This movie can be summed up as simply having too much Fridge/Popcorn Logic- you know, when you go to the fridge/walk out still munching on popcorn, thinking about the movie and then it hits you: what the hell…?!? They’re also known as plot holes or distractions to cover for the lack of story. There’s a lot of that in this movie.
I’ll start off with saying I had no problem with Ben Affleck. He did fine; really embraced the role. Also loved Jeremy Irons as Alfred; never would’ve imagined him in the role but it was great seeing him in it and how involved Alfred is in Bruce’s activities. Gotta give a nod to Zack Snyder for not even messing with that stupid ‘scary voice’ nonsense and giving Batman a voice modulator from the outset. As far as the rest of the returning cast from Man of Steel- you already know what you’re getting.
Can someone explain what the hell Jesse Eisenberg was supposed to be doing? Some have tried to spin his portrayal as ‘nerd rage’- the modern day mogul, ala Mark Zuckerberg or Martin Shkreli. Even so, those men have a method to their madness, a logic to their puzzle. This Lex Luthor is no genius, no grand chessmaster. He’s just a broken, whiny brat taking out his daddy issues on Superman. And please- none of his ‘experiments’ were anything you couldn’t have done in high school science lab. Any modern day 10th grade nerd could’ve pulled all that off. Eisenberg’s Luthor is nothing more than a cheap Joker imitation- destroying things and killing people just because he thinks he should- right down to his motif in the soundtrack. Even Hans Zimmer knew what he was dealing with when he wrote the music.
And on a personal note, Gal Gadot’s character should be called Willowy Woman, not Wonder Woman. While certainly statuesque, there’s nothing remotely Amazonian about her. Other than simply introducing the character she lends nothing to the proceedings, snarling her way through the big battle and somehow causing a shock wave with her bracelets. Rumor has it they’ll be eschewing her classic origin and making her Zeus’ thousand year old daughter- a demigoddess. Why- too much work to build a mythology for her… from the existing mythology?
Eventually you’re gonna be reduced to playing “Spot the Reference”. This movie draws a lot of influence from Miller’s classic Dark Knight storyline; I’ll admit it was kinda fun spotting them and I saw some of them coming, especially in that one sequence with Doomsday, but if you weren’t familiar with Dark Knight you’d be left behind. A plot hook is lifted from Alex Ross’ Peace on Earth and there’s a moment from Crisis on Infinite Earths; you’ll know them when you see them.
The Dark Knight angle is a big part of the problem: exactly which incarnation of Batman is this supposed to be? The whole thing about the Justice League is all of them coming up together yet this movie clearly marks Batman as an elder statesman, already having twenty years wearing a cowl, an established Rogues Gallery and losing at least one partner. By the time the League finally hits stride Bats is gonna be ready to retire.
This seemingly minor plot point also undermines the entire premise of the movie. Superman is under scrutiny for acting unilaterally, with no accountability for his actions or their consequences… you know, like all the constant, wholescale property damage he engages in. Yet the entire beef with Batman is that he’s a vigilante running rampant in Gotham, even while Kent acknowledes that the police seem to be actively support him, and even have a formal method of contacting him- the Bat Signal. Add to this the fact that now Gotham & Metropolis are now Sister Cities, yet no one in either knows jack all about what goes on across the river from them. So Bats has been active for 20 years, but Clark Kent/Superman & the Daily Planet are just now getting around to him. Batman operates in cooperation with Gotham City’s authorities- which is only mentioned when convenient and the very thing that Superman is under attack for not doing- yet Superman takes it upon himself to tell Batman to shut it down or else, simply because *he* doesn’t like it.
Plus during the over-extended fight sequences during the third act, Superman could’ve easily kept Batman in check while explaining the situation to him, yet he doesn’t, so we get an entirely pointless beat-em-up scene. And when Superman reveals that Doomsday is Kryptonian, just like he is, it take ten minutes plus a lot of explosions and crumbling architecture for Batman to remember that he left a whole load of kryptonite weapons back at the fight and he should just go get them.
As far as the future members of the League, all I can say is: huh? Somehow Luthor has all this surveillance footage and archival references on them, but no one else does? Barry Allen is caught Flashing around on a convenience store surveillance camera, yet this never made it to the news? Aquaman is discovered on a deep sea expedition camera, but no one ever heard of it? Oh yeah- 20 years of Batman and no news stories… right, sorry. The real problem is DC doesn’t want to do the prepwork and take the time of building a mythology to draw on and opted for shoehorning it all together so they could rush it out to ya.
Oh yeah- and how in blazes does Luthor know Superman’s identity? How does Supes suddenly know Batman is Bruce? When did they find all this stuff out?
Is your head hurting yet?
Last but not least, the sequel tease. In the finale Luthor ominously refers to someone coming…someone from the stars who’s hungry, which leads to a call-back to an earlier scene about the devil descending from Heaven instead of Hell. Be sure to check Bruce’s dream sequence in the wasteland (the one where Superman pulls off his mask) for the huge symbol on the ground. Might be a stretch, but it’s as good a theory as anything else and at least it’d provide a reason to introduce the Green Lantern Corps.
Studios need to stop giving Zack Snyder money. Seriously.