Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Batman VS Superman: What the hell happened?

I'm pretty sure that enough time has passed now to say that, when looked at objectively, Batman VS Superman ISN'T a terrible movie. Is it perfect? Good God no. But is it the death mound of T-Rex feces that every critic and their grandmother have made it out to be? No, I don't believe so. it's just uninspired 'meh.' But with that said, yeah, I can see why people don't like it. I'm not gonna review the movie, but I am gonna be as objective as I can be, and take a look at why the film got the reception that it did. And from what I can tell, it all stems from the director, Zack Snyder.

Let me just say right now that, yes, I DO enjoy Mr. Snyder's movies....some of them anyway. 300, for all its stupid historical inaccuracies and not so cleverly hidden "America F**ck yeah" bullshit. is STILL a great action movie. And Snyder's adaptation of Alan Moore's Watchmen, is, in my opinion, one of the best comic book movies ever made. But it's Man of Steel that Snyder really starts to lose me. I've been a Superman fan ever since I was a really little kid, hell he was one of the first fictional characters that I ever latched on too and probably did more to shape my young mind than, well, anything really. And while I thought that Man of Steel was a good reboot of Supes' film career; looking back on it, I'm starting to think that maybe that had more to do with Christopher Nolan's and  David S. Goyer's screenplay, rather than Snyder's directing. Because, for all the flaws that Man of Steel had, it was still faithful to the spirit of the character. Batman VS Superman however....not so much. The point is that, while I do think that Snyder CAN do comic book/superhero movies. It has to be a VERY specific kind of superhero movie. Namely...not anything based off of mainstream comic books. Which leads us to Batman VS Superman. Oh, and from here on we are wandering into spoiler territory, so you've been warned.
RIP, Jimbo.

I don't mean to focus solely on the Superman side of things here, but as far as I can tell, this is where a lot of the complaints come from. Snyder took everything that Superman was about, threw it into a pin of rabid hyenas, and is now charging people for the privilege. Just utter disrespect to the fans and what to Superman stood for. For example Superman mainstay, Jimmy Olsen, dies in the opening of the film, and after a while, Clark/Superman becomes reluctant to save anybody because reasons, and mopes around for half the film until Lex Luthor kidnaps both Lois Lane and his mother. One scene, in particular, seems to be the most egregious. There's a scene in where Superman appears before a hearing in the US senate about if they should try to restrict what Supes does....annnnd then a guy in a wheelchair who has a grudge against Superman detonates a bomb that kills everyone in the room (except for Supes, obviously). But get this, Superman heard the bomb with his super hearing, and he did NOTHING. Uhhhh....what? Snyder, have you never read a Superman comic book in your life? That's NOT what Supes would do in that situation. If anything he would have grabbed the Wheelchair (after pushing the occupant out of it), smash through the ceiling and let the thing blow up in mid air.

So why was Superman's personality changed so much? Well, the popular reason is that they were trying to make Superman more identifiable as a character, by giving him actual human emotions. And yeah, I can see why casual fans would think that he's not identifiable. In terms of what he can do, Superman is stupidly overpowered. I mean, this is a guy so physically strong that he can pull Planets out of their orbit with his bare hands, and outrun the gravity of a double black hole. And in the early days, Superman's personality was just a 1-dimensional boring nice guy, and the writers just gave him a new power literally every day. And while modern comic books and the various film incarnations over the years have done their best to correct and curtail both of these factors, it's a reputation he still has to this day. So yes, I can understand why they changed his personality for this movie. But here's the thing, Mr. Snyder, *ahem* YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!!! Changing his personality serves absolutely no purpose and your not even doing in any way that's interesting or thought provoking. And on top of that, its is such a departure from the original character that, if not for the costume, he wouldn't be recognizable. Superman has never been about angst or being moody or brooding or things of that nature. That's Batman's thing. Superman is Pandora's little light of Hope given flesh and superpowers. That's always been the crux of his character, of his personality. Taking that away and replacing it with moodiness, doesn't make him more mature or identifiable, it just makes him look like a wuss and makes you look like a twelve-year-old who thinks that having a Whinny the Poo tattoo on your groin is the height of badassery. Oy.

Anyway, some people also point to Henry Cavill's portrayal of Superman/Clark Kent as an overall negative to the franchise. Honestly, I don't think that's fair. Why? Because anyone who takes this role is flying in the shadow of Christopher Reeves. That's not an opinion, that's a fact. For many people, myself included, Reeve's iconic portrayal of the character IS Superman, he set the standard to which all other actors who come after are gonna be compared to. Cavill knows this, and I don't think he's trying to fill Reeve's boots. He's doing his own thing with the role. And I think he's doing a great job with it, and I hope he stays in it for many more films. And let's be honest, guys....at least it's not Nicolas Cage.      

As for the Batman side of things, honestly, I don't have much to say about that. Mostly because...well I LIKED Ben Affleck's portrayal of Batman/Bruce Wayne. And I'm actually excited that he will be returning to the role in a stand alone film. No, it's not Christian Bale, but Affleck is great in the role in his own right, let him stay. I also like Jeremy Irons as Alfred. So, uh,....I got nothing bad to say about this part.

But the one who steals the whole show was without a doubt Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot). Ho-ly shit, her showing up and fighting Doomsday was just amazing. This is something that DC fans have been waiting for a long time. Wonder Woman is considered the third of DC's big three (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman), and yet for whatever reason, she has yet to receive any sort of modern film adaptation, outside of a few animated films......It just kinda sucks that Snyder didn't really give her really anything interesting to do. Seriously, Wonder Woman doesn't even show up in full costume till the final battle with the film's version of Doomsday. Before that, she interacts with Bruce Wayne a little, and that's it. Hell, she hardly has any dialogue until the end. For such an important character in the DC Universe, she sure feels like an afterthought.

This leads me into my final point and a major reason why I think that Batman VS Superman was received as poorly as it was, Poor world building and plot holes. I know I just said that I didn't have much to say about the Batman side of this movie, but that's because I was just focusing on the Affleck's performance more than anything else. Most of the problems with Batman's side of this film is actually tied to this point and I wanted to put them all together in their own section for the sake of my own sanity. Anyway, Leading up to the release of this film, we were lead to believe that Batman VS Superman would be a continuation of both Man of Steel, and Christopher Nolan's excellent Dark Knight Trilogy, and that both story threads would meet up in the middle and from there we would get DC's answer to The Avengers, The Justice League. To my knowledge, Warner Brothers never denied this. Fast Forward to the film's premiere and we find out that we had been hoodwinked.  Nowhere in the film are the events of the Dark Knight Trilogy ever discussed, with the possible exception of Wayne Manor being burned down. There's no mention of Lucius Fox, no
Batcomputer becoming the NSA's wet dream, The Joker, or even a shadow of Catwoman. There was, however, scenes showing Bruce Wayne's parents being shot and him becoming Batman and Bruce arriving in Metropolis during Man of Steel's final battle with General Zod and an easter egg of a Robin costume being sprayed in Yellow paint (see picture) and that's when it hit me...this film rebooted Batman, again. So, what we have here, is a NEW version of Batman, except that it's set in the Man of Steel universe, and this is the universe that DC is going to be setting all of its films in from now on. And they can't even get THIS right. This whole film feels like a half-assed crash course for DC to catch up with Marvel's film universe. But DC, Warner Brother, do you even know why Marvel's been so successful with this? It's because they took the time to develop each of their characters with their own separate film franchise, and their universe expanded and grew with each film. So by the time we got to The Avengers, we already had a good grasp on this universe and these characters that we had basically grown up with them. But here, you're jumping right into a cross over without giving us anytime to adjust to establish the universe or any of the characters What you should have done is a stand alone Man of Steel sequel or two, then a solo Affleck Batman movie or two, solo Wonder Woman movie and a sequel or two, and individual films for the other members of the Justice League, AND then you should have made Batman VS Superman and used it as a jumping off point for the JUSTICE LEAGUE movie, not for your entire universe.

Oh, and before I forget about him, here's something else that needs to happen to get your Universe straight, FIRE Zack Snyder. Seriously, I heard on Pat The NES Punk's Podcast (see the video on the left), that he doesn't even read Comic Books unless there is a lot of killing, blood, and sex in them. And that if he had made Batman Begins, he would have had Bruce Wayne raped during the prison scene. I'm...not even going to express how I feel about that.                

Anyway, As I expressed at the top of this, Batman VS Superman isn't actually a terrible movie. But it's certainly not the best, and there's a lot wrong with it. But at the end of the day, I still think that it's a watchable movie. But this was just my two cents on the matter.

What do you, Dear Reader, think?

and I'm out. see you next week.


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