This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Flo Lieb’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Well, if you go into this movie expecting nothing but utter shit it's actually not that disappointing. First of all: it's better than them Avengers movies. But it's still as bad as everyone says it is.
Both Batman V Superman and the Avengers films deliver mindless carnage destroying cities aplenty, featuring one-dimensional villains with ridiculous motives and a bland bunch of freaks in costumes. Where DC has the edge over Marvel is simply the fact that in Snyder Land actions do have consequences. People die. A lot. All the time. No one dies in Whedon's fantasy world. Not even fucking agent Coulson, really.
As with a lot of blockbusters –e.g. Spectre – there are themes here which could've fueled a great story. Deal with the mayhem that was Man of Steel and those self-defeating Lois Lane rescue missions. Heck, at one point some senator even orders Superman to a congress hearing, where he has to explain his actions in the presence of the victims of said actions. Get the hell out of here... no, seriously, get the hell out of here. Because they blow up the building before Superman can actually try to justify himself. What a wasted opportunity if there ever was one.
There is a scene where professional damsel in distress Lois Lane is confronted by her own actions leading to a bunch of dead people after her boyfriend had to save her in some desert from some terrorists. But we never see the character actually deal with said actions or their outcome. Neither Superman nor Lois question their activities. There is no voice of reason here, even Ma Kent tells Clark to save people or don't. Who cares? Maybe she's just tired, having to work shifts in some local diner at her age. What a way of taking care of your mum, Clark. Support the poor woman financially, won't ya?
Although that could be hard since Clark hardly ever actually is at his workplace. And if he is, he's not writing what his boss is dictating him to write (the Daily Planet is a great newspaper where journalists are just monkeys who type what Perry White tells 'em to). How in the hell was Clark not already fired from his job? He's not giving a damn about deadlines and he's not even at work most of the time. And why did the Daily Planet print that Clark eulogy about him covering the Gotham battle? Sure, with Superman gone Clark had to bite it, too. But after that build up with him being AWOL all the time? May he had a private chat with Perry White on WhatsApp. "NOW do you want me to cover that Batman story, boss?" – "Sure, Kent, report away"
That final battle was a bit off a let-down by the way. Yes, more mayhem, but Snyder got out of his way to tell us that civilians were actually out of the way this time. Like downtown having shut down since work day was over. Nobody lives in downtown anymore, I guess. More like ghost town, really. So no civilian deaths in the big Doomsday battle. Kudos by the way to Harry Lennix' character, taking one shot at Doomsday and then deeming him "unkillable". At least one character learnt some stuff from Man of Steel where Christopher Meloni was going after those Kryptonians with everything from pistols to knives.
I also appreciate the fact that the climax beatdown was not as drawn-out as the Zod-fight (at least if felt only half as long). Some punches here, some mash-up images of The Death of Superman and The Dark Knight Returns there, then some awkward one-liners ("I thought she was with you", says Batman to Superman about Wonder Woman. Why? Why would you assume that, Batman? You were the only one actually interacting with her during the whole movie) – done. Besides, we all already got the real fight, the one we came for: Bat versus Superman. Notwithstanding that it was resolved by some schoolyard make up due to mommy issues it is quite awesome. Although the makeshift behind it from Lex Luthor stroke me as odd.
Did Luthor want to gain time to create Doomsday? Why keep Ma Kent alive anyway? Say you have her and send Superman after Batman, then kill her. Or would Luthor have kept his end of the bargain if Superman would've delivered? "My word is my word, Scout's honor, here she is" – just kill her, Lex. At least kill her when Batman is raiding your warehouse, Russian henchman guy. What's the point of keeping her a hostage til the last moment? Gee, Luthor, get better stooges, already. Or keep the handy ones around and don't sacrifice them in congress explosions maybe. And what was the point of Doomsday anyway? After that big rant about false gods and demons. It's not like Doomsday is a pit bull you can turn loose and put back on a leash. Especially if you already reached out to Darkseid or whomever. You know what? Never mind.
Speaking of Luthor, I can't fully make up my mind about his portrayal. I loved the musical theme he got just like every character else (although Batman's escaped me somehow). Even if Zimmer made it sound a lot like the Sherlock Holmes theme. All of the musical themes were good by the way. But back to Luthor: despite knowing that Mark Zuckerberg is totally evil, I'm confused by Eisenberg's choice of interpretation. Why would you want to have that kind of Luthor in your DC world which will also inhabit Leto's quirky punk version of Joker? Imagining those two teaming up in the future seems rather like a dichotomy paradox to me. Put Two-Face and Riddler in the mix and you have four edgy sociopaths together. That doesn't really work. But since Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are all brooding sour faces this probably is just the way it is.
So, what am I trying to say here? I don't really know. Just like I don't know what future Flash was trying to tell Bruce in his dream. Or that weird Ghost Dad analogy. This could've been not that bad of a film, was maybe where I'm going with this. There were elements in it that were promising. Some stuff better executed than in the Marvelverse, other not so much. Did this get me excited to see Justice League: Part I? Boy, it sure did not. But I would rather rewatch this than those darn Avengers movies. Maybe that counts for something. If not much.