by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the DC blockbuster that’s been hyped since forever it seems. Redheadedgirl and I went to see it and we had thoughts. Be warned, we spoil the hell out of this movie.
Elyse: So that happened.
RHG: Ugh. It really did.
Elyse: I think this movie didn’t know its audience. We got a lot of backstory–Bruce Wayne’s parents getting killed, him falling into the bat cave as a kid, etc, which is for people who don’t know the franchise (AND WHO THE FUCK DOESNT KNOW THAT STORY AT THIS POINT?). Then we get the dream sequences of a post apocalyptic future which is more for the hardcore comic book fans. So are you making a movie for people totally new to the franchise or people who are already invested? You have to pick. The result was sloppy and too long and focused in on the wrong stuff (everything not Diana).
RHG: Much as I hate to be like “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG, SNYDER”…. YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. Like, in the past 27 years, we’ve had SEVEN Batman movies, six of which did pretty well at the box office. SEVEN. Batman is in the zeitgiest, we didn’t need the origin AGAIN.
Stop. Adam West’s Batman didn’t need to give the origin story, AND it gave us the Batusi.
Elyse: Yeah, there were all these allusions to the comic books there–like Robin’s suit encased in glass. Make the movie for the fans, they will get it. Other people will see it and if they have questions, that’s why there is Wikipedia. They needed to leave a lot on the cutting room floor.
That said, this movie wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. And Affleck did a good job, so people need to quit bitching about him being Batman. He was a dark, fucked up Batman, but he did it well.
RHG: As discussed in Glen Weldon’s The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture, people bitching about the casting of Batman has been happening ever since they cast Batman in a thing. Ever. Always. It’s part of the process now.
I thought most of the actors did well. Affleck was a good Batman and a really good Bruce Wayne. Holly Hunter as a Senator was good, Amy Adams always does her job, Jessie Eisenberg was having the best day of his LIFE. Gal Godot is fantastic and I want MORE. Hey, even Kevin Costner gets to show up.
Cavill…. He’s okay, I guess, but his method for Superman seems to be “furrow my perfect brow like I’ve got a migraine.”
Elyse: Sooooo much of this movie was men breaking shit and women showing up to save them or offer the voice of reason.
SERIOUS SPOILERS START HERE.
NO not kidding!
SERIOUSLY SPOILERS HERE THEY BE!
OK, off we go!
Holly Hunter: trying to figure out how to navigate a world with a Superman in it and stay safe and reasonable.
Lois: Trying to be a good reporter and keep Clark off the ledge.
Martha: Reminds Clark that he doesn’t owe anyone shit.
Wonder Woman: LITERALLY SAVES EVERYONE.
The only exception was Mercy.
RHG: Wonder Woman’s entrance got actual applause in my theater. Martha got the only laugh at ALL: “I’m a friend of your son’s.” “Yeah, I kinda figured.” Mostly, this was JOYLESS. There’s no heart; there’s just destruction porn. No fun, no light, just boring angst.
And like, one of the BIG criticisms of Man of Steel was, “okay but like thousands of people died in the final fight though” and Snyder was like, “shrug don’t care!” And now he’s saying things like “Well, if Darth Vader can kill thousands of people, why can’t Superman?”
BECAUSE SUPERMAN IS A HERO AND DARTH VADER IS A VILLAIN DUDE WHO ARE YOU.
Elyse: It is destruction porn and I don’t need to go to the movies to see buildings fall down unfortunately. I think I’m burned out from that.
Basically Wonder Woman was everything. I need more of her. And I’ll take some Aquaman on the side too.
What did you think of Lex Luthor?
RHG: Oh he was fine, I guess? Eisenberg was having the time of his life. His motivation didn’t make any sense, and I have no idea how he got all that metahuman info (my bet is Snyder doesn’t either) or how Bruce got Diana’s email address, or anything but this plot was just a disaster from start to finish.
Basically it was a 2.5 hour long trailer for Wonder Woman.
Elyse: I felt like he was playing Mark Zuckerberg turned evil.
The plot was a hot mess. I had so many questions. Why was the alien ship left in the middle of Metropolis? Wouldn’t Superman move that so people couldn’t fuck with it? What exactly does Diana do all day? Swan around going to parties? Why does Lois need to be saved on THREE SEPARATE OCCASIONS?
I did think it was interesting that both Superman and Batman have sex lives (so apparently Clark and Lois can get it on without him…you know, killing her). Alfred trying to get Bruce to settle down and have Little Batbabies was a delight.
RHG: THREE FUCKING TIMES LOIS NEEDED HER ASS SAVED. WHAT THE FUCK.
I don’t think any of the various women in this movie (three named?) talked to each other at all. I don’t know why Lois and Clark had to have a heart to heart while Lois was nekkid in the bathtub. I don’t know how Bruce got Diana’s email. I don’t really understand what the point was.
I kinda liked seeing Batman be the World’s Great Detective by doing actual detecting. The fight scenes looked like they’d actually been choreographed, so they did make sense as a fight scene (I’ll give Snyder that, but only that. He’s better at fight scenes than Michael Bay, but he wishes he were as good as Guillermo del Toro).
My main meta-concern (other than the fact that Metropolis and Gotham – apparently across the bay from each other? Don’t actually get any direct sunlight, ever?) is that DC is trying to introduce too many concepts that comic book nerds won’t get. There’s a “Knightmare” that Batman has that might be a vision from an alternate Earth or something and like, the glimpses of the rest of the Justice League were cool and all but there’s so much and the frame of all of this was just so pointless.
Elyse: Am I the only one who thought Cavill’s default Superman facial expression was “just smelled a fart”?
So let’s talk about the big thing: Superman dies. Clearly he’s not going to stay dead, but I was surprised they went in that direction. I can see it as the moment that unifies the other meta-humans to form the Justice League and gives the series some traction, but it still surprised me. If Cap dies at the end of Civil War it’s going to be a bleak spring for superhero movies.
RHG: I thought it looked like “I have a migraine.”
Of course Superman died. For a minute, and he’ll get over it, but the “DEATH OF SUPERMAN” was a big deal in the comics in the 90s when like, everyone died. It never sticks and uh….
Don’t get too attached to Cap, cuz he died at the end of the Civil War arc in the comics, too. (Also the photographer killed off in the beginning of the movie? Jimmy Olsen, so…. Thanks, Snyder.)
My biggest problem is that Snyder does not seem to get Batman OR Superman. Superman isn’t sad. Batman doesn’t kill (I mean yes that’s kind of complicated and something the movies haven’t been great about, but one of the constants of the Batman character since not long after his creation was “I don’t kill, not even the Joker, who I should have probably killed a couple of times by now, because it would have saved a lot of lives.”). Snyder doesn’t care about the core of what makes these characters endure the test of time. He just wants to smash things.
I’d give this a D, and the only reason it doesn’t fail is because Wonder Woman is awesome.
Elyse: I was waffling between C- and D. Honestly, I really really loved Affleck as Bruce Wayne. I’d watch an entire movie of him just as Bruce Wayne. Same with Jeremy Irons as Alfred. Basically give me a movie with the two of them puttering around the Bat Cave snarking at each other. And the little glimpses of Wonder Woman we got were AMAZING.
But the movie was too long and there were too many things that didn’t make a ton of sense, and the senseless destruction of EVERYTHING was needless. Like is there just a giant hole in the center of Gotham/ Metropolis now? I can’t see that shit and not be affected by it now, even if it is fantasy. So yeah, D.