Larry’s review published on Letterboxd:
If someone tells you this film is "unique" or "different" than any other super hero film;
They are lying.
If someone tells you this film is edited like a "fever dream" or its "surreal";
They are lying.
If someone tells you this film brings up interesting conflicts about superheroes;
They are lying.
If someone tells you there is a method to all this madness;
They are lying.
If someone tells you that Zack Snyder has made yet another misunderstood masterpiece;
They are lying.
I think once the bad reviews started rolling in fanboys had already made up their minds about how they felt about this film and they were ready to counter everything critical about the film before they even saw it! People are willing to defend anything in this film just because its a Batman and Superman flick. Just keep that in mind before you buy a ticket! Because I surely didnt...
The simple fact is that this film is every bit the conceited piece of junk that Man of Steel and Sucker Punch both were but at least this film has the decency to be marginally more interesting on a scene to scene basis than those other two. But eventually the massive weight of the film begins to bend and flex, until the main event fight comes at basically the exact moment of the entire films fiery collapse.
There are about a thousand other reviews that more or less express my opinions for the tone of this film already out there so I will just say this. Even though im not a fan of this darker setting, Snyder and Co. admirably attempt to establish a recognizable universe with this film. For the first time in the modern DC Films age I really felt like this was a connected world with a true sense of continuity. (Even though I wouldve liked to have seen more Gotham City) The opening sequence with Bruce Wayne offering the boots on the ground perspective to the Metropolis disaster was probably the best executed car comerc-- I mean, scene in the entire film and really echoed mine (and many peoples) complaints that Superman recklessly destroyed half the city in his efforts to stop Zod. Batman in this film pretty much represents every fan who felt loathing for this new Snyder Superman. And that was a nice touch once Bats began pounding Supes' face in.
Unfortunately the film is all downhill from the opening sequence (the Metropolis disaster, not the totally unecessary retelling of the Bruce Wayne origin) as Snyder once again barrels through exposition desperately trying to give each disjointed scene its own quirk whether it be a flashback, nightmare sequence, or just plain old forward motion to the inevitable 30+ minute long climax. Its kind of a hodge-podge of scenes ranging anywhere from Lois Lane reclining naked in a bathtub, to terrorism, to post apocalyptic visions of a society under rule by a tyranical Superman and virtually all of it is rendered completely irrelevant by the mind numbing constant action of the last half hour that erases any creative merit, if any, to the two hours of setup before it. Many people are mistaking this disjointedness for a surreal or feverish tone but I dont see that at all. All I saw was a film simply grappling with too many ideas, not having the time or subtlty to develop them and thus never settling into a consistent tone or pacing. The variety of scenes made the film very watchable in a chaotic kind of way but just know that the title fight comes too late and offers too little to justify what you just sat through. Batman vs Superman basically attempted to tell at least 3 different stories from specific DC comics that are really more deserving of their own individual films, such as The Dark Knight Returns and The Death of Superman and to lesser extents Batman: Endgame and even little nods to the Injustice: Gods Among Us comic run. Its like Snyder and the writers ate like 20 comic books and vomited them up on screen. Way too many iconic moments to brush over in one overstuffed nearly 3 hour long film thats for sure. And such its attempts at creating iconic moments of its own come off as half baked or nonsensical. No single plot point or character is given room to breathe in this film. A directors cut would be the optimal version but would it even be worth sitting through? Its likely most of its inquiries would still go unanswered and we would get too many extra scenes of Lois Lane doing nothing. Its nice to know she still has the plot device super power of teleportation to be everywhere in the film she doesnt belong!
Batman vs Superman also predictably suffered from The Amazing Spider Man 2 syndrome where its dedication to setting up future films made the matter at hand suffer greatly. But to be honest the core story wasnt all that interesting to begin with and motivations were shoddy at best. In particular the Batman vs Superman fight becomes less about clashing ideals and representing polar opposites (they are essentially the same characters in this film) and more about who is the biggest mommas boy. Its ridiculous.
So Zack Snyder has made yet another film bursting at the seams with content but makes you leave the experience the exact same as you came in. Its like I had spent the entire duration huffing paint thinner instead of watching a film. My head hurt. My eyes were sore. My brain felt like mashed potatoes. Snyder obliterated my senses and not in a good way. He gives you nothing to grab onto! In cinema, simply seeing is not believing but obviously Snyder and Inarritu missed out on that memo. They both seem to not understand that your images need contextual support beyond just "here is thing. You understand now?" and the script for Batman vs Superman doesnt really help lift the imagery beyond this basic surface level. (Although they seem to be going full steam ahead with the Jesus stuff) The most interesting subtext I got out of the film was imagining Batman as Donald Trump and Supes as some sort of outer space immigrant. That was a fun game.
Random thought: Im guessing the same people that think this film is a masterpiece are the same people that also think The Revenant was a masterpiece too. Both are empty cinematic wankjobs made for teens. Funny, I think Snyder and Inarritu would be really good friends in real life once they both ran out of things to say about themselves.
Man... What else do I even say about this thing? I have no one to blame but myself for being dissapointed. I bought the damn ticket! To give this film a pass because it represents the necessary moral opposite of Marvel is simply idiotic because there really is no point to making a film dark and brooding when your end game is to just resort to the same Disney machines patent cgi clusterfuck of cartoon man action at the end. Its like they are playing a cruel joke on the people who defend this films brand of darker justice!
"You just dont understand the deeper meaning man! These movies are for mature adults bro Snyder is a genius!"
*Batman proceeds to swing Superman around on a rope smashing him into walls*
*Batman then breaks a toilet over Supermans head*
*This is what vulgar autuerists constitute as mature superhero cinema*
They are tricking people into thinking these films are more mature and profound than their competition but its all just as fucking dumb! The audacity of Snyder to essentially remake Watchmen as a Batman vs Superman film...
There is even a point where Perry White tells Superman/Clark Kent "its not 1938 anymore!" in the film as to imply the state of our world has somehow birthed this new anti-superhero America in the Snyderverse. An interesting excuse to rebrand superhero escapism as a looking glass into our own society.
W A T C H M E N
Im not saying this is a bad film because I dont like the direction its taking its heroes. Im not saying this is a bad film because its dark and gritty. Im definitely not saying this is a bad film becauee Ben Affleck was a bad Batman. (He is great)
Im saying this is a bad film because its just a bad film. But the power of simply seeing a live action Batman and Superman slugfest is enthralling by nature. But the Snyder Squad sabotages what shouldve been a grand slam around every damn corner.
One final note: make sure to bring your own hammer to the theater to smash over your head. Snyder has been holding our hand through this process enough times already we are mature adults who like mature comic book movies we are fully capable of beating our brains into mush with a hammer on our own Snyder, who do you think we are MARVEL FANS? HA! HA!
Thoughts on religion in the film