I made sure to purchase tickets to the earliest showing of Batman V Superman that I possibly could. I wanted to see it to get it out of the way, truth be told. From the initial planning to the casting and eventual filming, I had a feeling of ambivalence toward the whole thing. I’m a Marvel guy through and through. DC has always felt like the B-Squad to Marvel in every possible scenario. As a self-proclaimed cinephile, I knew I had to see this latest DC effort but wanted to get it over with the swiftest of expedience.
Despite not being a fanboy of the DC Universe, I know enough about the lore to not be left behind when viewing Batman V Superman. I’ve seen Bruce Wayne’s parents get murdered enough times to know that I’ll be asking if you’ve ever danced with the devil in the pale moon light if I hold you at gun point. I’m not surprised that there was yet another version this time around. In stealing data off the Lexcorp server, Bruce finds out and subsequently reveals to Wonder Woman that there are other superheroes (namely The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman) in their universe. I’ll take a moment to give a tip of the hat to Joe Morton for appearing in the small snippet relating to Cyborg. You’d think he would have learned after Judgment Day… He obviously did not. We also saw Aquaman and The Flash. In that data was also a photo of Wonder Woman from 1918 if I recall correctly. Did anyone else spot Chris Pine standing beside her? A few other snippets of easter egg goodness include a weird and out-of-place dream/foreshadowing sequence featuring Darkseid and a throwaway line referencing Ferris Aircrafts (the training facility Hal Jordan/Green Lantern works for). I might be missing other secrets, but you get the point.
What did all these hints and eggs mean for the movie? There was a veritable shit-ton of exposition and groundwork being laid in the 150 mins the film played for. As a result of so much going on and having to be fit into that time, I feel the main story of Batman and Superman got lost in the mix and took a backseat. The motivation for their big duel was lame – I don’t know how else to say it. Lex Luthor as the conniving mastermind was instead replaced by a looney Joker-esque parody. His “goal” was to get Superman to kill Batman or else Clark’s mom would be introduced to the hot end of a flamethrower. This is a point of contention with me for a few reasons. If I recall correctly, Superman is able to block out the entire world to focus on his damsel-in-distress and come to her rescue three times. He doesn’t seem to pick up on his mom being kidnapped though. Furthermore, in a piss-poor plot choice he doesn’t stop a bomb from decimating the Supreme Court building. Generally, Superman’s at-best shot powers are really irritating in this film.
We got a lame battle between Batman and Superman and then are “treated” to a battle between a bastardized version of Doomsday (created by a humping of Zod and Lex DNA?) taking on Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. I don’t get what the big deal was with having Diana Prince show up in the film. For the buildup, I expected more from this character. Maybe I can chalk it up to the story simply not having the room to give her more screen time. I don’t know. It felt like a waste to have her in the film at all but then again, I’m kind of hinting at a lot of things being wasted here. It’s safe to say that Batman V Superman set out to lay all groundwork for their multi-film franchise, but did so without considering pacing. The end result is a lacklustre film that did little to further DC’s standing in the film world. The scrip and plot were bad enough, but what about the people chosen to bring the pages to life? I touched on Wonder Woman being a wasted character and don’t think Gal Gadot brought anything exceptional to the screen. Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman is just another in a long list of Hollywood guys wearing a bat costume. Henry Cavill played a decent Man Of Steel but the character development was again bogged down by the script. There were other actors in the movie (Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Scoot McNairy, Michael Shannon, Holly Hunter, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner etc.) but I don’t recall one character standing out as exemplary or even memorable at all.
I think Marvel got it right in giving the important characters their own movies before culminating in a team effort with their Avengers. After reading reviews ranging from “best superhero movie ever” to “worse than Green Lantern”, I didn’t know what to expect with Batman V Superman. I can safely say that after seeing the film, I continue to be a Marvel fan and am possibly more ambivalent toward the entire DC Universe. In the coming years, we are to see solo films featuring Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Shazam, Flash, Green Lantern Corps, and Cyborg. With DC banking on this second entry to the DC Cinematic Universe (Man Of Steel was first and I don’t have the patience to deal with the problems I have with that one…), I don’t know how things will turn out. Where I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier in the theatre probably six times, I can’t see myself watching Batman V Superman more than once. I could be done with the DC Cinematic Universe as a whole without losing a minute of sleep. Ah well, only six weeks until the Civil War…