Disclaimers: I have never read the comic book. I suspect a lot of the problems in the film come from translating events literally without understanding them but as it is, I can only explain the films flaws, and not the reasons behind them. Also the very worst thing in this film is also hidden behind two spoilers, and I will discuss both with only this SPOILER WARNING.
As an uplifting emotionally driven tale of good guys coming together to otherthrow an evil government for vague aims, V for Vendetta is an incredible film. It will inspire you and might you feel good about yourself. It looks fantastic, it sounds fantastic, it moves at a pace and some of it's moments are simply sublime. Whats more it's full of surface ideas and designs that feel powerful and appealing and it's great to see everything click together for it's finale.
Providing your brain is turned off.
Even without much thought, it's clear all the political commentary in this film is very stupid. It never goes beyond taking something vaguely recognisable from current times and turning them into Nazi's. (Oh my someone has made a cross look like a swastika, what ingenious and thought provoking commentary. This completely changes the way I view the christian faith). Everything is so absurd and unrelated to actual events (except for the homophobia) it can never actually be meaningful, as much as it wants to.
The Symbolism! isn't so much subtext as it is supertext and has been created with the nuisance and care that you might expect from the writers of the Matrix. Having a speech with 55 V's may sound cool, but it's not smart
, it just means that you both realise that dictionaries exist and that the film you're making has a V in the title. Very little of the symbolism is there to bring forth ideas as much as it's a giant game of Where's Wally?
The only interesting idea in the film is that the main character, V, can't be the one to usher in a new era, because he's equally a monster. Yet if the film makers actually believed that idea, why does the film end on his mindraped torture victim (V assures that it's okay because he felt sorry whilst repeatedly drowning her alive over months) telling us what an awesome person he is? The worst atrocity of 1984, abusing someone until their mind can't comprehend that the abuser was wrong, is done by the person framed as a hero