet. Why doesn’t he finish him? Because he finds out their mothers had the same first name. I’m not kidding.
Batman: You are an alien masquerading as a god and are responsible for thousands of deaths. There is no telling what you might do. I must kill you for the sake of all humanity.
Lois Lane: His mom’s name is Martha.
Batman: Really!? Mine too! I’m sorry I misjudged you, Superman. Let’s team up and be partners.
Superman: Great idea. *manhug*
Yep. From determined to kill Superman to best buds in 10 seconds because both their moms were named Martha. But we’re not done.
Having failed to get Batman and Superman to kill each other, Lex Luthor unleashes Doomsday. Because Lex Luthor. Wonder Woman shows up. More big fight. Superman magically detects Lois in trouble for the third time. Massive explosions and destruction, but apparently Zack Snyder got a memo telling him he’s exceeded his civilian casualty limit for this film because it’s explicitly stated that they’re fighting in an uninhabited area.
Finally, Superman takes up Batman’s kryptonite spear and charges Doomsday. Lucky for everyone that Lex used a dead Kryptonian to create his big nasty. Wait, why doesn’t Superman let Wonder Woman do that? She’s strong, she’s tough, she’s displayed skill with edged weapons, and, unlike Superman, she’s not going to be severely weakened by trying to wield a spear made out of kryptonite. But no, Superman makes a heroic sacrifice and dies in the process of slaying the foul beast.
Except we all know darn well he’s not going to stay dead. We know this. But we are subjected to not one, but two more interminable funerals and an excruciating attempt to make us feel sad. But it fails miserably because we know Superman isn’t going to stay dead.
Batman goes off to recruit the other meta-humans and form the Justice League because he has a feeling something bad is about to happen. He might as well have said he’s going to round them up because a bunch of movies have already been announced. It would have been just as plausible.
Lex Luthor is in prison and has his head completely shaved, so now he’s bald like we want our Lex Luthors to be. He’s also been reduced to a gibbering idiot prophesizing the approach of the next movie’s big bad.
Last scene: dirt on Superman’s coffin starts to levitate. Told you he wasn’t going to stay dead.
After watching this thing, I don’t have very high hopes for Justice League or any other DC Universe movie.
I give it 3.5/10