BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE had it rough before it even released. Movie bloggers and critics were slamming it before going in and giving it a chance. Many of my colleagues were counting the days before they could crush it with their harsh words. That's not how film criticism should work -- a critic should always go in open-minded. If they can't, don't review -- but with today's online writers, people do as they please; reviewing a movie they are dreading to see is a part of the system. Most of us go on set visits, show off on social media about it, and then bash the film.
This is before the movie screened for critics.
There are two significant problems with BvS. One is the critic's fault; one is Synder's.
1) To understand comic book films, you need to know the comics. This goes with any film that has history of literature before it. I've only reviewed one film based on a book and made sure to disclose that I didn't read the book, so the reader knew that I only reviewed what I saw on screen, but perhaps didn't understand some content because I didn't read the book.
2) Critics first slammed MAN OF STEEL because of the destruction of Metropolis and Superman snapping Zod's neck. In defense, he hand no choice; Zod told him, "the people of Earth or me." A few more things to ponder: In Richard Lester/Richard Donner's SUPERMAN II, Christopher Reeve's did kill Zod and his two goons, but they played it safe for moviegoers and critics. Superman is, after, a good little alien. But when you think about it, Zod's death in MAN OF STEEL was quick; in SUPERMAN II, Zod is falling into an endless pit until he runs of out breath or his heart gives out. But it's framed in a way where it's not violent. (Yes, I've had a long time to think about this, and I love SUPERMAN and SUPERMAN II.)
But violence and realism is what critics and fans begged for after the IRONMAN and THE DARK KNIGHT. Superman is a character who's hard to be dark, but director Zach Snyder made it happen with MAN OF STEEL. Superman couldn't stick to his code of saving every civilian as the large fucking buildings falling because he was busy trying to save the world by geting rid of Zod and his team of Kryptonian assassins. Cut Snyder and Supes some slack.
For BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, where Snyder fumbled was in the editing process. The Ultimate Edition explains all of the plot holes and missed opportunities for the theatrical version. "Why didn't Superman know there was a bomb in that wheelchair?" The UE has a ten-second clip explaining Lex Luthor made it out of lead, so he couldn't see what was in it. "Why did that young lady who was "at the location" where Superman saved Lois, lie about Superman killing civilians?" Well, it's explained in one quick clip that Lex Luthor paid her to say it. Even gave her a script. These should have been in the theatrical version.
The bundle of editing missteps fall on Snyder and his team. Lots of bad editing calls that would have made the film more understandable to the ones who just thought it was a stuffed turkey about two dudes set on beating the shit out of each other.
And people have got to let go of why the two team up after the big fight. The name of their mother's are in the comics, so you can't really blame the filmmaker for sticking with that. Sure, it's a little cheesy, but all superhero movies have cheesy moments.
In defense of the UE, it's three hours long and the average moviegoer would not sit through that. Hell, it's hard for me to sit through a two and half-hour film. I can't remember seeing a movie in a theater that's running time is under two hours.
Maybe the UE should have been the one to release in theaters. The leap of faith would have been worth it since it's two of the greatest comic book heros of all time, and people would perhaps tolerate the running time because these two were finally put together in the same film.
Snyder knows how to paint a picture, but perhaps needs to stay away from the writing process. BvS is a beautiful film, and deserves that recognition. As for the errors, he listens, which is why the destruction of Metropolis is explained in BvS.
Watch the Ultimate Edition when you can, and see if it changes how you feel about the movie. It sure did me.