Batman v Superman… Movie of the Year?


Sydney Donahoe

Isabel Forsell reviews the the blockbuster movie, Batman versus Superman.

Isabel Forsell, Reporter

When Zack Snyder (director of 2013’s Man of Steel) walked onto the stage near the end of the Warner Bros/Legendary panel at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con and simply stated, “It’s official: We’re making another Superman movie,” the audience members went wild. They screamed and cheered when the news was revealed, and they continued to murmur amongst themselves and wait in anticipation as Snyder fumbled for the right words to describe the upcoming film.

Eventually, Snyder gave up describing it himself, introducing Harry Lennix (General Swanwick in Man of Steel) to the stage. Lennix read two lines from the 2012-2013 two-part animated film The Dark Knight Returns to the eager audience:

“I want you to remember, Clark – in all the years to come, in all your most private moments – I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you.”

Here we are, nearly three years later, and that long-anticipated film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, is finally here. Snyder treats his audience to a rendition of the major conflict between the two titular DC characters, hidden DC Easter eggs, and the appearances -both major and minor- of many other celebrated superheroes. This film could have been the movie of the year, the movie fans everywhere prayed and hoped it to be…but it wasn’t.

The movie opens with the usual scene about the death of Batman’s parents; we witness the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne and see the horror in the eyes of their young son, Bruce, as he helplessly watches. At the funeral, Bruce falls into a well, where he is surrounded by hundreds of black bats. The one difference between this well scene and the well scene in any other Batman-themed movie is that, upon Bruce’s awakening, the spiraling motion of the nocturnal animals lifts Bruce out of the well. At first, I thought my eyes were deceiving me. They weren’t.

It was right then that I almost walked out of the theatre. I literally just about got up and left the screening room because of that one mistake – Bruce never flies out of the well with the bats. It’s unrealistic and deviates from anything ever written into any of the comics.

Thankfully, the shot cut to another scene – a fully-grown Bruce Wayne waking up from the nightmare that was this memory. This seems normal enough, but it bothered me (as well as a significant portion of the rest of the audience, I might add) just enough that I was somewhat unhappy with the film when it was only ten minutes in.

Throughout Dawn of Justice, I had to follow the viewpoints and subplots of so many people that I honestly lost count halfway through. Though these elements all eventually merge during the final battle, I still feel that I would have to watch the film again in order to understand what every character discovered and how that affected the overall plot. Bruce Wayne/Batman, Clark Kent/Superman, Lex Luthor, Lois Lane (Amy Adams), Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot)…the list goes on. Having so many storylines in such a huge movie was overwhelming, to say the least, and it was, in the end, detrimental rather than positive for the film as a whole.

In addition to the confusing subplots, there was a good number of questions that the film left unanswered. One of the biggest was why Lex Luthor wanted Batman and Superman to fight to the death. When it came down to it, Luthor wasn’t really gaining much out of the demise of one or both of the metahumans, and if he was, it was never mentioned at all during the film. Another issue was Batman ignoring his whole “no killing” rule the entire time, though this one was (possibly?) answered; about halfway or so through the movie, we see a glimpse of a handful of Batman’s suits, including one with the words “joke’s on you” (a reference to the death of Jason Todd/Robin, which caused Batman to ignore his rule).

Looking back, I feel that the blame for the poor quality of Batman v Superman is on the writers and Snyder. Granted, the film is making big bucks, but the awkwardness of poorly-structured scenes and the lack of character depth and development is to be blamed on meager writing and lousy directing. The actors did their best with what they had to work with – Affleck makes a great brooding Batman (if a stiff Bruce Wayne), Eisenberg brought a weird vibe to Lex Luthor (though it was never justified, as it should have been), and Gadot absolutely stunned as Wonder Woman (seriously, give the girl her own movie – she deserves it). But in the end, most of the characters are just there for the sake of being there. This film had so much potential, but it ultimately fell in the end. My final verdict on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Wait for the DVD release. And even then, if you’re not a die-hard DC fan, rent it. Don’t spend your hard-earned money on it. You’ll be disappointed.