Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Director: Zack Snyder
Writer: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer
Based on: Bob Kane‘s and Bill Finger‘s comics character; and Jerry Siegel‘s and Joe Shuster‘s comics chararcter
Sequel to: Man of Steel
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot, Scoot McNairy, Callan Mulvey, Tao Okamoto, Michael Shannon, Harry Lennix, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carla Gugino, Kevin Costner, Anderson Cooper, Patrick Wilson, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Joe Morton
Part of: DC movies
Seen on: 1.4.2016
The world loves Superman (Henry Cavill), if not to say that they actually worship him. With his superhuman powers, he is a tremendous hero, of course – but should he ever stop to help humanity, who could possibly put up a fight against him? That’s the question Bruce Wayne, aka Batman (Ben Affleck), asks himself. He has watched everything else around him fall, so it seems only a question of time until Superman falls, too. So Bruce starts to devise a plan with which he might be able to stop Superman, should it ever become necessary. And there are signs that it will.
Batman v Superman is not a good film. That wasn’t to be expected. But it is actually so bad at times, it becomes grotesque. Since I’m late to the party and Ben Dreyfuss already put it beautifully, I’ll give you the perfect quote about the film, before imperfectly listing my own thoughts:
It is incomprehensible! Nothing makes any sense! We all understand that plots in these movies don’t make sense. Of course they don’t. That’s standard. But in this movie nothing makes sense on a scene level. In a lot of movies that make no sense on a plot level, the person will say, “I am going to rob this fruit store,” and you can quibble about why a person would rob a fruit store, but the characters in the movie accept it and go about robbing the fruit store and we go along with it. They have conviction and authenticity and they really try to rob that fruit store good, even if we in the audience think they are being ridiculous for robbing a fruit store, because when it really works, it doesn’t matter. In Batman v Superman the characters say, “I am going to rob this fruit store,” and then go into the fruit store, throw fruit in the air, paint the walls with fruit, pay for the fruit, use the fruit as puppets in improv comedy, have a dance party with the fruit, build a home in the fruit store, burn the fruit store down, exit the smoldering husk of the fruit store and announce, “I robbed the vegetable store.”
I have some theories about this film and I’ll just bulletpoint them out to you because forming a coherent text from all of them would most likely be enough to fill a thesis. And who would want to read that?
- Zack Snyder doesn’t understand Superman and he doesn’t like him. He is set on a “Superman is Jesus” course (has been since Man of Steel) but doesn’t give it any depth at all and doesn’t allow for any other interpretation of the character.
- He actually wanted to make a Batman v Joker film and couldn’t get it, so he makes allusions at the Joker killing Robin and turns Lex Luthor into a babbling maniac (Jesse Eisenberg was failed by this and vice versa).
- Or maybe he wanted to make an Iron Man film since Bruce now tinkers with his own technology which was a weird moment of mischaracterization.
- Snyder apparently doesn’t understand that there is a difference between iconic imagery in a still format like comics and in a moving format like film. So the film opens with a scene where a family huddles on a rooftop in a flood. Superman comes and instead of zipping down and helping them, he hovers in the air above them in a vaguely Christian-crucifix pose like a sad but ultimately detached god.
- Nobody in any decision making position actually gave much of a fuck about the quality of the movie. And I’m not even talking about coherent, hole-less plotting. It’s much more basic than that. That’s how you end up with Affleck pronouncing Lex’ name as Lu-THOR in one scene – and that’s the take that actually ended up in the end product.
- Not that there is actually any coherent, hole-less plotting because holy shit, nothing makes sense in this film. Not Batman’s motivation, not Superman’s thinking, not Lex Luthor’s plan, not the connection to the upcoming Justice League movie, not the way they reconciled their differences (though that, at least, gave rise to one of my favorite memes of the year so far). They didn’t even try.
- They cared so little that they crammed in dream sequences that never go anywhere and are completely out of character. Although I am kind of grateful for the fight scene in the desert Bruce dreams off. It doesn’t fit into the film and Batman kills a shit-ton of people contrary to his usual rules (but then nobody cares about those in the film anyway), but it is the best action sequence in the film.
There are some good things in the film: I like pretty much the entire casting (with a minor exception: I wish Wonder Woman was actually built like a brick house and not like slender Gal Gadot, but Gadot was good in the role), including for the JL-film. I especially liked Affleck’s Batman – with a good script and a good director, he could have been great. As is, we only get glimpses of greatness, especially when he interacts with Alfred (Jeremy Irons, another highlight). And… huh. Maybe there were just some good people in a film without any good things.
Yeah, that sounds about right.