In a word, exhausting. In a few more, overblown, overstuffed, repetitive, bombastic, and sometimes just dumb. (Never mind dreary to look at and punishing to hear.) Zack Snyder follows his Superman reboot Man of Steel with a muddled meditation on man's anxiety about God walking the earth. Except of course, he's not God: Superman (Henry Cavill) demands no sacrifice, no worship, and no authority over humanity. He just wants to help out and have bathtub sex with his girlfriend Lois Lane (Amy Adams). After all, the love of a good woman worked for Dad! But who knows? The Man from Krypton might go bad someday, which is more than twitchy evil genius Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) can tolerate, seeing as how his father grew up under the boot in East Germany. Bruce Wayne's (Ben Affleck) father, meanwhile, taught him that the world only makes sense if you force it to. So he became Batman to do just that, and there's no room for God in his philosophy. Lex and Bruce both decide that Superman has to go, but while Batman chooses a single, chemical-based plan of attack, Luthor goes for a hat-trick, firing up his anti-God propaganda machine while also doing a little God-play of his own. Tired yet? Too bad! There's also a bunch of sequel-bait involving "meta-humans," a whole bunch of speechifying (Jeremy Irons as Alfred the butler gets the best of it here), and a long simmering appearance from Wonder Woman that adds precisely nothing to the proceedings. There's more, too, so much more that the strangest aspect of the film is the lingering feeling that along the way, some important bits got left out. (2016) — Matthew Lickona
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