Tl;dr: This movie fails because there are no characters. No one has any motivation for what they do. Superman has no motivation to fight Batman, but it’s in the title, so he does that. Lois Lane is trying to solve a crime where Superman is accused of murdering people, but instead of saying, “Hey, these people were shot to death”, she goes on a long tour of a bullet that ends up being a prototype from Lex Corp, so Lex throws her off a building.
Batman has no motivation to fight Superman. Lex Luthor has no motivation to kill Superman. No one has any motivation, so the fight ends with a terrible CGI monster.
The movie feels like the Hobbit series. The Hobbit is a short book, so Peter Jackson merged several other Tolkien stories and plots together to pad them out. You can feel it because even though it’s called The Hobbit, there’s not much Hobbit in it. This movie has the Death of Superman plotline, the Injustice Plotline, and a couple of dozen Easter Egg references. But references don’t make movies or books. Characters do.
So there are a couple of ways to handle criticism.
- Assume the criticism is warranted and completely change based on the criticism. Let’s take Five Nights At Freddy’s as an example of this. The game maker received a ton of criticism that his kids’ games looked like something out of a nightmare. So he made a video game that’s basically a nightmare.
- Assume the criticism is warranted and give up. Let’s take Batman and Robin as the epitome of this. Joel Schumacher made a horrible film that killed the Batman franchise and he jokes about it now.
- Assume the criticism is warranted, but only change a few things. Let’s take the Assassin’s Creed series as an example of this. The third Assassin’s Creed is notoriously bad and boring, but players did like the Naval Sea battles. Assassin’s Creed 4 made this more of a fixture, but didn’t address the core problems with the game. It’s way too easy to kill guards and pirates, the naval battles are too easy, etc.
- Assume the criticism is unwarranted and change nothing. See Star Wars Prequels.
- Assume the criticism is unwarranted and there’s a grand master plan behind it. See Alexander, Ghost Busters Reboot, Red Tails.
- Assume the criticism is unwarranted and go insane. See Digital Homicide vs. Jim Sterling, Digital Homicide vs. Steam Users.
So, we have a director who has no vision coupled with a soulless performer given a script that shoots at over 4 hours. On top of that, Ben Affleck didn’t like the script while he was performing it, so he would rewrite it before he would go out.
Zack knew that on “Man of Steel” we addressed a lot of script questions in the film editing. So he was confident we could do it again.
This is an ironic statement, given that amongst the many problems, the largest one most people point out is the awful editing.
What will happen?
When last we left Zach Snyder, he told us that his insane remake of the story was going to explain away all the problems. This time, there was no constraints due to lawsuit or switching writers who were working on side projects. Warner Bros. gave free reign to someone most known for building iconic shots while not actually doing anything in the story to earn those shots, an actor who can’t act and is only in it for the money, and an actor who has been burned numerous times by big budget movies.
In addition, this is the Ultimate Edition. Which is a marketing ploy, but whatever. I won’t go into it.
So let’s see how it holds up.
Opening scene: Recounts Batman’s origin story again and then says “In my Dreams, the bats took me to the light.” Let’s avoid dream sequences.
Batman goes to the city and has a company in Metropolis and Batman has to call them to get them out of the building. Why though? This happened in Man of Steel where everyone at the Daily Planet sat around until they saw the ships start attacking the city. The ships that Zod said were going to attack the city. He said that, it’s how we’re introduced to Zod.
Instead, everyone is just hanging around at their job. I imagine any real company would send out their employees immediately. And Bruce Wayne arrives just in time just cause? So was he planning this or did he fly over immediately? Why is everyone just standing around watching destruction when things are falling down around them? Why is Bruce Wayne running towards the building, what’s he planning on doing?
Then he tries to call the building. So he flew over to make a phone call? This could actually go somewhere if we establish that Bruce Wayne is a corporate *sshole and doesn’t care about his employees and has a “always show up to work” policy even when there’s a crisis. But this never gets established, so a revenge plotline later doesn’t work.
Also if Bruce is supposed to care so much about Jack, we should have had that set up at some point. Instead, he’s some random worker who can’t figure out to send his workers home. So… why should we care exactly?
He still hasn’t let go of this Jesus/God crush. I hope this doesn’t keep popping up during the film. And then going nowhere. Because that would be terrible.
Then it cuts to scenes of children holding hands and one of his employees is down. So he helps the employee survive and rallies people together to help him.
Then we cut to Lois Lane. Lois meets Jimmy Olsen and refuses to shake his hand. Then she tells Jimmy to shut up.
So Lois Lane is a b*tch. This is great. Very great. She’s got a meeting with a general. This general asks for her specifically, because Jimmy is asking her in the scene above how she got this assignment, because the general doesn’t speak to anyone. And she’s been on the news when Superman was covered. And the general hasn’t figured out that Lois is a female name.
Grrrl power. I hope that this isn’t undercut by her doing nothing, getting rescued repeatedly, and appearing in a bathtub to get viewers interested in a boring scene
From the standpoint of anyone who has ever seen a movie, we already know that Jimmy Olsen is going to die. Because if he wasn’t going to die, she would be nice to him. But when you introduce a character as if they’re unimportant, the audience assumes that this is a deliberate choice.
So let’s talk about competent film-making. Let’s talk about Game of Thrones. In preparation for the Red Wedding, we learn all about Rob Stark and who he is and we like him. That’s because they wanted it to be a really shocking and sad thing when a good ruler is murdered.
Anyway, our Pulitzer prize winning journalist starts off by asking the General if he’s a terrorist, followed up by asking who is paying for his security. One of the security contractors starts going through Jimmy Olsen’s equipment, which is something most security personnel would do long before actually taking someone to see a General who is supposed to be deeply paranoid.
And we’re supposed to believe that people are still using film based photography?
This is set up so we can get our dominant narrative here.
Then the not shocking twist is revealed that Jimmy Olsen is carrying a camera, that has a tracker on it. And not a small tracker, but this gigantic beeping, red-dot pulsing beacon.
So now we have two levels of incompetency. The soldiers didn’t search the camera or gear prior to the meeting. And Jimmy Olsen is supposed to be a spy, but he can’t figure out to hide his tracking beacon in something other than his camera, which would be the first thing anyone would search.
How does he know this is a CIA operative?
When terrorists set up these meetings, they don’t do it at their actual compounds, they do it in remote locations where they aren’t met again. Usually in a nondescript building or cave.
But this is an outdoor location that they can describe and it appears to be a compound, so if they identify anything and report that to the CIA, then they’ll know the location of the bad guy’s compound. Seems not very bright on their part.
They execute Jimmy Olsen after he swears that Lois had nothing to do with it. The general takes Lois into a place so he can interrogate her. The CIA strike team tells their boss that they want to extract Lois Lane. The CIA head says that he’s just going to blow the place up.
The security contractors then massacre the soldiers at the compound and escape, with the main bad guy saying, “He’s coming.” So wait, how do they know Superman is coming? Like, how?
But Superman does know that Lois is in trouble and he does arrive, because plot. The movie focuses a huge amount of time on Lois, who mostly stands around and waits to be saved. That’s her entire purpose in the film.
Then the strike team arrives and rescues Lois, after seeing all the dead bodies. Then we cut to a Senate hearing, presumably, where they are asking an African woman at the village what happened. She says that Superman showed up and there was fire and the government slaughtered the villagers. We don’t actually see any of that, even in the Ultimate Edition.
But it’s back to the old Snyder version of Superman, who doesn’t seem to mind when someone dies as long as it’s not Lois.
So let’s pause. The CIA was conducting an illegal strike against a foreign national. They then bring this into an open hearing so everyone will know that. They then have to acknowledge that they massively screwed up, risking Lois Lane’s life and the life of everyone in the village in a botched attempt. Normally they try to hide these things.
Anyway, the Senate hearing says that they find Superman responsible for their botched raid and the African government and/or Security Contractor’s murder of their civilian populace. It’s also strange that they’re having a hearing with no one available to testify on Superman’s behalf.
And we’re also back to the problem with the Snyder jump-cut transition. How long after the attack did the Senate hearing take place? Immediately, two years, etc.?
Apparently this all only in the Ultimate Edition, which adds two things. One is that they use a flamethrower to make it look like they were killed with Superman’s heat vision. Except we see Superman’s heat vision in the opening credits with Ben Affleck. It’s a laser vision. It doesn’t charbroil things like a flame thrower, it slices through them. Like right through steel girders. So if this detail is added to the “Frame Superman” plotline, it doesn’t work.
Also, they shot them full of bullets, and even a preliminary investigation would have found these bullets, or the shattered bone fragments in the bodies. So… what?
The reason for the flamethrower is they also want to hide that they were killed by experimental bullets, which is what Lois pulls out the journal that fell on the ground. But she couldn’t just say, “Hey, I was there, they all shot bullets”.
The second is this African woman who doesn’t add much to the plot here.
Then we cut to two cops watching a football game where it’s Gotham City vs. Metropolis. Metropolis vs. Gotham City and the score is 58-0. There’s reports of screaming coming from a vacant house, but the cops don’t care because they’re watching the end of the game. It also doesn’t establish where the game is being played or where the cops are.
So Metropolis decides at the end of the game to go for a big touchdown. Which seems to shock everyone, because a “Hail Mary” play is pretty common in football. Metropolis scores and the Gotham City people start fighting. And then the cops leave.
Finally, the movie establishes that we are in Gotham and the sports anchors say that things could get ugly in the city.
The two cops arrive at a house with a bunch of women in the cellar. They tell them that they were saved by the devil, who is upstairs. They hear Batman torturing a suspect and he’s hanging out in the corner of the room. When the rookie cop sees him, he starts shooting at Batman with a shotgun.
Don’t know, but shooting a suspect is probably not a good idea. Probably. Then he almost shoots his partner in the face. Then we learn that Batman brands his opponents. Except these are the tamest brands ever.
Also, whoever did the makeup for this scene is lazy.
See how there’s no bruising or swelling anywhere on him? He just has random blood coated on him. Close up.
He doesn’t have a scratch on him. No bruises, swelling, skin cuts, nothing. How lazy is this scene? If batman’s brand is that shallow, it’ll go away in about four days. That’s barely a skin irritation.
However, this is a major problem for the Batman character as these brands will be used in a later scene where Batman is shown that people who receive this brand are executed in prison. At the very least, Batman is completely negligible in his dealing with criminals, the same way that
Time for another cut as we go back to Lois Lane. She digs through her stuff, sees a shirt with blood, and pulls out something that looks like a transceiver from a diary/journal/book. Superman comes in looking lifeless with a big bag of roses and says that he planned on surprising her with some cooking. Lois says that they held hearings, which strangely, she did not participate in. This seems like something someone should have remarked about.
Emotions: He has them.
This gets to the heart of the problem with Snyder’s Superman. Well, two of the problems anyway. The first is still Cavill, the second is that Superman doesn’t care about other people’s opinion of him. He’s just an alien Godlike being.
From the perspective of story, we never see him and Lois Lane do anything normal together. They don’t go out, get drinks at a bar, watch a movie together. So to reinforce that they’re a couple, they exposit dialogue while Lois Lane is in the bathtub to keep male viewers engaged.
Emotions: He has them.
So Superman was supposed to be hanging around because he knew Lois Lane was in a dangerous situation. So why didn’t he intervene earlier? Or hang around? We establish that he can fly across a room faster than someone can pull a trigger, so how far away was he when he intervened? Did he hear people shooting and burning up a village and explosions and completely ignore it?
We go back to melodrama as she hints at asking him why he didn’t intervene earlier, but doesn’t. Which leads to them making out. Because this is a romantic scene.
We cut to Batman. He thinks that the Russian contractor we saw earlier with Superman is tied to an arms dealer that’s going to bring a dirty bomb into New York. The Bat Brand is a new thing and Alfred reprises his role in the series to warn Bruce when he’s starting to go down the wrong path.
He tells Bruce that the feeling of powerlessness from seeing beings greater than himself will turn him cruel. It’s kind of silly, but at least Affleck and Irons can act.
Digression Time: Jesse Eisenberg
Then we get Jesse Eisenberg portraying…. something. We get introduced to him by having him play basketball. So let’s talk about ScreenWriting 101. The character introduction is the most important thing in a movie. It establishes the character for the audience and lets us know what the character is like. That’s why the establish shot of Man of Steel to Clark Kent doesn’t work. The first time we see him, he rescues a group of people from an oil rig. So we already know the answer to the question the movie wants to pose, “What sort of man will Clark Kent grow up to be?” Well… we already know.
To demonstrate this problem, let’s look at how Mel Gibson is introduced in Lethal Weapon.
We see a rundown trailer on the breach. We see him walking around naked in that rundown trailer, smoking a cigarette. He gets up and gets a beer and just lets it run down his mouth.
It then cuts to Danny Glover. His kids come into a nice house, his wife is making a meal, and he’s well dressed.
The opening scene has already demonstrated the most vital aspects of these two characters. Mel Gibson is a complete wreck, socially alone and unstable, while Danny Glover is successful, family-oriented, and mentally well.
Our next scene is Mel Gibson at a drug deal where he buys the stash for 100 dollars instead of 100K. When he gets taken hostage, he screams at the police to shoot the guy. He makes wild gestures, he’s screaming, he looks insane.
We know who the characters are, what their values are, and what their personalities are.
Alright, so Jesse Eisenberg. Well, let’s take another detour first.
A Streetcar Named Desire casts two completely different leads. The first was Marlon Brando, an American film actor who was a proponent of the Stanislavsky Method, or what we now call method acting. The idea behind method acting is simple in theory, difficult in practice. Become the character.
Vivien Leigh was an English actress who worked primarily on stage. Stage acting is different than film acting because the audience has to see the reactions of the characters. The contrasting method from the Stanislavsky method is the method made famous by Francois Delsarte and its various incarnations. In theater acting, the actor has to perform larger gestures in order for the audience, who can be a long distance away from the actors and actresses, to see.
She was the only classically trained actor on the set, everyone else had been trained in movies, where subtle facial expressions and body mannerisms take the place of large gestures. The result is great for the movie, Vivien is playing Blanche DuBois, a woman who is acting like she’s from genteel wealth while she’s really poor. She’s more concerned with appearances than truth, going to low-lit areas so she can’t be seen. The more exaggerated and artificialness plays well with Blanche, who is someone who is acting.
Eisenberg hits an actor’s uncanny valley between the two performances. His actions all feel both calculated and fake, like every tick and mannerism is a deliberate choice rather than a natural one for the character. He overacts too much to be realistic and under-acts in other scenes.
Eisenberg is a good actor, so why the problem? In large part, it goes back to the script.
Lex Luthor as a character most closely resembles Stewie in Family Guy. He’s going after Lois Griffin, seeing her as the embodiment of all that is wrong in the World. But she just views him as a baby having a tantrum. In Stewie’s mind, there’s this elaborate fantasy about killing her and all her perceived wrongs, but it’s all in his head.
Similarly, Lex believes that he is the real hero of the story, but everyone worships Superman. In his mind, the way to achieve the recognition he wants is to eliminate Superman. It’s important that while Lex sees himself as Superman’s arch-nemesis, Superman treats Lex more like an annoying child.
Thus the conflict is that while Superman is a hero, Lex only wants to be seen as a hero. He’s someone who wants the glory of being a hero without actually having to make heroic sacrifices or having a hero’s morality.
Which brings us back to Eisenberg. Superman has no morality. Which is the problem with this movie. Neither Superman nor Batman have any morality, which means Jesse has no reason to hate Superman nor does Batman have any reason to hate Superman. Without any actual character motivation, the only thing that Eisenberg can do is use ticks and facial animations to convey a personality that really doesn’t exist.
Behind the Snyder Luthor, there is no character. And actors portray characters.
Back to the “Story”
Luthor has Zod’s body and from testing it with Kryptonite, is able to learn that it’s weak to Kryptonite. This doesn’t make much sense, because it’s the radiation from the Sun that powers Kryptons, this is what Man of Steel says. So if you kill one of them and they can’t utilize sunlight, they should act like regular Kryptons did on their home planet, where they had no super powers.
These are details.
He lays out the metahuman thesis that various God-myths all revolve around real aliens living amongst us who had super powers, and that we need a deterrent to keep them away. So he wants to weaponize Kryptonite in order to make that happen.
One of the cuts is weird, Eisenberg says, “Would you step into my office here” and moves two inches over. Like, is this line supposed to be funny? Or was he supposed to go into an office? Anyway, he wants access to Zod’s capsule.
But he already tested Zod’s body out, it shows him cutting into Zod using Krypton, and that’s how he knows Superman is weak to it. So what happened here? He had the body lying around for a few months doing tests on it, then he gave it back to the government? Or he asked the government for permission to use the body for a one time use?
One minute earlier.
Now it does say this:
Which I only know because this is why I always have captions on. He means the USAMRIID (US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases).
But why would they have the body? Why would they give them access to the body? There’s two problems here. The first is a visual problem and the second is a language problem.
The first is the visual problem, seen in the shot above. It says “LEXCORP” on the logo, which seems to indicate that this is their property. What it should say is, “Department of Defense” or some other indication that this is from a different agency that is not LexCorp.
The second is this:
He says, “When we exposed General Zod”. Not “When they exposed General Zod”. Additionally, the woman is from DHS, Department of Homeland Security. So she should presumably know about this military development. But she doesn’t so plot can elaborate on it.
It’s just a sign of how shoddy this movie is. Both from a visual and narrative standpoint, it’s not even clear who owns the body or who knows what or how people get information.
There’s also a very corny delivery to these scenes, cutting between Eisenberg requesting it and getting it, the music is off. It’s just a really bad sequence. Jesse Eisenberg gives the government man a jolly rancher, cherry. The question to ask is that if the government thinks this is a national security issue, they can just seize Lex’s materials. So why do they need him?
Then we cut to Superman watching the news, where the woman from the UN meetings is talking. She wants to ask him how he decides which lives to save. So far as the movie tells us, this is easy. He saves Lois.
Then we cut to the guy in the first portion of the film who is paralyzed. They establish it by having him look at a photo of himself with his wife and kids. He’s at a memorial that lists all the people Superman and Batman have saved. He climbs up on a gigantic Superman statue and spray paints it.
Cut to Lois Lane, who learns about the crime lab results. Clark Kent is on sports and has to go to Gotham City. Presumably, on Turkish Airlines.
Clark finds out some fluff about the Bat being extra angry and it cuts to a scene of Ben Affleck watching an underground fight. He’s not very subtle at showing that he rigged the fight or something. He has an implied threat with the Russian gangster that he’s hunting earlier.
Clark goes back to Gotham, (how far apart are these two cities), and reports on the Batman terror spree. Perry (the editor of the paper) finds this boring and wants a report on the sports story. The whole “If it bleeds, it leads” thing is apparently not true in this universe.
Also, this is a huge problem because in the other film, Man of Steel, Perry said that he wouldn’t cover the Superman story when Lois Lane first broke it because they’re a serious newspaper and they don’t cover that pulp trash. But now he’s covering pulp trash and ignoring a real story.
Then Lois bursts in and she has the bullet. She says that it’s not sold anywhere in the World, even black market. Like, how would anyone know that? The point of the black market is to not be traceable.
She then goes on to say they’re prototype military rounds. Lois gives a far more interesting story that the US military is secretly arming rebels while pretending to formally support the current regime. It would still not explain why these rounds are special, which is what needs to be cleared up. Bullets have worked pretty consistently since the boat tail Spitzer bullet.
Then we cut to Lex Luthor meeting with the Senator, June. She says that she’s blocking the import license for Lex and that he can , “Take a bucket of piss and call it Granny’s Peach Tea and you won’t fool me.” This line doesn’t make any sense, but she says that she’s not going to use an assassination weapon against Superman. Which is weird, because at her hearings, they condemned Superman. It was in the bathtub scene.
So… why won’t she do this exactly? Lex gives a story about how he kept his Dad’s room the same so that Dad would come back. Then he says he wants to reverse a painting because the devil doesn’t come from beneath, he comes from the sky.
This is ultimately the problem with this and Man of Steel. People have no motivations. Superman and Lois have no reason to be together other than the comics say that Superman and Lois are together. The senator has no reason to oppose Lex other than the plot says that she needs to oppose him, because the hearings would have given the opposite impression.
Let the records show that character motivation can change at any moment because movie.
Next Batman visits his family’s mausoleum and we see Martha’s name on the casket and we get a bad shot.
See, this is the Archangel Michael fighting Satan. Snyder keeps putting these Biblical references in without understanding what they mean.
The theme that he wants to set up, from the previous scene, is that maybe evil comes from above, and Batman, someone who walks at night, is seen underground in the bat cave, underground at an MMA fight, maybe the good guys come from below.
Then blood starts dripping out and a man bat jumps out of the mausoleum and a man bat attacks Bruce. So the symbolism here is that the first scene shows young Bruce falling into the cave with the bats taking him up to the light, his salvation following his parents death. Here it’s setting up that instead of bringing him to the light, it might just drag him down.
The problem with Snyder’s religious iconography is that they don’t work. If the question is whether good guys come from below, then the correct sequence would be Batman shooting upwards to fight an evil. But everything in this shot is wrong and reversed for that to work, evil is pulling him down into the ground and the angel stands above.
So is the conflict the recognition by Bruce that his Batman alter-ego is dragging him down, (See The Dark Knight) or is it that he’s supposed to recognize that demons might come from above, see Lex Luthor scene? Zach doesn’t know.
Alfred comes in and we get two important character hints: Batman is an alcoholic and he hasn’t had a woman for a long time. We also get another important character hint, that Bruce Wayne got the information and not Batman.
Luthor gives a story about Prometheus being cast out of heaven, again, this doesn’t work because Prometheus was from above and cast down below until Hercules rescued him.
Bruce goes downstairs to the server room and installs a thing. One of Lex’s henchwomen sees him and tells him to go back upstairs. Lex delivers a rambling speech summarizing that knowledge is power and that there’s nothing worse than having knowledge without power.
Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent meet. Clark starts grilling Bruce on Batman.
As opposed to me, a vigilante who is above the law. Also, this entire scene is references.
They exposit on which one has a bigger penis and then Lex Luthor walks in. In the most unsubtle way possible, he reveals that he knows both’s secret identity.
Then Bruce and Clark Kent both go down to the same place we already saw, which only has a kitchen and a server. For some reason, Bruce doesn’t seem to notice him even though he’s literally right behind him. Then Gal Gadot appears.
We get why Bruce Wayne went downstairs, he wants to hide that he tampered with the servers. Gal Gadot steals the server box, but she’s behind him when he goes down there. But we don’t know why Clark Kent followed him down there, he has X-Ray vision. He can see everything going on.
We then see that Superman can fly all the way from Metropolis to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico in time to rescue a woman. That’s roughly 760 miles. So that raises the question about why Superman didn’t save the other people since he can move that fast.
Emotions: He has them.
We get a montage sequence of events where Superman saves people and looks bored doing it. Then we get celebrity cameos to make it look like this is our World, but it’s an alternative World where aliens in gigantic ships fight each other.
So this family went up to their roof with a spray can during a flood and had time to spray paint the Superman symbol? This is Snyder’s problem, he doesn’t care if things make any sense as long as they look good.
Superman is Jesus. Have you got that yet?
It shows the Senator again and we get to another problem in the Snyder Universe.
In the previous movie, when Superman wanted to prove himself to humanity, he turned himself over to the military. When Zod kills the Kryptonian council, no one questions his right to be present at the council. When Superman is accepted in Man of Steel, it’s by the American military.
Yet he never talks to anyone. He never explains himself to the Senate or goes in front of any human reporters. The entire power-structure of the Snyderverse is militaristic.
Clark Kent calls up his mom in the middle of the night to ask why his Dad never traveled. This is about as close to a human emotion as we’ve gotten from Superman. It’s a pointless scene, but it’s the most humanity that we’ve seen so far.
Lois Lane learns that the bullets are made from a special metal (why?) and Clark learns that Batman’s branding gets inmates killed. We cut to the prison and see the person that tagged the graffiti made bail. Lex Luthor paid for it, of course, and shows his sweet new wheelchair that’s going to give this man purpose. He gets an appointment with a Senator immediately, which is pretty nice. I can’t do that with my representatives.
Anyway, we move on to Lois Lane confronting the General(?) from the last movie, who is now a Secretary of Defense. Guess they got rid of that seven years and a special hearing to confirm someone directly from military service. He asks him about the bullet and he tells her that she’s wasting her time.
Then we cut to a newspaper editor who says that newspapers don’t mean anything and that instead of a story on Batman, he wants a story on a football game and a library. Kind of obvious why the Daily Planet is having such a problem with these editorial decisions.
Gal Gadot and Bruce Wayne have a talk where she reveals that she only borrowed his drive, but couldn’t decrypt it. She puts it back in his car. Bruce Wayne goes to decrypt it and we get a harsh cut to a future wasteland.
This is the problem with these movies, they aren’t movies. They’re trailer cuts for other movies. Mad Max came out. Did you like Mad Max?
We see a rock thing that Batman wants, then some people kill some other people. We don’t know who any of these people are.
We get the Fallacy of the Talking Villain and Batman escapes. Superman says that Batman killed Lois Lane and then punches through Batman’s chest, then the Flash appears and gives some exposition about Batman needing to find them. Then Bruce wakes up.
This whole sequence added nothing to the story.
Then Clark Kent gets photos of people that died because Batman branded them, but we’ve already seen this. Now I know that there is a concept called the Rule of Threes, which means you show something to the audience, then you remind them that you showed it to them, and then you give them the payoff. But we’ve already been reminded like ten times, we saw the guy die in prison, we saw Clark Kent researching it.
Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne and Alfred talk and Bruce tells Alfred that the White Portuguese is a ship that contains a weapon that can kill Superman. Alfred tells Bruce that he should destroy it, but Bruce wants to go to war with Superman because if there’s a 1% chance he could be our enemy, then they should take it as a certainty.
Does this apply to anyone else? Like if there’s a 1% chance a clerk at a gas station is a murderer, do you execute them? And since the fallout from this is the annihilation of the entire human race, this seems like a really dumb idea to place on a 1% chance.
Clark Kent then finds out that the prisoner is killed and talks to his not-wife. She says he was a human smuggler sure, but also a father. It’s heart warming. Not really, it’s cliche and heavy-handed. It never occurs to Clark Kent, the reporter, to go to the prison and ask why prisoners are killing on behalf of Batman, the guy who put most of them there. This seems like a good question for a reporter to ask.
It cuts to Batman at the docks. He puts a tracker on one of the vehicles and then inexplicably decides that he’s going to murder everyone. Like, he put a tracker on the vehicle, and him being a detective, his whole character arc, he should have not forced a confrontation.
If these bad guys were smart and capable, then they would have an alternative route planned in case they were discovered. This means they would meet up somewhere, alter their plans, change out vehicles, the sorts of stuff that bad guys in the real World do.
Plus Batman flat out murders all these people. Now we can discount the dream sequence Batman murders, but here, Batman flat out murders these people. The only turn is that Superman is real. But… why?
Then, during the middle of this sequence, Superman stops Batman. For absolutely no reason.
Emotions: He has them.
What should have happened here is Batman should have said, “Hey Superman, did you miss the guys shooting machine guns and rocket launchers? Those are the bad guys. Even if you’re going to harass me, you know, help out a bit here.”
Then Superman would have said, “Oh yeah right, I should do something about that.”
The thing that makes Batman work as a character is that he’s rational. He’s a detective in the comics. Now you don’t have to adapt the comics to everything, but this is an important story arc. To make this nonsensical storyline work, Batman can’t be rational. He has to be emotional. Each scene that he’s in, he makes emotional decisions.
Now if this were the comics, Superman would be emotional and Batman would be rational. That would mean they would disagree, because Superman would make moral decisions based on his emotions and Batman would make moral decisions based on rational reasons.
But here, Batman is emotional and Superman is emotionless, and neither have any morals.
What would work better, based on the montage we’ve seen of Superman’s rescues, is if Batman said, “You only help people when the cameras are on.” Because we’ve only seen Superman do a rescue when an event is being covered or Lois Lane is involved. Batman could help people during the night, help poor people and people who aren’t in front of a camera, so the story would be about how Batman thinks Superman is a fraud or a huckster, and Superman has to learn how to have emotions.
Maybe they could CGI emotions on Cavill’s face.
Ok, so now we’re back to the story, and we have some problems.
Like first, how come the police didn’t get involved? Even if this a bizarro-World where crime goes unreported, it seems like a rocket launcher fight with machine guns would have brought the cops over. And it seems like the vehicle that’s been shredding in half would stand out.
Fortunately, both the tracker Batman put on the vehicle and the box and the vehicle itself are all able to operate.
If Batman had destroyed his own tracking device on this vehicle, he could say, “Wow, being an emotional idiot caused me to blow a solid lead. I should rethink my strategy.” This would lead to revelations about his character, his drinking problems, his rage, those sorts of things. A thing we call “Character Development”.
But there’s no moment of awareness that his recklessness endangered his objective. He finds out exactly where the shipment is.
We cut to Lois Lane and we’re back to the bullet. She gives it to the Secretary from earlier. Even though nothing has changed since the last time they talked, and she could have given him the bullet then.
Some quick cuts introduce a hearing where Superman is invited to meet the victims of the attack and there’s a scene with Superman and his mom. This scene is unintentionally hilarious, because it looks like Cavill is trying to put an emotion on his face and can’t.
I’m sorry Mom, I can’t emote.
Then Lois meets with Secretary who reveals it was all a plan to set up Superman. By shooting people full of bullets? That was their great plan? This is Lex Luthor, super-genius’, plan?
The African woman sees one of the men from the desert and goes to the Senator’s office to tell her she lied. We find out that she was paid and threatened.
Then we see that the wheelchair guy from earlier is returning all of Bruce Wayne’s checks from the victim’s fund. We see Lex Luthor and he doesn’t do any of his ticks while talking to the Senator.
Then the henchman from the desert pushes the African woman into the oncoming train, and no one sees it and there are no security cameras around. I’m glad that plotline got resolved. That was a huge payoff.
Then the guy in the wheelchair blows up the Senate as the hearing begins. Why wasn’t this live streamed? Shouldn’t everyone have been able to see it? Isn’t that how C-Span works?
Then Bruce Wayne looks at a very obvious statement that his employee sent that shows that he blew the place up. Should be something the World’s greatest detective can solve.
We find that Batman stole the device and Lex goes into the machine.
This scene is weird. He cuts off the fingertips of Zod so he can use them, but he has the body. He could just bring it up and use the hand. He gets access to the Kryptonian vault from 100,000 Worlds, the ones that were abandoned in the previous film.
Batman gets a good workout, and he finishes decrypting the drive. It features nice stylized icons of all the “metahumans”, showing us Wonder Woman in her gear.
Then we see Lex Luthor bringing in Zod. So he didn’t need to cut off his fingerprints.
Then we learn that mixing foreign genetics with Kryptonian genetics has been forbidden by the Council of Krypton. But that was Zod’s conflict with them in the last movie, he said the bloodline had been tainted. Space racism.
I’ll eventually get back to this movie, but thus far, it’s awful. Everything is wrong with this movie, no one has any motivations for anything they do. It’s a lot of money and glitz that has nothing behind it.