So.... Batman versus Superman... Who won, you ask? NOT the audience.
Let me back up and state that I am a pretty big Zack Snyder fan. I enjoyed Dawn of the Dead, 300, Watchmen, and hell, even Sucker Punch and Man of Steel (both of which get a lot of undeserved guff from the interwebs for some reason). I was super enthused about his take on DC Comics' Justice League on film. And this movie, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice sounded like it was right up my alley (Snyder's unique visual styling, matched with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman on screen?! Awesome)... But instead I found it to be a heavily flawed picture with only a few moments of jaw-dropping awesomeness that I had initially hoped the whole movie would be saturated in, like Paula Deen's pancreas is saturated in butter.
Let's back up and take a look at what DC and Warner Bros. were TRYING to do with this movie. They had seen the success of Marvel and Disney's Avengers film franchise and realized "Hey! We have a super team of our own! And Batman and Superman are even more famouser than Iron Man and Thor ever were! We should do that too! We like money!"
And so they grabbed director Snyder, who already created the super stylized Watchmen for them, and had him start his own hero-filled universe, starting with Superman in Man of Steel. It was a decent beginning, and arguably the best Superman movie ever made (seriously, all you Christopher Reeve supporters, go back and rewatch Superman I and II... They do NOT hold up well at all, and Margot Kidder is the FUGLIEST Lois Lane ever), and at that point I was hopeful that a live action DC movie-verse could indeed become a real, and a real GOOD thing.
A sequel to Man of Steel was then ordered, and then came news that it would be a Superrman and Batman team-up! The early designs of the new Batsuit looked pretty cool, Ben Affleck looked like a pretty spiffy Bruce Wayne, and the casting of Jeremy Irons as Alfred got me seriously excited!
Then we simply had to wait. In early 2014, the initial release date of Summer 2015 was pushed back to the first weekend in May of 2016 when Warner Bros. tried to shove Marvel's then unnamed superhero movie from that date, in the hopes of showing their superiority. But then Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out, and crushed box office records, and then Marvel said "Oh yeah, that unnamed early May 2016 movie is actually Captain America 3... And we're not budging. Fuck you." That's when DC cursed under its breath, conceded and moved their Batman and Superman team-up up a few months, and lost the first round in the super teams movie wars.
But now, here we are, and Batman V. Superman: Yawn of Justice has actually finally come out, and I finally got to see it. And now let me tell you of my thoughts on this 2.5 hour-long spectacle of CGI, Easter eggs, and disconnected storylines.
We start with yet ANOTHER flashback to the last night that young Bruce Wayne got to spend with his parents, just before they were gunned down by a two-bit mugger in Gotham City's back alleys. Then we watch as mid-forties Bruce runs straight into the maelstrom that was the final, city-leveling battle between Superman and General Zod at the end of Man of Steel. Then Bruce witnesses first hand the destruction of his company's Metropolis skyscraper, filled to the brim with his amigos and employees.
Then we jump 18 months into the future (where Metropolis is somehow miraculously almost 100% rebuilt) and find Lois Lane in the Middle East trying to interview some asshole military dictator. Shit then goes terminally sour, everybody gets wasted by some shady mercs with strange new ammo, and Superman shows up from out of nowhere to save Lois from her own stupidity.
This rescue though causes the world to see that Superman has a really soft spot for Ms. Lane... Almost as if he's boning her... But NOBODY can put two and two together to figure out that the guy that Lois is publicly bunking with looks EXACTLY LIKE the Man of Steel, only with glasses and a tie. But whatever.
Anyway, Bruce Wayne starts having crazy, fucked up dreams of a future that might occur (where the Earth is a wasteland filled with fire-pits, Omega-symbols, and Darkseid foot soldiers), and he decides that he's got to take the Kryptonian god down before this vision (that came from out of fucking NOWHERE) becomes reality.
Oh, and Clark Kent, Superman's boring reporter alter-ego, wants to write a story about how Batman is mean, but his editor won't let him because he wants him to write about sports. Clark pouts.
Into all this mess comes Lex Luthor... Well, it's not REALLY Lex Luthor, as it's Jesse Eisenberg playing a nervous-twitchy psychopath with NO REAL motivations, and a very vague plan to kill Superman because... Because his daddy had a painting of angels and demons in his study, and now Lex thinks that Superman is a demon. And... Um... Lex has nervous twitches! So, like, that makes him evil, right? Or just some mongoloid with Asperger's syndrome.
So Lex gets his hands on a huge amount of Kryptonite from the remnants of General Zod's crashed spaceship, and he tries to get some US Senators to allow him to import the glowy green shit so that he can do secret experiments with it. Bruce Wayne meanwhile catches wind of this, and the World's Greatest Detective needs a stroke of luck to figure out that "The White Portuguese" is not an underworld arms dealer, but is in fact the name of a cargo ship that is transporting the Kryptonite into Metropolis!... Something that Google would have sorted out for him in 2 seconds.
Soon Batman tracks down the ship, and as he's wrecking Lex's delivery crew, Superman shows up and breaks the Batmobile because he's a dick. He warns Batman to stop being a vigilante, because even though he's a reporter, he doesn't know what the definition of "irony" is.
Superman is then called in front of a Congressional Hearing to answer for him doing super stuff around the world, but Lex uses an old, pissed-at-the-world Wayne Enterprises employee to bomb the room and kill a lot of people whom Luthor didn't like, along with his bodyguard/secretary, Mercy Graves, for some reason. Superman is left alone in the fire and smoke and charred corpses to think "Oh shit... They'll blame me for this." Then, like a wimp, he runs away to isolated exile to act like a baby and to hallucinate talking to Kevin Costner.
Batman tracks down Lex's kryptonite, and then he and his badass butler/quartermaster Alfred build a kickass exosuit, and start preparing to take down the flying alien once and for all.
Lex Luthor then kidnaps Lois Lane and Superman's Earth mom (which, we're never told how he figured out Superman's real name, but whatever), tosses Lois off his skyscraper in order to get Superman's attention, and then threatens Superman with the death of his mother if the flying blue boyscout doesn't kill Batman for him within an hour. Luthor's plan is actually to have Batman kill Superman with his stolen Kryptonite though, but Superman just wants to enlist the Gotham City Bat to help take down Luthor.
You getting all this? Good.
Okay, so Superman can hear Lois screaming as she plummets from the Lex-Corp tower from wherever the fuck he was at the time (i.e. NOT Metropolis), but he can't hear where his mother is, even though she's only really two blocks away? Whatever. Superman goes to find Batman in order to get him to help him save his mom... At this point I just stopped questioning shit.
Batman is all ready for Supes though, and he has the Batsignal shining as a beacon for Superman to come to him. Using Kryptonite gas, and other low-blow tactics, Batman manages to take Superman down, and is about to kill him with a giant spear made of the radioactive Kryptonian mineral when Superman says, "Kill me if you must, just save Marthaaaaaa!"
That's when Batman's all like, "Wait? Why did you say 'Martha'?"
And Superman is all like, "That's my mom's name, dude."
And Batman's all like, "YOUR mom's name is MARTHA?! So's MINE!"
And Superman is all like, "WHAT?!... Did we just become best friends?!"
And Batman's all like, "Yup!... Do you want to go do karate in the garage?"
I am dead serious here... The two superheroes stop fighting when they realize that both of their mothers have the same name. It's just as bad as you can imagine.
Anyway, while those two are playing fisticuffs with each other, Lex uses Zod's crashed ship and his cold, dead body to somehow create some genetic Kryptonian/Human hybrid monster to kill Superman (To kill him again? Since he was expecting Batman to do it...). But Supes and the Bat team up, rescue Martha Kent (where the Batman delivers the most epically awesome beat-down ever handed out by the Caped Crusader in any live action form, sending all of Lex's mercs to the hospital or the morgue), and confront Luthor before he releases his monster-baby Doomsday on the world, causing Superman to fly the demon to space, where the US Army nukes them both in orbit. Doomsday survives, and amazingly falls back down to Earth to almost the exact same place.
Batman gets in his Batwing and throws all the bullets and missiles he has at Doomsday before remembering the Kryptonite spear that he used to almost kill Superman with just minutes before! Then he leads the city-demolishing creature to the abandoned warehouse where he left it.
Let me back up for a moment here... So after Supes and Bats become besties, Batman just throws the Kryptonite spear to the side, and both supers just leave it there... Then Lois Lane comes along and picks the spear up and tosses it into a pool of water nearby while saying "MEH! BAD spear! You go bye-bye!"
So now, Batman comes crashing back to the warehouse with Doomsday on his heels, and Lois (for no reason given at all) suddenly decides that she needs that spear now, and goes diving into the water to get it, but then gets trapped like a tard who mistakenly took her parents' closet for a bathroom, and then couldn't sneak out again because her parents came into their bedroom and started going at it.
DEEEEP BREATH... We're almost at the end here.
Superman gets recharged from the sun out in space, saves Lois from stupid-drowning, and then uses the Kryptonite spear to stab Doomsday in his monstrous heart himself. Then Doomsday stabs Supes through his heart with a giant bone claw.
Oh, and Wonder Woman showed up to help Batman and Supes during the Doomsday fight because Justice League.
So Superman's dead, Lex is shaved bald for prison (since when do US prisons shave their inmates' heads? What is this, the lice-infested 1850s?), Batman sneaks into prison to threaten him some more, and Lex tells him that with Superman dead there's nothing to stop "him" from coming down from the far reaches of space to destroy the Earth. Then Batman leaves the even crazier than ever Lex in jail while he goes to Clark Kent's tiny private funeral in Kansas. He and Wonder Woman then discuss gathering a buttload of Meta-humans together to stop whatever threat Lex was talking about.
Then dirt starts to levitate on Clark's grave. The end.
No, I'm dead serious. All that happened. It wasn't just a bad fanfic written by a 6th grader with no friends.
Or WAS it?..... No. No, unfortunately it really wasn't.
What I Liked
I didn't hate the whole movie. I really did like parts of it. But that's what made the whole thing so infuriating... The entire thing COULD have been as good as those few parts that truly tickled my fancy. Honestly, why didn't they call in Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, from the DC animated-verse to help put some spark in this thing? Those guys proved again and again that they know what they're doing with all of these characters.
Anyway, I liked Bruce Wayne's initial reasonings for distrusting Superman. Meaning Bruce being in Metropolis when the Zod battle occurred, and him seeing his Wayne Enterprises office building — with all his friends and employees stuck inside — get reduced to rubble in front of his eyes.
I liked how Batman's deep, gravelly voice was generated from a voice modulator instead of him trying to do Christian Bale's hilariously silly Batvoice.
I liked how the older, more grizzled Batman marked the criminals he took down with a bat branding iron, and everybody was still terrified of him after 20 years of vigilante activity.
I LOVED the Batman beat-down scene, where Bats took care of the guys Lex hired to kill Martha Kent. It was so bloody intense and painful. The camera wasn't set on shaky-cam-mode, and it was pulled back enough to see everything going on, and the cuts were longer than .5 seconds each. Some people complain that the Batman let some of those thugs die by their own hands (by grenades he made them drop, or by using one as a human shield), but the scene was bad ass, and I appreciated how this older Batman just seems to not care too much about being all delicate with armed gunmen anymore.
I liked Wonder Woman and her lasso. And her outfit.... And... Well, that's about it really.
What I Didn't Like
Pretty much everything else... There have been numerous epic Batman and Superman team-up stories in the past (in comics and cartoons), and almost all of them were much more entertaining than what Zack Snyder ultimately gave us. The plot to this movie was half-assed, character motivations were regularly shit upon, and tons of stuff happened for seemingly no reason at all (seriously, that Lois and the spear scene just had me laughing). Come on, Warner Bros. and DC... Did you NOT pay attention to what Marvel has been doing this past decade?
I disliked how Lex was nothing but a twitchy, weird little douche with no ability to threaten anybody, physically or psychologically. Lex is supposed to be powerful, always in control, and always, always three steps ahead of his enemies. Here he's like Heath Ledger's Joker-lite mixed with Jeff Zuckerberg, only with no real charisma or control over any situation. It's not a good choice for the iconic villain. And there's NO WAY IN HELL he'd sacrifice his super loyal Mercy Graves like that. That's not Lex.
I disliked how this flick was was mostly shot at night, and the picture was really dark most of the time. The theater's projector was properly tuned, as the day shots were perfect, but most of the movie was too dim, and it made it hard to see what was going on a lot of the time. Come on, Zack, you should know better by now!
The film score... I can't remember any of it. This is a crying shame after we had such wonderful and memorable Superman and Batman scores from both John Williams and Danny Elfman in the past. I'm not even sure that Batman even had his own theme music in this thing. Sad.
The insane plot. I really didn't like how it went everywhere, and nowhere at the same time. What was Lex's plan? What was the deal with the super-special bullets that Lois found in the desert? What were Lex's real motivations? Why does Batman keep getting strange, prophetic dreams? Were we supposed to understand what that man in the time/space portal was supposed to be saying to Bruce? (Yeah, I know it was supposed to be Flash, but if I was just a regular non-nerdy schmoe, I wouldn't have had a clue what that, or Batman's apocalyptic dream were meant to be, other than ludicrous.) Plot points came from out of nowhere (like the "Martha" thing, and how Lex, Bruce, and Clark all knew everybody's secret identities), and nothing was explained.
In the End
In the end, I was just very much let down by this flick. With the years and years of planning, and the hundreds of millions of dollars that they threw at this production, I would have thought that something ACCEPTABLE would have come out of it. But no. They seemed to think that name recognition alone was enough to demolish the box office and compete with Marvel/Disney. In the end, it was not, and not only were life-long Batman and Superman fans disappointed, but so too were average movie goers. Nobody got what they wanted, and the DC movie lineup's second batter was quickly and struck out at the plate in a sad, ugly display. Even though I should know better, I'm hoping that the next DC superhero movie, Wonder Woman, at least gets a base hit.
Batman fan for life! Batman rules, Superman droolz!
That being said, both Batman and Superman sucked each other's dingus in this thing they called a movie. This thing was a travesty. Batman was only allowed to be cool for like 2 scenes. And don't get me started on the irrationalities put forth as a cover for competent storytelling. They changed Lois Lane's decent, fact-finding reporter from the first movie into a dithering, whiny, damsel in distress in this thing. The Rossman already said all that needed to be said about how Lex Luthor got the shaft in his representation too. Ugh.
My only question after having sat through this thing was "How?" How was this allowed to happen? How does something that's supposed to be so good suck so much? This really makes me fear for the actual Justice League movies coming out in a couple of years. Though I still hold hope that DC will just call it quits, and let the already over-saturated superhero movie market thin up a bit. And maybe, just maybe, they'll put some effort into what they eventually DO put out if they decide to give it another chance in the future.
It sucked. 'Nuff said.