Rev: Batman v Superman [2016]

[Warner Bros.]

Grade B/B-

I finally watched this film after the night shift at work and, despite being a critic of it for a long time, I can now conclude that I’m just neutral about it. While this is not the worst superhero film that I have ever seen, it is a notch lower than Man of Steel when it didn’t need to be. Deadpool is still the film to beat.

If you’re into big explosions, watch it. If you want a story, don’t watch it. If you’re a comics fan, watch it, but only once.

(Spoilers Below)

Pro:

  • Amy Adams.
  • Lovingly crafted Kent Family scenes.
  • An aged and weakened Batman getting stabbed and shot in the back of the head.
  • The Batmobile chase scene.

Neutral:

  • Laurence Fishburne is finally growing on me as Perry White.
  • The new Doomsday was okay but the references to King Kong were unnecessary.
  • That Lois Lane knows Clark Kent is Superman and that they live together… in sin.
  • That Batman killed people is okay with me. Michael Keaton did the same with less.
  • That Batman was so uncertain of his role in the superhuman now—a la Iron Man 3—and yet so certain that he had to kill Superman.
  • That, once again, Batman fails to prevent the death of another friend or loved one.
  • No cues that Diana was also eavesdropping on Bruce and Alfred—we are just supposed to know that she’s Wonder Woman and she has that power.

Con:

  • Annoying, unnecessary freeze frames over Wonder Woman’s World War I photo.
  • Wonder Woman’s annoying leitmotif.
  • Very sloppily executed and heavy-handed cameos for the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg.
  • The decision to use Cyborg rather than Green Lantern John Stewart.
  • No Green Lantern for the Justice League… not even Chaselon? 😦
  • Liberal cribbing from Frank Miller’s seminal The Dark Knight Returns.
  • Obvious inspiration from 1990s The Death of Superman storyline.
  • Lex Luthor’s motives and rationale are unclear. Does he seek to be a master of his own fate or is he a slave to a higher alien power?
  • Henry Cavil’s poor acting.
  • That Superman only really bleeds twice in the film and all from cuts or punctures rather than visceral punches like in The Dark Knight Returns.
  • Lex Luthor’s annoying hair.
  • That Superman would be so sloppy and arrogant as to leave Kryptonian technology all over the globe for his enemies to exploit.
  • The targeting and launch of nuclear weapons was way too fast to be realistic, especially given the absence of the “two-man rule.”
  • Jimmy Olsen as a throwaway character.
  • More lost opportunities of Superman to show off his super cold breath.
  • It isn’t that Zack Snyder is a terrible director… it’s just that he’s an unoriginal and an uninspired one.

Notes:

  • Wonder Woman’s magical equipment shows that the new DC film universe disagrees with Arthur C. Clarke’s “third law.”
  • The depiction of how people would either fear or deify Superman is a modern and fairly realistic take on the character. However, most audiences I have observed pay or rent or borrow to see a Superman film because they want Christopher Reeve along with naive late-1970s sensibilities rather than a jaded and tired critique on contemporary society.
  • The Right Hand of Doom: Doomsday stabs Superman with a sharp bone from his right hand just like how Zod stabbed Jor-El with a blade from his right hand.
  • No attempt was made to peacefully reason with the Doomsday creature.
  • It is unreasonable that Superman would not have seen the wheelchair bomb in the US Capitol building, even if he was too ashamed to look at Wallace Keefe, which he did at least twice. If the wheelchair bomb was shielded by lead or some other substance or EM interference, Superman would’ve been suspicious, as he was in Richard Donner’s Superman (1978). If the bomb was not x-ray shielded, it would have had to have radiated some unusual heat signature for Superman to pick up as it built up to critical mass.

Questions:

  • Why does Lex Luthor hate Superman, again?
  • Why wasn’t Lex Luthor executed under any number of federal laws: 18 U.S.C. 351, 18 U.S.C. 844, 18 U.S.C. 930, 18 U.S.C. 1111?
  • Why didn’t Superman try to save anyone in the US Capitol?
  • If Doomsday-like creatures existed in Krypton’s ancient past, how were they defeated without yellow sun superpowers?
  • If ancient Kryptonians had yellow sun superpowers, why did they need spaceships and spacesuits to colonize the galaxy?
  • Was that really a Mother Box? If so, how did the US government get it?
  • Where is the connection between Lex Luthor and Darkseid?
  • Did Batman really meet with Lex Luthor in prison or was that just another dream.
  • If the Suicide Squad features both Batman and a reference to a living Superman, when does it occur?
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