Thirty minutes after "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" reviews hit the Internet on Tuesday (March 22), Rotten Tomatoes trended worldwide on Twitter — because the film, which is currently hovering around 40 percent, is garnering painfully bad reviews for a film of its budget, talent, and massive hype.
I was able to screen the film on behalf of Revelist minutes later, and sadly can confirm that this time, majority rule wins out. "Batman v Superman" is just plain bad. At no point in its 2 hour and 33 minute runtime did I ever understand why Ben Affleck's whiny, dour Batman hated Henry Cavill's clueless Superman so much, or why Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg, who should know better than this) hated all superheroes in general. It was something about his dad being a German? I think?
But the worst part of all was how depressingly violent and altogether joyless Zach Snyder's second film in the DC Comics universe turned out. You have nearly a century's worth of rich and exciting character material to mine from, and you go with this? You go with two of our world's most daring and complex superheroes reduced to schoolyard bullies, punching each other and measuring their proverbial dicks on the playground?
However, there was one silver lining in "Batman v Superman," and I'm not talking about Affleck's salt and pepper hairline. Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman made her debut early on in the film, and managed to steal every scene she was in from her brooding, hunky onscreen counterparts. Here are three reasons why — if you do decide to spend your money on "Batman v Superman" — Wonder Woman is the only one worth the $14 admission:
She's the only character we know nothing about in a room full tired stories.
How many times have you seen Bruce Wayne's parents die or Superman fall for Lois Lane throughout your lifetime — ten? At least? Well, "Batman v Superman" literally opens with Thomas and Martha Wayne dying again, bat-signaling straight away that Snyder doesn't mind retreading old ground. A lot.
But Wonder Woman's story has only been told onscreen well one time, and Lynda Carter took off those boots in 1979. Bruce Wayne spends the most time with her in "BvS," and he (plus the audience) is understandably fascinated by the whip-sharp, fashionable thief with a sly grin that is clearly hiding many, many things. And why wouldn't he be? In a city (well, twin cities, Gotham and Metropolis are now somehow so close to each other you can see the Bat Signal from the Daily Planet) populated by a depressed, overworked vigilante and a good old boy so foolishly in love he can't see how he's hurting thousands of other people, Wonder Woman is a breath of fresh mysterious air.
Basically, we are now facing our 1,383 Spider-Man reboot, and I've seen Thomas and Martha Wayne die more than I can count, so you've gotta bring something new and exciting to the table if you want it to stick — and Wonder Woman is the only thing new and exciting in all 153 minutes of "BvS."
Her fight scene is thrilling.
"Batman v Superman" really decides to lean in to the "actions of superheroes have devastating affects on regular people" thing, so a lot of the violence in the film is just guns guns guns and bulky dudes punching each other. Wonder Woman's fight with Doomsday, however — which was teased heavily in trailers — was a high point in the film, even outshining the big battle between Batman and Superman themselves.
Really, what made the three future Justice Leaguers versus Doomsday battle so great to watch was it was the only scene in the film where anyone (her) had any fun being a superhero. It was a David and Goliath sort of situation, sure, but Wonder Woman seemed to revel in her fists and golden lasso being the only things that could save the world from utter destruction. Meanwhile, Superman spent much of the battle worrying about Lois Lane and Batman was essentially useless.
I get that Christopher Nolan's Batman movies ushered in an era of gritty superhero movies (and shows — "Daredevil" has Nolan-itis, too), but "BvS" just captures his aesthetic and his moodiness without keeping any of the human story that made those movies so fun to watch. When Wonder Woman arrives to kick ass, it feels like some of that Nolanesque human spark is back, and it made me wish the entire movie was nothing but Wonder Woman.
Which brings me to...
Her scenes tease her upcoming film, which is giving me hope for a better DC movie universe.
If "Jessica Jones" taught me anything, it's that my body is ready for more superhero content created by and starring women. Gadot's solo "Wonder Woman" project is set to hit theaters in June of 2017 — with "Monster" director Patty Jenkins at the helm — and "Batman v Superman" does a good job piquing the audience's interest. Not much is revealed about Wonder Woman's past (we don't even know her real name!) in Snyder's movie, but we do see that she's been in our world for over a hundred years, and that something happened to make her disappear into the shadows.
This, plus the aforementioned fight scene and her seemingly guarded (but still heroic!) personality left me more than ready for "Wonder Woman"'s big debut — even if I end up skipping her "Justice League" appearances to be spared of more Snyder and Batfleck.