Movie Review

Film Review: BATMAN V SUPERMAN (2016): Ultimate Edition – Incompetent, Incoherent, & Lousy

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Ultimate Edition

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition Review

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition (2016) Film Review, a movie directed Zack Snyder, and starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Jason Momoa, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane, Holly Hunter, Callan Mulvey, Tao Okamoto, Tj Norris, and Ray Fisher.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition was one of the worst superhero films I have ever seen. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition was one of the lowest examples of a comic book film that I have every had the displeasure of viewing. The film was a terrible, incoherent mess.

I watched the film for 40 minutes and could not discern what was the plot of the film. I didn’t understand what the main focus of the film was because so many coterminous events were transpiring.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition was front loaded with storylines that were meant to bolster the film while introducing interesting characters, elaborating of previously introduced characters and situations from Man of Steel. The problem was that some of the storylines in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition deserved their own separate film. Other storylines shouldn’t have been in the film at all.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition didn’t know what it wanted to be.

Did Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice want to be a:

1. Origin story for a new Batman
2. A Detective / Investigation drama in a war zone that starred Lois Lane
3. A sequel to Man of Steel
4. A movie were Alexander ‘Lex’ Luthor wanted Batman and Superman to destroy each other for no apparent reason
5. A Wonder Woman introduction story
6. A The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg introduction story
7. A pseudo, feature length reference to Frank Miller‘s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
8. A story about a crippled, ex-Bruce Wayne employee

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition shifted tones and story-arches so much that it was impossible to discern what the meaning or goal of what was transpiring. Cloud Atlas was a terrible adaptation of a great book, like this film, but at least a central theme ran throughout Cloud Atlas. Cloud Atlas‘ multiple plotlines (and horrible makeup – who made that decision?) were in different time periods. In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition, the plotlines were children in the same room at the same time fighting with each for more attention and screen time.

The narrative squabbling rendered most-if-not-all of the storylines in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition incomplete and the whole film an empty, effects-driven extravaganza. The viewer couldn’t form a connection to any of the characters because their situations were so badly written and underdeveloped. As a viewer you could sit and watch circus unfold and feel nothing at all.

The world that David Goyer sought to create for his incarnation of Batman was incomplete. Mixing that incomplete world with the incomplete world of Superman made the situation even worse. I get world-building but the world in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition was ludicrous. Batman was older than Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition and had been in operation long before Superman showed up. How was it that Superman had never heard about Batman? Batman had been in operation while Superman was a teen. Everyone in America would have heard of the antics of the man dressed up like a bat crime-fighting in one of the most crime-ridden cities in the union. The Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition was completely oblivious to Batman. How? How had Man-bat stories never reached Superman? Superman has super hearing. And how was it that the time period in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition was the moment that Batman had to be stopped, after decades of fighting crime, after all the people that he had (L.O.L.) killed? This was one of numerous bad writing instances in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition.

The Batman versus Superman fight in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition was completely pointless. It was extended long past it’s life span like the anti-climatic final fight in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.

Superman had to kill Batman to save has mother like he had to kill General Zod to save civilians in Man of Steel. In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition, Superman didn’t. Batman, when he had Superman helpless and limp, didn’t immediately break Superman’s neck (for no outside or internal reason), end the fight, and the threat to humanity. Why? The reasoning behind both of these decisions was never explained. Instead of explanations, these narrative problems were compounded. Batman eventually threw Superman over a banister and down a few floors of the structure they were in. That decision made utterly no sense from a military, combat, or strategic standpoint. All that bluster from Batman, all that bombast about Superman and the threat he posed. When Batman had him unconscious and weak enough to destroy, Batman picked up Superman and threw him down some floors. That moment in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition was a metaphor for the entire film – one big wasted opportunity.

If the fight was pointless, like the fight between Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America in The Avengers, why have it?

How did Batman know to place his Kryptonite spear on the ground floor of the building?  How did Batman know he would end up on the ground floor of that building? Once again, it was another example of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition‘s idiotic, plot-hole ridden narrative. Here is another question, a question never even presented in the film or its predecessor, one you, the reader, probably have not considered. Are you ready? Here goes – how did Luther and Batman know that Kryptonite could negatively effect Superman? Remember Kryptonians had no special abilities on Krypton i.e. Kryptonite would have no negative effect on them on Krypton. How did Luther and Batman know that Kryptonite would negatively effect Superman on Earth? How did they know that it could weaken Superman? General Zod’s body you say, the crashed Kryptonian ship? The computer in the crashed Kryptonian ship would not even have known about Kryptonite. It didn’t exist on Earth until the World Engine was destroyed in Man of Steel. Even if the Kryptonian ship did know about Kryptonite, Luthor was searching for Kryptonite BEFORE he gained access to the Kryptonian ship and General Zod’s body.

This whole plot point problem could have been solved this easily: Luthor gained access to the Kryptonian ship, learned about Kryptonite from the Kryptonian ship (the ship that had been on Earth, buried, for a long time. That ship knew more about Kryptonians and Earth than an other source in the galaxy). Luthor created an algorithm. He searched for Kryptonite, using that algorithm, across the globe, outer space, and found some. Done. Instead, the aforementioned, unexplained plot slop.

One more question, if Luthor knew the true identities of Superman and Batman, why not expose them to the public? Destroy their public personas. Give them no where to hide out in the public. Destroy them via proxy. That is what Bane would have done (the Bane in the comic books, not the far less intelligent version in The Dark Knight Returns). That is what Sokovian Colonel Helmut Zemo tried to do in Captain America: Civil War. Luthor then could have come for Superman and Batman while they were distracted: Wayne fending off hundreds of lawsuits from his victims while dodging a warrant for his arrest. Clark trying to keep his mother safe and sane as paparazzi from around the globe descended onto her home. That is what a highly intelligent bad guy would have done. The Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition, though smart (I guess), was a sporadic blatherskite that talked to himself and could not see the chess board (or think moves ahead).

As a film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition was not a total disaster. There were positives strewn throughout the maelstrom of near incoherence.

The Granny’s Peach Tea segment in the senatorial Superman hearing was one of the funniest moments in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition. The full jar of urine sitting next to Senator June Finch (Holly Hunter) right before Luthor blew her to pieces was the perfect Rockefeller Salute. This was a level of brassiness (“You’re going to be on the hot seat in there.”) that was sorely missed throughout the rest of the film. This segment of the film also directly contradicted Luthor’s intelligence. If Senator Finch had looked at the urine jar ten-fifteen second earlier, she could have warned Superman, and Superman could have gotten the wheelchair out of the Capitol building in time. It was sloppy of Luthor to give Senator Finch the heads up in that fashion (the urine jar labeled “Granny’s Peach Tea”). It was foolish of Luthor to give Senator Finch a heads up at all. Too much was at stake. This was another instance of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition‘s sloppy script. David Goyer did not have a firm grasp of the characters he was writing. He didn’t understand the way they would think in the situations that he created for them.

One of the best parts of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition was one the most unnecessary scenes in the film. The death sequence of Bruce Wayne’s parents, with pearl necklace, gun close up, led directly into Batman’s world view in an excellent way. The problem is that this very sequence had played out in different incarnations in Tim Burton‘s Batman and in Christopher Nolan‘s Batman Begins. The knowledgeable viewer already knew that Batman’s parents were killed by a criminal and that was why he fought crime. The problems with including that sequence in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition were efficiency and film run time. Why waste screen time on that same plot point for the third time? Like I said, it effectively led into Batman’s motivations but it was redundant. That sequence and what it led into should have been in a completely separate Batman film i.e. a new origin film for a new incarnation of Batman.

The desert dream sequence in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition was an absolute waste of screen-time. It didn’t nothing for the real world narrative in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition. Batman, in the real world, already established that he was afraid of what Superman was capable of doing. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition did not need a nearly fifteen minute dream sequence to illustrate that fact. It was complete over-indulgence by Warner Bros. and the film’s editor toward David Goyer. The desert dream sequence should not have been in the film. It should have been cut out of the film (like many of the film’s subplots) and included as a deleted scene (cut for pacing) within the in-home release.

The Justice League Email attachment file plot point in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition was a direct result of Warner Bros. trying to skip the introduction film  formula exemplified in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in lieu of getting to the team-up film immediately. Like with the email attachments, the characters represented within them were cursory and disposal. The email attachment files were meant as character showcases and origin stories. They failed at both. David Goyer tried to condense cameos and origin stories into 30 or 40 seconds bursts in lieu of full-fledged origin story films. Because of this choice, no connection between the email attachment file characters and the viewer was established. Iron Man and Batman Begins are the gold standards for great origin story films. Condensing origin stories down to email attachments in an already overstuffed film was a complete disservice.

If you are going to introduce an inconsequential character, Hawkeye’s introduction in Thor was a clear example of how it could have been done effectively without a full-fledged origin film.

David Goyer went for everything with his Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice script and achieved nothing. Perhaps that was an overstatement. If one of his goals was to get Warner Bros. to a Justice League movie as expeditiously as possible (and I know it was), mission accomplished. Warner Bros., you are now there. A Justice League film and a nice payday for you are on the horizon. Congratulations. It took the creation and release of a disastrous, gimmicky, one-stop-shop film to get there quickly. Warner Bros. could have followed the slower more prudent route that Marvel trail-blazed. Warner Bros. could have introduced the sub-characters (Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg) and their plot lines in individual films. These films could have led all way up to Justice League but Warner Bros. obviously had no intention of waiting the better part of a decade. More’s the pity.

The out-of-focus CGI Batman, Spider-Man-like moment in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition was a cartoon joke. It was as bad as the CGI Sabertooth moments in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The Batman presented in comic books can not cling to walls (in defiance of gravity and his 300 pounds of body weight – Bruce Wayne’s body weight plus the weight of his suit and its utility belt). Batman is not Spider-Man.

Christopher Nolan’s Batmobile was functional, looked sturdy, and it initially served a purpose outside of being Batman’s Batmobile. The Batmobile in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition, like the film, was a monstrosity. The latter could have been forgiven except for the fact that all of the Batmobile’s chief scenes in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition involved a CGI version of the vehicle. On top of that, the Batmobile scenes were boring (the Lamborghini scenes in The Dark Knight were far better). The Batmobile scenes in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition were like watching a video game. Why not have a real vehicle doing real stunts?

Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) was completely vapid in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition. I had no idea what her powers were or anything about her background (except for the black and white photograph). She was a collection of words and actions. Nothing more. Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition had no character development or arch in the slightest.

In an earlier editorial that I wrote, I lamented the exclusion of Oliver Queen for the storyline in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. After watching Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition, I realize the fallacy of my former words. Green Arrow would not have ameliorated the narrative of this film one iota. In fact, his presence would have made the film even worse because it would have been another character and relationship that was ill-served by the bloated script for this film.

In that very same editorial, I called what Doomsday would be in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition from a mile away (a dead unifier, nothing more) and unfortunately, I was correct.

I heard Thor: The Dark World was a terrible film so I’ve never watched it. I heard that Iron Man 3 had a giant plot hole that could have easily been fixed by a first year screenwriting student so I never watched that film. I wish I could say the same thing about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition. I wish I had never watched it.  The funeral at the end of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was not just for a fallen hero. It was a funeral for the hopes and dreams fans had for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Rating: 2/10

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About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created ProMovieBlogger.com and Trending Awards.com.

  • Cary David Hoffson

    Batman vs Superman dawn of justice you don’t know what you are talking about it is a great movie for a start up and you have been looking at to many of the marvel comics movies and they are the ones that should be done like DC comics movies that is just like the comic books and novels and video games and DC comics movies are getting away from the Adam West Batman TV show so should marvel comics movies be doing to

  • Cary, I do know what I am talking about. I have skipped some Marvel movies (like I said in my review) because I heard they were bad (or disappointing). I want DC Comic films to be good. Man of Steel was good. I liked Man of Steel (http://film-book.com/film-review-man-of-steel-2013-superman-comes-home-at-long-last/). Man of Steel was far better than Batman v Superman.

    Cary, answer this question: In BvS, how did Lex Luthor know that Kryptonite would negatively effect Superman?

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