Do you remember the time you tied your shoes for the first time? It was incredible, right? Or how about the moment you could read an Analog clock. Things that seemed impossible as a kid and suddenly became something that you master and never think about again. Batman Vs. Superman or even a Movie involving these two characters has been on my wish list for as long as I can remember. Even the Avengers, which is a fantastic ensemble film, doesn’t have the embedded history that these two characters do for me. Batman and Superman go back to when I was a child and instilled in me a very particular set of values and morals that have stuck with me ever since. Some people have religion, and I have Batman.
Batman V. Superman, which will now be referred to as BvS, is a big mess. Almost on every level, Superman is about as dull and stoic as he was in Man Of Steel. But to be fair Superman is a hard role to play. Nobody portrays a boys scout as interestingly. Henry Cavill (Who is a good Superman) is given very little to say in his own sequel. Most of the time he looks sad and angry. Wonder Woman who feels like a loose strand of the overall plot is given even less to do while also not showing us anything to go on regarding backstory. Sure comic book fans know exactly who Diana Prince is but why should anyone else care? And why is she in Gotham at all? Other than to look at fake swords and find old photos.
Batman has some of the high points, but they are few and far between and are dragged down by his questionable moral code. If this Batman is so beaten down by the world and open to killing criminals why is the Joker even alive. Surely the worst of the worst is worth killing if you are open to firing on petty henchmen. Batman’s moral code in the comics for years now has been no killing and no guns. Something that I have grown to love in the character over the years. And in this movie both are thrown out the window. But Batman’s explanation for never using guns or killing has always been because That would take it too far, If he kills someone then it takes him one step closer to being one of them. If he kills the Joker what’s to stop him from killing the Riddler or some other petty crook? The point of Batman never killing is to say that he found a way to be better than the killer that took his parents.
His high points come from a warehouse fight where he takes down a room filled with guards in an incredible fight sequence. Sadly that’s preceded by a fight between Batman and Superman that never really feels earned. In which Batman is clearly in the wrong and because Superman won’t just say “Hey, Lex has my mom and tricked us both.” They end up beating each other up for twenty minutes until the fight is broken up by Bruce having a soft spot for Clark mom because she is named Martha (just like his mom was.) It falls apart once you start to break it down. But my lingering problems don’t come from the performances like the manic Jesse Eisenberg or the Strange CGI creation of Doomsday. It mostly falls at the director’s feet.
Zack Snyder has never made a movie I love. Watchmen was okay, and even Man Of Steel I enjoyed well enough, but that’s the closest I’ve come to the enjoyment. Since it was announced that he would be building up this world and forging its future, I’ve been nervous. This movie feels like too much to handle; It’s a foundation to build something on, but it’s an incredibly weak and messy foundation that could crumble once the tide rolls in. Marvel had the benefit of starting with a compact solid Iron Man movie that had tiny strings tied to a much wider world. Zack Snyder is trying to start with a bloated mess of something that could’ve been cool if it were chopped down and re-edited. Going big out the gate takes a risk in kick starting this world since DC is now ten years behind Marvel. And I think they have the wrong captain aboard the ship.
There is a line on the horizon. It isn’t all bad even though most critics would disagree there is something to build on here. So let’s take the plot and script out of it and just talk about moments. Because BvS has some good moments. Flash is seemingly traveling back in time to warn Bruce about the impending doom that would come if Lois were to die. I’ll be honest I couldn’t hear all that he was saying, but it proved to be a fresh moment that I didn’t see coming. Two of the three Justice League Cameos were also cool. Watching Dr. Stone work on his son trying to figure out how to save him was interesting, and we got our first look at a Mother box from Apokolips. My favorite of the three was getting a good look at Ezra Miller as the Flash saving a convenient store clerk from a mugging. And the most stupid of them all was Aquaman taking a selfie or something with some underwater robot. As I mentioned, previously some of Batman’s fight scenes are great. So while I’d pay good money to see Batman set in the Mad Max world, duster and all. The dream sequences fell a bit flat.
Overall I’m bummed. I’m not Angry because I can just read a comic or watch the animated series to find what I’m looking for, but ultimately it’s a missed opportunity. This could and should have given me goose bumps like when I saw the Avengers assemble for the first time or when I watch Spider-man swing from buildings. But instead, I’m left with an empty hole in my heart which is actually worse than hating it. Because at least if I hated it, I would’ve felt something in the first place.