I wanted to write this after seeing this movie I decided to give myself some time to digest it and think things over. I honestly have not watched a DC movie since Batman Begins, because their characters just do not appeal much to me. Though I did enjoy the animated series back in the 90s and that is where I get most of my basis for how I see the characters. But I wanted to see Wonder Woman and I figured if I kept expectation low I could at least enjoy the movie on some level. I was wrong though as I found myself getting bored at several points and had to keep myself from laughing at moments that were not being played for humor.
Before I get further I will warn that there will be SPOILERS. Do not continue to read if you want to remain spoiler free.
To make sure this review does not match the mess this movie is I will be breaking things down into their own sections to keep it easier to follow.
I liked Ben Affleck as Batman. I had no expectations for him and was pleasantly surprised, as you can tell he was making the best of what he was given and was somehow able to shine at times. Which is something with how overly dramatic and ridiculous he is from time to time. I do hope he gets a chance to reprise the role in a solo Batman film though.
That said the Batman of this film came off as rather unhinged. From his obsession with wanting to take out Superman, because he had a dream that he could turn into a villain, to his about face that ended the fight between the two. He basically wanted him dead, no questions asked, until Supes uttered "Martha", then Bats freaked out about it until Lois shows up to explain that it is the name of Supes' mother. Then all of a sudden Bats is willing to not only forgive and forget everything but go save Supes' mother and be all inspired by him when Supes dies to save the day. And that is not even touching on the whole leaving a bat symbol branded onto villains thing.
This Batman has a lot of issues but not a lot of time is given in the movie to explain it. Outside of the usual hang up about watching his parents be killed. But it feels like there should be more but from what I have gathered on the web you either have to read interviews, the comics or possibly wait for the extended home video release of the movie to get it. Which is inexcusable for a movie that has a run time around two and half hours. A couple less pointless dream sequences and one or two to actually show why Batman comes off so off kilter would have done just fine.
While this is supposed to be a sequel of sorts to his previous solo film, Man of Steel, it does not feel like a Superman film at all. More of a Batman featuring Superman movie really. I came into this without seeing MoS, though had heard a couple plot points, and found myself not caring one iota about what happened to Supes. When he began his good bye to Lois before going to his death all I could think was how paint by numbers the scene/dialogue was and hoping it would be over soon so the movie could end. And of course with the closing scene it's heavily hinted that the death is not even going to stick, making it feel even more empty and pointless than it originally was.
And it really pisses me off as I never got the feeling that I was watching Superman in this movie. He might have looked like the character and have the same power set but the character I knew was nowhere to be seen. Instead of being the beacon of light to contrast to Batman's shadows he came off as a pale reflection of himself, easily swallowed by the grimness and darkness of the world the movie was set in.
If Superman was more of a contrast to Batman the movie would have easily been more interesting as it would be so easy to see why the two would conflict as much as they were meant to. Instead Supes just looms over people silently and becomes a Deus ex machina whenever Lois' life is in danger. Oh, and I guess supposed to be a Jesus-like figure from the imagery used for him though his words and actions do nothing to truly support the connection.
I did like Wonder Woman from the little we saw of her. Of course I like her more for the promise of the character than anything else, as at best all we got was the surface with her. There just was not much to be seen of her but it is enough to make me want to see her solo movie when it comes out as at least there is a promise of being better with another director at the helm.
She at least got to be seen being able to be a force to be reckoned with in battle. But really most of what you see of her in the trailers is about half of what you see of her in the movie.
Her plot lines were either making her a damsel in distress for Supes to save or felt pointless and unnecessary. It was nice that they tried to make sure she was proactive but so much just fell flat with her. Not to mention it aided in the messiness of the film as we had to spend time with her running around in her investigation instead of focusing on the main plot of the film.
I really hated Lex Luthor in this. It felt like instead of getting an actual Lex Luthor character there was a 'Joker-lite' that came off as a bad joke than anything else. He waxes on and on about taking down God, who he has projected on Superman, is given a slapdash excuse of having an abusive father that drove him to become the person he was and for someone who is meant to be a genius has such terrible planning skills. How could he not think that giving mercenaries bullets that could be directly traced back to him was not going to backfire?
Also how was Superman supposed to get all the blame for what happened when the warlord and his men are full of bullets? And how does Superman get flack for the suicide bombing at the capitol And what was the point of bringing out Doomsday when he did as he was still waiting for the outcome of the Batman/Superman fight?
And then apparently he knows there is something coming and gets to give the warning to Bats. Because reasons. This character was a complete mess and seemed to do things because the plot needed him to and not because there was clear motivation for him to do so.
Justice League cameos
While I am sure there are fans that loved seeing something of the heroes that will be in Justice League the whole scene that set their cameos was oddly placed and nothing that I saw made me want to see more of them.
Then there was the dream cameo with Flash, that just took me out of the movie completely as he was giving a warning from the future, but it was in Bats' dream/vision thing. It just came out of nowhere and no mention of it appeared anywhere else in the movie. And worse of all it pulled me completely out of the movie, which was not grabbing my attention in the first place.
The dream sequences really just added to the messiness of the film. And the fact that Bats was the one having most of them seemed off as the whole point of him as a character is that he is a regular human not some kind of pre-cog.
And none of them were needed. You could take all the dream sequences out of the film and it would have made just as much sense as it did with them in it. In fact it would make more sense as it would not make
Plot Caverns & Various Other Issues
Of course half-baked plot ideas were not tied to Lex alone. Like the fact that Batman magically knew Wonder Woman's e-mail address. Or that Superman seemed to have the super power of being able to find Lois whenever she was in trouble no matter how plausible it was. Visions of a post-apocalyptic future that added nothing to the story except for a Flash cameo, as we had already been given reasons for Batman to want to fight Superman. And that Batman says he wants to create the JL because reasons, not explaining that he was told that there was someone coming.
And that last one brings me to another major issue I had with the movie. It is so heavy handed with the themes it wants to have that it continually goes back to them but glosses over at best things that would help tie the movie together. Honestly you could make a drinking game over each time Superman is told/shown to be a divine figure and be nicely plastered by the end.
I also found it offensive that the tropes of the non-able bodied not being "complete" being brought up. Also the fact that Lex was played to be not completely be mentally stable, playing up the stereotypical portrayal of villains being crazy, left a bad taste in my mouth as well.
Final thing, is that it annoys me that I am seeing so many explanations for the movie to come out in interviews. A movie should be able to stand on its own and not require additional reading/listening/watching material to have it make sense. And I do not buy that an extended edition will magically fix the issues as part of the problem was that there was a lot that did not need to be included in the first place. Two and a half hours is plenty of time for this movie.
In the end I found myself bored, frustrated and laughing to myself more than I am certain Snyder attended with how overly serious he tried to make this movie. I was hoping to just enjoy the film as mindless fun but until the battle began it was hard to and even the battle got dragged down with Supes cliche sacrifice.
That said I do still want to give the Wonder Woman movie a watch. I have faith that it will be more enjoyable than the train wreck BvS was. Other than that though I plan on leaving the DC movieverse alone.