HOLLYWOOD – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has earned record breaking box office but has had something of a critical mauling.
So what went wrong with The Man of Steel and Batman sequels and The Justice League prequel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. We lit up the skies above Gotham and Metropolis with our very own FACT signal and the Squad leaped into action. Caution: there are SPOILERS ahead:
1 The plot is terrible. A lot of venom is expended on Zack Snyder but who wrote this crap? David S. Goyer was involved in the Nolan Batmans and they were Shakespeare compared to this. Chris Terrio, I presume as the writer of Argo, is Affleck’s polisher. So who is responsible? And did they actually re-read the script once they wrote it, because it just looks like there are so many first draft problems in here.
2. The action is mostly terrible. Mostly. There are some good bits – the Batman fight in the warehouse is pretty good – but another big fight in another semi-destroyed city. And none of the Superman superhero bits look super-heroic.
3. Everybody does everything for no apparent reason. No motivation is apparent for anyone. No one actually behaves in a way that makes any consistent sense. Again Shakespeare this ain’t, so I’m not looking for layers of psychological interiority but the Road Runner cartoons have more character logic than this film.
4. Everything is in close up. I get it that this is from a comic book and some of the shots slavishly reproduce panels from sources such as The Dark Knight Returns, but this is cinema and just as a Jane Austen adaptation shouldn’t just reproduce reams of chuntering dialogue, so a comic book movie has to work out a way of producing a cinematic version of the story that makes visual sense.
5. We see Batman’s parents getting shot again. One of these days we might have a Batman movie that doesn’t go into the dark origin story, but at the moment every story is an origin story.
6. We see young master Wayne meeting the bats again and being able to fly. We saw this done so much better in Batman Begins and the film doesn’t seem to know whether it wants to carry on from the Nolan films – the destroyed house looks similar – or be different.
7. People walk in slow motion when sad. And leaves fall from trees at funerals – as though the very trees did weep!
8. 9/11 parallels are now officially the worst thing to come out of 9/11 after the invasion of Iraq but before the invasion of Afghanistan. The ineptness of story is much more forgivable if it isn’t loaded with portentous incoherent political subtext.
9. Superman still hasn’t learned to slow down when he lands.
10. Superman has no problem killing people anymore. Lois Lane is now the facilitator who gives him an excuse to off people. And he even gives her a bit of a wink as if they both get off on it.
11. Lois Lane – ace reporter – begins an interview with an African war lord with the probing question: ‘Are you a terrorist?’ This is a quote from The Insider when Christopher Plumber playing Mike Wallace asks the same question, but there it said something about character and it was a television interview. Here it is simply reckless and tactically stupid.
12. Jimmy works for the CIA! WTF?
13. Clark Kent has no charisma, no dopey charm, and acts exactly like Superman as if the costume was the only difference. Cavill should be playing two distinct characters but he barely manages one. Frankly both Superman and Clark Kent are played as Henry Cavill wearing different clothes.
14. Congressional hearings are held about Superman intervening in Africa, but not about his destruction of an entire city in the previous film.
15. Superman looks embarrassed when he turns up at congressional hearings wearing his Superman costume, as if this was a party and he thought it was fancy dress but it wasn’t.
16. Superman doesn’t actually get to say anything at the hearing. You’ve set up a confrontation. Sure the bomb is going to go off, but why not have a bit of to and fro before hand. Some talking, some justifications, some arguments, instead of another CGI explosion, because, Lord knows, that’s what this movie lacks?
17. Why Lex Luthor blows up the hearing is a total mystery. If it was to frame Superman, it doesn’t work. He offs his assistants as well, for no particular reason.
18. Not even Lex Luthor knows why Lex Luthor is doing what Lex Luthor is doing. And there’s no explanation for how Lex Luthor created Facebook. Jesse Eisenberg doesn’t know what Lex Luthor is doing. Or what Jesse Eisenberg is doing.
21. Neither does Zack Snyder.
22. Alfred (Jeremy Irons) doesn’t do much and is sucking a toffee all the way through his performance.
23. Batman is fine with killing people, torturing people, branding people and doesn’t once say ‘To the Batmobile’. And Batman gets into shape by hitting tractor tires with a large hammer.
24. There are dream sequences that are so long that people in them go to sleep and have dream sequences in the dream sequences.
25. Despite being called ‘Superman’, Henry Cavill plays the hero as a teenager with self-esteem issues and who hasn’t had a shit for five days.
26. Gotham and Metropolis are so close they are actually boroughs of each other.
27. No one understands technology. We can clone phones remotely, but we need to physically plug in a thumb drive to get the goods on Lex Luthor.
28. When Lex Luthor introduces Clark Kent to Bruce Wayne, why is he so excited about it? Clark Kent writes for page twenty three of the Daily Planet. He’s a nobody surely.
29. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is great, but she is basically in the film to advertise her own film and the films of The Flash, Acquaman et al.
30. Laurence Fishburne doesn’t deserve this.
31. The sinister Asian female assistant is becoming a bit too much of a thing.
32. Superman dies twice. With zero emotional effect.
33. Doomsday is Troll from Moria. Big CGI monsters are so boring. Why does Lex Luther create him? What was the plan? Was that his plan all along?
34. Lois Lane throws away a kryptonite spear, then goes back to get it and then almost drowns. Needs rescuing. Then Superman almost dies getting the spear.
35. Batman, who knows that the spear can kill Superman, at no point offers to help out with the spear, preferring to see Superman almost die.
36. No one has ever stopped a fight to the death because their mothers share the same name. Not ever.
37. By the way, Adolf Hitler’s mother was called Martha.
This list has finished more because of exhaustion than through any sense of completeness. If you want to add to it please use the comment box.