Batman V Superman exists so that it can introduce characters for the upcoming Justice League, and it does. The problem is that they’re all the same character.
The plot of Batman V Superman is simplistic, which is fine, a film doesn’t need a solid narrative, so long as it has characters that the audience can empathize with. But the biggest problem is that none of the characters introduced in the film have any discernable difference from one another. So, even in creating a vehicle for their comic book characters, DC failed. I’m sure every other reviewer has made this point, but fuck it, let’s kick a dead horse.
I’ll start with the best, Batman. He’s an older version of the caped crusader whose moral compass is slightly more askew than the Nolan Batman that recent generations have come to know and love. His fights are less about flare and more about brutality and gadgets. He actually does detective work in the film, rather than relying on technology, which is refreshing. And Jeremy Irons as Alfred provides a nice injection of wit to an otherwise humorless film. Batman spends the majority of the movie trying to think up a way to take down Superman, motivated by the destruction that he saw happen to metropolis at the end of Man of Steel.
This is a perfectly apt motivation, but in attempting to drive home Batman’s suspicions of Superman, Snyder gives him several dream sequences that make absolutely no sense. Though visually interesting, all of the dreams are fat that could be trimmed from an already long film. Snyder could have focused on Batman’s slipping morality, which is touched on when it’s shown that he’s now branding criminals. But, sadly, he never really goes bat shit crazy—I couldn’t resist.
Then we have Superman, who normally serves to foil or contrast the Dark Knight, but here, as with the last film, we have a dower God. That’s fine. But nothing about Superman’s personality differentiates him from Batman. Both have murdered others in the name of justice and both make violent threats towards their enemies. Neither has the moral high ground. And when the two leads are carbon copies of each other’s personalities the effect is that the dialogue between them blends together into a mash of lofty one-liners.
Along with Superman comes the baggage of Luthor and Lane. Lex Luthor is anything but the businessman megalomaniac that audiences have grown accustomed to over the years. They decided to make him an unhinged, laughy villain, with physical ticks—did that description remind you of anyone? He so closely resembles the Joker, a villain that already exists in this universe, I can only assume Snyder wont stop until he’s homogenized every hero and villain in the DC universe into the same archetype.
Lois Lane could have been cut entirely from Batman V Superman. Snyder tries to sell a realistic universe, yet he fails time and time again to portray a woman who can stand on her own two feet. Lane’s rescued three times in the film, which is a little unnecessary, if we’re still talking fat on the script. Really, the best part of the Superman/Clark Kent side of the film, is editor of the Daily Planet played by Laurence Fishburne, who manages to flesh out a lively character within the few short scenes that he has.
Then player three enters the game: Wonder Woman! And one would hope that she adds some vitality to film, considering she has the word Wonder in her name. But, Miss Moody blends into the desaturated and grey background of the movie just like the all the aforementioned characters. Maybe Gal Gadot’s a terrible actress, or maybe they gave her nothing to go on. I’d hazard a guess that it’s a bit of both. Try as I might, I can’t think of one thing that separates her from Batman or Superman, character-wise—apart from the whip, of course.
Look at the avengers, each person has some trait or another that makes them pop. Captain America, the out of his element patriot. Bruce Banner, the innocuous hero turned monster. Tony Stark, the ostentatious playboy turned Mecha-Man. You get the point: Each person is a different flavor of personality that comes together to form the Neapolitan Avengers. Now, if we look at the Justice League, so far at least, we have a brooding Batman, a sad Superman, and a woeful Wonder Woman—Such diversity! It would appear that DC is banking hard on the idea that everyone likes Dark Chocolate.
So, in summary, throw your money at 10 Cloverfield Lane instead!