Before the movie came out, there were advanced screenings for critics and fans alike. The reactions were divisive and mixed. I was not happy when I read the spoilers, especially for Superman. Upon watching the movie, my fears were justified and correct. What Man of Steel was when they gave us a kick-ass Superman, this was step downs for Superman. This film was the debuts of Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg though the latter three were cameo appearances and Wonder Woman’s role was more substantial. The Batman we have here is a little bit older in his 40’s and doing this for 20 years. This was the comics-accurate looking Batman, but they based him on Frank Miller’s version of him. It was a little bit steps down from being the definitive Batman. This Batman also kills left and right. So why did they have a problem with Superman killing Zod while they have no problem with Batman killing? That’s hypocritical and a double standard if you ask me.
My real problem with this film was the way they did Superman as they showed him being lectured to by the Senate, Martha Kent, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, and Batman. He gets defeated by Batman in a fight that was clearly one-sided, despite other fans saying that Superman won philosophically. But that didn’t make Superman fans feel better as this was their way rubbing it in. Everything was hinged on the title rather than building from the last film. The way they built up the fight between Superman and Batman was also one-sided as it was built up from Batman’s end. Superman doesn’t agree with Batman’s brand of justice. There were certain things they could have done without such as Lex Luthor’s manipulation of the whole thing. What does Lex Luthor get out of this if either Superman or Batman die?
Speaking of Lex Luthor, he’s supposed to be Superman’s arch enemy and there was no connection between them – Luthor hates Superman, yet Superman doesn’t care about him. It was Batman who connected to Luthor. Basically what this film really is a Batman film with Superman at its center. It’s a story of Batman Vs. Lex Luthor with Superman being thrown in. Not only did they kill off Superman, they also killed off Jimmy Olsen and we didn’t find out until the credits. If Snyder thought this was funny, I sure wasn’t laughing and I didn’t see the humor in it either. This Lex Luthor came across as Joker-lite.
The highlight is Wonder Woman as this is her film debut after 75 years. The reaction she got when she debuted was positive and she kicked ass like a Wonder Woman should. Her version is based on the New 52 version and it’s darker and grittier than the original Lynda Carter from the TV series. They didn’t say her name as either Diana Prince or Wonder Woman. It’s shown that she’s 5000 years old and has been in America since World War 1. Gal Gadot has done a great job as Wonder Woman and she has a WW solo film out next year as I’m looking forward to it. If I were you, I’d skip the whole movie to the climax when she, Superman, and Batman fought Doomsday.
I came away from the film with Superman being lectured to by many, beaten by Batman, and killed by Doomsday. This film was Zack Snyder’s true confession – he’s not a Superman fan that he’d like us to believe and is a Batman fan, especially when he said he’s a fan of Dark Knight Returns. Not sure? Snyder also said that the Justice League film is Batman assembling the Justice League. They boxed themselves into a corner when they killed off Superman. When and where does his return fit in is what concerns me. I know they said that the trilogy is Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Justice League Part 1, but the real trilogy is Batman v Superman and Justice League Parts 1 and 2. If Batman v Superman was the start of the DC cinematic universe, then what was Man of Steel then? A prologue? All of this wouldn’t have happened without Man of Steel.
This theatrical cut is likely the studio’s call of wanting more Batman than Superman. Snyder talked a lot about the Ultimate R-Rated Extended Cut. I hope it includes a lot more to see how it flows better and hope they show more of the fight between Superman and Batman. It’s the only way to redeem this film. A misguided attempt to please both Superman and Batman fans, but only ended up ticking off Superman fans.