• Member Since 3rd Aug, 2014
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Cosmic Cowboy

I'm a linguist. I like ambiguity more than most people.

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Thoughts on "Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice" · 6:46am Apr 6th, 2016

Just got back from the big BvS:DoJ. I'm glad I saw it, which fulfills the purpose I had in dragging my friends out to go see it tonight in spite of all the reasons not to.

I'm not upset that I still haven't seen Man of Steel, in other words.

But I just had to see how this one turned out. Mostly because I'm Batman. And now I have. And I have thoughts on it.

As a comic book aficionado on weekends, I was very interested to see how much closer DC is putting their cinematic universe to their other iterations than they have in the past (with Man of Steel), and way more than Marvel ever will.

Marvel gives us their cinematic universe through a fresh lens, showing us how and why these characters and events might appear in our world, and only gives us outlandishness and comic-book convoluted-ness once it feels earned, and the characters and basic premises are already established and accepted. And for most people, it's worked.

DC doesn't seem to think that's necessary. Granted, their premise for these two Superman movies is a good deal more outlandish and convoluted than anything Marvel has. (Aside from Dr. Strange, of course. Or maybe Howard the Duck.)

They're about our world suddenly being introduced to a superman, a god of unknown origin and unimaginable power. He's here, he's real, and we need to figure out what this means and what we should do about it. Marvel has nothing like this, so it makes sense for DC to go at it from a different angle.

But they didn't stop there.

The DC universe is arguably the more "mythical" and "grand" of the two comic-book enterprises, and their Justice League and Superman storylines especially are known for being just a little more... extravagant than your average Captain America run. They often involve time travel and dimension-hopping as a matter of course.

DC brought all of that to bear here in their new universe. They aren't holding back, time travel included.

You've already seen the trailer with the Darkseid omega symbol, so you won't mind if I spoil that that was a dream sequence of Batman's, and it did involve Parademons if you were wondering, but it didn't take place on Apokolips. It was a possible/alternate future of an Earth ruled by Superman.

Then we meet Flash from the future.

Not even kidding. He shows up in a vortex of light and energy, wearing what my roommate called a "knockoff Iron Man suit," delivering a message after Bruce wakes up from the pseudo-Apokolips dream.

Likewise, we get the briefest of appearances of present-Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg (still not sure why he's a major Justice League member now). And, of course, Wonder Woman.

Future teachers of screenwriting will point to Wonder Woman in this movie as a prime example of shoehorning. She makes plenty of appearances throughout the film, but we're never once given an explanation for her beyond "she's really old." She's listed as a metahuman with a photograph of her from WWI, and then in the final fight she's doing more to fight Doomsday than Superman is.

"Oh look," I said to myself, out loud during the climax, "she has a lasso all of a sudden. I wonder where that came from."

She does even less in the movie than Lois Lane. And Lois Lane does nothing at all-- except once, when she does something that accomplishes nothing but pad out the final fight an extra five-to-ten minutes.

Something I did kind of appreciate was the comic-ifying of Batman. He wasn't gritty and realistic like the last few movies, he was full-on Batman. By this time he's already been doing the Batman thing for twenty years, and it's apparent that the people behind this movie wanted to give us as much Batman as they possibly could.

His gadgets make as much sense as the physics behind Superman (the guy takes a hit from a speeding Batmobile like it's a feather boa, someone tell me what his mass must be). He does things to be scary and Batman-ish that are flat-out impossible.

And oh yeah, he kills people.

Not like ambiguous factory-blowing-up or half-accidental drop-to-your-death from Tim Burton's Batman, or even "But I don't have to save you" from Batman Begins, he just straight up shoots people and drops cars on them.

And those were just the innocent security guards protecting the thing he wanted to steal!

For the actual criminals, he burns a few alive and straight-up stabs one in the chest with a knife.

Tim Burton I can understand as just not knowing that Batman doesn't kill people, and Batman Begins made sense story-wise. But I just have no idea what this is all about. I would've thought Zack Snyder or someone would've said something about this take on Batman.

Oh, well.

So now let's talk about Lex Luthor (Junior?).

His plan makes negative sense. The whole movie I kept asking myself, "What is his motivation? What does he want?" And I never had an answer for myself.

He sets up Batman and Superman to fight each other. He creates a monster and sets it loose afterward. Along the way he stumbles across a bunch of Kryptonian knowledge about the universe (only he doesn't act surprised to find it or anything, it's almost like he knew what he was going to find before he even went looking for anything).

I can't figure out what is gained by any possible outcome of his plan. Superman kills Batman, loses to Doomsday? Now what are you planning to do, Sexy Lexy? Batman kills Superman, somehow beats Doomsday on his own? Now you're arrested, and... Earth has learned its lesson, I guess?

The thing is, for any possible benefit he wants from this plan, there are a million ways he could've made things more simple.

If he wanted Batman to have his kryptonite, why didn't he approach Bruce Wayne and say, "Hey, a little bat told me you don't much like Superman. Wanna work together to kill him?" If he wanted Superman to kill Batman and "bring him the bat's head," why would he want that why do it in such a way that makes Superman your explicit enemy in the process? Batman was already calling Superman out for a fight when Lex gave him extra incentive, it wouldn't have been hard to keep yourself out of it altogether.

It didn't help that Jesse Eisenberg was such a weird Lex. Jeremy Jahns said it was like watching Jim Carrey play the role, and I would add that it was like Johnny Depp pretending to be Jim Carrey playing the role. It was just weird.

He ends up in prison with a shaved head at the end (spoilers), and I was really excited to seem him become the dark, calculating Luthor because of his "defeat." (Though in the end, I don't think anything actually went wrong with his plan. I'm very confused about the whole thing, you can tell.) But nope! He's just started actually raving in his insanity instead of just being a hyperactive hipster-esque millenial Wilson Fisk.

So overall, I wouldn't say it's a bad movie. Definitely better than a lot of other superhero movies. But I never felt like I was watching a movie. I said to my friends afterward that it was like watching a really long trailer, but that's not quite it, either.

I never connected with any of the characters, I never quite understood what everyone was doing or why, and some things just left me gaping and turning to see my comic-book-expert best friend shaking his head and shrugging helplessly. But I can't say I didn't enjoy seeing Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman all on screen having live-action Justice League fights, and like I said in the beginning, I am glad I saw it, if only for the sake of the next Justice League movie.

Tune in tomorrow for "Dreams on BvS:DoJ!"

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