Read Only if You’ve Seen Movie or Don’t, You’re an Adult, Make Your Own Decisions.
Full disclosure, I am a huge DC fan and Batman in particular, as just a small picture of my work desk above shows. Also, I have loved every Marvel movie with the exception of Thor: The Dark World and can’t wait for the film slate that is on the roster for the future. I say that just to make sure anyone who might want to think I’m anti-Marvel may put that to rest. But the hate for this movie I cannot understand. I can understand if someone had issues with it here and there, they are most likely very valid issues, but to dismiss it out rightly because of this or that is nonsense. Did you just want to hate it no matter what? Are you the type of purist the internet mocks? Could you just not get past someone doing an interpretation that may be unconventional to what you understand the subject to be? Who knows, but, here’s why you’re wrong.
I had the privilege this past weekend to take my gorgeous bride to see Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice for her first time, my second. It was much better the second time around. The reason for that is that I let all the negative impact from fan sites and such cloud my mind so much that I wasn’t just enjoying the experience. This second time around there was none of that, not to mention having a smoking hot lady sitting next to me enjoying it as well helps. This time though, I was more aware of the critiques and since I like to debate and change people’s minds, I instinctively grabbed a pen and paper and started jotting down notes as I watched the film unfold. Many fan/critic critiques are way off and I hope I can tell you why below.
Superman Didn’t Kill/The Africa Blame Game
I have read many complaints saying Superman killed the head terrorist during his rescue of Lois. Granted, if you were not given any more info after seeing Superman slam through a wall, said terrorist in hand, you’d probably think Superman may be a little blood thirsty. Problem is, moments later, when we are with Clark and Lois at their apartment, Clark states he didn’t kill anyone when Lois brings the incident up. If that terrorist was dead, Clark would not say this. Pretty simple, but I would agree that maybe that wasn’t the best way to handle that scene, because lots of the movie going public didn’t catch that, but only saw Superman body slam a dude through a brick wall. But what about the “Africa” incident that has congress calling hearings?
Quick refresh, Superman fought Zod and caused mass destruction. From what we know, no one ever mentions again that Superman was around for more destruction so we are left with the much smaller scale Africa incident. What’s in question at the hearings is not why Superman killed terrorists, (no one thinks he was a trigger happy madman, come on!) but that by Superman showing up, violence broke out causing certain surrounding factions take the violence that seeped into surrounding villages. His heroism incited an event, out of his hands, of violence that brings up the question to the United States government if he is a liability. A liability that could cause future problems that could result in war. Not because he would kill anyone, but his sheer presence would cause people to panic and act out and since he may be seen as “American” he would drag the nation into a conflict. So successful was the Africa incident in making people think like this, it would make people even wonder if Superman had anything to do with the bombing in Congress. This was Luthor’s plan, cause doubt, fear and worry.
The Batman Kills Deal
As for killing, the number is nowhere near as much as those who hated this Batman would have you think. First, the dream sequence doesn’t count…it is a dream. But, let’s talk about it still, like I said before, Superman coming to earth did something to tweak people’s fears and this stoked Batman’s psyche a little bit. In his dream perhaps he acts that way because it is a possible version of him that has been pushed way too far and just tosses aside the no gun rule. This version of Batman could have been through more than he has ever been through before, friends/comrades dying and a Superman who kills at will may just have been the breaking point. We already know, because of a conversation with Alfred, that his fear is getting the best of him and he is becoming more brutal with the criminals. That’s that and it’s a dream so shouldn’t count. But what about the other dead guys by his “hand”?
I will try to do this chronologically from memory so stay with me. Lots of hubbub has been made about the car chase scene. First, the car Batman snags and then drags around for a bit was empty. When he unleashes it on a stopped car full of bad guys, it lands on the trunk and you could believe that no one was killed there but walked away pretty messed up. His doing this was to incapacitate other cars full of baddies. Along the way, one of the villain’s cars crashes into a semi, not because Batman made it, but because the driver wasn’t paying attention. An SUV opens fire on the Batmobile and Batman does shoot back, at the bottom of the car for the tires to once again incapacitate, but it did blow up and most likely someone died there, so, you got me on that one. So, at least two dead there by not aiming properly perhaps?
Moving onto later in the film, Batman opens fire on a set of bad guys with more car roof mounted guns and he shoots, just like Batman in the 1989 version shot at Joker, aiming at the ground as he flew by. He hits the first car causing a chain reaction that probably kills five to six baddies. I’m going to give that one too you also, but didn’t bother me, these guys were trying to kill him.
One last supposed kill was in the warehouse fight scene where a guy stabs Batman, only for Batman to remove knife and then kill the same bad guy with it. Except, that’s not what happens. Batman pins the dude to the wall and we see that he is clearly alive, grabbing for the knife in the very next shot. So, no outright vengeful murder there. And that’s it, just like Snyder was saying, Batman’s kills were incidental to him trying to incapacitate or stop someone. He did pull the trigger, so he is responsible, but he wasn’t out and out murdering people left and right and the final death toll would have been less than ten and not the crazy amount some critics are setting at his feet. Also, why is this a big deal? This is a another version of Batman, like the silver age or golden age or New 52 or Elseworld or Year One or Tim Burton versions are.
Batman’s Not the Greatest Detective
The critiques that Batman was a horrible detective in this film don’t make sense to me. I’ve read or heard things from “he should have known right away the white Portuguese wasn’t a person” to “he relies too heavily on his computer.” The film I saw he was probably the best version of the greatest detective in the world we have seen on screen so far. Let’s break it down. He hears about the white Portuguese who he perceives is a person capable of bringing a dirty bomb to Gotham. So he goes searching for info on who that is. From investigating and snatching info in a fight club, to following the information to Luthor’s house to download more information, decrypt and find out that it’s not a person but a boat carrying something. That something actually is a weapon. A weapon he tracks to where it a specific shipping dock and then from there, where it went, etc. All using smarts and computers and all sorts of Batmany stuff like he does in the comics. How’s that not a good detective?
More to Lex Luthor than you Thought
This is definitely a different Lex Luthor than most fans are used to. Gone is the suave, calm and calculating mastermind and in its place is a young entrepreneur who has a lot of hate in his heart. But, why does he hate Superman? Critics online and elsewhere have said they have no idea but it is very clear in the film when you listen to his dialogue. He is one screwed up guy who was made that way by a father who psychologically and physically tormented him (my wife even said she got the impression that maybe he sexually tormented him as well). Who does he blames? God. He says, “I figured way back if God is all-powerful, He cannot be all good. And if He is all good, then He cannot be all-powerful.” Through his torment growing up, he has a hatred for God. And we have heard this argument before. If God is all good, then there should be no evil and if he is all powerful and doesn’t stop all evil, then He is not good. Through that hatred of God he has no outlet…until Superman arrives. A god from the sky has come down for him to destroy and by doing so, pay back God for his miserable existence. He wants to kill God, which is why he hates Superman.
Next let’s take a quick look at how loony he seems to be as the film unravels. During the second viewing it made more sense and I’m hoping that it will be explored more in the ultimate cut coming out in a few months. We first meet Lex and he is not as creepy and weird as we see him later to be. Yeah, he tells weird stories and even has a tick or two when he meets with the Senators, but it all starts to unravel when he starts to mess with Kyptonian tech and then enters the crashed ship. We see a short montage of him doing experiments and soon after we hear his rambling speech at his party. I would think the tech has messed with him a bit and as well as being overwhelmingly excited about what he is going to be able to do with it and he doesn’t know how to process it. Then when he has entered the ship and knows what he can do, he is like a giddy child who is super excited but can’t seem to form complete thoughts on what he may be able to do. Then, if you watched the deleted scene that came out days after the film’s release and remember the jail scene with Batman, the guy has almost completely lost it. Rambling and stuttering, no longer excited like before but perhaps scared, still unable to form complete thoughts or sentences.
How did Superman lift that Kryptonite spear and still be able to wield it?
After taking a few seconds to think about it, it should be clear why he was able to do it. Super adrenaline makes perfect sense, at least to me. You know the stories. A mom has her child underneath a car and because of his screams and her fear she is able to lift the car easily, which should be impossible. Superman is in a huge fight and, assuming he has something like adrenaline, it must be pumping him up in spades. Seems simple enough.
If it makes you happy, there is one thing you are right about in the film. That Flash scene sucked as did the way they introduced the rest of the future Justice League. So, you’re welcome.
If I missed anything that anyone would like me to explore further on why they hated this film, let me know in the comments or email me. I would challenge you though, fan who hated the film, give this film a second shot thinking about the above as well as going in with the expressed desire to just enjoy a summer blockbuster. Go while its in theaters or whenever it comes to your home, I think you might start to like it.
Sidenote: Congrats to me for my longest post yet…