Like many of you, I went to see Batman v Superman over the weekend. And, overall, I liked it. Many critics have been tearing into it, and while it certainly had some very stupid moments and things that made little to no sense, and also could have been 30 minutes shorter, overall I had a good time watching the movie. Some very exciting action scenes and the best Batman ever put to screen kept this movie from being bad, in my opinion.
But I wanted to talk today about the things that bugged me. Nerd rage! (Though I will touch on the things I liked, too.)
First and foremost, I groaned at every instance of world-building for Justice League. Wonder Woman is trying to get a picture back of herself during WWI from Lex Luthor? A picture that is a now a digital file which has surely been copied, anyways? I know she’s immortal (I guess) but she clearly knows how technology works and that the picture is surely not just in one place anymore. Then they find not only the picture but files about a bunch of other super-powered individuals, and there are short videos featuring each of them. Wow, could it be any more obviously shoe-horned in? It didn’t feel organic at all. Not only that, but the videos were so awkward, especially Aquaman. Remember how cool he looked here?
Yeah, looks pretty badass, right? Well, they undid all that hype in the movie, having him slowly move towards the camera, staring uncomfortably for way too long at us before lunging at the camera and swimming away really fast. Honestly all three videos would have been much better if they were simply shorter. Have a quick 3 seconds of The Flash dashing and saving the clerk. Quick 3 seconds of Aquaman appearing and attacking the camera. Quick 3 seconds of Cyborg forming and a bunch of chaos in the lab. Tease and move on.
Speaking of being quicker, the entire movie could have cut a whole bunch of things and been better, sleeker, for it. The very first scene, for instance, where we rehash the death of Batman’s parents was pointless for most of the audience. We know how they died and Batman came to be, already! I get that they wanted to do some set up for Bruce’s mom being named Martha (more on that later), but the blatant shot of her tomb with her name real big that they had in a different scene was enough for that. That stupid Jonathan Kent hallucination could also have been removed, easily. Was anybody clamoring for more of Kevin Costner’s sub-par performance as Pa Kent? I could go on, but there was a lot of superfluous stuff that could have been removed. I honestly can’t believe there’s going to be a 3 hour R-rated cut of the movie. I hear people speculating that it will make the story better, but honestly, I could only see things that should be removed to improve it.
Back to Martha. Was anyone else annoyed that Superman says that they’re going to kill Martha? Who talks about their mother that way? Say “They’re going to kill my mother (or ma or mom or mommy)!” Then Batman could have been surprised and said “Your mother?” And Lois could show up at that moment and be like “Martha?” And it could be a whole natural thing instead of just Batman being blown away that their mothers’ names are the same. It becomes much more about seeing Superman as a man than about the name. The name could be part of it, sure, but making that the lynch-pin of the turnaround was really really stupid. Mom same name club! Best frieeeeends!
And how about that Darkseid foreshadowing, huh? That was kind of cool, wasn’t it? Eh? Big old Omega symbol, parademons flying around, pretty neat, huh? Well, it would have been if it wasn’t so jarring and sudden. The “Knightmare,” as the internet has taken to calling it, really came out of nowhere and left me scratching my head. Did Batman actually travel to that post-apocalyptic society? Was it all just a dream? Did future Flash(?) project it into his head somehow? Friggin’ alternate realities and multiple earths and time travel, just jumbling everything up. Already! This is only the second movie in the DCCU and they’re getting into this stuff. Flash hasn’t even been properly introduced and they’re throwing the Speed Force stuff at us? I know about this stuff from comics and TV shows and I found it distracting. I can only imagine how those brand new to this stuff might feel.
And last but certainly not least, Lex Luthor. I tell you, I didn’t mind his portrayal by Jessie Eisenberg that much. He went for it with a weirdo vibe and it simply didn’t work for me. Others may love it, I wasn’t a fan. But that’s not what bugged me about Luthor.
Luthor in this movie was apparently all-knowing, having figured out who both Superman and Batman are and meticulously arranging events so that they want to kill each other. Except he didn’t, really. He just sort of taunted Bruce Wayne some about Superman’s fight killing Wayne Enterprise employees, then kidnapped Clark’s mom to force him to go after Batman. That’s about it. What a mastermind.
He also turned Zod into Doomsday. Or, used his DNA and Zod’s to make a new creature that was Doomsday. Or something. Somehow the Kryptonian ship mixed Zod and Lex and we got Doomsday. Why did he do this? In case Batman killed Superman instead of Superman killing Batman? I mean, if you’re going to make Doomsday anyways, why bother trying to get Batman to kill Superman? Just make Doomsday and be done with it. But then you can’t have Batman v Superman, can you? Was it simply that having Superman fight Batman was his plan before he got access to the ship? Sorry, I still want the plans of the villain to make sense within the plot, and Luthor’s was all over the place. Maybe he just really wanted to pee in a jar and give it to Holly Hunter, I dunno.
That seems like as good a note as any to wrap things up. Yeah, a jar of piss in a Batman/Superman movie. Lex Luthor’s piss, presumably. My first instinct was to laugh, it really was. She was terrified and I couldn’t believe I was seeing what I was seeing. What a strange moment. Then she blew up, along with all of congress and Mercy, Lex’s assistant and regular character in the comics and TV show. Oh yeah, and they shot Jimmy Olsen in the head in this movie. They never name him, you just assume he’s a guy who was with Lois and secretly CIA (or whatever), but apparently that’s totally Jimmy Olsen and he’s dead as disco now. Just strange how they’re arbitrarily killing classic characters from the comics. I mean, that’s how they’re playing it, and it’s their call, I just think it’s dumb. Jimmy died nameless and off-screen. Odd.
Sorry, guess I had more to say about the movie. Now I’m done. Doomsday looked pretty terrible, too. OK, NOW I’m done nerd nitpicking.
I reiterate, I didn’t hate this movie. It was enjoyable, in spite of all its faults. Wonder Woman looked awesome, Batman was the best we’ve seen on screen, and the movie looked gorgeous. It was, however, deeply flawed. Really, I think Zack Snyder should be moved to Director of Photography and back down from directing. He could let a filmmaker with more of a feel for story take the helm and he could make sure it looks fucking gorgeous. The man’s got talent, just not in the places a director needs to have them.
Anyways, here’s hoping Suicide Squad is really fucking fun.