V. Lepistö 🏳️🌈’s review published on Letterboxd:
Let me start by saying that this is what superhero genre needs. I'm tired of post-credit sequences, flat visual ideas, same, basically one-sided characters who follow cliched patterns and the same ideas of "fun". Who came up with the idea that superhero film should be fun? Who came up with an idea that it should be light? I'm not sure who comes up with these patterns (Marvel) but here's a film that dares to basically break every rule. It isn't trouble-free but it is much more valuable and weighty than most genre films. Imagine a superhero film that borrows countless genres without really clinging to any of them. Yes, you might think about Watchmen and what we have here has similar vibes but still it goes further with its "borrowing". If the oppressive, even noirish atmosphere in Watchmen comes from the fact that "we are living the end of times", the chaos of Batman v Superman is pure Apocalypse.
Imagine a film that jumps from one mood to totally different one but still remembering the previous mood. Great example of this is the scene where people are going to hear what Superman has to say about his position on Earth. The mood is intense, suddenly everything simply stops and gives room for a joke (that reminds us about Joker). But the joke doesn't make us laugh. Basically this is comedy but the intensity and the unexpectedness of the situation doesn't make us laugh. Then everything explodes and perhaps the most moving image in all the film: Superman standing alone in the sea of fire. He is an outcast just like Batman is, just like Lex Luthor is (Josiah Morgan's characterizations hit spot on) but carries another incredible burden. I'll probably always remember how I smiled at the joke with my mouth open at one second before the explosion. I can't think many times that "superhero film" has been able to so authentically and even poetically to describe what the world is.
The same avalanche of moods continues as the "genre shifts". As emotions change, change the genre. From almost art-house-ish vibe about the upcoming end of the world, we suddenly jump to spy thriller and car chases and then quickly to romance and back again, then we are suddenly with catastrophe film and suddenly a style that we can't put to words, is it video game? Music changes as the mood changes, strengthening the "genre shifts" (in the lack of better words). The film is so full of these jumps and sometimes when we don't even understand that they are there that it is easy to make it all seem "incoherent. Incoherence to the film comes from the lack of complete narrative - it's not really "screenplay" that Snyder follows here but rather the nature of his characters and the expression he reaches for is definitely post-modern. Moods or rather "different voices" create the flow for the film. It isn't easily defined and that is why the word "mess" is usually first to come to mind.
Characters are never caricatures and even the "villain" of the film posses human amount of complexity. Luthor (brilliant turn from Eisenberg) could be equated to a terrorist group. He is tired of the world and its order, he just can't stand it anymore and this is where his desperation comes from. An outsider whose anger piles up too long. Perhaps Snyder makes a mistake in the end with Luthor's character as he is throughout the film been portrayed as a human being with thoughts of which some are rational instead of been portrayed as lifeless maniac who simply wants to rule the world because he has psychological issues. But even if we can question Snyder's last choice with the villain, the character doesn't fall to that. He is important counterweight, point of reflection without whom the viewer is unable to explore other characters of the film. I'm once more going to mention Josiah's brilliant review that gets to the point with the film's importance - portrait of a world where everybody shouts and no one listens. With this, everything suddenly becomes more clear.
The infamous "Martha" moment of the film takes place in what should be the most important twist in Batman's and Superman's relationship. The word that is heard in the very beginning stays in our ears, echoing like the word "Rosebud" - dropping pearl even reminds us of Welles' Christmas decoration. But even with this, the word isn't developed to the point in which it would gain its fullest feeling. When this world is dropped during the fight, its presentation is forced. It cracks to ear. Even the feeling that Affleck goes out of role because of the power (/unexpectedness) of that word isn't enough to make its rhythm right. The impetuous change in the relationship between the two characters isn't delivered right despite the fact that Snyder has prepared the ground for it throughout the film. The word still feels like a word instead of being much more as it is.
Because it doesn't allow itself to "settle" but at the same time maintains its themes, the film mostly retains its savor. Still the great promise that is built up during most of the film's running time (or at least it seems so - in a good way), titillates in mind as the spectrum of possibilities even as the credits roll on the screen. The ending deceives more or less as Snyder after all settles to more unambiguous approach at the end. And then once again deceives its disappointment as violins start playing their devilish tone and we realize that the end of the world isn't over but it is present in our lives. Is there even a possibility or room for heroes to try and change this ancient fact? Still we are ready to think that the peace is possible. Hope... as simple as it sounds, its rarely been as complex as it is here as the ending chord to a mysterious film.