So, should you listen to the reviewers?
NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT.
I remember walking out of the cinema, dazzled by what I have seen, moved to the point of muteness, and eager to see what others are saying about it ... only to read vitrolic reviews. I was frankly gobsmacked.
Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice has got to be the most unfairly reviewed movie I've ever seen. I mean, the disparity between the "professional" critics and the fans are pretty crazy.
Batman vs Superman is not as bad as the Green Lantern (26%), and there is no way Fantastic Four (36%) is better than it!
But fine, let's address the reviewers' criticisms one by one:
Superman is too broody
Superman is a tough character to transition into a 21st-century where suicide bombers blow up people at shopping malls and ISIS is butchering folks and airing their executions live on social media. The original Superman existed during a more cheerful, optimistic, black and white time. Zack Snyder's version is a Superman for 2016. He is buffeted by the darkness of our time and conflicted by the tough choices he have to make: Should he use his immense powers to kill so that more would live? Should he be the hero to fickle humanity, who would worship him one second, and then blame him for everything that goes wrong when it's convenient? How can Clarke Kent, raised as a good man (boy scout, some say) exist in such a grey time? This Superman's reactions are very realistic for our time.
It's too dark
Now, this criticism is a head-scratcher. A movie with Batman ain't going to be a Disney romp. This is a man who has been tortured physically and emotionally by villains like Bane and the Joker. Batman is equally brutal in the comics to bad guys. He is not going to be, nor was he ever, a happy, jokey guy. Also,this is not a Marvel movie. I get the impression that many of the critics were disappointed they weren't getting an Avengers part trois. Again. This is not a Marvel movie. I appreciate the fact that DC is trying to position itself as the anti-Marvel of sorts. Superman vs Batman is mature, dark and sober - the thinking man's comic book movie.
There's way too many things going on!
I 100% agree with the critics about this. This is what the movie attempts to do: a) Give Batman a backstory b) Build the tension between Superman and Batman c) Set up the Justice League movie d) Build on Superman's angst about his role from Man of Steel e) Foreshadow future conflicts f) Introduce Wonder Woman
The movie would've been much better if they removed (e) and (c), and lightly touched on (d). F, thank god was one of the best parts.
It takes a lot to pay attention to all of these plot threads. If you don't know the characters' backgrounds and history, it'll be more challenging. I can't fault casual moviegoers, especially those who have not read the comics, for getting bored or frustrated. Batman v Superman should've been two movies. Blame it on the impatience of movie execs.
In a perfect world, Superman v Batman would've been a four-hour miniseries, but Snyder had to squeeze four to five hours of material into 2.5 hours. Yikes!
Jesse Eisenberg is an awful Lex Luthor
I thought that if Lex existed in our time, he would've been a dot.com mogul. I'm largely neutral about Eisenberg's role, but I was very sure that his manic too-many-cups-of-coffee performance would not gel well with some, who is more used to the confident, supremely controlled, Machievellian version we have gotten used to over the years. Still, I thought he brought the right kind of energy to the movie. I mean, with Superman and Batman being such dark, broody, intense figures, the last thing we needed was a dark, intense, broody villain. Believe it or not, he was light relief.
Batman didn't have a good reason to go after Superman
With so many plot threads going on, something's gotta give, and it's a pity that it's one of the most important threads that wobbled.
So, should you watch Batman v Superman?
It all depends on how forgiving you are with the movie's flaws and how accepting you are of the changes Snyder has made.
If the cohesiveness of the plot matters to you most, you will probably hate it. If you have a certain unshakeable vision of how the characters should be and am not open to reinterpretations, you'd probably dislike Snyder's liberties.
Oh, and you'd most certainly dislike it if you're not into angst.
But I loved it because of the fresh vision. I loved how Snyder brought Superman into the 21st century - it's a tough job and I don't envy him for it. I enjoyed Ben Affleck's Batman and never imagined that he would best Christian Bale in a million years, but he did, and I love that.
Batman v Superman is not a perfect movie, but it certainly doesn't deserve a 29% rating. 2007's Fantastic Four (36%) is in no way better than this movie.
My rating: 75%.