THIS POST IS PURELY FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE SEEN BATMAN V SUPERMAN AND WILL BE FILLED WITH SPOILERS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. SCROLL DOWN PAST THE POSTER BELOW AT YOUR OWN PERIL.
I’ve now seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice twice already, and I cannot recall when last multiple viewings of a movie has left me this conflicted. Oh wait, I can! It was Man of Steel! Just like director Zack Snyder’s first crack at the DC Comics universe, there are several aspects of BvS which made the comic book geek in me go into squee overdrive like a teen girl at a One Direction concert, but it would appear that the more I think about the movie, the more glaringly obvious its problems become. So lets talk about those squee-inducing successes as well what I think Snyder and co stuffed up.
- The way Snyder and writers David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio reworked the excessive damage criticisms about MoS into a central plot point in this sequel may have been a bit too reactionary, but there’s no doubt that it actually retroactively made its predecessor better. And gave us that awesome opening to BvS.
- How ironic that the two castings in BvS that drew the most internet hate-mongering – Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman – were easily two of the best aspects about the movie. In the case of Affleck’s Dark Knight, we got both the best looking Batman ever as his costume is almost a 1-to-1 adaptation straight from the comic book page, as well as the most badass (DAT WAREHOUSE FIGHT SCENE!). Meanwhile Gadot’s Wonder Woman adds a vital spark to the otherwise overtly grim film and kicks some serious butt of her own (and has the coolest theme song!).
- Our heroes are also involved in some hellacious action sequences. Yes, they may get very CG heavy in the end, but their scale is just incredible.
- There’s also no denying that BvS is one gorgeous looking film. Snyder has always been a fantastic visual artist, and he definitely doesn’t drop the ball here in that regard. Similarly on the audio side, Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL’s partnership produces a hell of a score (even though it gets a bit overt at times).
- Also, despite being resigned to be nothing more than a voice on a mic in a very limited role, Jeremy Irons’ Alfred is pretty great and he has a fantastic rapport with Affleck’s Bruce Wayne, leaving me very excited for the Batman solo film.
- And speaking of other films, while the “Knightmare” sequence may have just been dropped into the film with zero subtlety, its Justice League teases – specifically those of Darkseid, his parademons, and what I assume is the Anti-Life Equation controlling Superman and his soldiers – should leave any hardcore fan giddy.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
- While Batman is an incredible badass – and I can’t believe I’m going to say this – he’s actually too much of a badass. Actually let me put that clearer: He’s an effing straight-up, cold-hearted mass murderer. Over the decades since Batman was first created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, there have been so many different iterations of the character that pointing to one as the definitive version over another is almost impossible. But through all of those variations though, there have always been two core facets about the character: Batman never uses a gun and never takes a life. Both of these convictions are as a result of his parents being shot and killed, the utmost defining moment in Batman’s entire life, leaving him feeling a dire sense of failure just from anybody losing their life on his watch.And yet in BvS, Batman doesn’t just use guns and kill, he freaking swiss-cheeses people with mini-guns and racks up a body count worse than anything any villain actually does in the movie. Hell, he ramps his Batmobile right through a dude’s chest! Zack Snyder defends this perversion of Batman’s character by saying that he’s drawing from Frank Miller’s more extreme Batman from the iconic The Dark Knight Returns, who does in fact kill. But what Snyder fails to grasp is that while TDKR does see Batman kill a man using a gun, it happens once and ONCE only, with Miller designing it as a very shocking and desperate moment, and making a massive point of highlighting every other instance where Batman refuses to use a gun or take a life every single chance he gets!
- Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is… different, and I actually have no problem with that. The problem is that he is inconsistent. The smarmy, cocky, smug young tech billionaire we first meet as he coerces an army general to give him what he want, is a far cry from the publicly fumbling fool at his house party, as well as the herky-jerky tic-heavy cartoon that confronts Superman on the rooftop of the Lexcorp building. It’s like Eisenberg couldn’t make up his mind how to play Lex, so he did it all.
- And speaking of Lex, his plan makes absolutely zero sense, right? Just how did he get people to believe that Superman was responsible for the deaths in Africa? Because last time I checked, Superman never ever needed to shoot anybody with a gun before. Because that’s clearly what happened there. Right next to a world-renowned reporter that was right there when everything went down, and yet nobody seems to ask her about it. And why use experimental bullets that trace right back to Lex? All they did was give Lois a plot line that ultimately led nowhere.
- And why did he convince Scoot McNairy’s Wally to blow up the senate? He already smuggled his Kryptonite into the city despite Holly Hunter’s Senator trying to block him, he doesn’t hurt Superman one bit and everybody clearly sees that Wally is the culprit and that Superman was duped into going there. Hell, the only reason his plan even remotely works, is because Supes decides to take off and be a mopey bastard instead of just staying around and helping people after the explosion – you know, as Superman tends to always do!
- And lets just admit that he uses a very silly reason to get Superman and Batman to actually fight, because why didn’t Superman just use his senses to try to find his mom in the hour he was given? He could hear Lois in danger on a different continent, but not his mother in a warehouse across the bay? I mean, yes, it gave us that amazingly cool Batman fight scene, so I’m willing to give this one some slack, but still…
- And finally, is Lois Lane telepathic? That’s the only reason I can think of for why she knew to run back and get the Kryptonite spear to kill Doomsday – a creature she had never seen or heard of in her life before then, but somehow immediately knew what it’s one weakness in the whole entire world is.
Now I know that some of these points could be considered a bit nit-picky, but they still irked me. Especially since I believe that with a few small script tweaks, much less of what was obviously a studio mandated laundry list of plot points and characters to setup for the future cinematic universe, and a director who cared for the characters as much as did the cool action scenes, we could actually have received the absolutely mind-blowing superhero epic that we fans have been dreaming of for years instead of just the decently cool, but flawed movie we ended up getting. At least its making a crap load of money though.
This article originally appeared on TheMovies.co.za.
ALSO, THE COMMENTS WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Last Updated: March 29, 2016
March 29, 2016 at 15:45
What worked? Batman
What didn’t work? Pretty hair boy superman.
March 29, 2016 at 15:47
You know what else worked? Batman vs. Superman. We saw them fight in all the live action glory imaginable! That alone was worth the price of admission. I’d pick that over Captain America vs. Iron Man any day. I agree with the list though, but in the end. It was a very good movie and even more so because of the way I dodged every trailer,spoiler and discussion leaving me with an open mind entering the theatre. Yes the movie has problems but I believe it created more solutions and opportunities for the sequel. I’m more than happy with the casting choices. Even Jeremy Irons as Alfred felt right.
In the end Superman dying felt a little early. Yes he dies in his first battle with Doomsday but by then he was established as Superman. He was iconic, he was the people’s champ so to speak but in the movie there were too many that still doubted his allegiance to humanity. If he really, really had to take one for the team it might have been better to postpone it to the third or fourth film.
Batman killing people like a Punishers wet dream felt wrong. Dunno how they’re gonna address this but he doesn’t kill as a rule. Which is the only thing that irked me. Otherwise well done. Batman had to up his game to compete with the rest and he has.
TLDR? I can’t wait for the sequel