So after having studiously avoided it, I finally watched Batman v Superman: The Dawn of Justice, since it was only $4 on iTunes.

The initial impression: Zach Snyder and Chris Nolan need to be booted from the production of these movies. Second impression: it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Granted, cockroaches and our current presidential frontrunners are about the only things I have lower expectations from, so that wasn’t hard.

Let’s start with the good:

Affleck. Seriously, he’s a good Bruce Wayne, which is essentially to being a good Batman. He’s working his ass off in the role, and it’s probably one of his better acting gigs. Which brings us to Batman — they let him do detective stuff. They show him exercising like crazy to keep in shape. They point out his incredible luck at still being alive. They also give him some solid fight scenes that look like the comics — he uses his environment, his gadgets, and his wits.

This was a great Batman flick. It’s a shitty Superman flick — more in a moment.

Alfred. Jeremy Irons does a great job, and they make Alfred a partner in crime to Batman, not just a sage advisor.

Wonder Woman. She’s the best part of the film. Gal Gadot has her looking like she’s enjoying the hell out of the fight scenes. She feels like a Amazon come to play rough.

The bad: The dream sequences Batman is having. They’re distracting, and for many viewers, I suspect they were confusing. They detracted heavily from the story.

Speaking of — the entire gods among us motif got old about halfway through the first time they brought it up. While the political class of the world would undoubtedly want to find a way to shackle a creature like Superman, I found the incident to question his motives shoddy and forced.

The writers, Snyder, Nolan — they don’t get Superman. They’re looking to do high art, and they’re so busy trying to be deep and subtextual that they miss the chance to shake up the feel of the movie by having Batman’s pessimism and doubts be countered by the optimism and faith in people that Superman embodies in every rendering except the Zach-verse. He’s not dark. He can have a bad day, doubt himself, but in the end he’s that kid from Kansas who thinks you can and should do good.

Which brings us to the worst of the film — Lex Luthor. The kid from Zombieland just doesn’t cut it, but it’s not his fault. The writers were looking for somethig edgy and differennt, and instead we got the same kind of riff that Sherlock gave us with their shitty version of Moriarty. Smart, sure. Nuts, yup. But engaging and cool, or frightening, or funny…nope.

In short,  all the Superman stuff sucks in the movie, from the big man himself to his villain, to this Lois Lane. The Batman stuff was good, and Wonder Woman steals the show.

So is it worth it? On my scale of “I wouldn’t borrow it from the friend” to “See it full price multiple times”, I place it on a rent, maybe a matinee.