So I went and saw Batman V Superman this past Thursday and for the past few of days I have been both thinking about my thoughts on the movie and looking at the so-called “fan” reactions as well. Ok… I really shouldn’t say it like that because everyone is entitled to their opinion and it’s not my place to say anything about them. However, I do have my opinion and I think I’m finally ready to share it. As usual, this may be a little disjointed but that’s how I write… stream of consciousness so they say. And also, if I spoil anything for ya… sorry (not sorry).
Overall I liked the movie.
Ok… That’s it. Thanks for reading!
No seriously, let’s look a little deeper into it. I did like the movie but yes, it did have some issues that need to be talked about.
It can’t go without saying that it really was a thrill for anyone in nerd culture to finally see the three main DC heroes on the screen at the same time. Think about that. It is 2016 and we finally, FINALLY get Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman on the same screen for the FIRST TIME! How epic is that?! For that reason alone it was worth the price of admission.
I really did like the casting choices. I never had a problem at all with Henry Cavill as Superman and he continued on doing well in this film. Ben Affleck as Batman really was inspired as well. He pulled it off amazingly and if I ever said anything disparaging about it before, I take it all back. I honestly feel that he pulls off the character, from a true comic book sense, probably the best of any other actor before him. Gal Godot did an amazing job as Wonder Woman and, as all the reviews before have said, she was one of the highlights of the film. Seeing her on the screen (again… finally!) after all these years was simply a joy. Now here is one of my first complaints. Ever since the announcement and the first showing of the trailer with Jessie Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, I’ve been skeptical. Call me old fashioned or maybe I was just too heavily influenced by superman the animated series, but “my” Lex Luthor is bigger. He is a presence both mentally as well as physically. He is magnanimous, larger than life, smarter that almost everyone in the room and knows it. But… He also has his head on straight. He is calculating and always has a plan. There were brief glimpses of that from Eisenberg but unfortunately it was this strange Joker-esque, maniacal madman that we were presented with. The “pee in a jar” scene was funny but also went to show this Joker vibe by revealing that Lex was not above risking everything and everyone (including his assistant) to prove his point. Let’s just cut to the chase and say that I wasn’t a fan. Oh… one other thing. I just recently read that Bryan Cranston was in the running for the role of Luthor. As a person who is just now almost finished with Breaking Bad (a little late, I know) I can honestly only wonder as to what might have been. Sigh.
Not really too much to say about the supporting cast as they all did an adequate job. I got everything I expected from them and they pulled it off fine.
Let’s looks at the plot next. Overall it was ok. I pretty much try to stay up to date on all the movie news so I had a pretty good idea what the motivations of each character were and it made sense. Supes struggling to make people believe that he is a good guy and Bats concerned with the fact that this powerful alien could potentially be a danger to the entire human race. Surprisingly both Batman and Luthor actually have the same goal now that I think about it so I’m actually hard pressed to see why Luthor is the bad guy. I guess maybe Batman wouldn’t resort to generic engineering a weapon of mass destruction. Maybe that’s where he draws the line. But stealing kryptonite and making a spear in which to kill Superman… that’s totally ok.
I wish they would have a incorporated Wonder Woman into the story better. Apparently her only motivation for being there was to steal back a photo (a digital photo at that) that Luthor had of her. It was a pretty cool photo (and an excellent tie-in to the solo Wonder Woman movie… props for that!) but still… If she had found the photo earlier, would she have left and not been around for the battle with Doomsday? And speaking of him real quick… I liked what they did with him even if his origin was a little convoluted. I really liked how he evolved from the golem-like appearance to the one from the comics.
I appreciated the cameos by the other, future Justice League guys. They were all cool. But they aren’t all meta-humans. Wonder Woman is a god. Cyborg is, well… a cyborg. Aquaman is a different species and Flash, if the origin still stands, is a lab accident. I am willing to give on Flash but the others are not metas. I guess I’m ready to get to the Justice League movie because I really wanted to see more of them. The Mother Box merging with Cyborg and the Flash zooming through space and time to warn Batman were pretty cool scenes and did leave me wanting more. And I will obviously give Ezra Miller a fair chance, but for right now, Grant Gustin is my Flash. Sorry Ezra.
I will say this and I’m sure I’m bound to lose some geek cred afterwards. After years and years of reading both Batman and Superman comics, I never tied together that their mothers both had the same name. And this little fact was both cool… and yet a problem for me story-wise. Batman is all ready to kill Superman. He has him dead to rights. All of a sudden, Superman asks Batman to save his mom (who happens to have the exact same name as his mom) and with that one ask, Batman spares his life. Really? Just because they share moms with the same name, Superman no longer becomes a threat? Why couldn’t he have said “Yes… I will save your “mom” but you will die first.”? And then… even if you buy that… Batman saves Mrs. Kent and describes himself as “a friend of your son.” Friend?! Dude was just getting ready to kill him not 10 minutes earlier and now they are friends? That just doesn’t add up for me.
I really did appreciate the nods to the comics. I loved the skeletal Superman after the nuke blew up on him (from The Dark Knight Returns) and I loved the classic dead Superman in the lap of Lois Lane (from the Death of Superman series). Even the black and silver tombstone was pretty damn cool. Additionally, I liked the references to Darkseid. It does go to show that they do have a plan going forward and are planting the seeds right now.
So what does that leave us with? Oh yeah… the big elephant in the room.
Overall, this movie is a great companion piece to Man of Steel. Tonally they both felt exactly the same, as in they felt like the same universe. But in my opinion, I don’t think this is a good thing. The more I thought and thought about it, the more I felt like the “blame” for any shortcomings this movie may have lie solely on the shoulders of one person… Zach Snyder.
Now please listen up… I don’t like speaking badly of anyone in the entertainment industry. There are way too many trolls out there to do that and I don’t want to add to that community. I know that all the people that work on these movies and TV shows that we love work extremely hard and just the simple fact that they are putting themselves out there makes me feel like they deserve a little respect. I don’t have to like the final product but I respect them for getting it made and putting it out there for us to enjoy.
That being said, I don’t think Zach Snyder is the right fit for the new DC Universe that they are trying to build. Whether or not you want to admit it, DC IS in a competition with Marvel. They always have been. Marvel right now is absolutely killing it with regards to their Cinematic Universe. That point would be really hard to refute. DC is trying to get to that level but Marvel currently has a huge lead. Hell… they have 12 movies that have been financial, in some cases critical, but in almost all cases fan successes. DC can’t close that gap all at once, but they do need wins and as it stands, Man of Steel wasn’t the huge win they needed to start this venture off. It was good… but not Iron Man good (when comparing first movies). So that being said, they really needed Batman V Superman to be a home run. And while it was good, unfortunately I don’t think it was that home run they were counting on. If the story was pretty good and the cast was solid, where does that leave us? Directing. Looking back on his filmography (300, Watchmen, Legend of the Guardians, Sucker Punch, Man of Steel) of all of his films tend to have the same issue. I feel that Snyder is too artsy for what DC is needing. The same style that worked wonders for 300 is not the same style that DC’s Cinematic Universe needs. You can’t understand how disappointed and confused I was when in the beginning of Batman V Superman, where we did the origin of Batman (again), and we saw the bats lifting Bruce out of the cave. Sure… we find out that it was a dream sequence, but at that point, I could tell that this was going to be a challenge to watch. And speaking of the dream sequences, just when I felt that the film was making some progress with the story and I was starting to buy what they were selling, a dream sequence would appear and take me completely out of the moment. Was it cool to see Para-demons and the big Omega symbol in the ground? Sure. But did it feel interjected into the scene at completely the wrong time? Sadly I need to say yes. Once again, I think Snyder’s voice, vision and direction is not the fit that DC needs to move this universe forward. What I think will be telling will be the successes of the Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman films. Both of these movies are in universe but have completely different directors (David Ayre and Patty Jenkins respectively). If these two films can succeed where the previous movies have failed, I think we can tell exactly where the fault lies.
So there you have it. Please don’t get me wrong. I DID like the movie and will probably see it again, just to make sure that I wasn’t completely wrong in my views. Sorry about the length of the article. I never intended to write over 1900 words but as I started thinking about the film, more and more came to me. Hell… I didn’t think I could write this many words on something so for that reason I’m really kinda proud. My high school and college english teachers would be proud of me… but I digress. I really hope that you take the time to go and see this movie in the theater if for no other reason then to come up with your own thoughts. You may love it or you may hate it, but at least you can say you saw it and can then have your own opinion to share!
Thanks for reading!