To give Zack Snyder a fair chance, we must judge him on the merits of his technical craft, as well as the hurdles he had to jump to get his vision to the screen. No excuses are to be found with the director’s cut of a film. It is their vision, the best they could assemble in the year or two they have slaved away on a piece, hoping to appease those out there that wished for gritty nonsense and super serious tones. Do they work? They could. Had they been implemented correctly, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice could have been somewhat engaging or at the very least come dangerously close to being somewhat interesting. There is no room for quality here, with flatlining pacing, tropes that Snyder drags through his usual tropes and lack of effectiveness.
Thoughtless characters are introduced from the immediate seconds of the film. Gawping at the giant laser introducing terror and destruction at the beginning of the film, characters idly chit chat and wait for demise, rather than acting. They are shells, waiting for input from Snyder. Unresponsive until someone, somewhere behind the camera, gives them some direction. Sadly, that direction comes either too late or smothered with confusing results. Musical cues that tell an audience what to feel, rather than real emotion shown through the lens of the camera. What few glimmers of hope there are can be found in the characters and choices made far away from the main storyline. Jeremy Irons’ performance collates sarcasm and wit rather nicely, and while Ben Affleck gnaws at a wooden script, he is a good choice for the role. A shame he never fulfilled that potential, but it is no fault of ours, it is the work of an incompetent director.
What is left of the film is a collection of dream sequences that showcase the film Snyder truly wanted to make, a deserted Gotham with Mad Max colour scheme, and the primitive idea that a drawn-out, jittery stretch of action means good action. It does not. One of the many embarrassing moments found within is the sudden apocalyptic fantasy that Snyder wishes for, his elongated scenes of dreamlike nonsense are futile and tremendously useless. They add nothing but confusion to an already unclear and sloppy narrative. Hilariously poor use of initiative, Batman trusts his visions and rambling monologues that tap into the future, with shoddy attempts at throwing in time travel too. Snyder simply does not have the smarts to make it work. There are a multitude of supporting narrative threads that neither come together or make any sense on their own. Bruce Wayne struggles to deal with the haunted nightmares of his past and the events of Man of Steel, even when he had no real impact on those events. Snyder merely wishes for it and makes it so.
Implementing the idea that, had Gotham featured a better American football team, crime rates would drop, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is filled with details that don’t matter. Faux attempts at creating a background, painting an expressionless city populated by idiots. Snyder attempts to blend dark themes of human trafficking, the post-9/11 landscape of America and elements of horror with a plot that concerns a flying man donned with a red cape allergic to rocks fighting a billionaire with a bat kink. Boring, obnoxious, and frustrating considering the obvious attempts at capturing the gritty feel of The Dark Knight but the marketability of whichever Marvel piece Snyder was caught up in copying at the time. Costume drama for freaks, geeks and cultists of the Snyder variety. Scary stuff indeed.