Spoiler Level: Ultra
Welcome everyone to screen suite! I did not feel the need to make a separate post on what this series is about like I did for Between The Panels. Instead I’ll just give it a brief introduction right here. Well in here, I just plan to ramble on about the movies I watch, it can be anything. Could be a movie I watched at the theaters last night or something I caught on T.V. Just stuff that I deem worthy of sharing with you guys. I don’t watch a shit ton of movies, but I watch a fair bit and I give each one a shit ton of thought and WordPress gives me a place to vomit it all out! Also, this is less like a review, more like bunch of people sitting down, kicking back with a nice drink and plate of appetizers and talking. Mostly subjective. So, grab your popcorn, munchies or whatever and let’s get on with the first one!
I’ve probably never waited so hard and long for a movie as much as I did for Batman v Superman here. Like ever since they announced it in the coolest possible way at SDCC 2013 (Age of Ultron was announced on the same day but that didn’t matter 1/10th as much) it had been the only thing on my mind. I probably know Warner’s marketing timeline for this movie by heart. From staring for hours at every picture they released and watching and re-watching all the trailers and TV Spots that followed frame by frame, trying to piece them together, looking for easter eggs, jumping to conclusions and all that stuff to reading the prequel comic books they released for free (Yes, they actually did. 10 issues. No major stuff though, just world building and a glimpse at the characters. You can get them here). I watched the Leicester Square red carpet live stream for the movie and even bought a shirt to wear on the big day. And the week before the release, that was the real pain. You should’ve seen me search the darkest corners of the internet (just kidding, I hung out on Reddit mostly) for a legit claim of anyone who watched the early screenings. So obviously, this stuff mattered a great deal to me and it’s finally out there but does it live up to the hype? Was it worth it all? Read on as I talk about what made me laugh, tear up, drop my jaw, scratch my head, what made me cheer, conversely cringe, what I would change and pretty much everything else I felt about Warner’s tent pole movie this year.
Okay, so as you know, most of the reviewers didn’t really have kind things to say about this movie. When I woke up to IGN’s review, I’ll be honest, I was a bit disappointed (and not to mention that RT score which kept getting worse). I did tell myself to be impervious to other’s opinions and it’s not that I care too much about what the guys at IGN or Rotten Tomatoes have to say but you see, I wanted this movie to be the best thing ever. Like there was so much riding on this movie. The future of both DC films and legacy as a whole, the fate of all my favorite comic book characters on the big screen, and I wanted them to pull it off perfectly. However, I now realize that this wasn’t a rational thought simply because a movie of this stature, ambition and scope is bound to have some flaws. It holds the responsibility of not only introducing new characters but also building a foundation for later projects, all this while being only the second movie in its shared universe. So the embargo had lifted and the reviews kept pooling in. Jeremy Jahns (represents the casual audience, except when the movie in question is Star Wars) puts up his review. Jeremy is like one of those reviewers I actually trust and he didn’t really like it either. But by then I’d told myself “Fuck it, Chetan! You have a mind of you own. Go watch it and then decide for yourself”. So the time came. I put on my shirt with all the feeling of Bruce Wayne putting on his suit. Wish I had a car to drive to the theater and a girlfriend to tag along, that would’ve been rad (in reality I took an Uber and watched it with a bunch of guys. Fun people though, don’t get me wrong). I went with an open mind, finally got to watch it on 27th March, and I must say, I had a great time! Sure, the movie is not perfect but is it by any means BAD? Hell no! It was quite enjoyable.
For like 80% of the run time, my skin was literally covered in and ravaged by goosebumps. You guys know where I’m coming from: huge DC fan, Superman and Batman are two of my favorite characters. To watch them together, share the silver screen for the first time was really amazing. I loved all the stuff that was happening in the movie, but does the story allow these elements and plot points to come together? Well, that’s where the problems begin arising. There’s no real cohesion between all the spectacle, the main event and the characters’ sub plots. Shit goes down in certain sequences and you’re enjoying it and then the story pulls you back, you’re like “wait, why did that happen? How is this related to that?”. The film does try gluing them together with the Daily Planet thing, Lois Lane’s own little mission and the Anatoly guy’s shenanigans (he’s the bad guy KG Beast from the comics). The problem here is the events don’t really make you care enough about these guys and they get lost so easily in the multi colored haystack that is this movie. You could say that some of it finds a converging point and begins to make sense in the second half, but most of the elements are left dangling. Elegantly though, like a chandelier, not a convoluted mess, like most reviewers are saying. More than pacing issues, this movie has progression issues. The way it transitions from one scene to another, you’re almost led to believe the movie is building up something huge, but it just isn’t. By the time the movie wraps up, among so many other feelings, there is that small sense of dissatisfaction and I was left longing for a better conjunction, I guess. Don’t get me wrong, it’s just that a movie should really make you go “Wow, that was so awesome! I wonder how they can make it better next time, it’s gonna be hard to outdo…”. Sadly, Batman v Superman doesn’t quite achieve this. Nonetheless, it does end up leaving that special aftertaste in a strange way, and of course I’m still pumped as ever for future DC films that are to come. That will never change.
Let’s talk about Zack Snyder for a moment. There’s no doubt that he can make movies look terrific but that begs the question: has he dropped to the level of all style and no substance? Not really. He has a bunch of different and interesting concepts that he tries his best to put forward. It’s just that all of it may not be for everyone’s taste and he definitely does not believe in fan service like J.J. Abrams might. But think about it. These main characters in the movie, they are pretty much mythos of today. To even try to do something different with them is quite ballsy. That’s just how they evolve really.
Snyder tries to strike some very particular chords, some of which were very beautifully handled in Man of Steel. My favorite being the difference in contrast between the views of both of Superman’s fathers. But that movie, being solo, gave him much more room to work with. In BvS, it gets a little crowded, so there’s a loss in focus. The points he brings forward, some aren’t gonna get it at all, some will choose to ignore, some will think a lot about it and some will love it. No matter what, the viewers of this movie will be divided in terms of interpretation and opinion. But the one thing I believe that everyone’s gonna agree upon is that BvS looked rad as hell. With help from Chris Terrio, the visual aspect of storytelling is on point, and that itself is a huge reason why the experience is worth it on the big screen. It looks and feels like a comic book. Like during the main event, remember the rain, thunder and smoke? Straight out of a graphic novel’s panel. Love it! Another one when Lex’s talking about the devil and they show us that wall painting, and Superman was being referred to there but close to the end, the same painting is used to point towards Darkseid. Dual symbolism switch. It could be that even the awkward transition between unrelated scenes that we discussed earlier is another thing from comics that they tried to implement. And such transitions happen a lot in the latter. Shame it didn’t translate too well on the big screen. However it’s not just the look. Zack Snyder manages to capture emotion really well too, just like he did in MOS. Although a little cluttered, I still did feel for Batman and Superman (not really much for the others though, honestly). So, hail Snydra? Probably not, but I respect him and what he’s tried to do. All of it does matter to him.
I think it is safe to assume that more than the big fight itself, fans were waiting to see Batfleck in action. This guy faced a lot of backlash when he was cast back in 2013. But since then, thanks to the nature of the internet, we were all already accustomed to associate the caped crusader with Ben and at the same time, learnt to move on from Christian Bale’s take. So in the end, what did I think of Ben Affleck as Batman? I thought he was great. Would I compare him to Bale? No, I would not because they are of completely different profiles. But if I had to say one thing, it’s that to me, Bale was the better (probably the best) Bruce Wayne and Ben for Batman. Dark Knight’s Batman tried to be more mysterious and in the shadows, elemental kind of thing but he was always outshone by the likes of Heath Ledger’s Joker (he would’ve turned 37 earlier this month. Happy B’day Legend!), Tom Hardy’s Bane or even Anne Hathaway’s Cat (great, now I’m hard). However, what I feel about the BvS Batman is different. I just wouldn’t dare to mess with this guy. He’s older, angrier, savager and has had enough shit for a lifetime, so he’s gonna make you hurt if you’re a bad guy. And this is probably the first time that I’m actually afraid of Batman. That is an important part of Gotham’s champ and Ben brings it out really well. Plus he’s got the physique and damn, he was (un)really big and comic book like. I think he towers over Superman too, after donning his armor (I still can’t get enough of how cool it looks, honestly). In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane tells Batman he fights with “nothing held back”. But to me, Bale’s Batman always fought like it was a boxing match, with a referee, rules and disqualifications. Batfleck however, fought with no holds barred. The warehouse fight sequence looked a lot like something from the Arkham games in the sense that Batman takes on several hostiles at once without getting overwhelmed, disables their rifles (he does takes a few gunshots from some goons arriving later), facing knives and yeah, throwing people around. Except this was a lot more brutal. Our Batman here simply does not care if his enemies are bedridden for rest of their lives, so he breaks bones, grips them by flesh with his grappling hook (in the games he does it separately using the Batclaw which I’m pretty sure is not half as dangerous) and punches a guys’s head straight into the floorboard. And then there is the one thing that people will find hard to digest: Batman straight up kills people in this movie. And not just one of two with constraints: he has guns mounted on Batmobile and Batwing with which he shoots quite a lot of people, blows them up and even runs them over at one point. For a lot of people, this will be hard to accept so directly because the no killing rule is one of the basic foundations Batman’s history is built upon. Even if you find a way around that, you’ll begin remember that Batman is supposed to be resourceful. So where has that gone, Batfleck? Even the Dark Knight Returns Batman by whom the BvS Batman is inspired from, uses rubber bullets and tries to minimize casualties whenever possible. The only time he breaks the rule is when a goon has a hostage at gun point, Batman shoots him with another goon’s gun. Being the only time he takes a life in the book, the scene holds a special importance. It inspired the final Martha Kent rescue in the movie where Batfleck shoots KG Beast’s propane tank before he can burn her. I feel like they should’ve made this the only time he kills in here too. It would’ve been a lot simpler and would’ve raised intriguing debates rather than an unnecessary controversy. All we have now are vague answers like “This Batman is fed up of crime” or “He started killing after the Joker murdered Robin”. Just like how BvS tries to justify MOS’s destruction, Warner will probably want to resolve this Batman killing issue in future films. Sigh. Déjà Vu.
Let’s get to Bruce Wayne. Well, he’s alright but the story doesn’t let him shine too much. We don’t get to see him play detective, businessman (though the poster for Alfred suggests that he’s the one taking care of the company. But if there’s a poster, why not just give us at least one scene?), he doesn’t build up his fake reckless image in front of the public (don’t tell me he’s tired of that too), and he’s a worse flirt than I am. But there’s one thing more than anything else I would’ve loved to watch: Bruce infiltrating Lex’s house during the party to steal that data. It would’ve been epic to watch him rappel into the darkness in his expensive Armani, and use some cool gadgets and Alfred’s help to bypass security systems only to find it already stolen by Diana. All this would’ve helped bridge the gap between Bruce Wayne and Batman while be way cooler than him just sauntering across the pantry and making a lame excuse about getting drunk and lost. Bruce also doesn’t interact much with Lex at all. Some mind games between them could’ve found their place in the story to give us a better sense regarding Lex’s overall manipulation of our two heroes.
We get yet another telling of the night at Crime Alley. The signature moment that shapes the Batman. While many people may loathe it and accuse it of stealing screen time, I thought it was beautiful and quite necessary. When the WB and DC logos come up even before the movie starts, you can actually see Autumn leaves (from the Waynes’ funeral) fall across the screen, which I thought was a nice touch. A young Bruce Wayne runs away from the procession into the woods where he ends up falling into the cave. In parallel, we are taken to the alley when Joe Chill pulls out his gun. The whole sequence was directly adapted from The Dark Knight Returns. From Thomas Wayne’s fist clenching, relaxing and charging towards Chill before getting shot, to Martha Wayne’s pearl necklace snapping as the life is cut off from her too. We hear Thomas utter his wive’s name while she lies still on the pavement, her pupils dilating. I guess they added that part to remind us of the ugly truth. However, this sequence exists in the movie for a particular reason, and we will discuss that in a bit. But just to watch it there, I pretty much melted inside. It shows that Batman’s war against crime is not an excuse for revenge for his family, rather it is to make sure that nobody has to go through what he did.
I liked Jeremy Irons’ portrayal of Alfred. This one felt less butler and more partner, which was very interesting. He’s still Bruce’s anchor, always passing on ‘wise’ advice and throwing around his wit though (that I doubt even Snyder can change). The chemistry between him and his Master Wayne just works. It almost felt like I’d watched them before. While there’s nothing wrong with this Alfred, he doesn’t quite stand up by his opinion of Superman. A deeper conflict between Bruce and him would’ve added to the overall tension. However, you do need to find a place for it and the movie was probably packed by then anyway. So yeah, can’t wait to watch more of Alfred in the DCEU.
I liked this version of the Batmobile. But Batfleck is a terrible driver. Between this and the Tumbler, I’d probably choose this one. While I definitely love heavy and bulky stuff, Snyder’s Batmobile is just cooler to me. I love how it springs around corners and shoots forward, though it doesn’t really do anything cool, just shoots people up, and yeah bounces off Superman. The Batwing was alright. I love the way this one moves too, and the fact that Alfred can remote control it, sitting in the Batcave. I was kinda hoping that the Batwing would actually turn out to be a part of the Batmobile and be capable of detaching itself, just like how the Batpod emerges from a dying Tumbler in The Dark Knight.
Lex Luthor. The second most anticipated and important new character to be introduced in the movie, and the first most controversial choice for actor. Jesse Eisenberg just came out as plain weird and was seen largely as a miscast in the trailers to many people and most of them stuck to their opinion even after having watched the movie. Well honestly, the trailers did have me worried for a bit when it came to him. So what did I think in the end? Truth be told, I’m still unsure on that front. This Luthor definitely didn’t blow my mind, neither did he utterly disappoint me. And it wasn’t even anything in between. My opinion landed in some unknown place probably. First off, Jesse Luthor is nothing like the Luthor that we know. I don’t think Lois Lane’s “psychotic” alone is enough to describe this bad guy. He’s like one of those kids in school that everyone distances themselves from as he’s just different (seemingly), but then wanting to interact with him, you try to talk. Only to realize that he’s this deranged sort of twisted candidate and nothing can really help him. So there’s Lex Corp and he’s this young CEO guy who plays basketball in his office and meets his clients in the cafeteria. That itself should scream charisma and control. But it just does not. The marketing promised us one aspect that’s closer to the original Lex: A nefarious perpetrator who puts up a certain act in front of the public, but is completely different when he’s with himself, always scheming, calculating, confident and you get the idea. What we get instead is far from that. Jesse Luthor is just both socially and personally awkward pretty much all across the board. He twitches, acts really weird, has a running nose and falls short of words, except when there’s a metaphor. I liked the way him and senator June Finch interact though (I thought Holly Hunter was great by the way). She’s all calm and bold and practical. And he clearly isn’t any of those at all. That part when he actually sends her a jar filled with (his?) urine which says “Granny’s Peach Tea”, I was like “Ohmigod! Did he just do that?!”. So yeah, being so awkward and still pulling off evil deeds with unbelievable subtlety and also managing to get his own way, this very inconsistency bothers me.
For those of you who don’t know, Jesse Luthor is actually Alexander Luthor, the real Lex’s son. Unlike many people, I don’t think of it as an excuse to introduce a completely different Luthor. The movie tries to tell you that the way he is is deeply tied to how his father used to treat him as kid, which isn’t very nice, apparently. But if it were that important, then why not just give us a glimpse of Lex Sr. being mean to his kid? That would’ve helped a little in understanding where Jesse Luthor’s heart is at.
In the comics (and everywhere else too, actually), Lex keeps mulling over why he hates the Man of Steel, and it usually turns out to be quite a revelation. Jesse Luthor, however just somehow knows that he has to get rid of this alien. He does justify by saying that if God is benevolent then he can’t be all powerful and vice versa but it just wasn’t compelling enough for me.
Like I mentioned before, Snyder should’ve been more careful with Luthor’s connection with Bruce Wayne which is not strong enough to make Lex look like the manipulative badass they wanted him to be. And Superman? He’s busy with his own things and only finally faces off Lex in the ending (more on that later). It was supposed to be like this triangle with Luthor on top, masterfully playing our heroes, moving them around like pieces of chess on the board that is his plot. It was supposed to be epic. But it was not. In his defense though, he does ask Bruce if he wants to ‘work’ together. I’m just kidding. The whole thing was just weirdly (not poorly) thought about.
Yup, there’s still a thousand debates running through my head about what I think of this guy. Part of me says they should’ve just created a new character, cause Jesse Luthor is just not Lex Luthor. But in Snyder’s own words, it is what it is. And I think it will be interesting to see what new heights the madness escalates to. Plus I really hope his and his father’s backstory is explored. They set it up, might as well use it right? But I still don’t effing know what “redcapes” means!
So now, the main event. The big fight that everyone’s been waiting for. The piece d’resistance and the name of the movie itself. This is where all the marketing and all the hype leads. A clash between not only the bodies of these comic book titans, but also between their ideals. Did it live up to all the expectations? Not completely, but it was still pretty good. The set up is pretty grandiose but the nature of the confrontation itself is like that of a street fight. I don’t know if there’s a figure of speech to describe that. Or maybe the whole thing was just disjointed writing. We’ll never know. But I love the way Bruce Wayne works out with the massive tires. Okay, so on to the fight itself. The intensity is very much present and there’s the latent tension but the fight lacks creativity. It moves in pretty much straight lines with Batman rigging a couple of initial traps that mildly annoy Superman, who just shrugs them off and doesn’t want to play anymore “games”. Then he’s shot by kryptonite grenade which gives Batman the upper hand for a while. I love that part when he’s pummeling Supes, the kryptonite’s effects wear off and then it’s like punching a wall that’s becoming progressively harder. It was funny. They tussle for a bit and then Supes falls for the grenade again (when Batfleck’s helmet breaks and you can see like half his face digging into the metal, looked pretty crazy). Batman tosses Superman around while grunting some cool dialogue. Some of it directly from The Dark Knight Returns, and some original. I really like how he says earlier while blocking a punch: “Your’e not brave. Men are brave”. This tells us what Batman thinks about Superman: He may help people and all from great adversary but for him, having all those powers, there’s no reason to be afraid, no reason to feel responsible or be aware of the stakes, as a normal man would. So finally, Batman grabs this kryptonite spear that he crafted and goes in for the kill. And that’s about it.
Firstly, it should’ve been longer and with more gambits and tricks and turn overs to see. Like I said a million times before, Bruce should’ve partnered with Lex and they could’ve planned and prepped for the whole thing, with Lex sway talking to fuel Bruce’s rage along the way. Bruce could’ve developed some strategies from the research that Lex has done. Like lead smoke grenades etc. If not, then they should’ve just gotten a reluctant Alfred to help. This would’ve added some more depth (not that it was really needed, but still) to Jeremy Iron’s character. Since this Batman is inspired from Frank Miller’s, Batfleck was stripped off all the tech and was essentially portrayed as vengeful hulking mass of anger. Which is alright, but I would’ve loved to see some more Bat gadgets in the fight. Like even Miller’s Batman manages to do more things like frying Superman’s brain with electricity and spraying his face with acid. But this movie’s version, like come on Snyder, you could’ve done better than that!
The Batman side for the reason of conflict is plausible. But Superman just feels like he’s been forced into a fight he doesn’t want to be in. You could say that he doesn’t agree with Batman’s way of justice, but that argument can only go so far, and it only adds to Clark’s character. Not Superman’s. In the end, he’s only fighting Batman because Lex kidnaps Martha Kent. But when he does confront Lex atop the Lex Corp tower, it was pretty well done I felt. Superman’s on his knees and Lex is just throwing photos of his gagged mother at him. I got the chills when he said “Now, God bows to my will” as Superman looks up at him with such juicy anger, it was awesome. The only metaphor among Lex’s thousands that I liked in the whole movie.
But if he had already begun to create Doomsday by then, so does this mean that the whole fight was just to buy Lex some more time, and was Doomsday his primary plan? If so, why go through all the trouble of getting the heroes to fight? Was he so sure that Batman would win/lose? And why does he want Batman’s head? It’s never hinted that he was nuisance to Lex’s schemes. It’s things like this you think about later on that mess the whole thing up.
Anyhow, then the big Martha moment happens. Is it as simple and silly as our heroes shaking hands because both their moms’ names is Martha? Because that’s what at least 60% of the people thought and it’s become a joke on the internet. No, it wasn’t. When Batman sees Superman beg for his mother’s life, he is reminded of his own desperation all those years ago in Crime Alley. His life had been defined, written in ink by murder and he was to prevent it from happening to anyone else. This is where the line is drawn to connect to the night the Waynes died, as shown in the opening cinematic. Also, he sees a certain humanity in this alien, that he had so chose to ignore prior. Realizing that he was blinded by anger and insincere malice, he drops his spear. “Martha” was used as a tool to show us that even though Batman and Superman may seem worlds apart, in both actions and ideals towards justice (Lex highlights this by saying: black and blue, God vs man, day vs night etc) they’re actually quite similar. This whole sequence could’ve easily been the most powerful one in the movie, but the way it was shot doesn’t let the essence carry through at all. It happens too fast, and Lois Lane arrives and says something and then they shake hands. No wonder most of the audience thought it was stupid. Snyder didn’t give this chord of his nearly the treatment it deserved.
Nonetheless, the big throwdown happens. And for many people it will have been a dream come true to watch their favorite superheroes square off. Like many aspects of this movie, while I may not approve of the fight’s placement in the story, I really did enjoy watching it.
That brings us to the Doomsday fight and the holy Trinity! I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a fan of this fight. First off, do I have a problem with how Doomsday looks? Kind of. I understand that he’s supposed to be some kind of mutation that occurs when Lex infuses his blood with Zod’z body in that Kryptonian vitalization chamber or something. So I get why they made him look like a aberrated mess but personally, I would’ve just saved Doomsday for a Man of Steel sequel, and used Bizarro instead, he’s definitely more apt. And Doomsday was overpowered. Now that’s saying a lot, with Superman and Zod in the same cinematic universe! If I had to change one more thing, I would lose the red flashes that burst out from his body as he evolves and absorbs energy. This would have made the whole fight a lot cleaner. Batman doesn’t do a whole lot in the battle. Another example for lack of creativity. I would’ve loved to see Batman go kamikaze on Dooms with his Batwing, of course jumping off at the last moment. And climb up to his head to use some sort of Bat bombs maybe, or exploding kryptonite laced Batrangs? You know, to weaken and then blow them up. Your’e supposed to be savage anyway right? But apparently he uses up all the kryptonite to make three grenades and a spear. Not cool.
I’ll tell you what was cool? Wonder Woman, that’s who! Well actually, not cool, but by Zeus’ ghost! Very, very hot. You know how action movies have that one badass character who is cheered at by the audience as they make entrance, perfect timing of limited dialogue and still contributes enough to the plot? In this case, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is that character. Her side of the battle was neat and she gets to use all her weapons. I could definitely see the warrior in her fighting style and it was really awesome. She gets knocked down by Doomsday once, and even the way she scrambles back up to fighting stance is so sexy to watch. She does this little smirk and her head moves to the side before picking her sword and shield up from the ground, telling us that she does love a challenge (apparently Gal added that to the script herself). God damn. As Diana, the names of her game are mysterious and enigmatic and Gal does it pretty well. The only real question is as to why she’s there. Just to get her photo back from Lex? Maybe her solo movie, that’s coming next year will explain. I couldn’t care less if they are going to explain or not. I’m just really pumped for that movie. Even if Jesse and Ben didn’t win you over, I’m pretty sure Gal did. Cause simply, for a role with limited screen time and only 16 lines of dialogue, she sure as hell nailed it.
When Superman decides to push Doomsday away from Earth into space, it was cool but there was no acknowledgement on his part that this could very well be the Metropolis 9/11 all over again. Like he was doing his best, but he still seemed unaware a potential disaster. As a result, that anxiousness wasn’t quite there. I didn’t like that. Then the authorities decide to launch a nuke, it lands on both Superman and Doomsday, the latter of which is unfazed but the former just floating above the atmosphere, unconscious. This too like many other things in the movie has been adapted from The Dark Knight Rises, though under different circumstances. In the comic, he gets hit by an enemy Russian missile and becomes almost skeletal and zombie like, tumbles down to Earth and then absorbs sunlight to regain his powers. We see something similar in MOS when Superman put up his hand to the sun after destroying Zod’s world engine, so this time around, Snyder decides to leave him in space. Instead, the sun comes up around the horizon, he absorbs its rays and opens his heat vision charged eyes. Well, I got a cooler idea: So Batman sees the explosion go off in the sky, right? He could’ve called up Alfred, telling him to align all the Wayne Enterprises satellites in such a way that they’d reflect the sun’s rays onto Superman! He knows that this will work because of the research he did along with Luthor while preparing against Supes (as suggested by me earlier). Pretty cool right? They could’ve done that.
Superman flies back and he locks his heat vision with Doomsday Dragon Ball Z style, Wonder Woman’s hacking away at his limbs, and Batman, well he’s just trying to stay alive. There was no synergy among the three. Each one kept doing their own thing. The only team work we see is right at the end, when Wonder’s got Doomsday bound in her lasso of truth, Batman shoots him with his last kryptonite grenade as Superman charges with the spear, manages to drive it through the monster, but not before getting himself stabbed as well by his bony protrusions right in the ‘S’.
At this one point earlier, Superman puffs up his chest, and almost thought that he’s discovered a new power like vortex breath (ice breath, freeze breath, whatever you wanna call it), but he doesn’t.
The battle didn’t give me a headache or anything but it wasn’t great either. I think Wonder Woman is its only saving grace. Apart from putting her in action, it doesn’t contribute anything else to the movie. It was smothered by too much CGI, not bad quality CGI or anything but yeah, too much, the sequence was not creative, it failed to bring the heroes together as one and it was filled with unnecessary stuff here and there. That’s just what I thought though.
Let me talk a little bit about Superman. I was excited to see more of Henry Cavill’s character after MOS and he was good in this movie, but the plot was definitely not good to him. Superman just has a horrible time. The world hates him, his editor is a dick to him, he gets beaten up by Batman, his mom gets kidnapped, he gets beaten up by Doomsday, gets nuked by the government (Chow: “Bad day? But did he die?”; Me: “Yes, he dies”) and yeah, finally dies. I mean, damn son! The only happy moment he gets is when he steps into Lois’ bathtub. I always thought the Amazing Spiderman movies were bad to Peter, but BvS just takes the cake. However, there are a few moments I really liked. That part when theres’s a voice over with known personalities (Neil de Grasse-Tyson yo!) speaking about what this alien may mean to mankind, we see Superman carrying out acts of rescue/service all over the world. We see him emerge from the clouds (like a messenger of God) to save victims of a flood, preventing what could’ve been major rocketship accident, saving a girl from a building on fire and him pulling some sort of huge sunken ship with a big chain on his shoulder, symbolic of the weight of the world that rests upon him. But my favorite one is the senate explosion. I don’t think any human ever will get to witness people getting blown up in front of their eyes from the distance that Superman was standing at. Then you look at his face, and you just don’t know what to say to him. But of course, the world blames him for it. He then decides to exile himself (which was probably the shortest exile in the history of fiction) where he sees a vision of his dad, Johnathan Kent. A lot of people thought this scene was unnecessary but I thought it pretty nice to have in there. Plus, I love Kevin Costner as Pa Kent so… He tells his son about an incident from his own childhood with the moral that no matter how powerful or able you are, you can’t always save everyone, that there’ll always be someone who gets hurt. I love how this contradicts Jor-El’s beliefs. So Snyder somehow brings so subtly, one of the key aspects of MOS into BvS (that being the difference in opinion between Superman’s fathers, like I mentioned earlier). Snyder gets the emotional aspect of Superman right. What he doesn’t seem to get is the relationship between Lois and Clark. In MOS, the Lois-Clark thing is left at the end as something to be explored in the future. And now, since we never got to see any real development between them, it’s just hard to believe that they’re really in love. Also when Lois dumps that kryptonite spear in water only to realize later that it is important and jumps in again to retrieve it, I think that was the sloppiest part of the movie. It’s like they were worried that the audience would forget Lois, so they just tried to shoehorn her into the plot a little more. That’s not how Lois Lane should be treated. She should be allowed to shine by herself. I know that Amy Adams is very passionate about her character and she wanted to play Lois ever since she was a kid. She even tries to bring together all the classic Lois elements like the damsel in distress, the staunch journalist, the fearlessness in front of the villains, all of that, but they don’t seem to be there in the right concentration. Sorry, Amy. Your heels looked really hot though.
About Superman’s death, I didn’t think they’d really do it, to be honest. So basically, they did The Dark Knight Returns as promised. But they also did Death of Superman (another comic, in which Doomsday kills Superman). At that point, I was left wondering if they were doing this comic book thing for a real purpose or just for the sake of it. He gets a full funeral like he did in the comics, complete with horse carriages and the ‘S’ on his casket and everything. And then in the end some of the dirt on the casket begins to move. So, he’s alive. Why kill him in the first place then? Why make us go through all those emotions and the lengthy funeral? It’s like all the gloom and doom finally ends with Superman dying and the audience just doesn’t know what the movie wants to make them feel anymore.
What does this movie mean for the Justice League? It was supposed to build the foundation for an entire extended universe. How well does it achieve this? I still find it a mostly unclear as to where the future of the DCEU stands. Apart from the the Trinity coming together, there’s two more things in BvS that are tied to this, and they are the Knightmare sequence and the cameos (of Flash, Aquaman and Cyborb).
Before the third trailer came out, I thought the Knightmare sequence was Batman’s vision of a world where Superman was left unchecked and went on to become a tyrannical overlord with his own army and everything. But later, Darkseid (the big Omega on the sand) was thrown into the mix. Supes approaches a tied up Batman and says, “She was everything to me” before punching him through his heart. So Lois? All this sounds a lot like Injustice. It’s a video game and comic book combo in which the Joker kills Lois, Superman flips out, punches Joker through the heart, and this begins his path to tyranny and authoritative control over the world. Batman leads the resistance against him. So in the DCEU, does Superman partner up with Darkseid? Would he really do that? And then a time travelling Flash pays a visit to the Batcave and the stuff he says actually does make sense (for a change). He tells Bruce that “Lois is key” and that “he was right about Superman” and to “come find us”. The first phrase points to the Knightmare sequence, I believe. Maybe Batman is somehow going to be responsible for Lois’ death and that is what will turn Superman evil. The second one might point to the fact that Batman was right about Superman being corruptible with all that power. The third phrase is the most clear one. Flash wants Bruce to gather the other metahumans and form the Justice League.
Now, onto the cameos. They could’ve been done in at least a 1000 better ways than Wonder Woman watching them in a video on her laptop one after another. I mean this is worse than the Sinister Six easter eggs in The Amazing Spiderman 2! Flash’s clip is fairly simple. He intercepts a supermarket robbery with his speed. But I still can’t imagine Ezra Miller as Barry Allen. I can’t imagine him sitting in a forensics lab (Barry Allen works for the police forensics department) all night long. And he isn’t even blond! Aquaman’s clip was funny. Unintentionally, of course. He’s stares at an underwater camera before destroying it with his really cool looking trident and swimming away. Even this guy isn’t blond! (both Arthur Curry and Barry Allen are blond in the comics). Cyborg’s was the weirdest. It was like a video log of his scientist dad trying to put his dismembered son back, I guess? Then this weird All Spark kind of cube goes haywire before the dad cuts the video. Yeah, I had no clue as to what was going on, trust me. Also, I’m not familiar with Cyborg lore, gotta brush up on that.
They should’ve gotten Aquaman to come and save Lois Lane when she was drowning. That would have been cooler.
Okay, so remember Mercy Graves? Lex’s leggy Japanese personal assistant? So she seemingly dies in the senate explosion right? But I always thought there was more to her, something mysterious. So I don’t know if Snyder’s bringing her back, but how about if she survived the explosion? Of course, she’d be in pieces. Then S.T.A.R. labs can put her together by using bionic parts and viola! We have our first female Cyborg! No? Okay, fine. I thought it’d be cool. We also still don’t know where Green Lantern is.
So, looks like Batman is going to be leading the Justice League. But I still can’t picture them coming together. Hopefully, this changes over the course of future movies as the universe matures, and hopefully they make a kickass movie.
So, in the end, Batman v Superman doesn’t play out like a movie should. It tries to do so many things. It’s trying to be a Batman movie, it’s trying to make you feel for Superman, introduce Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor and other new characters, get you hyped up for the Justice League and possibly even more things that I just couldn’t grasp. Sometimes, it makes you wonder if pitting these heroes against each other was ever a good idea. Because no matter how you look at it, a good plot just can’t materialize which brings the ‘Batman v Superman’ part and the ‘Dawn of Justice’ part together happily. Maybe they should’ve done a solo Batman movie, followed by the Wonder Woman movie next and another character before finally doing Justice League.
We, the audience are thrown into this world, that even if it claims to be complete is actually in the process of being built. As a result, we are left by ourselves to grow accustomed to stuff that’s apparently been present even before Superman’s arrival. They should’ve taken us through the world step by step.
Now, I may have been too harsh on this movie and let me get this straight: It was not a wash out. It is a great theater experience and I’ll watch it again and again once the director’s cut comes out in July. Zack Snyder is not a bad director. Some nuances in a character’s personality, only he can capture. He is unafraid to experiment and I can applaud him for that. Because that is what artists do: they show the world their work, not what the world wants to see. And I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us.
No matter where this movie ends up, no matter what others think about it, it will be special for me and nothing can change that. Even after years down the line, I’ll be proud to wear its emblem on my chest because all that matters is I got to watch my favorite superheros, who also happen to be the greatest epitomes of courage and hope, on the same screen. It is all that matters.