It has been a week since I saw BvS, enough time to clear my thoughts and be objective about this film. After seeing negative review after negative review I am actually shocked I was in a theater preview night.
BvS suffers from following the Nolan trilogy, and takes itself to seriously. This tone works for Batman, but Superman should have been treated differently. Yes, he can be a serious character but also a symbol of hope and the opposite of Batman. Giving these characters the same dark tone makes their title fight less meaningful. Man of Steel established Superman kills and takes drastic measures to save Earth, the same as BvS’s Batman. He does not care for Batman’s violent methods, but his opening scene shows him ramming(?) a man through a stonewall, something a human would not likely survive.
Without a greater distinction between the characters, their fight is forced, since the title demands there be a fight, and without proper motivation. Even its conclusion is quite frankly stupid. What frustrates me is they were setting it up for the confrontation to be very meaningful and justifiable. The scene of Metropolis being destroyed through Bruce Wayne’s eyes let the audience understand the human fear of these supermen and the fear that they cannot be stopped. As the film continues this point falls apart as character upon character are introduced and we are bombarded by a series of short scenes not fully developed.
Here I admit I let my knowledge of the comics get the better a little, but Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor was incomprehensible most of the time, spewing poetry and metaphors that seemed to have no place. He was not Lex Luthor, but some failed blending of the Joker, Riddler, and probably many other DC villains. This is not a villain to fear. How I wish Kevin Spacey or Clancy Brown could have reprised their roles from Superman Returns or Superman: The Animated Series respectively. Even the creation of Doomsday was unsatisfying.
Perhaps what bothered me the most is how Martha Kent and Lois Lane were only in the movie to fulfill the role of damsel in distress, which Lois plays on three separate occasions. Probably of equal annoyance were the four dream sequences, of which one was a prophetic dream. We get these characters have issues, but they do not need to be explored through dreams.
The list of problems goes on but would divulge too many spoilers for those fortunate enough not to see this movie.
I might be slightly unfair though, because there were some good elements to this movie, making the bad all the more frustrating. Ben Affleck and Jeremy Irons were great in their scenes together. I will admit I was one of the people who groaned when Affleck was first cast, but he may well be the best part of the movie. His Batman is experienced and getting old and you can understand his issues with Superman. Irons’ Alfred also more closely follows the modern comics and is more a partner than a butler. I want to see this solo movie, as long as Zack Snyder is not anywhere near it. The Wonder Woman movie should also be promising. Gal Gadot did not have many lines, but she can kick butt and was the best fighter against Doomsday.
Hopefully the future movies will offer more character development and better storytelling, but with Justice League scheduled before most of the solo films this seems unlikely. The DC universe needs a Kevin Feige and a unified vision. Right now they are playing catch-up and are thinking one movie at a time and not about the entire universe.