Batman v Superman v Critical Thinking? How does the film stack up against simple logic?...

Batman v Superman v Critical Thinking? How does the film stack up against simple logic?...

... it doesn't.

Hello all. I've been a patron of this site for what may be a decade, but never felt the need to join in the conversation through all the controversies, low points and high points that comic book based films have gone through. But this is a film I cannot remain silent on. Rather than a traditional review that summarizes the film as there are already dozens of those, I thought I should get right to the points.
 
THE GOOD:
For all that is mishandled in the film, the main cast does great work. The film's fault's are not their's and lie solely on the shoulders of director Zack Snyder. Ben Affleck plays an excellently tortured and distant Bruce Wayne and a fierce and stoic Batman. Henry Cavill continues to prove he a wonderful new talent trapped in poor projects, and he manages to ooze the charisma of Superman as well as Christopher Reeve. Amy Adams is serviceable and she can't be blamed for the fact that the filmmakers obviously wanted Lois in the film but didn't know what to do with her. She spends the movie on a hunt for the source of a bullet that had no consequence on anything after, then hides the spear that could kill Superman, then runs back to get it when they need it to kill Doomsday.
Jeremy Irons makes for a lovely Aflred, he is much livelier and more involved than previous incarnations.
 
The one actor who deserves special recognition is Jesse Eisenberg. I was apprehensive about him playing Lex Luthor, but he was a delight. His unhinged and spoiled young mad man who's too smart for his own good is deliciously and devilishly played, and the one character in the film who was consistent in his actions and motivations though not always logical. He has some gleefully frustrated and antimidating moments.
 
THE BAD: 
The only weak link in the cast is Gal Gadot, though her part is minor. She doesn't get much to work with, but what she does she fumbles. She speaks her lines like she is reading them while camera is rolling or confused by certain words, and when she is confused, she makes what she believes are sexy faces at the camera so we don't notice. She does not portray power or confidence well, and the faces she pulls while fighting aren't realistic or natural, they look like a child mimicking what they think a dog looks like when it bears it's teeth.
 
The cameos from the Justice league are laughable. Lex Luthor created colorful logos for all the meta humans in his e-mail files? Aquaman strikes poses slowly while obviously holding breathe in his puffy cheeks? Why does he do this? Does he know what the camera is? Aquaman can't breathe under water? This was one of the only times I laughed in the theater, besides for when Superman said he didn't kill anyone right after throwing a man through a wall.
 
How on earth does a small amount of Lex Luthor's human blood plus Zod's kryptonian cadaver equal unstoppable atomic cave troll? It doesn't add up and there is not even a suitable pseudo-scientific explanation.
 
The film is choppily edited just like Man of Steel and jumps from one scene to the next without proper transition. It's obvious that Snyder just flipped through a stack of comics and made a Frankenstein monster out of disparate panels and pages without reading anything. He even shoves in the aesthetic of Mike Mignola's Gotham by Gaslight because he couldn't let go out how cool it looked, what's good for the story and pace of the film he damned.
 
THE UGLY:

Superman murders an African warlord inside the first 10 minutes. He throws a human being through a brick wall hard enough to shatter it. No one can survive that. Then in his apartment with Lois, he serves as proxy and voice for director Zack Snyder, saying he doesn't care what people think about him and what he does.

Why does Jack not evacuate the building when the very obvious destruction begins? Why wait for a call from the CEO? Beyond that, after the employees evacuate, why does Jack stay behind? Was he actually hoping for death? Did he believe that a ship must go down with her captain? It's simply a flimsy way to fuel Bruce's vendetta against Superman.
 
Logical lapses in the film abound. Superman is a Lois-seeking missile. He doesn't arrive in time in Africa to save Jimmy Olsen (Superman's Pal in comics and all other major adaptations) from being shot in the head, but he arrives less than a minute later to kill a man in defense of Lois.
 
This ridiculous issue rises again later in the film. Lex Luthor's whole plot to get Batman and Superman to kill each other hinges on luring Superman to his location by pushing Lois off a building; because Superman always saves Lois. He is able to magically find her twice.(Actually thrice, because at the end of the film during the final battle, he runs off to save her because of his super hearing and leaves Batman to play run for you life with Doomsday.) The other half of Lex's plan: now that he has Superman's attention, Lex tells him that he has kidnapped Supe's mother and will have her killed if Superman doesn't bring him the head of the Batman. Superman, broken, complies to confront the Bat. Why in the name of sanity and rational thought can he not find his mother as he has demonstrated he can with Lois twice before?
 
As for Batman's characterization, he is more akin to the Punisher than the Caped Crusader. This is a Batman who takes no issue with killing or using guns, and mows down many goons throughout the film. Many people are fine with this, and site Tim Burton's Batman duology to excuse this behavior. (Nevermind the fact that those adaptations were made by a man who has on more than one occasion vocalized his distain of the comic book medium and dismissal of the importance of faithful character adaptation.) Fine, let's let Batman be a murderer. This is totally different take on the character who's defining characteristics are his unwillingness to kill or ever use a gun. Actually, Snyder's Batman's sole motivation in the film is to murder Superman because of the threat he poses to humanity. So this Batman must be a killer to serve the story. He even brands (like you would an animal) criminals he apparently finds need extra punishment, and instead of killing them himself, the Bat-brand is called a death sentence, leading to brutal in prison killing by fellow inmates. The lapse in logic comes from the references to the Joker, and the fact that Suicide Squad, a follow-up film to Batman v Superman, features Joker in a large capacity. If this Batman has no qualms with killing, why is the Joker still alive? The problem is it makes Batman a lesser man. Batman's greatest strength is his refusal to conform to the reality around him, he makes the world bend to his strength of will. However contrived his methods may seem, this is his core character strength, he almost always finds a way to win without compromising and taking life. What makes this sting even more is that Batman even states this in the film during his battle with Superman, which makes is tragically obvious that director Snyder understands little of what he's trying to convey. 
 
Batman later steals kryptonite from Lex Luthor, and creates smoke bombs from it and a spear. A SPEAR. If this Batman had no qualms with using guns, why not forge a dozen kryptonite bullets? Because of plot contrivances of course. If he had made bullets, they could later riddle Doomsday with kryptonite rounds from the bat-plane, and Superman would have lived. Not that Superman's death couldn't have been avoided anyway. In a poorly directed scene towards the end, Superman uses the kryptonite spear to pierce Doomsday and embeds it in Doomsday's chest, and is in turn stabbed by the beast. He could have survived with a large gash, but instead does the ridiculous. He pulls himself onto Doomsday's spike so that he can force the kryptonite spear through Doomsday's chest and out of his back. This is a pointless effort, and the spear in Doomsday's chest would have been fatal enough, and pushing it out of his body does nothing.
Besides for this point, this battle is especially stupid because Batman has Doomsday on a deserted Island, and makes the conscious decision to lure him the the populated city for the fight, even though this recklessness is exactly the reason he wants Superman dead! This is astronomically hypocritical and just plain foolish. 

Beyond that, why would Lex create Doomsday if he had no Kryptonite to stop him? If you say he was expecting a mindless beast, it makes no sense for him to do what he did. And if you say he was expecting an intelligent being with Zod's mind, it would make even less sense, as he knows Zod would immediately kill him. I wouldn't say this way poorly thought out, I'd say it wasn't given any thought at all.
 
Batman and Superman's working together is as poorly handled as everything else. Batman is ready to take off Superman's head with a spear, and Superman manages to mumble that he(Batman) is letting him(Lex) kill "Martha." Then he says save Martha. Have you ever met anyone who addresses there mother by first name? Especially a farm boy from Kansas? I thought not. And someone about to die? No. He would have realistically said mom. Like anyone. Simply mom. But this was contrived to stop Batman in his tracks, for you see (plot twist!) Batman's mother was named Martha too! So while Batman short circuits and demands to know why Superman said that name (seriously, why? Makes no sense) Lois can burst in and drop the bombshell: it's his mother's name! This changes everything for Bruce. This dangerous alien can't be evil if his mother has the same name as Bruce's dead mother. This scene is set up so unrealistically and poorly handled it turns my stomach, as I'm sure it does to any logical thinker. If you could put down some great being you perceived as a dangerous evil, would you stop and become his best friend if you found out both your mother's shared the name Sherri? Of course you wouldn't, because you have a brain.
 
Which brings me to another poorly handled character in the film, Wonder Woman. For any non comic book reading, non biased audience member, she can only be the source of confusion and dissatisfaction. Tiny seeds are sown in two or three small scenes throughout the bloated film, and then she shows up to do the heavy lifting in the final battle while Batman evades Doomsday like a clumsy clown running from a angry bull. And at that point, what does the audience know about her? That she's some kind of immortal that decided to help last minute. That's poor writing and poor characterization that rides on the hopes that the comic book faithful will just be happy to see her and explain it away to their uninitiated audience kin.
 
 
THE VERDICT:
This film was heart-breaking, soul-crushing even. As a lifelong fan of pretty much every in incarnation of DC comics characters form the comics, animation, television and films, and even some video games, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice may be the one of the greatest disappointments in comic-book-movie history. It doesn't deserve the distinction of being the first time Batman, Superman, and even Wonder Woman share the big screen, and it pisses away any good faith the audience has for these characters and their world. It's inexcusably ill thought out, self-indulgent, and pretentiously directed. Zack Snyder learned nothing from the criticisms of Man of Steel and instead of growing chose to lash out like a child throwing a tantrum.
 
2/5 Stars. Comments and discussion are appreciated, I may start doing this more often if people like it.
 
 

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