typical spoiler warning.
so i went into batman v superman having read no reviews and generally avoided all detailed conversations regarding the movie. i knew people were by and large disappointed, but by what, or why, any sort of specifics i went in not knowing. i still haven’t read anything so if i rehash something from someone else’s thoughts it’s an error of ignorance.
there were things going on in this movie that i liked a lot. superman’s motivations always made sense, and the fight with batman was actually so organic to me that when they stopped fighting it was jarring. of course, there’s also the “how” that played a role there, hashtag martha, but it was difficult to see how they could ever see eye to eye, the way things had played out. especially with some of batman’s motivations coming directly from the events of man of steel, which i appreciated. i liked the introduction of wonder woman being gradual, so you expect her to show up in the final fight, rather than her being some ex machina like the trailers had implied. the final boss tipped its hat to king kong more than once and i thought that was cool. batfleck actually worked. and i liked the portrayal of lex luthor, which is a big first sign that something is amiss.
i am not a superman fan. i find the character unappealing and his conflicts unarresting. over the years writers have had to step the stakes up so high, and supes’s powers to match so he can win, that he’s just become this immortal godman and that’s boring. there’s no stakes. i’m similarly not a fan of the batman character because he’s a fascist bully, but he gives rise to an incredible cast of villains that keeps me engaged and the concept of failing, either his city or himself, real. the joker is probably my favorite villain out there. superman’s villains don’t grab me at all. their motivations are generally so irrational i don’t care. so when i find lex luthor compelling i have to ask myself why, and here’s my conclusion, reached when he gives the senator a jar of something and blows up the dude in the wheelchair (and his assistant in the process for no reason. just tell her and she can not sit down):
i’m not convinced zack snyder knows lex luthor and the joker are different characters.
batman steals lex’s kryptonite rock, and lex says “okay, batman wants superman stopped too, i can work with this,” kidnaps lois lane to get superman’s attention, so he can tell her he’s also kidnapped (and kinda denegrated) his mother, and his mother dies if superman doesn’t kill the bat. THAT’S A JOKER SCHEME. LEX LUTHOR IS THE JOKER IN THIS MOVIE and then things kind of stop making sense and then BATMAN VISITS HIM IN JAIL LIKE HES THE JOKER IN ARKHAM. this movie has Mrs and i pretty convinced jesse eisenberg could play a killer joker. so i kind of think it’s a miscast, but the story also pushes that home.
this is a 150 minute movie that does not respect your time.
a brief list of things the movie wastes time on while being egregiously long:
- rehashing batman’s origin story at least twice in slow-mo, while counting on the audience to just accept the existence of Batwing. if we aren’t going to EY ANGONASECOND over batman having a tiny jet, we don’t need his damn origin story coming up over and over.
- a dream sequence that bruce visits his parents’ tomb. you can remind us her name was martha without wasting that much run time on a jump scare that was both out of place and completely unearned by the movie.
- ANOTHER DREAM SEQUENCE that first made me think i’d passed out and missed a scene, then quickly recognized as a dream when batman shot multiple people (cool action though), which then proceeded to KEEP GOING for SO LONG for no reason.
- THE OL WAKE UP FROM A DREAM INTO ANOTHER DREAM SWITCHAROO FUCK YOU MOVIE. i walked out at that point to take an angry piss. whatever the end result of bruce decrypting data from lex luthor was, i didn’t care. that was bullshit and i needed a break.
- exposition delivered by CNN. thanks, i can see what’s going on with my eyeballs.
- probably 5 minutes spent trying to convince you superman is dead when we all know he’s not.
i could probably go on but this was where i stopped immediately having bullet points to add. the point is i shouldn’t be able to rattle off a ton of places where a long as hell movie was wasting my time.
batman is a plot device in this movie.
you cannot take a headline character in his own right, make him want to fight your headline character because the plot needs him to, only to then make him decide to help your headline character also because the plot needs him to. and not give him any character development at all. so what, i can just go up to bruce wayne, and convince him someone named martha is in trouble, and he’ll do whatever i want? even if he’s actively trying to kill me? even if he’s spent literally weeks preparing to do that? just one name and we’re best buds? you fucking wot? “oh your mom’s name is martha too? wow only good guys have martha moms. i know this because i too am a martha mom haver but she died. wow i hope yours doesnt. sorry about the whole trying to stab you with your only poison thing how can i help a fellow martha mom haver?”
you want to convince batman superman isn’t to blame for the destruction in man of steel? i mean for one you could just introduce him to zack snyder, who’s kinda turning into nerd michael bay, but maybe try letting superman tell him what happened. maybe try letting them fight until lex’s orc king kong emerges. the latter especially would band them together, show them that lex joker was always the common enemy, convince batman he needs superman (because he can’t kill that thing, not even with wonder woman), see? pay me, hollywood. also he totally smoked a couple fools when he shot at them from the batmobile. batman isn’t meant to kill, ass.
i did respect this movie’s willingness to show bruce wayne the detective, rather than just batman the jackbooted thug, in a couple of scenes. we don’t often see that apart from batgrinding batdata in the batcave.
the movie really would like you to catch all of its themes.
i wish i could be in writer’s rooms sometimes. you know, kind of like the sports fantasy of “pay me $200k a year to say ‘dont do that’ twice and it will save you 10x that salary” only with movie dialogue.
SUPERMAN “No one can stay good in this world” or w/e it was.
STEPHHOUSE “no… dont say that. pls dont make him say that.”
LEX “If man cannot kill god… then the devil will do it!”
STEPHHOUSE “no see that isn’t dialogue. that’s a theme. your character is supposed to DO it, not SAY it.”
so because i work in mental health and this is how we are wired to think, i’ll close with a good thing, and that’s that i loved batman’s solo fight scenes, both real and dream. it seemed to me like someone from the camera crew got together with someone from choreography, played about 30 hours of arkham asylum and arkham city, and said, what if these fights were like that only quick? hell, bats even batclaws a dude, pulls him toward himself, and clotheslines him on arrival. i do that on every enemy near a gun in those games. that all felt really right and good.
oh and another good thing. in fact i’d say the best thing. that attached lego batman movie trailer. rofl.