Let’s imagine a world where Christian Bale was still Batman and Zack Snyder stuck within the realm of the Dark Knight universe. I would be happier, you would be happier, hell even Christian Bale would be happier. and we wouldn’t have to endure the two and half hour shitfest that was Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. DC Comics always has been dark when it came to its films, but there was an underlying feeling of hope on the horizon. Unfortunately with Batman v Superman, there is no hope.
Let’s Talk About Characters, Baby
From the opening scene of Batman v Superman, it was clear that this was Batman’s movie, not Superman‘s. That’s great and all, but even from the glimpse into Bruce Wayne’s parents’ death, it was clear that this wasn’t a Batman that would be recognizable to fans. It bothered me how Thomas Wayne attempted to punch the attacker before he made a move because it changed the whole dynamic of Batman’s quest for the underlying good. And boy, did it change it a lot. Don’t get me wrong, how could you cast Jeffrey Dean Morgan in a movie and not have him be a macho man, but that isn’t who Thomas Wayne was. Due to this turn of events, Batman became a superhero everyone feared, not just the guys lurking in the shadows. He used extreme brute force and even seemed to take joy in his excessive cruelness. He stance on justice was that “real men fight for it,” not aliens who come down and play god. While I’m aware that Batman is a vigilante, this was like a step too far into Snyder’s dreamland. I mean, when the people he saves identify him as a “devil,” then we have to know someone went wrong somewhere. Nothing against Ben Affleck, he did fine and it was the best fighting from Batman we have seen to date. I just don’t want him anywhere near the Batman character, plain and simple. (Please Ben, go take your script and get someone else, preferably Bale.)
As for Superman, can this guy be anymore of a wet blanket? He wants the same thing as Batman, and he will be just as pouty to prove it. When he isn’t too busy saving Lois Lane, who was painted as a glorified damsel in distress, he is wondering why people don’t like him. As Martha Kent pointed out in the Comic-Con trailer, “be anything they need you to be or be none of it.” Superman is the ultimate vision of good, but he is also idealistic and it that idea is killed a little bit when he just seems so down and negative about everything. We never see a side of Clark Kent where he isn’t brooding in a corner, complaining about the bat. And maybe that’s the problem, there wasn’t enough of a difference in moodiness between Batman and Superman, and their triumph to friendship felt forced and too quick. Understandably, I guess you have to speed up things when Doomsday starts attacking. But there has to be a way to personify who Superman is as a character. Look at Smallville, they successfully captured the essence of Superman growing up and becoming a hero. Why can’t a major motion picture do the same?
The Golden Age of Television
DC Comics is dominating the television game. With Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl, they are literally setting the stage for comic book stories to be told. The disappointing thing is, Zack Snyder doesn’t want to use the television version of these superheroes because it doesn’t match his “tone.” These series already have a decent size following, and if they incorporated them into their movie multiverse, people would be even more drawn to catching up on what they missed out. Marvel did it with their show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and that show isn’t even as highly reguarded of as any of the holy trinity. People are more interested in characters that they know and trust, and Grant Gustin is that when in character because he fully embodies Flash.
Truly, I feel like DC Comics and Warner Brothers is missing out on a huge opportunity by not incorporating these shows. They are established and well written, and even with the different “tone,” Snyder’s Flash sounds a lot like the television show. Greg Berlanti has brought some much life to DC Comics with these three television series, and I feel like he could do even more if he could incorporate them into the movie multiverse. Part of the reason we are in the second or third Golden Age of Television is because of series like these, and it is a disappointment that they won’t be transferred over to the big screen.
Zack Snyder’s Obsession with Frank Miller
Much of Snyder’s career has been over Frank Miller‘s work, such as 300 and Watchmen. Batman v Superman seems to carry a lot of influences from The Dark Knight Returns, especially Batman’s costume and the ultimate showdown between the two heroes. Unfortunately, that is where the comparisons stop. Kevin Smith said it perfectly when describing Snyder with Batman v Superman, “he read one comic once, and it was Dark Knight Returns, and his favorite part was the last part where Batman and Superman fight.” The thing is, every time Snyder adapts a film for Miller’s source material, it always has a feel like this. He takes what he likes, but he forgets the heart.
Miller is a brilliant writer and there is a reason everyone wants to adapt his stories, but imagine if Snyder had dug deeper for a story in both Batman and Superman’s lore. What if Snyder took from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo‘s current Batman masterpiece to build his Batman? Or John Byrne‘s Superman: Man of Steel to shape the dynamic between Batman and Superman? Ultimately, Snyder had so much material to build off of, but he stuck to his safety belt and relied on watered down renditions of Miller’s stories.
Who Run the World? Girls
If there was one saving grace to Batman v Superman, it is Gal Gadot‘s take on Wonder Woman. Her entrance as the amazonian princess is electrifying. Any minute Gadot was on the screen, I was captivated, which is really unfortunate because she barely had any screen time. You’re biggest take away from this film should be your pure, unadulterated excitement for the Wonder Woman film coming to us in June 2017. While Batman has to dodge Doomsday attacks and Superman is off saving Lois Lane, Wonder Woman is facing him head on. She is the female superhero we have all been waiting for (and who we deserve), and I hope she marks the beginning of more female superheroes being transitioned to film.
Now on to Lois Lane. I want to begin this simply: Amy Adams deserved more from this film, and so did we. Lois Lane is a badass character, and Adams shined when she got to show off that side of Lois. Regrettably, those scenes were usually met with her somehow getting captured and Superman having to come and save her. This happened three times, THREE TIMES. Lois is way smarter than this, she even figured out that Lex Luthor was behind these crimes before anyone else (which, come on Batman is a super detective, and I’m supposed to believe he fell for Luther’s tricks, give me a break). Before she could even have a chance to save the day, they would have her do something out of character and that didn’t make sense, which ended up creating huge amounts of trouble. Still, Lois Lane was central to plot of this film. Even if they didn’t get the time or story they deserved, Adams owned her role and Gadot owned this movie reminding us that girls truly do run the world.