After seeing and greatly enjoying Wonder Woman yesterday I decided to rewatch her previous film Batman v Superman, a film that as I have written numerous times on this board, I liked from the beginning. It’s a flawed film but doesn’t deserve the heaping of scorn that it has received. There is much that it did right or can be defended. To wit:
In celebration of her solo film, I’ll start with her. She is well done in this film. Even people who hated the movie have generally praised her presence, as short as sit is. She is charming and mysterious and Diana Prince and capable and heroic as Wonder Woman. She’s a character you want to see more of and her movie did not disappoint.
This might be the best representation of Batman in action done in live action. The way me moves and fights is exactly how it works in the cartoons and comics. His use of guns is problematic but the vast majority of that is in a dream sequence. Many take issue with the fact that people he fights implicitly die but that doesn’t bother me that much. The violence is cartoon violence and are things that Batman has done to criminals all through his history; it just looks worse when shown in live action because it became more apparent how, well, violent it is. If the same fights were animated, you wouldn’t think twice about it. In addition, Ben Affleck makes for a good Bruce Wayne and he actually does detective work, which is often sorely lacking in live action Batman.
The course correction for Superman
Man of Steele is a bad, bad Superman film. If you took the same movie and replaced Superman with some generic hero with his powers it is an okay movie but as a Superman film it is all wrong. BvS knows this. The entire plot of the movie is to deal with the things MoS did wrong. Superman is still killing people, which is just wrong, but at least he’s saving people, although you might miss it since the sequence is poorly directed being ponderous instead of with uplifting music and direction. Superman’s entire character arc in the film is to learn what it is to be a hero. Ideally he would have gotten that from his upbringing and the fact that he is just a good person deep down but better late than never.
Lex Luthor is not that bad
Or perhaps more accurately, what people didn’t like seemed to be on purpose. People found Jessie Eisenberg’s take to be off putting. I would submit that was the point. He was playing him to be off putting and weird. He made people around him feel uncomfortable and thus made the audience uncomfortable too. I’ve always preferred the Evil Titan of Industry take on Lex to the Mad Scientist take (Clancy Brown’s Lex Luthor in the 90s animated show will always be the quintessential Lex to me) and this was intriguing update on that. Eccentric Tech Billionaires are our current Titans of Industry. It makes sense to make Lex one of them.
So yeah, you can nitpick the plot and it Zack Snyder really should give Superman to someone who understand him better but I don’t think the movie is the garbage heap it gets accused of being
P.S. I had noticed for years that both Clark’s and Bruce’s mothers were named Martha and always thought that was interesting and found the fact that the movie noticed it too to be interesting and not ridiculous.
Mainly because the very core of Superman’s character is that he doesn’t kill even though he easily could. He always finds another way to deal with the problem. Also you can make an argument that a lot of the guys that Batman seemed to kill were just very badly hurt. Not great but still just cartoon violence.
“He doesn’t kill,” is every bit as much a part of Batman’s character as it is Superman’s, and I don’t think there’s really an argument that Batman didn’t kill anyone in this movie. He detonates the napalm tank on a flamethrower while the guy’s wearing it, and swats a grenade into an elevator full of mooks a bit before that. No way any of those people survived that.
Batman regularly does things to henchmen which would be very likely fatal to them, he tends to spare the villain, but henchmen get no such courtesy. I thought Affleck was the best thing about the movie. and had little problem with him using guns.
The whole “Martha” exchange was stupid but nothing too bad. What took me out was the fact that Supes gets killed by being impaled on a fingernail, about 45 seconds after he had been right next to an exploding H-Bomb with no effects.
I found thisWisecrack analysis of the movie quite spot on. It explains the plot of BvS as filled with libertarian ideology, and states that it’s greatest failure is in not having Superman as a representative of collectivist thought, therefore never having an actual conflict between the characters.
He withered up like a worm on a sidewalk.
It wasn’t a very good movie if you want to tear it apart and look at story structure pacing and such, but I enjoy this version of Batman and Superman to no end. I like a Superman who didn’t step out of a Norman Rockwell painting as much as I like the Christopher Reeve comedy version.
Well, there WERE also all those times he’s killed people in the comics, over the years—even aside from Elseworlds. And in seven out of nine movies,* I think, by my count.
Personally, I’d say “Batman doesn’t normally use small arms” is more a part of the character than anything else…but the same thing applies to a lot of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan characters.
*Including Adam West’s. 'Did it right in the middle of the Batcave, too. With a goofy sound effect.
A friend made me watch the extended version. I remember after a couple of hours thinking “Ok, this’d be a good spot to end the movie…” Then Doomsday showed up, and Wonder Woman joined in the fight, and I said out loud:
“Okay, that first movie wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be; now let’s see what this movie’s like!”
I liked the performances, particularly Eisenberg’s Luthor (who had just the right mix of worldly ambition and sociopathy) and Affleck’s Batman. Affleck has a personal air of showboat plus do-gooder that’s perfect for Batman (or The Batman, if we must). Cavill looked good, at least, and Amy Adams projected smarts, pluck, and humanity.
Visually the movie was quite a chore to sit through; both editing and cinematography must be to blame. It was muddy.
The mechanics of getting Batman and Superman to their fight were pretty clunky. That could have been worked out more convincingly.
Like others here I didn’t like the casualness with which B & S both killed.
Doomsday was boring. After years of seeing such characters as shown in movies, I spent Doomsday’s onscreen time looking at the CGI and noting the moves and expressions that had been identical for The Thing, The Hulk, etc.
The filmmakers missed a chance to do something at least a bit striking, with the ‘made from General Zod’s corpse’ element–the generating/growth of Doomsday, and the character’s appearance in the finished product, could have been genuinely creepy. (But maybe they were constrained by having to get the PG-13 rating. Also, apparently they’d decided not to pay Michael Shannon a salary for this one.)
All in all, not a terrible movie, but not quite “good,” either. I wouldn’t try to talk anyone out of seeing it–it’s got some interesting stuff in it.