Batman V Superman With Spoilers
A SPOILER RIDDEN REVIEW of BATMAN VS SUPERMAN
No kidding. We talk about the movie assuming you have seen it or aren’t going and won’t care.
Here’s my take on it. Movie opens with ending from Man Of Steel as Superman and Zod are fighting and wrecking an awful lot of Metropolis in the process. Bruce Wayne sees this happening from Gotham and takes a helicopter to Metropolis. This is an older and grumpier Batman. He’s seen some shit. Bruce drives like a maniac to get to Wayne Enterprises and arrives just as building comes down. His only thought is to save lives. He saves a few, but a lot of people die. Some are people he knows.
Jump forward 18 months. Batman is in action taking out criminals and not in a nice way. The assumption seems to be he was inactive for a while but is now back. He is branding some criminals with a Batman logo and they are being killed in prison as a result. Kidnappers, pedophiles, and other convicts others look on as the dregs of their society. I think, “screw them, they deserve what they get.”
In the Batcave we see something has obviously happened to a Robin, most likely Joker killing one of them. Superman also concerns Batman. We’ve seen the damage he can do and Batman feels that if there is even a chance he could turn bad, someone needs to be able to take him out. Batman falls asleep in the cave and has a dream/vision of a possible dystopian future involving Darkseid and an evil Superman. THIS dream is where he shoots people. No where else in the movie, IN A DREAM.
Superman has his own issues. He’s still really new to the gig and he’s unsure who exactly he wants to be or should be. A hero? A savior? He knows he can never save everyone and this is another thing that troubles him. Between he and Lois speaking together and then he and talking his mother, Martha, having a heart to heart, he starts to get a handle on how he wants to evolve. As this happens, we see that a Clark/Superman troubled by the vigilante in Gotham. One who seems overly violent and unforgiving.
This is movie uses classic comics tropes with meet ups between heroes who don’t know each other, they misinterpret things, they fight. In Batman V Superman, the fight is brought about because Luthor kidnaps Superman’s mom, part of an overreaching plan of destruction and, of course, world domination. The motivation for the heroes themselves to fight disappears when Batman hears Superman speak the name Martha, both of their mothers’ names. This humanizes Superman for him and goes to rescue Mrs. Kent. This also leads to a favorite scene of mine, “I’m a friend of your son, I’m here to save you” says Batman to Martha Kent. “I kinda figured because of the cape,” says the still salty Mrs. Kent. It’s this kind of thing that I’ve been waiting for.
The big battle comes down to DOOMSDAY, a monster created with stolen Kryptionian tech by Luthor. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman accidently team up and actually end up fighting as a unit to stop the monster. At this point the heroes are who they should be, who we need them to be. Superman ultimately sacrifices himself to save everyone, a true Boy Scout hero move. Batman has his focus back. Wonder Woman is working with mankind again for the first time in a long time.
At the funeral for Clark, Bruce and Diana talk about what is coming and start making plans, part of which include finding the Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman together. The Justice League is born.
I thought all the actors did a great job and were true to the characters as I see them now. Lois Lane in particular was done really well by Amy Adams and is the Lois I love. Jeremy Irons was also fantastic as Alfred. The beginning was a bit drawn out but, personally, I think it works and does a great job of setting up this whole upcoming series of films. It was more than the opening of this movie; it’s the set up for like five more films and truthfully I think it was all needed. The interactions between Clark and Lois, Bruce and Alfred helped show the mindset and doubts that the heroes had. The end of the movie shows them overcoming those doubts.
As we walked out of the theater I actually said out loud, “This is the movie I wanted,” and it was. I plan to watch it a number of more times. For me, this was the perfect beginning to a wonder franchise of films from DC.
Part Two: Jennifer Jordan
Although a huge fan of Batman since I was wee, I let the critical yap sway me before I stepped into the theater to see “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” I’d seen Deadpool not long before and I thought there was no way I would enjoy this, yet another Batman movie. As someone who loves comic books and Batman in particular, the hate never arrived.
In fact, if you love comic books, this movie is made for you. Pages from major story arcs(“The Dark Knight Returns” and “The Death of Superman”) are the plot points driving BvS and I’ve little doubt they’ll drive the movies that this movie will birth (Wonder Woman, Justice League). THIS is the Batman I’ve read. He’s at one of those pissy points in his history; I’d judge it to be post-Jason Todd’s death. He’s sworn off partners and probably most people besides Alfred, who should truly be canonized for putting up with him for so long.
This is NOT a Marvel comics movie. It is not fast and funny and colorful. The bad guys and good guys are not broadly drawn. The script is not peppered with witty repartee. Don’t think I don’t enjoy that kind of movie. I do. For the pure entertainment value. The Captain America movies have the most depth of all the Marvel movies and do strive for political and societal themes. But this is a grown up movie. A movie in which thinking is needed. The punching and the explosions don’t happen immediately. You, as an audience member, are expected to figure a few things out.
The first half of the movie is all about motivations. What makes out heroes tick. What makes them heroes. Superman finds himself painted as some kind of savior or demi-god – a role he doesn’t want. He questions what his role should truly be. Batman is haunted and sees this alien as a clear threat after the disastrous effect Superman’s battle with Zod had on Metropolis and it’s people. The future is a nightmare to him in which humanity is enslaved. Wonder Woman covertly works against the war machine that humanity seems so keen to keep going. She is battle worn but keen. When she steals tech from the unconventional billionaire businessman, Lex Luthor that Bruce Wayne actually left his cave to get, pieces on a game board somewhere finally begin to move into position.
The first half of the movie explains why Superman didn’t just kill or main Batman in either fight. Not even when a life more important to him than his own was on the line. The first half of the movie explains Batman’s anger and eagerness to fight. But it also explains why he paused. Why he listened to the pleas of a man he intended to kill for the benefit of mankind. The first half of the film explains why an Amazon appeared between two caped men who may have wondered who she came with but never questioned he readiness to battle a large, energy emitting villain.
And the fight scenes are gorgeous. Batman is a well-trained ninja thug who will grab anything around him to smash the hell out of the crowd of black clad bad guys. This is not a Batman we’ve seen on film before. This Batman is walking a thinner line and his moral code is a shade of gray in regards to violence. We’re supposed to think he’s gone a bit too far.
Wonder Woman has clearly missed battle. She brings her sword down on Darkseid again and again, wounding him. When he flings her to the ground, she rises, grinning. And goes for him again.
Superman puts his whole being into the battle. Batman is ultimately only a man. Wonder Woman is an unknown. He is the only one who can wield the weapon that will bring Darkseid down. And he is willing to make the true sacrifice every hero is willing to make in order to do that.
Zack Synder did not make this movie to be pretty and thusly move the worst of the results of the violence off screen. We see this same destruction in many movies. Just not so damn realistically. If this planet were peopled with meta-humans and the villains that come with them, mass human death and mass destruction of property would follow.
So, from a woman who entered the theater full of doubt, I left sated and thoughtful. From a comic book movie.
Jon, thank you for that excellent summary. I am just going to expand a little on your ideas because they closely match my own.
I will first address the nay sayers. You did not not see the movie I saw; “29% on the Tomatometer” from Rotten Tomatoes. That movie had the effects it need for Superman and his powers and all that comes with it and Batman’s gadgets. Things in DC have powers people! Deal with it! Also the beginning was not slow, it gave a reasonable tie in from the Dark Knight Trilogy and Man of Steel. Also it gives Superman the consequences for smashing Metropolis halfway to hell. It was perfectly reasonable build up to the fight kids have talked about since the creation of the two characters. The fight by the way, is clever, but epic. They both kicked the living shit out of each other. Then there was the Doomsday battle with Wonder Woman in full combat mode and is that not what we came to see?
Now for the Batman shooting people scene. That was a vision inside of a dream. By the way… that sets up DARKSEID to sweep in on later movies. The closest he gets to killing with guns is when he shoots with the amazing Batwing and Batmobile.
The characters were well portrayed in the movie. Jeremy Irons was great and his attitude is what I like to see in an Alfred. He was very; You’re crazy as fuck Bruce but I’ll still put up with your bloodlust for Superman, it is your life not mine, do as you please, while thinking ‘You’re nuts Bruce, You’re nuts Bruce, You’re nuts Bruce’. Amy Adams as Lois was phenomenal; she was clever (spear of kryptonite) and while keeping Clark in check.
Overall this movie was excellent and had everything I wanted and craved from this movie.