Film Dweeb Thoughts on Batman v Superman

Well, I finally saw BvS after waiting for a week or so (mostly because I can't stand watching movies when the hate watchers and nerds go to see something they've already decided they hate beforehand).  I enjoyed it, but then again I must be a bit of a masochist judging by the overwhelming negative response the movie's been getting.

It's a humongous visual feast, and hey I come from an era when there was absolutely no good superhero movies, so I get excited for every one that comes out. I seem to be in the minority though, but I tend to try and find the good in every movie I see, even the "terrible" ones.

Anyways, here here are my thoughts compared to the shooting gallery called the Internet:

 

Jimmy Olsen...CIA?

The most vocal critic of the Man of Steel universe has been Max Landis, screenwriter and contributor to DC Comics American Alien series. He posted this tweet in reaction to the news Jimmy Olsen is working with the CIA (and gets his brains blown out within 5 minutes).

Is it really that crazy to believe this? My impression from bringing Snyder on board was to distance Superman from the feel goody two shoes vibe of the comics, which he has done. This was also an obvious "fuck you!" To guys like Landis. He's doing what he wants, bringing some gravity (so to speak) to the Superman mythos.

But when this occurred to me, that Olsen was a media figure working with the CIA, I didn't blink. Why? Because it kind of really happens. Check out this article:

The CIA and the Media

Another point being made by the filmmakers, this is NOT the Superman story you knew as a kid, and like the Nolan Dark Knight trilogy, adding realism to an otherwise ridiculous world.

The Handover to Batfleck

Superman as a comic, is actually one of the lowest selling series in the superhero genre for DC. People aren't just buying into it anymore. Can you blame them when there's a dog with a cape?

After the mixed reaction to Man of Steel (which probably barely broke even), and the monumental success of the Dark Knight, it was a no brainer for the studio to combine the lucrative Batman franchise with Superman in order to boost it. They weren't going to risk "a third time's the charm" after reactions to Superman Returns and MOS.

Batman v Superman is not really so much a Superman film, or Man of Steel sequel as it is a venue to introduce the world to Batfleck. Throughout the film Superman/Clark Kent feels almost like an afterthought compared to Bruce Wayne and his elaborate dream sequences (which is what really adds to the running time). As well, Henry Cavill has only signed on for one more film (The Justice League) so it's safe to say Superman is truly dead.

To everyone's surprise, Batfleck actually worked, so all the concern about Ben Affleck were unfounded. Apparently Ben Affleck has alreadywritten a solo Batman script that he will direct, which will touch upon the whereabouts of Robin (possibly the Red Hood?). Roll your eyes all you want, remember this guy has won a few Oscars (including one for screenwriting) and you haven't.

Superman, Batman killing

People who are familiar with most superhero rules, is that killing is a no-no. You can maim and cripple people and punch them really hard, but killing crosses the line. Both Superman and Batman kill people in a roundabout way in Snyder's universe, which has the geeks up in arms.

The film starts with what it was like to be on the ground as the catastrophic fight between Superman and General Zod occurred from Man of Steel, mostly as Bruce Wayne witnesses his own building collapse filled with his employees.

It was basically 9/11 times a thousand. They don't say in the film how many people died as a result of Zod, but it's easy to guess that it's in the multiple thousands (some actual economists calculated the damage in trillions of dollars). Superman had to sacrifice a few thousand lives and the city of Metropolis to save his adopted planet that he now calls home and the millions who inhabit it. He also had to give up his morality when he killed Zod to save one family (who for some reason couldn't run from Zod's laser). Remember, Kal-El came from a civilization that destroyed itself. You can see where his mind is at, can't you?

Batman, or "The Bat" as he's referred to, finds malicious criminals (mostly sex offenders) and he "brands" them so they can be killed in prison by other criminals. Batman of course swears against actions like these in the comics.

This brings up a point of hypocrisy in the audience. Why celebrate one form of violence and shun another? This article brings up a great point

"why are we obsessed with superheroes and violence?" 

I'm beginning to think the filmmakers are smarter than we're giving them credit for. Why are we outraged at Batman's actions, but in reality call for similar sorts of things?

Seriously though, think about it. If an alien came to earth who could move at supersonic speeds, if he got into a fight with someone who was his equal, how do you think there would be no collateral damage to structures and a city population? What is he supposed to do? Force Zod to take timeouts? Make him do burpees?

Technical Aspect

BvS, is absolutely STUNNING to look at. Granted, when you watch 3D films you're missing a lot of what the film should look like in exchange for the third dimension, but in IMAX, Dolby Atmos I can't remember a movie so amazing to look at and hear since Mad Max.

Like I mentioned before, when I was younger there was lots of talk of adapting comics and superhero stories into movies, TV shows but they never happened.  There were a few attempts but none were very good until the Bryan Singer X-Men came along. Compare this film to Roger Corman's Fantastic Four, or even the original Superman on a technical level. Eye candy doesn't get any sweeter.

 

Zack Snyder, Christopher Nolan

Zak Snyder is now suffering from the plague that hit Christopher Nolan. One moment, you're a cinematic saviour. The next? The devil, which is kind of what the theme is in BvS. People loved Superman, then now he's the most reviled guy alive. You think Snyder is trying to tell us something?

When Nolan did Interstellar (which I also loved) the screams of the Internet critics were so loud that it was deafening. Commenters even saying "the science is terrible!". Uhhh, he had Kip Thorne, legendary theoretical physicist consult on it, even co writing a book on the subject matter. Any reason to cut down Nolan was like a tidal wave.

Same thing is happening with Snyder. He is not a "terrible" filmmaker. Are you nuts? People went crazy for 300, tolerated Watchmen, but now you're throwing him in the same league as Ed Wood? Get your brains checked.

Like I've said, compare this with a movie from 30 years ago. It's not THAT bad. We're living in a geeks dream, endless movies and high quality tv shows being done by excellent filmmakers, and the complaints don't stop.

 

Lightening up Suicide Squad

...and here we are. Reaction to the serious tone of BvS has lead to Warner Brothers overreacting and pumping millions into new reshoots to "lighten" the tone of the highly anticipated Suicide Squad.

Actor Jai Courtenay states it's not so much adding humour and has more to do with adding more action, but really, David Ayer was brought on board because of the relentless realism of his other films. Have you seen Harsh Times? Or End of Watch? Dark, intense movies. This is a dude from South Central LA who has seen actual combat, so he knows a thing or two about conflict and realism. He hired a psychiatrist on set to assist with actors because of the dark subject matter, and alluded early on as shooting began that this would be an R rated film. Hearing these things got me super stoked about Suicide Squad.

Well that was before Deadpool came along, the only difference is Suicide Squad is going to be PG 13 despite being "lightened up". Why did they hire Ayer in the first place?

This is exactly what happened with the original a Batman films from the 80s, 90s. Tim Burton's dark vision is precisely why people gravitated towards the first two films, so WB hired Joel Schumacher to take his place, a guy who had a reputation for dark subject matter (Flatliners, Dying Young).

But they told him to "lighten" up the mood. Well we all know how that went down. I don't think Suicide Squad will suffer from it, but down the road, if the throngs of detractors keep screaming for blood, let's hope WB doesn't make the Schumacher mistake again.

Batman Forever, Superman Returns

Batman Forever, Batman and Robin completely sank the Batman franchise. The latter being hailed as one of the worst movies ever made. People couldn't get out of the theatre fast enough once the credits rolled. Warner soon hired Darren Aronosfsky to reboot the franchise, (who is quite possibly the grimmest filmmaker alive) but his concepts were TOO dark so they got Nolan instead, and the rest was history.

Remember Superman Returns? Directed by a guy who worshiped the original films and self proclaimed as one of the world's biggest Superman fans. Well that film was not well received by the post 9/11 audience who felt it was a post card from a bygone era. The bright colours and attempts at comic book camp backfired and people didn't respond, which is why Nolan was brought on board for Man of Steel.

Now, the biggest detractors to Snyderman have been the comic crowd and ones who want the canon to be honoured, but isn't that what Superman Returns was?

Last Thoughts

My only complaints was the run time, it did seem long but it wasn't painfully long. The other detractor was Bruce Wayne's hair as a kid. Like no wonder his parents were shot. That haircut was evil.

Sure there was a few plot holes, but come on. We're talking about a guy dressed as a bat fighting an alien.

I recently felt nostalgic and bought some Superman comics, rewatched the original films and felt so let down, as the films haven't aged that well and the comics...well, they are mostly cheesy (except for the darker stuff done by Morrison, Millar, etc).

When It comes to superheroes fighting, nobody seems to win I tell you. We all seem to lose these days according to the vast networks of blogs and websites (all owned by like, 4 companies). Like I said, we're living in a fantastic age where there are more high quality comic book movies and TV shows are available at our fingertips. What you perceive as "bad" really isn't THAT bad okay?