A lot of my friends have asked me my opinion on the recent Batman v Superman movie. Not only because I’m a huge Superman fan, but also because I’ve argued the case so many times that people think I’m obsessed. In this article I’m going to explain why I don’t mind that Batman won in Batman v Superman.
Batman v Superman does not represent Superman. While Henry Cavill suits the role better than almost any man I have ever seen, the character he is playing is not in fact Superman. For some reason all of the purity and joy of the entity I love has be drained, leaving a shell of a man with very little in common with the icon that we have all known.
Superman is a character of purity, he represents what we should all strive to be. He does good for the sake of good, he saves others because he can, and he doesn’t do what he thinks is right but what he knows is right. There is no doubt in his actions. Batman v Superman does its best to make him a brooding emo with daddy issues. This is not Superman! He was raised with morals, he was raised with confidence and he was raised with an internal compass that points true. While yes mankind would worship him as a God he would constantly deny such claims openly. He does not consider himself above humans no matter how powerful he is. The departure from this long standing character development is the reason that I don’t mind Batman V Superman. You could replace the name Superman with Supreme, Mr. Majestic, Hyperion, or even Gladiator and the story would make complete sense as none of those characters are designed to inspire hope, they are designed to rip off Superman’s power.
I don’t blame Henry Cavill for this character development, I truly believe he has done a fantastic job. I blame writers and producers that obviously do not understand the character.
David S. Goyer has a track record that is hit and miss at best. The man wrote The Dark Knight, but he also wrote the screenplay for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, as well as Blade: Trinity in which he also directed. This movie ended the franchise on a horrible note. Goyer was teamed with Chris Terrio who wrote the Screenplay for Argo, which he won an Oscar for was actually fantastic. Still I don’t know what his attachment to Superman was but it obviously wasn’t the same as mine.
Let me point out that I am not stating that these writers (who have accomplished more that I could ever dream of) are hacks. I’m saying they don’t know the characters, or they allowed Zack Snyder to convince them that he was making a wonderful film. I don’t know who thought that Snyder’s accomplishment with 300 outweighed the horror that was Watchmen and Sucker Punch.
I do know that his skills at stretching a budget might single handily be killing any chance the DC Universe has at making a movie that is successful without the direction of Christopher Nolan. Maybe Suicide Squad might change my opinion, but who knows.
On the other side of the coin, Batman is no longer Batman either. Now he kills, now he isn’t nearly the genius he should be and now he’s a bitter man afraid of something more powerful than himself. Batman has always been a character that has been poorly portrayed mentally in movies. His IQ is supposed to be up there with Lex Luthors but for some reason he always seems like the high school jock that got better grades than you would have expected. In the Dark Knight his one rule was that he didn’t kill and yet in Batman V Superman he slays so many henchman that really the government should have asked Superman to arrest him.
The only character even close to being properly portrayed in the move was Wonder Woman. I smile every time I see the grin on WW’s face as she battles Doomsday. The character loves combat, and she’s getting it. Doomsday looks the part (kind of). He’s huge with bone spurs. His energy absorbing powers are new, stupid and unneeded. To describe how idiotic it is that the writers felt it was necessary to change Doomsdays abilities will take me a while, instead I will say this.
The reason Doomsday was amazing in the comics is that he was the first character to literally beat Superman to death. He battled the most powerful being on the planet to a tie. I am a huge fan, especially after Dan Jurgens wrote Doomsdays back story in the Hunter & Prey mini-series.
The reason DC is getting its ass kicked by Marvel is that Marvel is finding the core of the characters and sticking to them, Captain America is just, Thor is mighty, and Iron Man is cocky. Even Spider-Man was portrayed better in Civil War than ever before, constantly talking and demonstrating just how dangerous he is against Winter Soldier and Falcon. Marvel knows that while they might modify some storylines, in the long run by staying true to the essence of the characters they stay true to their fans. DC seems to believe that they know best and that their writers and directors should have control over their characters. If you took Batman v Superman and renamed it Squadron Supreme I would have thought it was a pretty good movie, in fact the next time I watch it I’m going to imagine Superman as Hyperion, Batman as Nighthawk, and Wonder Woman as Power Princess, I’m certain it will make as much sense as a movie, if not more.
Here’s the overall point. Batman v Superman is horrible, it’s horrible because there is no joy to the movie, and it’s horrible because the writers and directors don’t care about the characters. It’s not horrible for the acting, and the effects are top notch. It’s acceptable that Batman wins because nothing else makes sense in the movie, so why should this.