The people who made ‘Batman v. Superman’ hate you

I try to keep an open mind about movies. I really, truly do.

I thought “Batman v. Superman,” D.C.’s latest attempt at siphoning some of that sweet Marvel money, looked underwhelming from the minute it started. Even after the barrage of scornful reviews during its release last week, I held firm that it would probably at least be dumb fun.

I didn’t expect that I would outright hate it. I didn’t think in a million years that I would feel a tinge of genuine anger about wasting my time with a movie where two of America’s icons face off on-screen.

But I did. “Batman v. Superman” is so painfully dull and so full of contempt towards the audience that I can’t help but feel like its very existence is offensive.

One thing I can give it credit for is that the trailers didn’t lie. Batman and Superman do indeed fight each other, for about ten minutes near the end of its gargantuan run-time. It’s a clumsy, boring affair in an abandoned building and it’s ultimately meaningless.

The rest of it is an uncomfortable combination of poorly-considered pontification about the morality of Superman and a million teases for the inevitable hellfire of terrible “Justice League” sequels, spin-offs, and sequels to spin-offs.

There’s actually a hint of promise at the start, as we find out Bruce Wayne (played by Ben Affleck this time) was frantically driving around Metropolis as Superman (Henry Cavill) destroyed the city in the comically stupid “Dragon Ball Z” battle at the end of “Man of Steel.” Wayne, and many others, feels threatened by Superman’s immense power and his lack of restraint by any higher authority.

It’s all downhill from there, as the focus shifts to an incident in Africa in which a private military company slaughtered some terrorists they were previously working with. A court hearing takes it at face value that Superman somehow caused the mess (he was there but he didn’t really do anything) and the court formally condemns him.

That good bit of nonsense eventually, clumsily serves to link Jesse Eisenberg’s insufferable Lex Luthor to the action later on, and that’s really the defining ethos of this movie, isn’t it? It doesn’t have to be coherent or fun, it just has to have as many recognizable characters and logos as possible in it.

Director Zack Snyder and his merry band of movie wizards think that’s all we want. To them, we’re a bunch of rubes who salivate at the thought of an Aquaman movie coming out in 2023, so we’ll happily sit through two and a half hours of Snyder acting on his fetishes for slow motion and the color grey to see a tease now.

Unfortunately, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot, which is great casting) is only in this movie to promote her upcoming standalone adventure. She has little to do until the very end.

The supposed ideological conflict between Batman and Superman is paper-thin, as both heroes are mad at each other for the same thing: existing as powerful vigilantes who operate above the law. Neither of these guys is self-aware at all, apparently.

They’re nauseatingly shallow interpretations of the characters, anyway. Superman is supposed to be the picture of righteousness, proof positive that even a couple of Kansas farmers can change the world by teaching their son to be a decent man.

But here, he’s just a strong guy who flies around and punches people and feels remorseful for a few minutes if a building blows up.

Batman is supposed to be an altruistic billionaire who wants to rid the world of the criminal element that ruined his life, but not here. Instead, he’s a grumbling fascist who claims that someone who has even a one percent chance of acting against you must be treated as the enemy.

He also straight up murders several people with giant machine guns, which is bad because his whole thing is, you know, not killing people and not using guns.

It’s an impressively long time before the two actually fight, and we all knew it wouldn’t go anywhere because these two will team up in the inevitable “Justice League” movies. Whatever infinitesimal amount of tension may have existed is gone because D.C.’s whole business plan has already been publicly revealed.

Ultimately, “Batman v. Superman” is nothing but a ferociously terrible, entirely joyless and nakedly cynical two and a half-hour long trailer for a bunch of other movies that probably won’t be much better.