|Moderated by Stefan Blitz|
Welcome to our Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Roundtable.
There hasn’t been a film this decisive since perhaps, Zack Snyder’s 2013 Man of Steel, which we discussed in depth HERE. In this roundtable, we discuss the film, the mythology of the characters and the DC Cinematic Universe.
Participating this time are:
- Vito Delsante, comic book writer/editor
- Erin Maxwell, FOG! columnist/entertainment journalist
- Peter Briggs, screenwriter /upcoming writer/director, Panzer 88
- Elliott Serrano, Chicago’s Top Geek/comic book writer
- Josh Hadley, FOG! contributor/podcaster/critic/archivist
- Lenny Schwartz, FOG! columnist / playwright/screenwriter
- Josh Latta, cartoonist/rabble rouser
- Atlee Greene, FOG! columnist/wrestling & MMA enthusiast/podcaster
- Clay N Ferno, FOG! columnist/publicist & promoter/podcaster
- Brian Saner Lamken, lapsed comic journalist/writer/artist
- Andre Bennett, former FOG! columnist, filmmaker, RPS enthusiast
- Elizabeth Weitz, FOG! contributor/consulting editor
- Steven Segal, FOG! columnist/former film critic
Hope you enjoy, beware of spoilers and be sure to add your two cents to the comments.
FOG!: Are there heroes in Batman v Superman?
Vito Delsante: Let me first start off by saying something controversial. I didn’t hate the movie. I liked it quite a lot, actually. And that’s because I had no preconceived expectations for it. After Man of Steel, I didn’t expect to enjoy BvS at all, and I did. But that’s not saying there are no flaws in the movie. To get back to your question, are there heroes…I mean, yeah, there are. Are they necessarily doing anything heroic? Not really. If you take that tact, then what you’re left with is a bunch of heroes that did nothing to prevent a menace from cracking the world in two, and say what you want, they did stop that from happening. There was a character who sacrificed himself to do it. That’s heroic, no matter how you thin you split the hair.
Elizabeth Weitz: No. The definition of a hero is someone who is admired or idealized for courage and/or noble qualities. Neither Batman nor Superman seemed to (at least in the context of this movie) possess these attributes. All their actions were driven by solipsism, a sense that it was all about them. There was never a moment that I truly felt either one of them were acting from a place of altruism.
Clay N. Ferno: Grim and gritty Batman has always been a hero for me, even if he is violent, he is heroically standing for Justice. He also saves a little girl as Bruce Wayne. Technically, Wonder Woman and Superman save the world from Doomsday, but I would have liked to see Superman save a kitten like it was eluded to. There are certainly superheroes in the film, but hardly any heroic moments besides Bruce saving the little girl and Batman with Superman’s mom. I never count Superman saving Lois as a ‘moment’.
Elliott Serrano: A hero ain’t nothin’ but a sandwich.
Peter Briggs: Sure there are. The problem is, the plot works so hard to make you dislike the characters that their pluses are being cancelled out by their negatives. I really had problems trying to understand why the filmmakers were making these choices. When I see Superman restrain a little smirk before he punches a terrorist — okay, a bad guy; yet still a human being — through a concrete wall to obviously instant death through either whiplash or impact, it troubles me.
Josh Hadley: Superman is a humorless emo jerk in this who doesn’t care about anything save his own self interest. Totally the character that has been around since 1938 right? Batman is an egomaniac (okay he got that part right) who now uses guns wantonly and straight up murders people indiscriminately. Wonder Woman is less of an amazonian warrior bringing right to the world and more of a self interested snob. Lex Joker is exactly that, this is NOT Lex Luthor in any manner, this is the Joker called Lex Luthor. I honestly feel that at one point they were both meant to be in this film and somehow their parts were combined and Jesse Eisenberg just didn’t give a shit. Oh and let’s not forget that Jimmy Olsen is now a CIA agent who Snyder mercilessly shoots in the head in front of Lois… because screw you that’s why. Heroes.
Lenny Schwartz: The only hero I found was the usher at the theatre at the end of the film who said “you can stay if you want but there’s nothing after the credits.”
I will say it made Schindler’s List look cheery. So no, no real heroes. Except Ben Affleck. He did put his all into the film and should be commended for doing so.
Atlee Greene: Yes, Wonder Woman. Batman was too concerned with taking down a threat that was never really there, and Superman’s struggle to find his place in the world became paramount over saving lives. Everything Wonder Woman did in the film was to put an end to Lex Luthor’s evil schemes.
Steven Segal: Of course there are heroes in BvS, but they’re so tainted with human flaws and encumbered with emotional baggage we can barely recognize them but for their costumes. Brooding Clark/Supes, jaded and brutal Bruce/Batman—these guys scarcely resemble their ink-and-page counterparts. I suppose the legless Wayne Enterprises security guard is a tragic symbol for all Veterans of needless wars and his courage is heroic…and, in which case, the way the movie ultimately treats the character is utterly deplorable.
There’s a quote in the film, “Power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutely”. This is the second film in Snyder’s DC world building that ends with an overwhelming amount of destruction by characters that we are supposed to think of as the good guys, but aren’t depicted as particularly good, inspiring or heroic. Do you think that these characters are in any way similar to their comic book incarnations?
Vito Delsante: No, but that’s a good thing. As a long time fan, I want something to hold on to, something pure, and that’s the comics…it might not even be the current comics, but a comic I read when I was six, and that’s fine. I don’t think the studio or the filmmakers set out to tell us a story that had anything to do with the comics, but on screen, this is the most comic book movie I’ve ever seen. A 90’s comic, maybe, but it felt like I was reading a comic, so…there’s that.
Josh Latta: Does it really matter how these characters are depicted in the comics? Superman doesn’t belong to any one medium. Depending on who you are and when you were born plays a lot on how you view the character/property. With that said, I felt like I was reading a multi-issue crossover event, so I’m with you there, Vito.
Elizabeth Weitz: I guess I’m the one rooting for the Superman of my youth, the boy scout, the one that was never selfish. Maybe I’m being naive but in a world gone mad, having a truly “Good” guy on the side of humanity is comforting. I’m not against a darker side of Superman or showing a certain level of angst (that is also comforting in a way) but this Superman isn’t really “Superman” to me. As for Batman, I enjoy the different incarnations of him because he is a dark character and for the most part, I didn’t see anything that annoyed me…which is completely unusual as I pretty much dislike most things.
Clay N. Ferno: I went to see BvS again, total count of twice, just to catch my bearings. I’m with Vito a lot here. I think expecting to see a Donner or Byrne version of Superman would have been sweet (see Superman Returns) but this quasi-New 52 version of the story doesn’t so much bother me. This would have been a GREAT DC Animated film. As for Batman and to some extent Wonder Woman, I think there are modern and bronze age versions of both characters on the comic book page that resemble what was on screen here. The story was the messy part for me.
Elliott Serrano: If anyone is being corrupted by power it’s Snyder and here near Michael Bay levels of ego influencing how the cinematic DCU is being put together.
Peter Briggs: There’s so many different versions of these characters (Red Son Superman? Vain Justice League 3000 Superman?) that that’s not really an issue. It’s another interpretation. It’s not right or wrong, but it does need to be addressed on its individual merits. I had a Batman vs Superman movie fanboy take me to task after reading my dissection of the movie: he couldn’t accept the movie had serious problems, and rather sneeringly insisted (although I’d said nothing to give him that impression) that I was hankering after the older, campier Superman. I wasn’t, but like Elizabeth said above…would that Boy Scout approach be so wrong? When Superman said to Luthor “I won’t break you”, I was horrified…because the implication there is that he wouldn’t hesitate to do that. I’ve rather enjoyed Brandon Routh as “The Atom” in the DC Legends Of Tomorrow show, and whenever I watch him, I keep thinking “Gee…what would HE be like up against Affleck’s Batman?”
Brian Saner Lamken: Are they in any way similar to their comic-book incarnations? Sure. You can recognize them by their costumes. I just don’t think they’re nearly similar enough in ways that matter, which is a huge problem for me as a lifelong DC reader. Not that I don’t see where Vito, Josh, and others are coming from, but I’m with Elizabeth insofar as Superman not being Superman here and I’ll throw in Batman not being Batman for good measure. (I’m largely thumbs-up on what we get of Wonder Woman.) The argument that we’re seeing an older, emotionally broken Dark Knight Returns kind of Batman doesn’t hold any more water for me than the argument since Man of Steel and apparently still in effect that Superman is just figuring things out that are bedrock elements of the character such as how not to take a life when avoidable nor engage in wanton destruction ignorant of the consequences.
There’s a great story to be told, fresh to billions of potential filmgoers, of Superman and Batman in their prime meeting for the first time, with misunderstanding and skepticism very likely part of it but much less manipulation and stupidity. Of course these characters are large, contain multitudes, and can even contradict themselves; it almost physically pains me, however, that we can’t get one definitive, straight portrayal of the pantheon, a live-action equivalent to the great DC Animated Universe continuity of the past quarter-century, instead skipping right to a darker, gritty alternative take.
Josh Hadley: The ideal going into this is so severely flawed at it’s core that it becomes a farce. It’s clear that Snyder hates the Superman character so much that he is making these movies in an attempt to outright assassinate anything people might love about him. I guess that makes him the perfect wingman for Frank Miller who has spent the last 30 years writing Batman comics all about how much Superman sucks. Seriously look at every Batman book Miller has had a hand in since Dark Knight Returns… they are less and less about Batman and more and more about “Superman sucks, why can’t you people see this”. We don’t know what level of contempt Snyder has for Aquaman, Cyborg, The Flash or Wonder Woman as they are merely footnotes to his harebrained essay of unbridled hubris on why Superman sucks.
Let’s not even dwell on the fact this movie resides in a world where a jar of Lex Joker’s piss is a major plot point or where the entire movie swings on the fact that both Superman and Batman have a mom named Martha.
Lenny Schwartz: They look like our friends. They sound kinda like our friends. But our friends got drunk and really depressed and we kind of want to have some distance from them. That’s kinda how I felt.
Atlee Greene: Movies give creators the opportunity to experiment and do different things. The same can be said for comic books since there have been many incarnations of Batman and Superman over the years. I’m not sure if this is Snyder’s doing or the studio’s call, but there appears to be more emphasis on being completely different from Marvel films instead of highlighting the core essential values that made us fall in love with these characters in the first place. To give a more direct answer, they’re similar in look and application.
Let’s start with Superman. BvS begins 18 months later after the end of MoS. At this point, Superman has killed Zod, but there seems to be little evidence of his evolution into a hero; he scowls, floating out of the touch of humanity; he threatens and doesn’t make any effort to protect the innocent. Has he no connection to the people of Metropolis, not even helping to restore the city and remove the fallen World Engine of the Kryptonians. Is there anything about this character that doesn’t scream asshole?
Erin Maxwell: This was a major issue for me. Superman was, and should always be, the best version of humanity. He is what humanity strives to be. Yes, he is alien, but was raised among us, and thus is a direct result of the best we have to offer.
None of that is evident in this movie. He is just a brooding asshole who likes to take baths with his girlfriend and every now and then fly off to third-world countries to feed his messiah complex. He seems extremely out of touch and out of step with the rest of humanity.
He’s not even a good reporter, for Christ’s sake. He can’t follow simple direction and file a simple story.
Clay N. Ferno: As an editor do YOU find yourself assigning comic book writers to take on football assignments all of a sudden? What was THAT all about? News journalist all of a sudden a sports journalist for the day? Come on now, Chief!
Vito Delsante: I feel like I’m going to be defending the movie a lot here, and that’s fine, but…I don’t see it that way. I can’t defend Snyder’s portrayal of the character at all. This is the Superman we’re stuck with for the time being. I’m not sure what it is, but I liked Superman in this movie. He rescued that girl in South America, during Dia de los Muertos, and for some reason, the folks that were there celebrating flocked to him like he was a god sent to Earth. I’m not sure why they acted like that (it seems partially, maybe unintentionally, racist…like they were jungle natives or something), but Superman seems uneasy with it. There’s a struggle throughout the movie within his soul, and I guess I’m the only one who sees it, and appreciates it for what it is.
Josh Latta: Superman is divine intervention. He’s too big for us to understand.
Clay N. Ferno: I have a personal tentpole issue with this movie, and on second viewing I wanted to confirm it. I’ve seen Man of Steel repeatedly: Is this really the sequel to MoS? Besides casting, set dressing and costume, BvS seems wholly removed from the first movie and may as well have been a Schumacher jump from Burton. What was carried over from the last movie was the ‘Instagram’ filter on the lenses and production but it stops there. Even the World Engine and destruction from MoS taking over the first few minutes of this movie seemed out of place.
I’d like to go into more about Superman being an asshole, maybe he is, I don’t know, it was hard to follow what he was doing in this movie and how it related to anything that happened in his origin movie which had at least a bit of heart, and Superboy saving a damn school bus. I’m getting angry now.
Elizabeth Weitz: 18 months seems like a real short time for Clark to evolve fully into his true self. There should have been a second Superman story that showed that evolution so that when we got to BvS, there was a connection to Clark as Superman. In this movie, mere months have passed and we are just supposed to accept that during those 547 or so days he embraced who he was and his responsibility to the planet. Which, of course, we know he didn’t seeing how he was more than happy to act like a depressed, angsty teenager.
Elliott Serrano: Folks, let’s just call a spade a spade and crap writing…uh…crap writing. A good writer knows how to address all these issues in whatever time frame is established. They didn’t because while Snyder knows how to frame a shot, he can’t tell a story.
Peter Briggs: I agree with Elizabeth. Again. I had a bit of a rant on my Facebook page when I saw the movie: in that scene when Lois is in the bath, and she starts to tell Clark something and Clark replies “I don’t care”…well, that’s just wrong. Clark does care. When all those people are reaching out to him after he saves the girl at the Day Of The Dead fire, on the one hand it seems as if he’s quietly both revelling in the attention while simultaneously being scornful of them. And that’s just so wrong. It feels clinical. That’s a Doctor Manhattan (Watchmen) attribute. That’s not this.
Superman’s character is so widely off-beam for me here, that I was disliking him. And I LOVE Superman, so I don’t like having that feeling. That scene when he whooshes off after saving Lois from the Lexcorp fall, he says (I’m paraphrasing: I can’t recall the exact dialogue) “Nobody can be all good”, or something…and my heart just split in two, and the movie left a sour taste in my mouth.
It was worse than the scene in Superman III, with Evil Superman flicking peanuts and melting the bar mirror. At least there he had the excuse of Kryptonite exposure perverting him. Here…he’s just an asshole. Superman tries. He doesn’t just capitulate to the bad guys.
Brian Saner Lamken: I think Clark’s more naive and neglectful here than actively outright asshole — which, trust me, still isn’t even meant as a backhanded compliment to the portrayal. To me, Clark being inherently good by virtue of both nature and nurture is integral to Superman’s character, and I find it a damn shame that we don’t get that in these films.
Josh Hadley: As stated above, Zack Snyder doesn’t want us to care about Superman, he wants us to HATE Superman. Not sure why he does this but he does.
Lenny Schwartz: He’s not just an asshole. He sucks at saving people.
Atlee Greene: 18 months is not enough time for anyone, especially Superman to become the beacon of hope we want him to be. There should have been some considerable improvement in that area though. Yes, he cares for Lois Lane. Yes, he cares for his mother.
Does he care for humanity? That is the question where in reality, there shouldn’t be any doubt.
Steven Segal: As for the sunken World Engine McGuffin from MoS, since it’s riddled with Kryptonite, I’ll give ol’ Supes a pass for staying far away from the wreckage. But in BvS, the Man of Steel is a bit fickle, at the very least. We see him dart halfway across the globe to rescue a child trapped in a burning building, or save an exploded rocket, yet we also see him hovering aloof over the rooftops of people trapped in a flood, whom we never see get rescued and, we can only presume, were left to drown. Yeah, total asshole behavior there.
To his credit, he does bring home flowers for Lois and a bag of groceries to cook, and he makes waves with Lois in the bathtub—and, I shudder to think, seeds a little Superbaby for use in a future sequel/spin-off. But, perhaps, he’s not a total asshole…though he obviously didn’t see how the whole Superboy thing played out in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns.
Clark Kent doesn’t seem to be anything other than a pair of glasses to differentiate himself from Superman. At the end of the film, Clark Kent is declared dead. In this interpretation, does that even matter?
Vito Delsante: No, I don’t think so. That is, until the funeral reveal of the engagement ring. It might seem a little, “too little, too late,” but I think that’s supposed to endear us to him. I am also, in light of how he was throughout the movie, a big fan of what he says to Lois before he dies. “You are my world.” That was sweet. That was Clark coming out from behind the cape.
Elizabeth Weitz: There really wasn’t a Clark Kent in this movie at all so his death made me feel nothing (unlike the 90s Death of Superman which is snot cried at).
Josh Latta: All I know about Death Of Superman was that we used to get 46 calls a day to ask how much it was worth back in my comic shop days.
Clay N. Ferno: Can I be the first to say ‘ham-fisted’ in this roundtable? The Daily Planet scenes and Perry White dialogue was unbecoming of an Editor-in-Chief. ‘Where does he go? Does he click his heels and go back to Kansas? Write about football today. I read your Dropbox files’. Christ on a Kryptonian crutch, what was all that, and when Perry lets Lois use the helicopter, is it because he knows that Clark and Superman are the same person? If there was subtlety, that would be the case, but this movie is non-subtle.
All I know about Clark is that he doesn’t respect wood, and had better mop up that bathroom floor before making shirtless eggs.
Elliott Serrano: I already mentioned the crap writing,right?
Peter Briggs: That groaner of an ending, with the soil starting to levitate? Was I the only one to think of Iron Giant and the screw coming back after we “know” the Giant is “dead”? Except, Iron Giant is a good film, and that moment makes your heart swell. Here it’s just: “Oh. Okay. Now: how are you going to explain this resurrection, given Doomsday just rammed a giant spike right through his heart?”
Brian Saner Lamken: At the end of Man of Steel it felt like Perry was in on setting up Clark’s identity and credentials, “introducing” him to Lois with a wink all around, but this movie belies that.
Whatever. No, I guess Clark Kent is such a nonentity that being declared dead doesn’t matter, except insofar as anyone looking for Superman’s body shouldn’t have much trouble sussing out where it’s really buried.
Josh Hadley: Clark is so useless as a character in this I wonder why they even bothered at this point. Sure, they mention that he died in the battle as a cover but really, who in the world, even in Metropolis, knew who he was? He was running the low level sports beat. Clark Kent was hardly an ace reporter the likes of which the mass media would even be aware of.
Lenny Schwartz: I had more of an emotional connection to my last poop.
Atlee Greene: The previous story arc in the current run of Superman comic books saw his identity exposed to the world with the idea that it’s impossible to keep secrets in our technological climate. The whole “glasses bit” is an increasing criticism of the character to the point where it’s impossible to come up with a plausible excuse. Clark Kent is an archaic idea in 2016 and the film does nothing to defend that.
Steven Segal: First off, we’ve got a severe story problem when I need a crib sheet to catch myself up on precisely who knows Clark is truly Superman.
Lois and Martha obviously know, but apparently so too does Lex, yet we’re never shown or told how or why Lex knows the identity of Superman’s alter ego. We’re told the casket supposedly containing the remains of Superman is, in fact, empty; the somber funeral procession in Metropolis is all for show. The body is buried in rural Smallville, but did nobody notice the telltale gaping chest wound where he was stabbed through the heart by the cave troll Doomsday in the creature’s final throes of death? Damned thing was bigger than a plot-hole, so just who did anybody think they were trying to fool?
Despite their relationship, Clark seems almost stalkerish toward Lois. He can’t hear his mother being kidnapped, but is able to hear Lois threatened at gunpoint on the other side of the world. In MoS, Lois’ role centered on helping Jor-El communicate with his son and in this one, she acts like the default damsel in distress. With Superman seemingly having little interest in humanity, why do you think he finds himself attracted to Lois?
Erin Maxwell: Can someone in Hollywood understand how to write a woman who works for a living? Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, man. It was the same situation with Bryce Dallas Howard and Jurassic Park.
Listen, if you are going to have a “professional woman” who represents the modern working woman in today’s society, can you at least make her fucking good at her job? Please?
“Are you a terrorist?” Great question, Lois. I see why they sent ya.
Anywho, at this point, I have no idea what Superman sees in her. Maybe they bond together over their sheer luck at scoring amazing writing gigs.
Vito Delsante: That’s poor character development. Again, I like the movie, but I recognize it’s flaws. They kiss in the first movie. It’s completely unrealistic. But I can imagine that Snyder and company felt compelled to having the relationship in there. And in their defense, Reeve’s Superman was the same way about Margot Kidder’s Lois and no one says dick against it. He flew around the Earth to go back in time FOR HER, not for anyone else.
Josh Latta: BvS is a celebration of the mother. Lois is the only person who gives Supes what he craves, and that’s maternal guidance.
Elizabeth Weitz: Everything Erin said.
Vito Delsante: Ooh, everything Josh said!
Clay N. Ferno: The damsel thing annoyed me. Lois seemed to be there because she had to be there, and they didn’t explore any depth of their relationships. Lois is portrayed as weak during the film, and at the risk of white knighting a bit here, that was at the very least lame, and the the most extreme I think they didn’t think about how powerful she could have been to move the story along.
Elliott Serrano: I lose interest in Lois Lane every time Amy Adams plays her, which pains me to say since I love her in almost everything else she’s done. This is where crap writing and direction are killing her character.
Peter Briggs: I think we’re all on the same page, here. To give Amy Adams her due, I think she’s better than the Superman Returns Lois. But, yeah. Agreed with all of your points.
Josh Hadley: Because one of the 12 scripts used for this disaster said so.
Lenny Schwartz: Everyone nailed it on this question: Zack Snyder’s answer I’m sure is…”Because!”
Steven Segal: She’s got a sweet midtown pad, didn’t you notice? The movie makes us certain that Martha is the most important woman in Kal-El’s life—it’s crucial to Luthor’s kidnapping plot—but later we are told Lois Lane is the most important woman in his life. Which is it? I get that our generation’s Superman is an emo mama’s boy, but his knack for always knowing when Lois is in jeopardy is so far unjustified.
This running gag worked better back in the day when Lois loved Superman but couldn’t see him behind Clark Kent’s clever disguise and she could never figure out where he’d vanish to whenever Superman showed up to save the day. In turn, Classic Clark played along by being romantically aloof and acting a doofus and he loved Lois more for her blindness. Part of the fun of Superman has always been in the comedy of watching him juggle identities with Lois and Perry White and Jimmy Olsen and et cetera.
By having Lois know Clark is Superman, we’re essentially deprived of the classic Clark Kent half of the character—Cavill doesn’t need to invent an alternate personality, and he makes no effort to distinguish Clark from Superman—so, yeah, he might as well be wearing the smoky cape and tights in every scene he’s in.
Atlee Greene: All superhero movies count on the audience to fill in the blanks with their knowledge of the character’s mythos. We all grew up knowing that Lois and Clark are an item. Therefore, the studio doesn’t have to try very hard to convince us that Superman wants to be with Lois Lane.
An unnamed Jimmy Olsen is gunned down early in the film, both Martha Kent and Lois Lane are put in grave danger and Superman stands by doing nothing as a Congressional hearing explodes around him, killing everyone. And once again, Superman is used as a religious metaphor. Is there anything good about the character’s portrayal in the film? Do you think Cavill is miscast or misdirected? Or both?
Vito Delsante: Well, he’s not unmoved by these things happening. I will go on record as saying that Superman is the least important character in a Superman movie. In TWO of them. It’s really down the the filmmakers; they’re the ones that put this on film. You can blame the studio, maybe, for approving it, too. For not having a clear vision of who and what Superman is. Going back to the character as he exists in these films, the argument that he is new is really kind of insulting. I can accept a lot of mistakes in a person at first, but if they continue to happen, the person is clearly a sociopath.
Do I want to call Superman a sociopath? Of course not. But there’s got to be an internal…glitch, or malfunction, or something that makes him whatever the opposite of “super” is. I don’t see the character as completely irredeemable, but I can look at an apple and tell when it’s bad, you know?
Josh Latta: That was Jimmy Olsen? Radical!
Elizabeth Weitz: Henry is a good Superman, but the script and Snyder’s direction doesn’t do anything with the character other than making sure the canon is demolished. I think that if DC and Warner Bros grew their characters the way Marvel has, people would be more apt to accept certain changes to the character, but that’s not the way they are going about it.
Instead they are trying to push as much stuff into one movie as possible to get the audience ready for Justice League (which should not be the emphasis in a movie about Batman and Superman together). Having Superman be as unresponsive to various crises is only fuel to make Batman angry, it does not do anything to forward the story of Superman (nor Batman for that matter). Why they didn’t create two movies- one for Superman and for Batman- that showed the growing animosity between the two of them I’ll never understand. It would have made BvS much more enjoyable.
Clay N. Ferno: What happened to Jenny Olsen or whatever her last name was in MoS? Is that her brother who got shot in the head? Does anyone care about that at The Daily Planet? They don’t even have a picture of him up in there. No one cares about Superman’s pal.
I was wondering why my Superman didn’t detect the bomb, deactivate it, or clean up after the Capitol was blown up. He didn’t super-smell the piss jar and say ‘don’t drink that’? That part of the story was unreal.
Cavill is a great Superman and Clark Kent. He’s given nothing to work with for story. I think he’s a fine actor.
Elliott Serrano: Sorry, but the character that Cavill is playing in these movies may be dressed like Superman, but is not Superman.
Peter Briggs: Cavill is great: you guys saw Man From U.N.C.L.E., right? In that, he’s charming, and funny, and bumbling. He’s a better Clark Kent in moments of that, than he’s allowed to be in this. I saw a quote today that Warner Bros were contemplating “figuring out” why BvS didn’t work. Jesus, guys! Read the internet! Everyone has pretty accurately (surprisingly, for a change) dissected this already.
Brian Saner Lamken: Yeah, I’d say Cavill’s more misdirected than miscast. His general look and more beatific moments as Superman make me think he’d have been a good Captain Marvel*, not that I expect WB is interested in making the kind of Shazam! flick that calls for the version I have in mind. (*No idea why we often get a Last Son of Krypton who looks more like the World’s Mightiest Mortal — Dean Cain, of course, but also George Reeves, all squinty-eyed and Brylcreem’d up; even Tom Welling resembled Michael Gray’s Billy Batson to my amusement if nobody else’s.)
Every now and then there’s a shot of Cavill taking gently powerful, purposeful strides, and I mourn the Superman he could’ve played. The casual end-credits reveal that Jimmy Olsen anonymously bit it early on is almost as insulting as unnecessarily making the schmuck kid in Man of Steel Pete Ross.
Lenny Schwartz: I agree Cavill is misdirected rather than miscast. He does his best. Sadly, the material doesn’t help him much if at all.
Steven Segal: Perhaps a bit of both. Cavill certainly looks both parts, but as I chimed in above, there doesn’t seem to be much separation between his dual portraits of Superman and Clark Kent in the new Justice League universe. Watching Cavill in last summer’s caper Man From U.N.C.L.E. convinced me he’s got the charisma and comedic chops to do “mild-mannered” Clark Kent justice, but director Zack Snyder seems interested only in a moody depiction of the character(s) as alienated outsider just trying to fit in. Boo-fricking-hoo.
Fault lies equally with the writers, who are stymied by the fact that the classic Superman just doesn’t fit into “film noir” world of Batman and Gotham. It seems the rosy comic-book image of the do-gooder Boy Scout is antiquated in these days of morally complex anti-heroes, and the filmmakers have saddled Superman with emotional baggage and dubious morals that do not justify the gravitas required to truly lend him the shades of gray we supposedly want in our modern day protagonists.
As to the religious metaphors, they’re not as heavy-handed here as in MoS, but are no less present. Only a single line of dialogue—basically, that men are indeed good—explains why Superman fights off Doomsday and saves the world, Christ-like, again. But, let’s be honest, we all recognize the clear correlation between egregious coincidences and plot holes and the need to drop as many Justice League breadcrumbs as possible to set up the imminent and even-more-sprawling Justice League movie, that by any reasonable optimism is happening far-too-prematurely. Excuse me, two Justice League movies. Oy, vey.
Atlee Greene: No one knew that Jimmy Olsen was the CIA operative that was gunned down until AFTER Zack Snyder revealed it in an interview during the film’s opening weekend. The same goes for Superman having a moral issue using his super hearing. Cavil is misdirected more than anything else because his character is operating based on plot points that are never explored or explained in the film.
Jonathan Kent has always been depicted as Clark’s moral compass toward humanity, yet in both MoS and BVS, his attitude toward Clark intervening to help is flippant. With Jonathan (and to an extent Martha) not having the strong morals and values that they are known for they raised Clark to be self centered. Why does he even don the costume?
Vito Delsante: Because it feels right? Because children are supposed to be better than their parents? I don’t want to make excuses, but he’s not entirely evil. He clearly WANTS to do the right thing, but clearly has a problem figuring out how best to do it. Can we fault Jonathan and Martha for this? Sure.
Josh Latta: This movie is about the mother. Characters only show tenderness to their Moms and their obvious stand-ins.
Elizabeth Weitz: I guess in this version of the origin story Clark was raised by people who aren’t exactly the moral compass we have come to know via the comics and previous movies. While Momma Martha understands that her son has a higher purpose, she has never actively instilled that into Clark while he was growing up.
As for Jonathan, he was far more concerned with keeping his son hidden away, trying hard to normalize him even when Clark’s instinct was to help people (even going so far as to tell Clark that it’s okay for people to die). Growing up with powers but being told to hide it “until the time is right” has directly created a Superman who isn’t going to actively help humanity. He will help those he loves BEFORE the good of the world, and he will, eventually, do what is right, but only if there is no other choice.
Clay N. Ferno: Where was ghost of Jor-El? Was that a dream? Was that the Fortress of Solitude? Where was he dragging that ship? Why does he need a jacket? I can only answer this question with more questions.
Elliott Serrano: Dammit Clay, I’m supposed to have the pithy answers!
Peter Briggs: Didn’t Zod erase the Jor-El Construct in Man Of Steel? While we’re on the subject of Jonathan, though: while I love any opportunity to get a Kevin Costner cameo in there, was anybody else troubled by the mountain top “vision”? Because what that’s basically telling us, is that Clark has some serious mental issues.
I’ll remember a moment of my late dad telling me something from memory, but I know I don’t suddenly imagine that my late father manifests himself and is having an actual conversation with me.
Brian Saner Lamken: When Smallville’s manifestations of Jonathan Kent’s ghost make more sense than your movie’s, something’s wrong with your movie.
Josh Hadley: The “You don’t owe the world a damn thing” speech is everything wrong with attempting to make Superman a modern character. Modern society values self interest and frowns upon those to put themselves out there for others. So yeah, in a Zack Snyder world this makes sense… I guess.
Lenny Schwartz: Because the “S” stands for “hope” on his world. As in “hope” for better material next time.
Steve Segal: “Hope” – if not necessarily a symbol of hope to the masses, who may or may not know that the “S” symbol stands for hope on Krypton. I can only assume he wears the suit as a reminder to himself—a daily affirmation, if you will, that he serves as a symbol of hope whether he likes it or not, whether he wants to or not. Plus, doesn’t he need the cape to fly?
BvS introduces an older, tired Bruce Wayne played by Ben Affleck. Do you think that while trying to build a cinematic universe, introducing a character that has already been active for two decades works? Is Batman a better character for having a history prior to BvS a smart choice or not?
Elizabeth Weitz: I liked Affleck as Batman but I don’t know him as the Dark Knight. Sure we have the previous movies but we don’t know of the years between then and now. Affleck should have been given the courtesy of at least one movie before BvS so that we could develop a relationship with him as we did with Bale.
To throw him into this film without any history as THIS Batman was a huge mistake in my opinion.
Clay N. Ferno: In the abstract, we’ve been seeing Batman on screen since ‘89 (OK, ‘66) so it makes sense in a way, though this isn’t a re-casting, that Batman has some history behind him. I like the older Batman.
Elliott Serrano: By my calculations, all the villains in the television show Gotham will be as old as “Batfleck” by the time Bruce grows up. I don’t think the movie or TV folks really care about senior abuse.
Peter Briggs: It’s incredible that the “Batman” has been around for decades in this version of the Universe, yet there are still a multitude of different names for him trotted out in the movie by different characters, as if he’s only been around for months and they’re still trying to figure out what he’s called. I really like Affleck anyway, both as an actor and director, so I’ll go on record as saying that this portrayal of Bruce, my problems with the film aside, is my favourite one in film so far. Although personally Batman Begins is my favourite movie.
Vito Delsante: It’s possible, but unlikely that anyone thought this much or this far ahead, that Batman being a (roughly) 20 year veteran crimefighter that retired (I think) 10 years ago is there to kind of reflect Superman’s lack of experience. It doesn’t really work for me because I kind of come out of this movie thinking Batman is the villain.
Josh Hadley: One of the issues here is that Suicide Squad is a prequel… but is released after the fact and so clearly has impact on the plot of this film. Leaving mysteries are one thing but to have an entire movie in continuity and yet leave it out is asinine. Why was Wayne Manor burnt down? Why was that line about clowns there? Why was the Robin suit all messed up? Suicide Squad deals with all of this but screw you, that comes out 6 months from now. Snyder and Warner Brothers fail to understand how to do the universe building that Marvel got right.
Lenny Schwartz: So I have a problem with all of this. Batman has been around for years. Yet, by all accounts, Superman, and a lot of the characters seem pretty surprised and are like “oh, a Bat guy in Gotham.”
Hmm. I thought this was a Batman who’s been around for two decades? So why is everyone surprised??
Also, are Metropolis and Gotham City right next to each other?
Steven Segal: It’s yet another way the moviemakers get to have their cake and eat it too.
It assumes audiences know enough about the character to skip ahead to his middle-aged years, but in sketching in (for the third time) the canonical details of his parents’ death and his baptism by bats in a scary cave, the movie nonetheless “reboots” him, too. In only a single visual clue, we learn the sorry fate of Batman’s departed sidekick, killed at the hands of the Joker. We aren’t shown enough to convince us that Batman is justified in his brutality.
Apparently, Batman’s brutal branding of his victims is a new wrinkle, one we can only assume was provoked by his witnessing the destruction of Metropolis at the hands of gods possessing superpowers and Bruce feels impotent in the face of a true god, yada yada. Doesn’t fully explain why he shoots guns, stabs people, and tortures and maims bad buys. I’m unsure how many kills Batman scores in BvS, but his so-called code of ethics has definitely undergone a rewrite in the Justice League universe.
Brian Saner Lamken: I don’t think Affleck is a bad choice for Batman per se — to me, even Clooney had the potential to do the role justice in a different film than he was in — but he should be playing Superman’s contemporary.
Establishing that Batman’s existed for two decades is a terrible idea both in concept and in the film as executed. Superman not being the first of his kind — who then spurs the rise of others like him (both via inspiration and, possibly, through Kryptonian tech that arrived on Earth when he did) — never really works for me, although obviously the Amazons and Atlantis have been around for ages. Just from a story point of view, I’m not sure how to reconcile Man of Steel or even most of Batman v Superman with the fact that colorful metas are a known quantity in Suicide Squad; Lex Luthor having files only on Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg is even dumber in that light. Plus you can’t wring the proper emotional and narrative meat out of The Death of Superman and, especially, Dark Knight Returns in the character’s first meeting.
Not only has Batman, but Robin and The Joker have existed as as well. There are nods to previous storylines and BvS pays homage to moments in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. After seeing the film, what exactly are they fighting over?
Elizabeth Weitz: I have no fucking clue.
Clay N. Ferno: Same, I have no fucking clue. Bruce has such a hard-on he won’t talk to the guy in a ‘safe space’? Even Magneto talks to Charles over chess. I want to see them explore Death in the Family and Suicide Squad to find out more. The Joker stuff hopefully will be revealed in a solo Batman movie. I’ll take that, I like this Batman.
Peter Briggs: It’s rubbish, isn’t it? Bruce, playing Detective, has already figured out that the machinations of Lex are behind multiple plot strands, and we’ve just seen Superman being innocent of an explosion in Congress where everyone else who watched it happen seems to figure out that Lex did it…yet Bruce’s first thought is to go take down Superman?! For WHAT?! It’s absurd!
Vito Delsante: I think…I’m trying to make sense of something that is, unfortunately nonsensical… but, I think the “point” has something to do with Lex. I have to assume that Lex knows Batman stole that info/hacked into his files because the only true reason for Lex to send Superman after Batman is because of property damage and stolen items.
Lenny Schwartz: Who gets to be on top?
Steven Segal: Bragging rights to the biggest, brawniest, most bat-shit bonkers freak in the twin cities of Gotham and Metropolis, I can only suppose. But since when were these two polar opposite cities situated so close to each other across a bay? You’d think Batman would welcome the help in ridding the streets—indeed, the planet—of unconscionable scum.
Even before he obtains a sample of Kryptonite, Batman/Bruce Wayne is adamant he must confront Superman, and since Batman is merely a buff billionaire with an impressive arsenal of weaponry, and since the Man of Steel is essentially an immortal god, what in the name of the desecrated Wayne Manor is Bruce Wayne even thinking?
Atlee Greene: Batman’s previous history doesn’t matter because this is our introduction to this version of the character.
Brian Saner Lamken: Metropolis and Gotham City were fairly close, separated by a river or bay, in pre-Crisis and post-Crisis stories both — meaning, for those unfamiliar, in both of the comics’ main, long-running continuities. Although they’re both stand-ins for New York City and Metropolis, at least, was placed in New York State post-Crisis, DC had Earth-One Gotham City taking up southern New Jersey and Earth-One Metropolis across the bay in Delaware per (semi) canonical reference material. So the ferry from Cape May to Lewes would be a much bigger deal in the DC Universe and the small town where I lived as a kid would not exist. 8^)
“My mother’s name was Martha.” Discuss.
Erin Maxwell: I’m so glad Snyder made this little discovery one day while reading a few back issues, but did he have to make it a friggin’ plot point?
Just for the record, Mrs. Kent first started off as Mary Kent. She didn’t become Martha until 1951.
Vito Delsante: Doesn’t bother me. I won’t lie and say I was ecstatic about it, but I liked it. It was a very real moment. You all think Superman doesn’t care about anyone, but in that moment, when it looked like he would be killed, he thought of his mother. That’s a farm boy!
Josh Latta: I will admit, that was a goofy conceit, however, comic books are full of junk like that. The loss of parents is the worst possible thing to happen to a kid, so natch, kidlit is full of orphans and yes, super heroes were created for children.
Elizabeth Weitz: My husband said it best: The entire plot of Batman v Superman hinges on the fact that Clark Kent’s mother isn’t named Shirley.
Clay N. Ferno: It was almost as clever as when Eggsy names his dog J.B. in Kingsman: The Secret Service. I was upset I hadn’t made the connection myself. I hate that he tells Martha Kent that he’s friends with her son. He’s not, he just tried to spear him dead. “I’m recently not wanting to kill your son” would have been more accurate.
Elliott Serrano: Well, it’s better than “I also had sex with Lois Lane”.
Peter Briggs: Good job her name wasn’t Susan. Also good that Lois Lane seems to have super hearing herself and can hear Supes gurgling as his larynx is being crushed over the sound of devastation, and from an adjacent place and through solid stone. Good echoing acoustics in there, I guess.
Josh Hadley: The dumbest point of an already moronic movie.
Lenny Schwartz: STOOPID. Chris Terrio should give his Oscar back.
Steven Segal: I take some perverse pleasure in witnessing how the word “Martha” has so quickly become a punchline for everything wrong with the movie. As awkward and unlikely as the exchange is, we’re supposed to feel that Bruce/Batman is touched by the coincidence, and that saving Martha Kent will in some way diminish the anger he still feels over the tragic murder of his own parents many years before.
Still, the whole “Whoa, your mother is named Martha, too?” is the most laughable plot contrivance in the film, and a totally unbelievable resolution to a conflict we’re still not even sure we fully comprehend—and we’re talking about a movie that requires a whole lot of suspension of disbelief: from flying deities who fire lasers from their eyes; to the sprawling Gotham City being conveniently “vacated” after working hours in order to sidestep the collateral damage of yet another destruction-porn urban smackdown; to a statuesque lady goddess who conveniently shows up spangly and gold to help save the day; to another lady—actually, a journalist—who can tell from her first-ever glance at Kryptonite that the glowing green rock can hurt Superman and Doomsday.
Atlee Greene: It’s easy to understand why the ending was received poorly. The two most iconic superheroes bonding after learning that their mothers share the same name seems like something that would call for a cease-fire on the playground. Personally, however, it was brilliant in its simplicity not only because of the emotion it evoked but what the moment represented.
The very real danger Batman perceived Superman to be was only equaled to his inner rage fueled by the death of his parents, Martha and Thomas Wayne. When Superman uttered “Save Martha” with what appeared to be his last dying breath, Batman took it as an insult from his beaten foe because he is so consumed by his childhood tragedy.
Once Lois Lane rushed in and told Batman who Martha is to Superman, Batman realized that this alien has a mother, which made Superman human in his eyes. Of course, both of their moms sharing the same name helped matters, however, Batman would have lowered his spear regardless of whose name he heard because he is a hero that saves people.
In this incarnation, the death of the Wayne’s seemed not to inspire Bruce, but rather give him a healthy dose of PTSD. How does this affect the methodology of The Batman?
Vito Delsante: But hasn’t that always been the case? Hasn’t their deaths always been a case of PTSD? I don’t see where this Batman is any different, in terms of his origin, than any other Batman that has ever existed. He’s driven, focused and battle-hardened. If anything, Robin’s death and the fact that he keeps the costume there, graffiti on it and all, is a bigger indicator of PTSD than his parent’s death. The only thing that separates this Batman from other incarnations is the killing.
Josh Latta: He killed in Batman Returns. He even smiled while doing it.
Elizabeth Weitz: I guess we are just suppose to draw our own conclusions since they couldn’t spend the time to give Wayne any real motivations.
Clay N. Ferno: I’ll agree with Vito again here. I think you do need this origin of Batman like they did it. It was quick enough. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was great, and in Wayne Enterprises you can see a painted portrait of Thomas Wayne in the background. We don’t get Wayne Manor as we know it, so this was good enough for me.
Elliott Serrano: I don’t blame the death of Bruce’s parents, but the apparent lack of decent child mental health care in the DCU.
Lenny Schwartz: “He became…mildly irritated!”
Steven Segal: We’re deprive much in the way of backstory beyond the recapitulation of the Wayne double-murder and a clue about Batman’s fallen partner, but Batman is not so complex a character that we need much more. He still has bad dreams about his pivotal childhood trauma, and though his so-called code of ethics has apparently undergone a rewrite since the days of Adam West, Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan, we can still take him at face value for what he is: a super-rich and very-well-equipped vigilante, although one who has developed a sadistic taste for inflicting pain. But since when does Bruce Wayne have premonitions?
Atlee Greene: In this case they go hand in hand. We romanticize Batman’s one man war on crime, but we forget the very real fact that this is a damaged individual we’re dealing with here.
Batman now brands his enemies. Besides the whole procedure of how he does this, is there any logic to the mention that those who are branded wind up as targets and are killed in jail?
Erin Maxwell: Keep in mind, this is Batman in his later years, so we are dealing not with angry late 20s, but a Batman in his 40s, ten years after losing Robin to the Joker (I’m guessing after the events from A Death In the Family). If anything, those are the events that are probably influencing him the most.
His ward was killed and tortured by a madman in a costume. I doubt that this new, hardened Wayne has little time to teach criminals the error of their ways. Instead, it’s more about the poetic justice.
Of all the issues this movie had, I was fine with this character development because it fit with the later, haggard versions of Batman that would emerge.
Josh Latta: This ISN’t your Batman. It’s your Batman 20 years later. I’ll give you that,about the branding, though. No clue why that’d get you killed in jail. I would think it would be something to bond over. “You got the shit kicked out of you by Batman? Me too, bro! Let’s do it!”
Elizabeth Weitz: I don’t know. We have no backstory at all. Does Batman brand the inmates specifically to have them killed in jail? Is the Brand indicative of being owned by Batman, therefore those that are branded are looked at as informers? I don’t know.
Clay N. Ferno: Maybe Batman has The Muties take these prisoners out in jail. Another case of “I have no fucking clue”.
Elliott Serrano: Snyder saw the Brad Pitt scene in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds and thought “I wanna do that too!”
Vito Delsante: You’re probably right, Elliott.
Josh Hadley: Let’s not forget that Batman also seems to work WITH the prison guards as they are clearly letting him in and out of the facility in that finale scene with Lex Joker so why the hell not use the Bat brand as a target, makes as much sense as anything else.
Lenny Schwartz: Elliot for the win. Also, Snyder is a psychopath.
Steven Segal: It took a repeat viewing in order to clarify, since the movie is sketchy on this detail: Batman, apparently angered by Superman’s destructive melee with Zod in MoS, decides he needs to up his game in the face of the New Gods and brand sex predators. According to a news report, the guy we see with a fresh bat branding is merely the second such sex criminal to be marked. As urban legend has it, child rapists and slavers are reportedly real-life targets in real-life prisons anyway, so with or without the bat brand it’s a stupid notion to introduce into the story, a weak and needless attempt to make the Batman character darker than he is already shaded.
Why would the goons on any given cellblock in any given prison give a hoot about a bat-branded criminal caught merely stealing or killing? Batman saving sex slaves is sort of heroic, come to think of it, so pencil this in next to the first question above about whether the film contains any heroes.
Atlee Greene: The ideology behind this is moronic at best. If anything, inmates would bond over having some form of criminality in common.
We get our first glimpse of the very first cinematic Wonder Woman. What are your initial impressions of the character?
Vito Delsante: I might be the only person to think this, but that is the Bruce Timm/JLU Wonder Woman in the flesh. Everything about her and Gadot’s performance was a throwback to the cartoon to me.
Josh Latta: I’d do her.
Elizabeth Weitz: I think she will make a great Wonder Woman if we are given a movie that shows us more than a sexpot in a dress or a sexy superhero.
Clay N. Ferno: I loved her here. I want more and with Robin Wright as an Amazon by her side. Take down to theme to the Paradise Island. Won’t you please take me home?
Elliott Serrano: Loved the theme song!
Peter Briggs: I think Wonder Woman is a striking icon, but I’ll be honest and say I’m not a fan. I read the comic books every week, because I read all of Marvel and DC’s output, but very seldom do I go “Gee: I enjoyed that issue”. I would have been happier to not have had Wonder Woman or Doomsday in this movie. Saying that, I thought Gal Gadot was great in the part, although I don’t really have any enthusiasm about seeing the standalone movie coming.
If Warners ever lets me do Red Son as a live action movie, I’ll be writing Wonder Woman out of the story. Sorry, Themyscira fans.
Lenny Schwartz: I saw her, and fell asleep. As Wonder Woman, she’s okay, but Gadot is so damn boring.
Atlee Greene: Wonder Woman’s smile after being trampled by Doomsday was the most enjoyable moment of the film.
Steven Segal: She’s total hot sauce, striking fabulous poses and wielding gloriously gilded accessories and such, and looks great for a lady pushing one hundred years of age. Love her thunder-drum/wailing-fiddle theme, and wanted to hear more of it. Why she’s here, what she stands for, and why she suddenly feels allegiance to Bruce Wayne or Superman all remain to be explained in a future DC movie event. Wait, does Diana Prince know Bruce is Batman and/or Superman is Clark?
Brian Saner Lamken: I did like what we saw and look forward to her own film but we didn’t get much to go on. (We actually got a Wonder Woman on movie screens for the first time two years ago in The Lego Movie, by the way, so this is technically only her live-action cinematic debut — which doesn’t make the state of affairs any less sad.)
Wonder Woman’s MacGuffin is a digital photograph of her taken in 1919 in Luthor’s archives. Why would anyone care?
Andre Bennett: I find it funny that Wonder Woman’s mini-arc here cribs from Highlander. I only wish Bruce would have asked where she’s from only for her to respond, “Lots of different places.”
Josh Latta: If you thought that was bad, the original draft, Lex had her high school yearbook instead.
Elizabeth Weitz: It seemed like a weak plot point to me.
Clay N. Ferno: Hi Captain Kirk! Why didn’t anyone think it was her mom or grandma or whatever? Who sends classified info over email? Where can I get my LeXOS skin for my computer terminal?
Elliott Serrano: Snyder saw that meme of Vladmir Putin through the centuries and thought “I can do that too!”
Peter Briggs: I was trying to read Diana Prince’s other email threads in the window on the side of the screen in that scene. Did anyone notice one of the messages was about Belle Reve? Suicide Squad titillator, maybe?
Atlee Greene: Snyder gave the audience absolutely no reason to care about that photo.
Vito Delsante: The question isn’t “Why would anyone care?” It’s “Why does Lex care?” You would have to assume (there’s that word again) based on what we’re seeing in this movie, that he’s been doing this research over the last 18 months. But no way. All of this stuff didn’t happen in a year and a half since Zod. That’s preposterous. I don’t care how rich he is. But, ok, let’s just accept that as having some relevance. Let’s pretend it’s the lesser of all evils. What then? Why is he researching metahumans? Is he trying to put together a League to take down Superman? Is he trying to get rid of them before Darkseid shows up? I mean, one or two answers in this direction may give us some insight, but…that’s clearly not the movie we got.
Lenny Schwartz: I liked seeing Chris Pine in the old photograph!!
Steven Segal: Seems like a silly excuse for a MacGuffin, even in movie abundant with illogical plot trappings, but it is no less ham-handed than Wonder Woman taking a breather on her way out of town during an evacuation to examine a cache of secretly decrypted Lex Luthor emails and learn about the existence of other “meta-humans” Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash—simply for the sake of the audience, who are expecting a tasty trail of breadcrumbs that will link directly to Justice League.
But unless somebody in the Justice League Universe is able to produce a film negative of the photograph that verifies its age, one would have to assume the digital image is a mere Photoshop fabrication, if not simply some fierce cosplay. And, yeah, that’s totally New Kirk in the photograph!
There’s a moment in the final battle when Diana smiles before jumping into battle. This might be the first moment of happiness on display in this film. What do you think Wonder Woman brings to the table?
Vito Delsante: Maybe a bit of self awareness? She knows what she is and is unapologetic about it. She’s a warrior for peace. Again, nothing about her is unfamiliar to me.
Elizabeth Weitz: This is a superhero who has obviously spent eons fighting for good. It’s what she is made for and she embraces it fully. She is not embarrassed by her strength or power so when she gets a chance to fight it is familiar and a rush. I liked her a lot.
Clay N. Ferno: Even the “I thought she was with you” joke ruined by the trailer was a little bit of lightness. We could have had that kind of levity when Clark and Bruce met. How about a total of 20 tiny jokes to lighten this thing up. Can you believe they are adding another grim and gritty half hour to this thing?
Wonder Woman brings a kick-ass lady with resources (like Bruce Wayne) to the universe. We’ll see what she can do in the solo movie.
Elliott Serrano: If it’s a pot luck, I hope she brings paella. I hear that have great paella on Paradise Island.
Peter Briggs: I already said it above: not a fan of the character, so for me she was a “jump the shark” moment.
Josh Hadley: Boobs, she brings boobs. Seriously that is all. Her character is so underused that she is simply there to fill out a costume.
Lenny Schwartz: What else! MERCHANDISE!!
Steven Segal: She brings much-needed spark to an otherwise dreary enterprise, but her role in BvS is a blatant Board Meeting agenda item. Still, there’s no denying she’s one of the precious few things the movie gets sort of right, and her brief appearance offers a little bit of camp, a healthy dash of sex appeal and a whole lot of attitude. I’m totally in for the Wonder Woman standalone movie, though I have no financial or professional gain in saying so.
Luthor is presented as a completely disjointed character. At no point does he come across truly as evil or as a genius. What are your thoughts on Lex as presented in this film?
Vito Delsante: Not a fan of the Lex in this movie, but Eisenberg did what he was asked to do. I shudder to think of Bryan Cranston, the guy everyone wanted, or Denzel Washington, playing THIS Luthor. It would have been worse. I personally prefer the evil businessman over the mad scientist, but this was the mad business-scientist. Too much and all over the place.
Josh Latta: I loved him. I get why no one did. HE’S YOU. Lex is a fanboy that wants to lord his power and whims over these properties. He’s a direct result of all the MoS backlash, no doubt.
Elizabeth Weitz: Did anyone think that maybe this was Lex Luthor Jr.? There was comment made early on that maybe this was the case, especially when THIS Lex responded to a reporter saying that his “…father put the Lex in the LuthorCorp”.
As the original Lex Luthor I hated him, but perhaps this was just a fucked up kid who had autism and psychotic tendencies and a whole lot of cash that enabled him to be as crazy as he was. If that was the case bravo. If it wasn’t, what the fuck Snyder?
Clay N. Ferno: Why is he connected to Darkseid? Why does he hate Superman? I have no idea what this Lex is all about. He’s damn annoying and not threatening. Kevin Spacey got it mostly right. Lex wasn’t the most abject failure of this movie but he isn’t great.
Elliott Serrano: I never, for a second, bought Luthor as a legitimate threat. If anything, he made everyone look dumb in comparison. A good villain doesn’t do that.
Peter Briggs: Hated the performance, and the role’s writing. Eisenberg’s every tic and ramble annoyed the hell out of me. I agree with Clay: I’d have liked to have seen Spacey’s Luthor in this film.
Josh Hadley: As I stated before, this was NOT Lex Luthor, this was the Joker in the body of Mark Zuckerberg. In 3 of the discarded scripts mashed up into this thing Lex Luthor and the Joker were both the main villains, it’s clear that they kept that here only making them the same character.
Lenny Schwartz: I wish we had Michael Rosenbaum from Smallville. That’s all I’m saying.
Steven Segal: Kevin Spacey’s Lex was so “Hackman” it’s a relief to finally see an alternate take on the character. A rich bratty son of a billionaire with nervous tics and an appetite for disinformation and destruction is certainly different than a diabolical real estate mogul with a penchant for thievery and an affinity for beach-front property. But since when did Lex Luthor dabble in interstellar weaponry and midwifing for cave trolls?
Atlee Greene: This goes back to what I was saying earlier about movie studios having the audience fill in the blanks. Lex Luthor’s genius is implied but never explored or realized. Filling in the blanks doesn’t work this time around because we were presented with completely different incarnation of the character.
Brian Saner Lamken: The casting made me wary, the trailers seemed to confirm my dread, and the reality of the entire film was far worse than I’d even feared. It’s a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad Lex — annoying as hell, misses any remotely desirable mark as written and performed.
Lex is treated basically as a terrorist, blowing up a congress session and creating Doomsday, a weapon of mass destruction. Does he have a game plan?
Vito Delsante: Lex is the thinnest part of the plot with the biggest role. He’s a catalyst, sure, but in the end, I find myself not caring. He could be ANYONE; Maxwell Lord, Donald Trump, Richie Rich…it doesn’t matter. That is a huge problem. Granted, we all love Lex as a villain because, for a time, he was tied to Superman’s origin as Superboy. He was always there. Because this Lex isn’t, it’s hard to feel anything but ambivalence towards him.
Josh Latta: Lex ‘gives birth’ in this movie. Again, it’s the only time he showed tenderness.
Elizabeth Weitz: if he does it isn’t fully explained. Like why did he blow up Congress? Was it to thwart Holly Hunter’s character? And if so, why? He had already brought in the kryptonite even though she blocked it. Was it to put her in her place? And making Zod Doomsday? He got the ship to tell him everything but did he take notes so that he knew what he was doing? I just don’t know, it’s completely frustrating.
Clay N. Ferno: If he has the resources of all of Kryptionian knowledge and then some, how does he come up with this half-assed Frankenstein monster idea? And truly, is this the sequel to Man of Steel? Doomsday, Zod’s body, all of it seems so half baked. Have you seen Supergirl? They had Kryptonians from the Phantom Zone show up on the show. I don’t know, maybe do that? Have Doomsday be from Krypton? I know, I’m crazy.
Elliott Serrano: In this very discussion, you guys have given this more thought that Snyder or his screenwriters did.
Peter Briggs: God, don’t get me started. The plot of this movie makes barely any sense. I mean, Lex equips terrorists with experimental bullets. HOW are these bullets experimental? WHY are they experimental? They don’t seem to be able to penetrate a notebook, let alone anything else. They’ve not got Kryptonite in them. Gene Simmons couldn’t use them to swerve around objects. And forgetting for a moment that a thousands of years old Kryptonian key can implausibly activate newer Kryptonian ships…Lex uses Zod’s lasered fingerprints to open up the ship.
Now: are you seriously telling me that Kryptonian ships use Apple Touch ID, or are they genetic scanners, in which case you wouldn’t need fingerprints anyway? And regardless of what the correct answer is, you’re then trying to convince me that the ship, which DOES have genetic sampling abilities, then doesn’t figure out that this weasel loping through its innards isn’t General Zod? And the ship then later identifies him as human anyway. And then goes on to rescind its own deeply ingrained “You Are Forbidden From Doing This” programming, with a Captain Kirk logic bomb of “Yes, but the Kryptonian Council aren’t around anymore…”
And allow a member of an alien species to use your technology and access your databanks? C’mon! I wanted to scream and throw things at the screen at the lameness of how easy this plot allows things to be.
Josh Hadley: They hint (with the subtlety of a Trump Rally) that he did all this to prepare the world for Darkseid but even that makes no sense as his actions would all but make that only worse.
Lenny Schwartz: Lex is a mess in the film. But man, Eisenberg deserves a Razzie nomination. Maybe even a win.
Steven Segal: Unless I missed my guess, Lex wants the do-gooders to turn against each other in order to have them wipe each other out. Lex has no interest in seeing anybody winning the BvS smack-down, there’s no upside in it for him. If anything, only Lex’s hatred of Batman makes any sense because Bruce Wayne, the broody billionaire industrialist, is more closely related to Lex Luthor, the broody billionaire industrialist, and a more realistic threat to his fragile little ego because Bruce seems to get all the hot chicks, and with Lex being so socially awkward, he obviously does not get any chicks, hot or not.
Gene Hackman’s Lex had Miss Teschmacher. Spacey’s Lex had Parker Posey. Eisenberg is too much a freak to attract a worthy moll who sticks around long (proof: the Asian fox serving as his personal attaché is left to blow up in the Senate chamber). Lex waging war because of his sexual inadequacy is a far cry more plausible than whatever it is that drives Luthor to orchestrate the hate between Batman and Superman.
After trying to negotiate a deal to get a batch of Kryptonite through customs and failing, Luthor kills Holly Hunter’s Senator Finch (and his own assistant, Mercy Graves) and ends up stealing it anyway. Why would he even bother asking for permission? Isn’t he the bad guy?
Elizabeth Weitz: See my above answer. The guy is a dick.
Clay N. Ferno: Don’t forget about Senator Purrington, probably named after Snyder’s cat. I don’t know what Supes is standing in front of the Senators anyway, aren’t global politics dealt with at the U.N.? Lex should have built a damn power suit and stolen the Kryptonite like any proper Lex Luthor would do. Is Lex’s ‘ding-ding ding’ at the prison supposed to be the ‘ping-ping ping’ of the oncoming Mother Box? Who knows? Peter Briggs: I was pleased that the Woodburn journalist from the first film was in there, because nothing says “Smart Ass Reference” than gluing Woodward and Bernstein together to make Woodburn…
Elliott Serrano: And why does Batman make a big todo of breaking into the lab to steal it from Luthor? Why not just go all bat-ninja and break it instead of leaving batarangs and bullets all over the place? WHY NOT GET CATWOMAN TO STEAL IT FOR YOU?
Peter Briggs: Let’s just answer this one question: why would that World Engine ship even HAVE chunks of Kryptonite onboard? Did Zod and Co. wake up out of the “Phantom Zone” and decide to bring some lumps of floating asteroidal debris onboard their ship as a souvenir of home? Or is their ship forged from chunks of their home planet, or has chunks of home powering it? If so, does Zod’s crew not start to get sick at any point while they were off exploring the Kryptonian colonies, because of close exposure? Is ANYONE on the production staff of this film even thinking of these things?!?
Josh Hadley: Because multiple scripts are here… they don’t talk to one another.
Lenny Schwartz: I have…no idea.
Steven Segal: I assume Lex would never pass up an opportunity to have a politician in his pocket, and would prefer to do so amicably.
Why does Luthor know who Clark Kent is (since he’s a low level reporter and assigned to covering sports events)?
Erin Maxwell: Because Lex apparently knows the secret identities of everyone for unexplained reasons. This movie never does a good job of helping its audience understand the why and the how of its villains. We don’t know what is really driving Lex or how he fits into both Gotham and Metropolis society.
Honestly, I have no idea how the guy can keep a business afloat or even drive a damn car. It’s a wonder he doesn’t base his operations from his ex girlfriend’s couch.
Vito Delsante: Again, Lex’s character arc is so undefined and just thrown in. I not only don’t know, I barely care except for the fact that, in terms of the plot, it bothers me.
Josh Latta: Once you go down that road, you have to ask, why does everyone care about the newspaper in this movie?
Elizabeth Weitz: I guess Snyder didn’t think that little plot point was worth explaining.
Josh Latta: I don’t blame him.
Clay N. Ferno: I think he reads the paper or read the guest list with Mercy before the event. Also, Clark goes into On The Record reporter mode when he first meets Bruce Wayne instead of having a casual conversation with him. Was that weird? Maybe ask how the Rogues will do this season as an icebreaker.
Elliott Serrano: I sort of liked the movie going into this discussion. You’re making me hate it now.
Josh Latta: Ha! All the points and plot holes you guys pointed out are incredibly valid. I don’t think any of them are a deal breaker for me, personally, after all, any film/comic/radio play pornography would fall apart with this level of scrutiny. Sure, movies with fighting men in tights gives us a lot of illogic to gnaw on like a rubbery stake. I’m not saying ‘just turn off your brain’ but I am saying perhaps you didn’t want to like it. Perhaps I did. I had a good time and I’m miserable.
Josh Hadley: At no point in this film does Lex discover the identities of Superman or Batman and yet he seems to know them from the start of the film… and yet he clearly does not know them. Again, multiple scripts all of which contradict one another. Also, Superman and Batman never find out each others identities and yet start calling each other Bruce and Clark out of the blue. What the hell?
Lenny Schwartz: I got this one. Because Lex saw the first film…and suddenly like the rest of us…after three years…it finally clicked we saw a Superman film and not Atlas Shrugged.
Steven Segal: Another major point that the movie fails utterly in explaining. If Luthor had somehow performed a mind meld on either Lois Lane or Martha (“Martha!”) Kent to learn the truth of Superman’s secret identity, it would be more believable than whatever plot point was either hip-checked or outright omitted in the script. The scene in the Kryptonian vessel where Lex activates the ship’s CPU with the help of Zod’s fingerprints might be where Luthor learns of the Superman/Clark Kent secret, but since no such moment occurs in the theatrical version of the movie,
I can only hope this particular blank is sufficiently filled in during the upcoming longer “Ultimate Edition” version on Blu-ray. I hear the new footage makes it all rated R for violence.
Atlee Greene: This wouldn’t have been an issue for the Lex Luthor most of us grew up with. He would have known which politician’s palm to grease.
For decades, Metropolis and Gotham City have had their own unique identities. In BvS not only do they exist across the river from one another, but they aren’t all that different. Gotham isn’t the gargoyle covered labyrinth and Metropolis isn’t the shining City of Tomorrow. Both of them are fairly gritty big cities with little personality. Does this change in the environment affect the characters?
Vito Delsante: I almost think it doesn’t, because those two heroes do that for us. It’s a cheat, and we miss out on seeing how the environment shapes the man. Instead, we see it the other way around.
Elizabeth Weitz: I didn’t even realize they were across the river from one another until almost the end of the film. It makes no sense to me at all. It’s as if no one connected to the film ever read any of the comics.
Clay N. Ferno: Both cities looked like the Downtown parts of the city where no one hangs out, except 9-5ers. Not where people live, just where they work and crunch numbers all day. Batman at least falls on a fire escape at one point, so I thought that was Gotham-y. Do these guys even look at what the WB television department is getting right?
Elliott Serrano: Remember when in Smallville, Metropolis was essentially the biggest city in the state of Kansas? I don’t want to be a cartographer in the DCU.
Lenny Schwartz: Both cities suck in this film. No personality. Just leftover sets.
Atlee Greene: One of the things that makes Superman and Batman great is that their hometowns have their own unique identity and therefore characters in the saga. There was absolutely no different between the two.
Steven Segal: If I recall correctly, the only reason why the two cities are so closely situated is because during the finale the characters atop a Metropolis skyscraper need to actually see the Gotham-based Bat Signal in the clouds. Couldn’t an email message or a Facetime video have conveyed the information? Metropolis and Gotham presented as twin cities separated only by a bay is a stupid notion that provokes more questions than answers.
We saw teases of the Justice League in both Bruce’s nightmare sequence and in Luthor’s computer files. Did this accomplish anything? As an audience did you find it exciting to see or simply more Easter Eggs helping to establish the franchise?
Vito Delsante: It only serves to rush us to a Justice League film. I found myself really wondering why Aquaman, who can breathe underwater, looks like he’s holding his breath. But I did love the Flash/Crisis on Infinite Earths bit. I can’t even say why…it just thrilled me a bit.
Josh Latta: The ‘knightmare’ was the ‘pink elephant’ sequence of the film. Does it move the plot forward? Nah, but man, it was exhilarating and memorable moment.
Elizabeth Weitz: I like to think I’m somewhat knowledgeable about both Superman and Batman but I felt like they didn’t really do anything with those dreams other than confuse the audience.
Clay N. Ferno: The Justice League stuff was so lame, not fun and the opposite of a fanboy Easter Egg hunt. It was like “Here’s the fucking Easter Eggs, are you seeing them? I put the logos on the files. Did you see? Enjoy these Easter Eggs, assholes, I put them there for you! Parademons, just like you wanted, dickheads, LOOK, PARADEMONS!”
I guess I kind of saw Flashpoint Flash on the second viewing but his costume seemed a bit off. Bring on the Justice League movie though, I know I won’t miss it, glutton for punishment that I am.
Elliott Serrano: PARADEMONS!
Josh Hadley: This shows just how little the WB and Snyder learned from watching Marvel creep up on them for the last decade.
Lenny Schwartz: It was rushed and no fun at all. I liked the Flash appearance but none of it made sense. It all made for a great two hour and thirty minute coming attraction for…something.
Steven Segal: Let’s assume for a moment that I am well-versed in comic books and recognized that the giant “Omega” is the mark of Darkseid. It’s all well and good for a movie to lay a trail of breadcrumbs that will link up to the future Justice League movie, but since when does Bruce Wayne have premonitions?
As for the email files teasing future Justice League members, the whole thing felt like a station identification break. Even so, I’ll go ahead and say, “yes,” I am excited to see what DC does with their Justice League movies out of morbid curiosity—with a few tonal tweaks here and there, and a solid screenplay, these movies have got to start getting fun.
Atlee Greene: This was ok if you’re a familiar with the source material,but I wonder how this came off to the casual fan who doesn’t read comic books.
Superman dies at the end and within minutes onscreen appears to have been resurrected. By revealing that he isn’t dead to the audience, does that cheapen the death both for the characters and for the overall story?
Vito Delsante: I don’t think any member of any audience would believe he’s dead. That’s the thing. He’s not dead for us; he’s dead for the characters and populace that exist in the movie. THEY’RE supposed to believe he’s dead. We can, if we were uninformed, believe it for a bit too, and then, when we see that moment, maybe be thrilled that he’s not dead. I’ll put it like this; what that moment is, for the viewer like me, is a second chance for Warner Brothers to get Superman right. They killed the one I only sorta liked. Now, gimme the goods.
Elizabeth Weitz: Yep. It’s like Captain Kirk’s death in Star Trek: Into the Darkness. Why do it at all if you are doing to resurrect the character almost immediately?
Clay N. Ferno: Steve Trevor died? NO! Too Soon! I didn’t mind the death sequence and the obvious rebirth of the comic character, no one stays dead long. Will Cavill play Red and Blue Superman? Who’s gonna be Steel? Laurence Fishburne?
Lenny Schwartz: It would have A better ending if Affleck unzipped his pants, and pissed on Superman’s grave. Then he zips up and says …”I won.”
Steven Segal: Oh, please. Rule #1: Superman can’t die. The only measure of suspense was in waiting to see just how long the filmmakers would drag out the “death” sequence. If a fairy tale tear fallen from Lois Lane’s cheek (or, for that matter, Bruce Wayne’s cheek) had been the key catalyst to Superman’s resurrection, the whole scenario wouldn’t feel any more trite. When the handful of dirt on Clark’s coffin begins to levitate, we’re assured—finally—that the Man of Steel is alive and well, but was anyone else reminded of the similar final shot of X-Men: The Last Stand? DC gains little cred—and it does this movie no favors—to remind fanboys of the most universally despised Marvel sequel to date.
Atlee Greene: It was a bold move, but ultimately failed because the world was so divided on whether Superman was good or bad. If a similar tone was taken from the comics where the world loves Superman, then the emotional punch required to make his death resonate would have stuck.
On a whole, does Batman V Superman work for you? Were you entertained? Does it make you look forward to Justice League Part 1?
Vito Delsante: I was entertained! I don’t know how it happened, but it did! Does it make me look forward to Justice League? Not as much as it makes me look forward to Wonder Woman. That’s not a bad thing, I think.
Josh Latta: Well, I had zero interest in seeing BvS, so take that for what it’s worth.
Elizabeth Weitz: The movie was a mess but I want to like where the story is going. Hopefully, we will get a little more depth in the next few movies but if not, I guess I’ll just find comfort with my comic books.
Clay N. Ferno: I liked almost all of the Batman stuff, Alfred, the Batcave, the Batmobile. I liked Wonder Woman. I liked 30% of what I saw on the screen, but I wish Geoff Johns would have stepped in and tweaked the story to make it better. I was entertained but I think two viewings might be my limit until digital release.
Vito Delsante: Didn’t he “step in” on Green Lantern?
Peter Briggs: I was entertained by it, but irritated by the sloppiness, and horrified by the sadistic tone. I just want to point out that you should be able to take kids to a Superman movie. I saw this a second time, and there were two parents and their son and daughter sitting in front of me. The boy was I guess 8 or 9 and the daughter maybe a year younger.
The boy’s body language was very telling, and there was clearly a lot in the movie that traumatized and upset him. I’ve raised a young boy over the last several years, and even though he’s 12 now, I wouldn’t take him to see this. I question the responsibility of those parents taking kids that young to see a film which talks about “Sex Trafficking” as one of the plot elements in it, or has that much brutal gunplay.
Josh Hadley: Batman v Superman is an example of everything wrong with not only superhero movies today but with tentpole films.
This movie is a mess in every sense of the word. The structure of the film is non-existent as the “narrative” (such as it is) jumps about with no focus or meaning. There is no story, there are simply a series of random events which happen to occur in a specific order. That is not a story, that is a comp tape. That said these events are largely unconnected to one another in that they are vignettes only loosely connected to what is laughably referred to as the plot.
That plot is another problem entirely… based on a stable premise (that of Batman, correctly, blaming Superman for the megadeaths he helped cause in Man of Steel) which is pushed aside for an overly complicated and yet childishly moronic scheme by Lex Joker. The idea that Bruce Wayne sees Superman as a threat to the world and in his own ego-driven madness thinks of himself as the only person capable of stopping him is worth a movie alone, but too add on motivation after motivation, manipulation after manipulation is only insulting to not just the character but to the viewing audience itself.
Another good idea here that is so screwed up I almost suspect trolling is one of the world fearing Superman and the look at a more realistic take on how our real world would react to such a being… again one that is pissed away by a script (sorry, 9 scripts crammed together) that has no idea on how to expand on it’s premise. You CAN do a realistic look at superheroes, but not like this. Also the fact that the movie is so dour that is becomes a slog to get through. Not to mention that most of the individual plots started here have no payoff so that also points to a director with no idea what he is doing.
The story is the result of no less than 12 different writers and it feels like it, like elements from a dozen (or more) scripts were all cut and pasted until Zack Snyder’s ADHD addled mind collapsed and he said “let’s shoot this fucker”. Almost 1/3 of this film is made up of dream sequences… like Snyder loved this one scene from a script he didn’t use and decided to use it anyway, damn you if you wanted it to make sense.
Honestly, if Warner Brothers was smart (they aren’t) they would ban Zack Snyder to the phantom zone of obscurity and never allow him to touch one of their properties again as he has done almost as much damage to DC Comics future in the movies as Frank Miller did to their comics in the 1990’s. So no, this makes me loathe to think of where this is going.
Lenny Schwartz: It’s one of the worst films ever made.
I loved every second of it.
Steven Segal: In spite of the lumbering plot, the eye-sore CGI and the general lack of chemistry among any of the main characters, I confess I was entertained. However, much of my amusement was drawn from the sheer audacity of the film—and, by direct extension, the movie studio. It’s “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” as DC desperately attempts to catch up to Marvel in the Cinematic Universe arms race, but there doesn’t seem to be much evidence here to suggest DC has formulated a long-term overarching plan to connect their Justice League movies in the same fashion that Marvel seeded their Avengers plans into their movies four years and five films prior to its debut.
In playing catch-up, DC goes right for the All-Star movie event while we as the audience are denied the anticipatory buildup of learning to love the myriad Justice League players before they assemble. Instead, we are thrown directly into the mix, Phantom Menace-style, as if this were Episode 13 of a series already long running. Even so, I look forward to Wonder Woman and Justice League Part 1 and Part 2, and trust the makers will devise not only more imaginative ways to introduce the remainder of the team, but also inject enough ego-butting and comic repartee among its members to levitate the entire DC universe. After all, we all agree these movies are supposed to be fun.
What do these characters mean to you and do you think that this film captured them?
Brian Saner Lamken: Only in the sense that Zack Snyder et al. have taken them hostage. They mean a great deal to me. I don’t think that nearly enough of their essences are understood by the filmmakers or reflected in the film, even acknowledging that they’re characters ripe for exploration and variation in tone.
Josh Latta: DC characters feel like empty vessels. I love Bats, but God knows why. Daredevil has more texture. I think they reflect the artist more so than a personality. Batman 66 is just as viable as Batman 89. I don’t prefer one over the other. I’m not owed anything involving the character. I’m along for the ride.
Elizatbeth Wetiz: I love both of these characters and I wish that the filmmakers/screenwriters
/producers took the time to really understand them. I’m reminded of the story of the Nicholas Meyer, who co-wrote the Wrath of Khan who wasn’t a Star Trek fan, but spent the time researching the characters and the world in depth so that he could honor the fans and Gene Roddenberry’s vision.
And guess what? Pretty much everyone agrees that it was the best Star Trek film. If Warner Bros and Zack Snyder had that much faith in their project, this could have been a great movie.
Vito Delsante: I’ll put it this way. I was never really a Wonder Woman fan. I liked the Lynda Carter show; I rarely, if ever read her comic (but I loved the Rucka run and am looking forward to his return to the title). I grew up in a time when boys played with boy toys, girls played with girl toys, and boys like Batgirl and Wonder Woman, but they didn’t “endorse” their solo titles because that was for girls.
I’m sure there was a touch of homophobia on my dad’s part, but whatever, I love what I love and I’m not apologizing for that. But all that said to say this; I am so ready for this Wonder Woman movie. I’m a believer, a convert, and I hope I can take my daughter to it because I think it’s an important moment for girls and women. Maybe having a daughter has opened me up to it? I don’t know. All I know is I want this movie.
Clay N. Ferno: I love Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. I think if Zack Snyder is in charge of giving us this version of Superman stories I will always be wanting more. I have no beef with this version of Batman and Wonder Woman, in fact I want to know more. Will I eventually get a sequel to Man of Steel, because this seemed like it was in a world of it’s own.
You know how it felt seeing Amazing Spider-Man and how jarring that was after Sam Raimi’s version? Amazing Spider-Man and the sequel did a better job at keeping the stories interesting and fun (and that ain’t sayin’ much, bub!).
Peter Briggs: As I said, I read all these comic books, and so like you guys we keep seeing these characters go through variants and reboots. I’m not especially happy with what they’re doing to Superman in some of the comic books at the moment, and Supes is my favourite.
I like Batman in the films more than than the comics, and I’m not a Wonder Woman fan. I’m more a Marvel guy, myself, but Supes is DC’s equivalent to Captain America. He’s wholesome, and good, and stands up for ingrained nobility and all that is right. Captain America is my favourite Marvel character, and if Marvel ever did to Cap what this movie just did to Superman…I would be a very unhappy bunny indeed.
I’ve always liked crossovers: hell, I was paid to write screen versions of Alien vs Predator and Freddy vs Jason, so that’s common knowledge. And I’ve always wanted to see “Superman and Batman” together, so it fulfilled that criteria for me. But could it have been better? Yes. Hell, yes. And the annoying thing is, a one week rewrite could have fixed that movie. Then, it’s just down to the director to make that work…
Steven Segal: One of my biggest gripes about MoS is how it changes the Kal-El character by re-writing the details of Clark’s most haunting childhood trauma—the death of his adopted father Jonathan Kent.
In the Superman movies I grew up with, it’s a pivotal plot point that Kal-El feels powerless to save his father from death by heart attack, despite his otherworldly abilities. In the rebooted Superman legend, Clark is crippled only by a misplaced anxiety that he must conceal his powers and never reveal himself to the world because men are no good, and blah, blah, blah.
Similarly, BvS changes up the sequencing of the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents and Bruce’s fall into the Great Bat Pit. In Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight universe, the Wayne murder happens after Bruce’s traumatic fall into the pit and Mr. Wayne is afforded an opportunity to impart an important life lesson to young injured Bruce, one that echoes throughout the entire Dark Knight trilogy.
By shuffling the pit sequence to occur after the murder, Bruce is inherently a sadder character—only Alfred remains to console Bruce and nurse him back to health—though this hardly explains why Batman has grown into such a brutal sadist who shoots, stabs and brands his criminal prey. The turns of events that have shaped Bruce Wayne/Batman into a morally dubious anti-hero are far more intriguing as backstory than the flimsy excuse the film delivers as the root cause of Batman’s animosity towards Superman—that Superman destroyed half of Metropolis and he could potentially be a threat to humanity. If their quarrel were over who sports the bigger codpiece, their smackdown would be no less ludicrous.
Atlee Greene: Summing up the film that I enjoyed despite its flaws, I will paraphrase a quote by Marlon Brando’s Joe-El in Superman: The Movie
It could have been the great movie the world wishes it to be.
It only lacked the right director to show it the way.
Lenny Schwartz: I love Batman. I love Superman. It’s a testament to how strong they are as characters, having survived this mess and still somehow remained interesting. I’m afraid it may be more of the same down the road. Nobody knows how to handle them it seems. But like the “S” on Superman’s chest, we as fans love to hope.
And bitch if it goes downhill like it did.