THE BIGGEST PROBLEM with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is right there in the title. I'm not talking about its ungainliness or its pomposity (the movie shares these qualities), or even the awkward v stabbed through it like one of the Caped Crusader's little bat-shaped throwy things. I'm talking about the two words it's missing: Wonder Woman.
As you've learned from the trailer, Wonder Woman appears in this latest effort by DC Comics to turn its massive amounts of intellectual property into a money-printing machine along the lines of the Marvel franchise. But she's only around for a few precious minutes. This movie, predictably, belongs to the boys—and therefore it's both inconsequential and calamitous, simultaneously sullen and earsplitting.
Director Zack Snyder picks up right where 2013's Man of Steel left off, and believe it or not, he's turned up the gloom and heavy-handedness. The collateral damage caused by the battle with General Zod has turned ol' Superman (Henry Cavill) into a controversial figure. Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) thinks he's reckless. Lois Lane (Amy Adams) thinks he's swell. Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is a gibbering insane person who is clearly going to do something very damaging.
BvS is frontloaded by an interminable amount of setup, and the contortions the story makes to get Supes and Bats into a shoving match are frustrating. (Essentially, Superman is a gullible idiot and Batman is sad about his dead parents—oh, and if you think Snyder's gonna skip over Mom and Dad Wayne's murder outside the theater, think again, and get ready for lots of slow motion.) Bigger problems rear their head, forcing the jock and the goth kid to settle their differences. So it's exactly what you're expecting, but longer, louder, and with an almost unfathomable amount of digitally created violence. Is it dumb of me to hope that next year's Wonder Woman movie might give us something more?