The thing about Batman v Superman
At some point we have to stop allowing “comic book” movies to get a pass simply because we’re seeing one of our favorite characters on the screen. Before I go on you may be asking , Who is We?
We are the kids who grew up watching and reading and knowing these characters that are now making millions for Hollywood movie studios. We are the people who’s first “super hero” movie we enjoyed wasn’t Marvel’s Iron Man or hell, it was even released before the year 2000. We are the kids who had the X-Men and Spider-Man cartoon theme songs stuck in our heads. The ones who were super excited when Street Fighter vs X-Men came out and was such a good game. The ones who knew who Ant-Man or The Guardians of the Galaxy were before Wikipedia existed, or who Eobard Thawne was before the CW existed.The ones who know who Moon Knight is. I’m part of that We.
I know firsthand how exciting it was when the entire world it seems finally realized how cool these characters were, and especially how great it felt when I knew so many things about these worlds before everyone else did. I also know how great it felt to see how Hollywood’s top studios invested so much money to see those characters do so many GREAT things on screen. I’m talking about the way Sam Raimi’s Spider Man swung through New York in such a graceful way, or how Wolverine’s claws looked in Fox’s X-Men movies. The tank batmobile in Christopher Nolan’s Batman or when Iron Man shook off that tank blast in the first Iron Man movie.Seriously, all these movies are so much better than what we used to get before, like The Panthom. Those were all such great moments, and I could go on and on because there’s many many more in all these movies, the problem is. That’s all there is. There’s nothing more and we shouldn’t be okay with this anymore. It’s up to us to hold what the studios do with these characters to a higher standard than the masses.
This brings me back to “Batman v Superman” and how there is really nothing past what we’ve seen before. Before I proceed YES THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. In the latest bat movie we’re treated once again to an origin story, we’re shown Batman branding people, a Rocky training montage, and finally a fight against a kryptonian dude, no wait…then there’s another fight against a kryptonian dude except this one is more explosion filled. There’s really nothing in the way of character development. There’s some visually cool scenes ripped straight from the “Dark Knight” graphic novel, and Batman probably leans back into his seat while banking a vehicle more than in other movie but there’s REALLY not much else. Bruce Wayne hates Superman because he destroyed a city and can destroy the world YET his undying rage and quest to destroy him, his “legacy” as he describes it in the movie is brought to a halt, his hate is quenched because Superman in his dying breath whispered the name of his mom which JUST SO HAPPENS to be the same name as Batman’s mom. God, how I wish I were kidding. Batman legitimately goes from hate to love because of the phrase “That’s his mother’s name”. Martha was the safe word. That’s why Zack Snyder gave us yet another origin scene and not one but TWO closeup shots of Martha Wayne’s gravestone, that was his big twist. He then goes on to “Rock bottom” a guy while saving Martha. Also at the end of the movie he has a premonition about more sequels coming, but so did the world when they saw “Dawn of justice” in the title.
Elsewhere in the movie we had quite arguably the worst lines ever uttered by a person playing a politician since that movie with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. A wonder woman who “gave up on humanity” but still hangs out at museum and library galas for some reason. A weird cameo by an iron-man suit like Flash who can Deus-Ex Machina because “Speedforce”. Jesse Esienberg going full Ledger for SOME reason, which Lex Luthor never really does in the comics. Lois Lane travelling about as fast as superman does and showing up everywhere and so many story lines and scenes that I’m amazed that a movie with scenes that felt so rushed felt so long overall. The movie tried to cram too much(Justice League being introduced via email)onto the screen because that’s been the winning formula for these types of movies over the years. References, and characters and lines straight from comic books don’t make good movies in and of themselves.
Since 1943, there’s been 12 big “Batman” movies(There’s been 10 “Superman” movies since 1948). Of those 12, three of them were before the 1970s and one of them was animated, this leaves us with 8 big time Hollywood movies and 5 different Batmen. The origin story is known. The villians are known. The story lines are known. Why have only the Nolan movies gone on to do something remotely interesting with the universe in which its set? Batman(and Superman for that matter) is a HUGELY popular character and one with a tremendous amount of depth that can and has been explored for years by comic book writers. Why shouldn’t the films do that? Why should we be OK with seeing something that we saw in a book come to life on the screen and that’s it? Even the whole “Dawn of the justice league fight” thing was much better told in the animated “Justice League War” than in this movie. What I’m saying is, studios are going to just keep doing the same thing over and over again, just bring a comic book movie over. Show some cool scenes from the books, rip out some lines, throw in some references destroy a city and have this guy fight back from the brink and then slap some credits on it. Especially if crapshoots like Thor 2 make 644 million.
It really is up to us…
Superhero or comic book based movies are NOT the under dogs anymore. Marvel made sure of that. They’re no longer “our” things anymore. We no longer have to defend a movie and look past its weaknesses and “support it because we want more to be made!” like what we had to do when “The Rocketeer” came out. Disney has 11 movies planned for the next 3 years ALONE, DC has 9 planned for the next 4 years. These are a big deal now. They’ve transcended into the mainstream AND we know these characters and worlds better than anyone. We know how good they can be. Let’s not settle for fan service anymore. Let’s ask these studios to push the envelope, to tell compelling stories, to take characters in a new direction not just port over bits and pieces, blow up a city and call it a day. How? I know this is gonna sound crazy, but maybe let’s be honest about these movies and look at them beyond our fandom?
We grew up, the characters did too, their movies should as well.
PS. There is one thing I really liked about this movie..