I wasn't a fan of MAN OF STEEL (as a matter of fact, I hated it) and I would best describe it as 145-minutes of tedious garbage. Therefore my expectations for BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE were exceptionally low. With that said, and despite my distaste for the previous film, I was prepared to enter into this follow up with an open mind. And for the first twenty minutes I felt a wave of reassurance wash over me. I thought “Holy shit, this is great!” It picks up in final moments of MAN OF STEEL and depicts the mass of destruction and devastation suffered following Superman's battle with Zod. At this early point the story was presenting the human cost to super-heroism and offered a surprisingly grounded take on the genre. Enter Lex Luthor and it all turns to shit.
Through misrepresentation in the media Batman doesn't like Superman and Superman doesn't like Batman (wallah, we have a title). Lex Luther brings them together while hatching up an evil scheme to destroy Superman - because, well, that's what Luthor does – and so begins a long and arduous tussle between two of the world's most iconic superheroes that plays out like two gorillas beating their chests at the zoo. Cue lots of spiffy digital effects, that would qualify BVS for a “Best Animation” nom at the Oscars, and we're left with a sloppy mess of testosterone.
There is simply too much going on in this movie for there to be any actual creditability and given that director Zack Snyder practically killed the Superman legacy in MAN OF STEEL it was reasonable to assume that he wasn't going to resuscitate it. It is what he does to the BATMAN legacy that is heartbreaking. The movie practically ignores Christopher Nolan's wonderful DARK KNIGHT efforts and presents us with a thinly developed, one-dimensional character. Aside from a few random throwaway lines, and the ruins of the Wayne Manor, there is no correlation between Ben Affleck's Batman and Christian Bale's Batman. It's a shame too because Affleck is genuinely good.
Return players from MAN OF STEEL offer limited support and serve little purpose. Aside from Amy Adams as Lois Lane, there isn't much need for the others. People may argue that their presence is important for continuity and decisive plot points, but I would argue semantics. The story would have travelled on with out them. Laurence Fishburne, Holly Hunter and Diane Lane are wasted talent. The newcomers to the franchise(s) are wasted too - most of all Jeremy Irons. We're talking about an Academy Award winning actor who is relegated to less than fifteen minutes of screen time with little more than a few flimsy catchphrases. And of course that leaves Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor; an epic example of poor casting. I would consider Eisenberg to be one of the least versatile actors in Hollywood right now, and if you've seen him in one film then you've seen them in all. What you get is Lex Eisenberg and it's awful.
If you've paid any attention to the marketing then you will know that Wonder Woman makes her long-awaited theatrical debut. I'm sure that geeky fanboys will be creaming their shorts about her role in the film, but if ever there was a character out of place, it's her. Her inclusion in BATMAN V SUPERMAN is dumb. Her costume design is lame and her backstory is hasty and underdeveloped. And if you have half a brain you will understand the film's DAWN OF JUSTICE subtitle and know precisely where this flick is headed. “Boy I can't wait for that one” he said with sarcasm.
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE is a cut above MAN OF STEEL - and the first act is something to behold - but the rest is a messy, bloated crossover with a misplaced dedication to style... and zero enthusiasm for it's characters.