The following completely spoils Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. You’ve been warned.
I love Batman. I remember going to see Batman 1989 at the movies with my
Dad, one of the first “adult” movies I ever got to see on the big screen. The movie was great, and the only time I had to leave the theater was when Joker murdered Vinny the Crime Boss in the streets of Gotham after throwing a feathered pen into his gullet.
That shit haunted me.
I love Superman, but more importantly I love Clark Kent. Superman is everything the world and humanity should aspire to be, and despite being an alien from the planet Krypton at the end of the day Superman is just a farm boy from Kansas who believed in “Truth, Justice, & the American Way.” He was always pushed to the limit, but Superman was the beacon of hope we all needed.
I wanted to love Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, I really did. I was one of the few people who 110% supported the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne and fully believed he had the chops to deliver a fantastic Bats. Henry Cavill had a ton of potential as Superman despite the story told in Man of Steel, and I believed he just needed the right story to properly play the character to perfection (Watch The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Cavill has exactly what’s needed to pull it off).
But when it was all said and done, BvS: DoJ was just the shits.
THINGS I LIKED:
– Affleck was a great Batman, and I eagerly look forward to him playing the role when Zack Snyder isn’t behind the camera or David S. Goyer isn’t writing him, which means I’ll probably have to wait for Batman’s inevitable solo film in 2019 or whenever.
– Gal Gadot did a lot with very little, and look forward to see what she can do when Zack Snyder isn’t behind the camera or David S. Goyer isn’t writing her, which means I’ll look forward to her solo movie coming out in 2017!
– Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. As divisive as Eisenberg’s portrayal was for fans and critics alike I really enjoyed the skittish and temperamental character he played, a Lex Luthor for the modern world. The major issue is that Eisenberg is playing very broad and basically feels like he’s acting in a completely different movie. I look forward to see what he can do when Zack Snyder isn’t behind the camera or David S. Goyer isn’t writing him, which means I’ll– eh, do you see a pattern here?
– The action is pretty great, whenever there is action.
– The production design was on point. That Batman costume never looked better.
– Amy Adams is REALLY pretty.
THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE:
– Pretty much everything else.
– That first hour. Oof.
– Batman is a straight up murderer, and while Michael Keaton’s Batman killed a lot of people in his movies Tim Burton always presented his Batman as a psychotic from Jump Street. Snyder is purposely aping the look and style of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, but still doesn’t understand that Miller’s version of Batman STILL doesn’t flat out murder.death.kill people. I don’t care if Batman kills, my issue is why the hell does Batman have a rogues gallery in the first place if he’s murdering every other criminal in Gotham wholesale? Why is The Joker still alive in this universe, especially when we know Joker already killed a Robin in this timeline? Thorny posited the idea that Batman has been pushed to this point in his life due to 20 years of crime-fighting in Gotham City. I could buy that in theory, but why can’t we SEE that??? You can’t take 10 minutes to do a montage of Batman’s career and show him reaching this boiling point? Oh, you needed to do another montage of the Wayne’s death? You fucking hack.
– But WAIT you say, showing Bruce’s parents get killed again was very important to the story because
The Comedian Neegan Thomas Wayne whispers his final words, “…Martha…” right to the camera. You might think this means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things, but they establish this plot point specifically because Clark Kent’s Mom is also named MARTHA!!!! HOLY SHIT! WHAT A WORLD! And she’s been kidnapped you see, and as Batman is about to strike the deathblow on Superman after their showdown all he can muster is “Martha…. Martha….” which leads to Batman having a fucking meltdown until Lois Lane (who’s there because reasons) tells him that MARTHA is Superman’s Mother’s name. Batman and Superman immediately become BFF’s thanks to this shocking revelation. You fucking hack.
(Side note: You’ve got to believe David S. Goyer was sitting in his stately library/office wearing his smoking jacket and puffing on his pipe incredibly proud of making the trivial connection that Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne’s mother had the same first name.)
– So Batman saves Clark’s MARTHA, and after murdering an entire building of henchman Bats makes a joke about being friends with Superman (ten minutes before that Batman was about to stab Superman in the heart). Lex Luthor had kidnapped MARTHA because he somehow obtained Superman’s secret identity. How this happened was never made explicitly clear (From the Kryptonian ship? How would Zod’s ship know about Kal-El’s human identity? Is it just because Lex is super smart and deduced Clark Kent was Superman on his own?), but I spent the remainder of the movie wondering how they were going to wrap up Luthor’s story with him knowing this big secret and keep him from telling the world.
– In the end it wouldn’t matter because the awful CGI Doomsday kills Superman. Using his spikey elbow, Doomsday drove it through Superman’s weakened chest while Supes stabbed Doomsday through HIS chest with a Kryptonite spear Batman had built for murder. With Superman completely weakened by the Kryptonite attached to the spear, he quickly succumbed to his injuries and died. Why he didn’t give the spear to Wonder Woman, who was basically kicking Doomsday’s ass and had him tied up in the magic lasso, is never made clear. Oh and with Superman dead Clark Kent was also mysteriously found dead (Pg 7 Daily Planet) some undetermined point. They have an open casket funeral for Clark in Smallville, ensuring that when Superman inevitably comes back to life (PS last 2 seconds of the film, natch) Clark Kent can never return with him. Kal-El now must be Superman forever, no secret identity for himself to live his life despite him being more Clark then any other previous Superman incarnation on the big screen.
– No Clark Kent? NO PROBLEM! You see Zack Snyder HATES Superman and his mythos so he made Perry White an asshole who barely has a character outside of yelling bad headlines, Lois Lane inept and constantly needing to be saved as a damsel in distress, and murdered Superman’s best pal Jimmy Olsen in a throwaway gag. Jimmy Olsen appears in BvS: DoJ for the sum of two minutes, unnamed and accompanying Lois on an interview in Africa with a Warlord. Seconds after the interview begins the terrorists find a tracking device inside Olsen’s camera, and is outed as a CIA plant on a mission of his own unbeknownst to Lois. Jimmy is then shot in the head point blank. Only after the movie did we realize this intrepid CIA agent/novice photographer was Jimmy Olsen when his name appeared in the credits.
– Lex Luthor, an avid fan of Photoshop, designed all of the future Justice League’s logos and code names in the movie’s most obvious commercial, making Iron Man 2 look sophisticated by comparison.
– Besides the quick cameo of Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) causing a ton of property damage while stopping a burglary, Flash (or rather FUTURE!FLASH) has a scene after Bruce’s “Knightmare” sequence, teasing the inevitable conflict in Justice League. It’s not good, and watching it just made me wish Grant Gustin was the Barry coming out of the !BOOM TUBE! Then again, knowing the Snyderverse his Barry Allen would immediately be shot in the face.
At the end of the day these storytellers just do not get– or like– these characters unless they’re based off of a Frank Miller graphic novel. I re-read Kingdom Come a couple of years ago, and this panel helps sum everything up for me when it comes to Batman and Superman. For as different as they are, when you strip everything away you’re left with the same core beliefs about being a hero.
What do you think Ben?