How Zack Snyder ruined Batman v Superman

For better or for much, much worse, Warner Bros. has handed the keys to the DC Expanded Universe to Zack Snyder despite the clunky, ultra-violent mess that was Man Of Steel. It takes a special kind of ineptitude to screw up a $250 million sequel that has two of the most iconic and recognizable characters in comic book and pop culture history. But director Zack Snyder accomplished exactly that and more with Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Be warned: it's all spoilers and disappointment from here on out.

The 153-minute run time

Remember watching The Dark Knight and not caring that it was 152 minutes long? That's what happens when you have an engrossing story and developed characters. Batman v Superman's run time is mostly due to Zack Snyder's unchecked slo-mo fetish, incoherent story structure, and plot threads that barely served the story the first four times Snyder beat you over the head with them. It's a movie where a lot of things happen, but nothing actually happens.

One-note characterization

Superman is a God-like alien who may or may not decide to destroy the world one day? We get it. We got that going in to the theater. Unlike the citizens of Snyder's world, we're smart enough to figure that out. Batman is bitter and his soul is tortured? We got that after the first unnecessary dream sequence that Snyder used to literally show us Batman's subconscious. That's worse than hack. That's unforgivable.

The casting of Jesse Eisenberg

In what might be one of the worst casting misfires in recent memory, Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor would be hysterically awful if it wasn't just plain awful. It's Jesse Eisenberg at peak Jesse Eisenberg. It's a ham-fisted soap opera performance that wandered onto a big budget movie. His performance is a cringeworthy, overly dramatic, show-don't-tell take on neurosis. It's bad-Nic-Cage bad. And how do Snyder and screenwriters David Goyer and Chris Terrio tell us Luthor is an "evil genius"? By making him go on ridiculous existential rants that include passages from books he's read instead of using that time to make his actual motives clear.

The complete mishandling of Woman Woman

Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman was relentlessly hyped as an integral part of Batman v Superman. After 60 years waiting for her big screen debut, this beloved character's time had come. Or so we thought. It didn't come in this movie. The script feels like it was written months before then Warner Bros. decided, "Oh, yeah. We should probably put Wonder Woman in this since this is a setup to The Justice League." You could practically see her sitting on the shoehorn when her character is introduced (to steal something Bruce Wayne was already there to steal). Why? Because Luthor had one of her selfies. A few dress changes later and an underwhelming fight scene that required Lois Lane to drown for Wonder Woman to get any screen time, Snyder and company failed the legacy of such a powerful and influential character.

The setup for Justice League: Part One

If this was anybody else other than Zack Snyder, we could blame this on Warner Bros., but we've all learned by now not to underestimate Snyder's heavy-handed approach to storytelling. Here was the big idea to setup Justice League: Part One from people being paid millions to bring the DC Expanded Universe to life: Batman sends Wonder Woman an email with attachment videos of Aquaman, the Flash, and Cyborg. That was it. That was their huge moment. Keep in mind, Jason Momoa was announced as a character and even was part of the film's marketing, was regulated to being shown in a video monitor playback. Even if Aquaman is the lamest superhero of all time, he deserved better than that. But again, we're dealing with Zack Snyder.

No love for Jimmy

Love him or hate him, Jimmy Olsen is a long-established part of Superman's circle of friends. He's been so important to the character that he's enjoyed his own comic book series alongside other DC Comics legends like Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman himself. Jimmy Olsen is so important to DC Comics, that Jack Kirby actually started introducing his Fourth World characters and concepts—like Darkseid, the Parademons, and the Mother Box, all of are really important to the future of the DC Expanded Universe—in an issue of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen. So how does Zack Snyder treat Jimmy? He makes him an undercover CIA agent and has him shot in the face and killed less than two minutes after he first shows up on screen. Good job, Zack.