By: Christopher Johnson
DISCLAIMER: Below are my thoughts on Batman V. Superman. This is not a review. For the official “Comic Conversations” review by Jared, click here. Also if you continue further you will see spoilers. You have been warned. Also, this discussion is a tad lengthy because I have a lot to say)
I will not lie,I expected Batman vs. Superman to feel rushed and for it to set up the Justice League in both characters and story rather than just tell a solid story with action scenes that make you wanna stand and shout! As much as I wanted it to be the latter, I feel the former is closer to what we were given. As most of you know I prefer Marvel over DC but either way, I am a fan of comics and really wanted this movie to just celebrate having DC’s 2 most known super heroes. We will begin by discussing the story.
- The Stor(ies)
When I say we will discuss the story, I am being very very lenient by what the definition of a story is. What we have here is a series of non-connecting plot pieces that make this look like the Aesop fable of superhero movies without the life lessons. I will discuss the story points that I have the most to talk about. This will not be chronological but it is the best way to discuss by how much focus each point is given.
1a. Batman v. Superman
The best part of this story is from the very first scene where we see what Bruce Wayne was doing during the end of Man of Steel. The scene was so successful because it showed exactly why Batman hates Superman. He views him as an alien with no concern for the lives of the innocent. The rest of these scenes whether it included Batman and Superman or Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent made little to no sense. Perry White(played by Laurence Fishburne) said it best “No one cares about Clark Kent taking on the bat”. I certainly didn’t. Clark Kent is a new-ish reporter and Batman has been a “hero” for 20+ years. I know they wanted to call back to the dark knight returns by making this a veteran Batman but I feel Clark Kent trying to take on Batman would have more impact if Batman was a newer Superhero. I mean with Clark Kent growing up on Earth all of his life why would he view Batman in such a negative light IN FACT why doesn’t Batman have respect from the populus if he has been in business for 20 years.Even if you don’t agree with his cow branding techniques(which is odd), you should be able to see him as a hero. Just the same I do not see why Lex Luthor was so #hyped to see Clark Kent meeting Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne is a well known citizen who is seemingly well respected while Clark Kent has been a reporter for 18 months. The meeting is only significant to the audience for the history between the two characters. Nothing in the movie would give off an idea that the meeting is so monumental. The final aspect of this I want to discuss is of course the title of the movie. Batman V. (Distracted) Superman. Not only was the battle a few minutes long but it was extremely one sided. The battle was caused because Lex kidnapped Superman’s Earth mother and told him that she would die if he didn’t kill the Bat. This caused Superman to “fight” Batman but the entire time was trying not to really fight and wanted to just get his attention.This annoyed me to no end. It seems like they couldn’t find a way for the two to fight where Batman can hold his own IF Superman gave it his all. Also, the cause of the fight could have been handled so much differently. I would have rathered she Lex play a mastermind type of role and have him and Batman work together with Batman thinking Lex is good guy then somehow they realize they want the same thing. Instead the battle ends BECAUSE THEIR MOTHERS BOTH HAVE THE SAME FIRST NAME. After this they become allies and ignore every negative thought they had for each other. Who cares if they both want the same thing or have a similar enemy. They both have a mother named Martha so therefore they should be the bestest of friends.
1b. Superman on Trial
This was the worst plotline in this movie. First of all it begins with Lois Lane investigating some desert town in a foreign country and her life becomes endangered. I believe the natives there were killed by CIA operatives but people think Superman did it(because we all know Superman is known to use guns) and they even have a trial. Then a bomb blows up which of course is blamed on Superman and everyone hates Superman. I will not spend a lot of time discussing this because it was needless. I feel like there was no way these scenes could have been used to have been better unless they were removed completely. It just made the movie incredibly boring and just dragged on for the entire first half of the movie. Without these scenes the movie would be slightly better….slightly. Also, I will add the bomb blowing up kills the two most interesting characters, Senator Finch and Lex’s assistant Mercy Graves. I will go in more detail about ms. Finch later but Mercy Graves is typically a cyborg and is Lex’s number 1 bodyguard. Killing her with no information about her seemed like wasted potential. We saw Mercy notice Bruce sneaking off and then she dies. Wasted potential of any kind annoys me.
1c. Doomsday/The Death of Superman
Ugh, Any villain would have been better than Doomsday. Doomsday was added in the movie simply as a way for the two main heroes(+ Wonder Woman) to team-up. Doomsday was introduced in the very last act and it felt very rushed. Even if there had been mention of “Project Doomsday” or a Doomsday virus that Lex had mixed with a sample of his blood earlier in the movie would really would have helped in making the villain fit in the movie much more smoothly. Now, you can not discuss Doomsday with discussing the Death of Superman. This death was a stupid death that exists only to set up Justice League. My biggest complaint is how needless it is. Superman held the Kryptonite spear for a long enough time that weaken him so Doomsday could was able to finish off a weakened Superman. You could argue that Lois could have given the spear to Wonder Woman or Batman but maybe they would not have done as much damage as Superman so I can understand that Superman killing Doomsday would make more sense ,BUT there is no excuse for why Superman could not have just thrown the spear. Superman is surely strong enough to throw a spear hard enough to pierce Doomsday’s skin and of course kill the beast.
In an interview director, Zack Snyder, said he wanted Superman to die because it would make more sense to need the Justice League if a “godlike” hero was not around. Plus you can tell Batman plans on gathering up other metahumans. Also, Superman’s death is ruined in the end when they make it seem like he really isn’t dead. I mean I know only a fool would expect him to stay dead but it would had been a nice touch to leave it ambiguous.
1d. The Dreams/Setting Up Justice League
There were two dream sequences that Batman had that set up Justice League. Both of them just took me out of whatever was going on and it was just so distracting. I will not go in detail about what happens in them but just know the movie would have been better off without them.
There is also a flash drive/encrypted data file that Bruce steals from Lex that shows Wonder Woman in 1918 and also clips of Flash, Aquaman and the creation of Cyborg. Once again these just felt out of placed and just another pointless way to tease the future of the DCU. The way I see it, Wonder Woman felt like a glorified cameo to set-up future DC movies such as “Wonder Woman” and of course “Justice League” as with the photo I discussed earlier and with her suggesting to Batman to seek out the other 3 heroes.
The only characters I want to discuss is Lex Luthor, Lois Lane and Senator Finch. I feel like I have made my thoughts clear on the two main heroes earlier in the discussion.
Lex Luthor was just so annoying. In the comics and most forms of media, Lex Luthor is a cunning evil businessman whose intellect makes him a fearsome opponent. This movies makes him feel more like a psychotic Batman Villain than an evil businessman. I mean he seems to be intelligent but he doesn’t carry himself like an intellect. I mean in most forms even the Riddler is shown to be a crazy intellect but the difference is that in most forms the Riddler presents himself as an intellect. Lex Luthor seemed more like a hybrid of Riddler and Joker.
Please, do not get me started on Lois Lane. I have never been a fan of a Lois Lane who is headstrong and acts like she is the superhero of the story. I mean I am not against a headstrong female character who is a major player/protagonist(See: Wonder Woman), but every time Lois Lane takes a heroic role in this movie she almost dies. Whether it was in the foreign country, Lex pushing her off of a building or even drowning to get the spear SHE threw in the water. It just made no sense to always have her in these situations and to see Superman having to save her so many times. She just felt like they wanted her to be useful while succeeding at making her worse than she should have been.
The last character I would like to discuss is Senator Finch, Believe it or not she was one of the more enjoyable aspects of the movie. I really enjoyed how they used her even if the storyline she was used in could have been removed. If that storyline had been absent they could have used her in the exact same role and might have been even more successful with her character. In a movie full of missteps, one very tiny step in a positive direction is noticeable and her character was that very tiny step. It was a shame that her character died when the bomb went up in flames..
Overall, my thoughts about the movie is this; what could have been a significant movie where DC’s two most beloved heroes finally clash, instead we get a movie that is more lackluster than it deserves to be. This turned out longer than I wanted to be but I guess I just had a lot to say. If you are interesting in another discussion similar to this, just let me know and I will do something related to comics whether a book discussion, or a discussion about a show or movie. Below will be a poll about possible discussion topics. There are 10 options and you can vote for however many as you want. I will allow you to suggest what I can discuss by typing in your own answer but it has to relate to comic books in some fashion.