Now let's get to the other things that didn't make any sense outside of the pre-review criteria.  Batman becomes obsessed with stopping Superman, and this fuels his crusade.  After watching Superman and Zod destroy Metropolis and killing some of his employees, he decides it is time for Superman to go.  The opening scene that shows this is actually pretty cool.  But I kept asking myself why Wayne Enterprises officers were in Metropolis at all, especially once I learned later in the film that Gotham was right across the bay, or river or whatever.  Is the assertion here that Metropolis is New York and Gotham is Jersey?  In "The Dark Knight" film, Wayne references living in Palisades. Which is in Jersey.  What is even stranger, is after a point in the fight when the government decides to use a nuclear device against Doomsday, he comes crashing back to Earth and appear to be in a relatively isolated place.  After which, Batman says he needs to lead him back to Gotham, presumably to use a kryptonite weapon against him.  Was it really necessary to lure him there?  Couldn't Batman have simply gone back and gotten the weapon and then attacked Doomsday wherever he happened to be?  My point is that he is guilty of doing the same thing for which he blamed Superman, which is inviting death and destruction into Gotham when it could have been avoided.  This was just bad writing to my mind.


Wonder Woman was cool especially in the fight scenes.


At one point in the film, Superman is called before a Senate hearing.  A bomb is detonated in the Senate chamber killing everyone, except of course Superman.  This even further fuels a growing distrust and enmity of Superman.  Granted, no one really knows Superman in this story, but it seems nonsensical that people would jump to the conclusion that he was responsible.  Everyone ascribes these God-like attributes to him, but are ready to believe that he used a bomb to kill a Senator.  Superman could just as easily achieved the same bomb like effect by hurling something from a great distance, flown in so fast and broken the Senator's neck that no one would have been able to see him do it, or simply vaporize her with heat vision from space.  He could have been much more subtle, approaching any number of elected officials in private and used intimidation to achieve whatever nefarious goals the public believed he had.  Equally offputting, was this idea that Superman simply was unaware of the bomb.  It seems so ridiculous that he would not have spotted it, no matter how well hidden.  Even the presence of a lead lined box would have made him suspicious, but the only excuse he offered was "I wasn't looking for it.", to Lois Lane as she comforted him in a sop of super tears.  The bomb was used to move the story forward toward the inevitable conflict between the two heroes and it was sloppy storytelling at best.  Lazy at worst.  Was it not possible for Batman, and his vaunted laboratory to determine that Superman was not the cause?  Despite being blinded by rage against Superman, I don't see him putting aside reason and empirical evidence.

In the final coups by Lex Luthor, he abducts Martha Kent.  This was achieved entirely too easily.  And the manner in which her identity is discovered is never fully explained.  This element is significant because Luthor uses her as leverage to get Superman to attack Batman.  Later as Batman is about to kill Superman, Superman in the midst of choked gasps asks Batman not to let Martha die.  Batman initially thinks he is talking about his own mother, Martha Wayne, which hurls him into a flashback.  This is more ham fisted writing disguising itself has serendipity and subtle story telling.  Though, admittedly, the scene in which Thomas and Martha Wayne are killed is the best portrayal I have seen to date.  I feel bad for those two though, played by Harry Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan this time around (a treat), they are damned to a perpetual existence of being mugged and murdered.  And I find it odd that Martha Wayne's pearls are so dogmatically shown, in EVERY portrayal of that scene.  Again, the way in which the string of pearls were destroyed this time was quite original, which is more than I can say for the rest of the film.

I found it strange that Superman, for as much fear and distrust he and the people of the United States have toward one another, allowed the Kryptonian ship to stay in the possession of humans.  It never once occurred to him that the technology on board might be used to advance a militarized agenda, or worse, the genesis chamber would be used to spawn a massive super being like Doomsday.  It never occurred to Superman to scan the areas around the destroyed World Engine for remnants of krytponite that could then be used against him.  This is not only sloppy hero work on the part of Superman, it is sloppy storytelling by Snyder.  If Superman were truly the guardian of humanity, he would have made sure that none of the kryptonian technology would fall into human hands.  Luthor manages to gain access to the ship by slicing off the fingertips of Zod and putting them on his own hand.  This would have us believe that Krytponian biometric technology is not as advanced as human.  There was no retinal scan, no dna scan, no voice recognition.  By that merit, Kryptonians are just a race of overly trusting rubes who deserved to have their planet blown apart, if all I need to do to gain access to sensitive areas slice off someone's fingertips.  For that matter, why go through the trouble of slicing off fingertips?  Why not just slice off the whole hand use that?

Another bone of contention with the film is the initiation of the combat between Batman and Superman.  Batman rigs a few traps.  And while he must have known that a series of machine guns and a couple of sonic cannons would not even put a dent in the Man of Steel, I can see no psychological advantage to doing what he did.  And Superman, knowing he was walking into a confrontation did not see these hidden weapons before they were deployed.  Is it another case of him simply "not looking"?  

Finally I have to offer a few words about the Bat costume and the Batmobile, and the Bat.  All were substandard.  We all loved the powered armor, the sinister glowing eyes, the intimidating nature of it.  But the basic Bat costume looked more like urban camo by Under Armor.  I wasn't a fan.  The bat vehicles, which I assume were done entirely in CG, also were not awe inspiring.  The first time I saw the Tumbler version of the Batmobile, I was in love.  This new version was reminiscent of a pinewood derby car gone awry.  The other vehicle, the Bat we'll call it, was also underwhelming.  More thought and design should have gone into all of it.

In the plus column, the performances of Cavill and Affleck were not at all as bad as I thought they might be.  Particularly Affleck who, I admittedly had it in for since the film was announced, actually surprised me with a good performance.  Cavill was a bit soppy and sentimental at times, and his unsurety seemed too scripted but I chalk that up to bad writing.  The action sequences were entertaining, particularly the fight between Batman and Superman.  The scenes where Batman is fighting mercenaries was simply cool and I thought it was awesome that they seemed to reflect that he'd gotten older and was missing a step.  This film is actually a good film to take children too, they will definitely enjoy the action, but it may lose them during the overabundance of flashback sequences and overly dramatic story segments.  Something else the film could have done without and also shaved 30 minutes out of it making it an even 2 hours.

Ultimately my problem with this film was the writing.  There were too many blind alleys, and too many nonsense holes premises in the story, much of which could have been alleviated by adhering more closely to Dark Knight canon.  Frank Miller is one of the most successful storytellers in comic and film.  He is loved and revered because of his ability to write.  Why not utilize that, rather than selectively cherry picking one or two elements from wonderful story? Why take that same story and turn it into a two and a half hour commercial for five other franchises?  We all know there is a money aspect to it.  Money governs all of the decisions when it comes to massive franchises like this.  But why not spend a little extra to produce a superior product and one that does not make me feel like its hawking plastic action figures to me?  We, the consumer, bear some culpability in this.  Just as with "The Force Awakens", we were more concerned with getting our fix of Star Wars than we were with the manner in which the fix was delivered.  All we knew is that we wanted Star Wars.  And they spent as much money convincing us it was good, as they did making the film.  As with Batman vs Superman" Dawn of Justice, all we knew is we wanted more Batman.  After "The Man of Steel", Superman was kind of an afterthought, so we desperately hoped that the combination of the two would make them both a bit more interesting.  On the corporate acutarial tables, the risk that you and I would not go see this film because we worried it would suck is very low.  They are counting on the fact that we hope it won't suck.  And each iteration we continue to hold out that hope.  Because, in their minds, it is much easier to bank on that naive hope than it is to bank on good writing.  And now, as if to make things worse, they are going to throw a bunch of other spin offs into the air in hopes that at least a couple will land on us.  

Overall I do not recommend blowing 3 hours in the theater watching this.  This movie, at best, is a dvd rental.  If you prefer to see your action up close and personal, the by all means.  The big question is can you suffer through all of the films shortcomings in order to get to what amounts to a five minute fight scene between the Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel.  If you are not bound by a slavish allegiance to Frank Miller, or say, decent storytelling then go and see it in the theater.  Otherwise, save yourself the money and time.  We give this film 2.5 stars.  The movie was well filmed and Snyder gets one star for that.  He gets another star for managing to make it mildly entertaining.  He loses a star for the bad writing and another for the massive departure from Miller's "Dark Knight Returns" despite borrowing heavily from it.  He loses another half star for making the film needlessly long and using a superfluous Lex Luthor to do it.

If you find the film lacking feel free to check out the animated film that is a truer representation of the original Miller works.  You can buy "The Dark Knight" returns by following the link below.  I've also included the link to the Dark Knight Returns animated film parts one and two available to rent or buy.  Those more accurately reflected the Miller story as well and I found them to be enjoyable.  If you don't like the movie then hopefully you will find some comfort in these.