By now, you’ve either seen Batman v Superman or you’ve at least heard the critics over at Rotten Tomatoes pretty much hate the film. You might have gotten so far as to seeing dueling arguments from Marvel and DC fanboys taking up arms on social media against each other. I want to, cautiously, take a shot at explaining what I took away from Batman v Superman. Needless to say, there will be SPOILERS AHEAD.
Before you start assuming my allegiances, I’m going to come right out and say that I am a bigger fan of Batman than any character that has appeared on the big screen in the MCU to-date. Toys, films, animated movies, video games, t-shirts, hats, blankets, these are all Batman merchandising you will find in my personal dwelling. Batman was my first superhero love and that love has only gotten stronger with time.
Ben Affleck as Batman:
This was the role Affleck was born to play. He felt like Bruce, a character that shares quite a few attributes with his real life persona, and he definitely felt like Batman. Christian Bale is an awesome actor, but there was always something missing there for me with Bale in the Nolanverse. Batman v Superman feels like they finally got us the Batman I have wanted to see in live-action for years. He was big, and brooding, and self-deprecating, and I really believed that his element of the story, his misguided belief of Superman’s lack of collateral damage awareness, was genuine.
As an extension of that point, Batman’s persona was perfectly portrayed as well with the cave and the hacking and the nightmares, which were better in concept than execution (but I’ll get to that later). Affleck felt vastly similar to our beloved Arkham Batman, who is brought to life by the great Kevin Conroy. I think that is a comparison that most fans will find pretty satisfying.
I was simply not excited at the casting announcement of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and that was coming from someone who enjoyed her work in the Fast & Furious films. I simply didn’t think she felt right for the part, which went beyond a cosmetic judgment for me. That being said, every scene with Gadot felt like she was Diana. I’d also say she was the standout in the Doomsday fight as she quietly unleashed the Lasso of Truth. Her scene with Bruce at Lex’s party stole my heart, and she only gets more convincing from that point on. Let’s also be honest, her theme music was spectacular.
Batman v Superman Encounters:
Zack Snyder truly understands the mastery of crafting beautiful visuals in film, maybe better than anyone you can name, and I believe this idea was best put to practice in the confrontation between Batman and Superman. The encounter visually carried the magnitude of two iconic works of fiction squaring off in a battle to the death. Snyder seemed to really mirror The Dark Knight Returns in the choreography of the battle, and the scene turned into a highlight of the film because of that imagery.
To go back prior to the fight, I thought Superman ripping the door off the Batmobile was another great moment. So the actual confrontations between the two powerhouses were really well done from a presentation standpoint. I think you can certainly argue the quality of the plot strategy used to pit the two heroes against each other, but I felt the moment where we see Bruce digest Superman having a mother, and having a human element, was a captivating point in the film.
I didn’t even realize this was a point of contention until I attempted to read what my peers thought about the movie on various comic book sites around the Internet. If we assume Alfred is in his early to mid 30s when Bruce loses his parents, which is quite a bit like Earth One Batman, and close to what they’re copying on the Gotham show, I have no problem with Alfred’s age. Irons’ portrayal is of a more functional Alfred, which I think creates a more realistic synergy with Batman. Alfred also gives his speech to Bruce on looking at the big picture, and asking if Superman was really his enemy. I thought that was extremely Alfred like in character.
The introduction of the Justice League members:
Everyone familiar with this film’s history knows that DC is trying to play catch-up to Marvel’s Avengers. The problem with jamming a ton of content into one film is that you create moments that probably should feel
bigger than how they turn out on screen. I largely enjoyed this idea of many heroes out in the wild, under surveillance from an enemy they don’t know exists, and Bruce Wayne has stumbled upon them. Not only has Bruce found them, but he also decided to slide this information across the desk of his newly found demigod friend. An act that will morph into future Justice League films.
If you don’t read The New 52 books from DC, you’re probably asking why Cyborg. As a pre 2011, JLA, fan, I’m with you. When I think of Cyborg, I largely think of the Teen Titans. I don’t mean to single out Cyborg, but he’s the guy replacing Martian Manhunter. Besides that change, I really enjoyed Aquaman’s first appearance, and I at least get what they were going for with Flash. I’m greatly anticipating how they’ll unveil Green Lantern, as I’m sure that introduction is being handled with kid gloves based on their previous GL attempt.
As I said before, cool idea. His desert costume look was sick, but I don’t think the film was able to communicate why we were seeing those sequences to any great success. I think you can reasonably assume Batman dreams about mowing down the competition with guns. That would have been a bigger point of contrast though had he not been busy actually mowing down his enemies with guns. Also, I get why we are looking back on the Wayne Murders, again, because we needed the “Martha” moment to tie back to a pivotal point in the film, but for editing purposes I would have liked to see that particular flashback sped along.
A big complaint I’m seeing with the film is the plodding first two-thirds of the movie. I think clarity in editing those nightmare scenes could have greatly improved the flow of the film. However, I will say a big part of me got a bit of satisfaction in seeing a live-action film transition like a comic book.
Jesse Eisenberg was a unique pick for the part of Lex. I’m a fan of the guy, Zombieland, 30 Minutes or Less, and The Social Network are all quality performances and good films. He has almost an ADHD nervous tick with the most unusual dry arrogance about him. These are qualities that largely work for his comedic timing, but they had me biting my back teeth some in his portrayal of Lex Luthor.
I’ll wager to guess you’re probably not in the middle in regards to his work. Eisenberg’s performance seemed like something you either passionately loved or hated. He felt like an amalgamation of several villains to me, but none of them felt like Lex. I did quite enjoy his closing scene. The moment when you’re let in on the secret of a guiding hand over Lex’s now crisply buzzed head is a nice cliffhanger moment lending the way to greater Big Bads.
The Death of Superman:
The story that almost single handedly killed the comic book industry is back! Doomsday wasn’t really rocky enough for my liking, and they took quite a few liberties with his origins attempting to tie Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice together. Someone online called him the troll from Lord of the Rings. I laughed.
Maybe knowing about Doomsday ahead of time took some of the pizzazz out of the moment, or maybe I was being a crybaby comic book fan not getting my way. Either way, I wasn’t emotionally invested in Superman enough throughout the movie to feel strongly about those final moments as he sacrifices himself for mankind. I don’t think a single person would have left the theater truly believing Superman was dead even without floating dirt. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and I’ll call you out when you bring back four different Superman characters, only for the real Sups to reemerge with a sick flow and comb, looking better than ever.
Broad scope, DC has setup the Justice League for years, and many movies, to come. Suicide Squad will serve as another installment into this world later this year, and rumor has it, we might be getting another solo Batman flick quite a bit sooner than expected. So the groundwork is in place for DC to bring fans up to speed on their universe, or Multiverse, and that is a win for comic book and movie fans around the world.
Listen, this is Batman and Superman, and Wonder Woman, in the same movie. I get the criticism for the film, but you absolutely have to see the showdown for yourself. The feedback from this film is absolutely polarizing. People have taken sides, your neighbor has become your enemy, and everyone has an opinion, a strong opinion. “Man is still good. We break things, tear them down, but we can rebuild. We can be better, we have to be.”
Did you know you can already pre-order Superman v Batman for Blu-ray and DVD on Amazon? After you leave a comment below on your own personal feelings on DC and WB’s latest blockbuster, head over and reserve your copy today!
Tags: Aquaman, Batman, Batman v Superman, Cyborg, Dawn of Justice, DC, Justice League, Suicide Squad, Superman, The Flash, Warner Brothers, WB, Wonder Woman