My associate Steve Attanasie reviewed this cinematic piece of word-of-the-day toilet paper, and now I'm going to take a stab at it. I say "stab" with every desire to ACTUALLY take a shiv to this film. I wanted to like it, I REALLY did. I was pulling for Batfleck the entire time—and even after seeing BvS, I'm STILL pulling for the possibility that Batfleck could be the best Batman under a different director.
I can't argue with Steve when he says that Snyder consistently makes movies for teenage boys. Zack Snyder is like the Softboy Michael Bay, and Michael Bay is like the Rob Liefeld of movie directors, so, by transitive property, he's the softboy Rob Liefeld. However, I tend to like some of his movies in spite of myself—while Watchmen was thoroughly terrible, I still enjoyed it—so I went in hoping for the best.
I left wishing that the whole film was one of those weird dreams Bruce Wayne has in the film. There are a few of these weird, prophetic, "deep" dreams throughout the film, and when they happen, all the momentum is sucked out of the story, mostly because when it comes to showing ambiguous, artsy significance, Snyder is less Aronofsky and more "white girl who does yoga and posts inspirational memes on Instagram." Someone needs to tell Snyder that ambiguity and tone is best done with subtlety, and Snyder's tone is about as subtle as a glue factory in Equestria. Also, since when is Batman psychic? From there, the movie goes downhill faster than a drunk girl after a Prince concert.
For such a dark, plodding movie, I laughed a lot—just not at the three or four "jokes" that were doled out in the film more sparingly than loaves of bread in postwar communist Russia. Mostly, I laughed at Jesse Eisenberg trying to be a menacing villain. Jesse Eisenberg is the guy you call when Michael Cera turns you down—he's certainly not believable as a villain, and the whole setup for his character just made him so snide and unlikable. I laughed because I didn't want to cry. I missed chunks of the film because I went to the washroom whenever Eisenberg has extended screen time—not because I had to pee, but because I needed a break from his face.
The movie struggles under the weight of its own self-imposed heaviness. You have an alien and a dude wearing a bat costume battling it out—that sort of thing lends itself to fun. There was no fun in this movie. It's like this is what would happen if we had a Marvel movie written by Dementors—all the things that lighten the film and give it a soul were thoroughly sucked out.
While the film was badly written and badly directed, it did have a few good points—and by good points, I mean good actors. Gal Godot was a surprisingly good Wonder Woman, though her Diana Prince seemed a bit cold and robotic. I'm still drawing my line in the sand and saying Affleck is both the best Batman AND Bruce Wayne, we just didn't get to see him shine amidst his brooding and tire punching. Jeremy Irons chewing scenery as Alfred was delightful, and I think the film sets up the extended universe franchises nicely, though some of the setups felt a little clunky—I'm looking forward to Jason Momoa's Aquaman as much as the next red-blooded dude-liking girl, but the way he was introduced felt really ham-handed.
As per most Snyder films, women are treated—at best—as convoluted plot devices. I went into this film expecting full-barreled misogyny. I've seen the 90 minute long rape fantasy that is Sucker Punch, so I was pleasantly surprised when Wonder Woman was treated as an actual human being—though I felt she could have benefitted from more screen time. In fact, I would have been thrilled if they cut out Jesse Eisenberg (I can't really bring myself to call him Luthor) and Henry Cavill and just made a Batman/Wonder Woman film.
I think a lot of my anger with this film stems from the fact that this is the first in a series of very important movies for DC, and they had all the elements to make something wonderful, and they ended up with a chauvinistic power fantasy featuring a Doomsday that looks like they remodeled a cave troll from Harry Potter, a plot with more holes in it than a sieve, too much brooding, and not enough fun.
GRADE: F for FUCK THIS MOVIE
-BATMAN DOESN'T KILL PEOPLE
-At least Batman and Robin was FUN
Images via Coming Soon