Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice just came out. Before I start talking about the film itself, I have to present my bias. I am a huge Batman fan but I really did not like the Christopher Nolan Batman movies. I thought they were too action oriented with no real plot of story. In those movies, Batman wasn’t really a detective; he was just a guy in a mask fighting bad guys in a blur of action. I also did not like Man of Steel. I thought Superman was boring and unheroic. He didn’t seem to care about anyone and again the movie was all action and no story.
After seeing the trailers of Dawn of Justice, I was less than impressed. To me, this movie was a trap I had to walk into. I knew it was going to suck, but I just had to see it anyway because I love Batman and am sometimes a fan of Superman. Unlike many other people, I was not overly concerned about Ben Afflack as Batman. I didn’t think Michael Keaton would be a good Batman and yet aside from Kevin Conroy, he was the best Batman.
Given all that, I actually really loved this movie and this is why… oh, it goes without saying that if you haven’t watched the movie yet and are worried about spoilers, stop reading this blog post right now! I am going to talk about the movie and I can’t do that without spoilers.
Batman was awesome. He was the middle ground between the Batman from The Animated Series and Batman Beyond. Yes, we do get to see his fucking origin story again and that was boring, but it serves to highlight Batman’s focus on human life and his dramatic change of heart when dealing with Superman so I will allow it.
Bruce Wayne just happens to be in Metropolis during the time of Man of Steel. He is racing to Wayne Financial to help his employees who he considers family. The car chase through the toppling buildings was a typical action sequence and in an action movie those things are to be expected. It didn’t really do anything for me, but whatever. Bruce helps to pull a steel beam off of a wounded employee. It is later revealed that he is also sending that worker money in regular intervals because Mr. Wayne is a nice guy who cares about his employees. He also saves a little girl and discovers that she was just orphaned by Superman and Zod fighting each other. This is what has pushed Batman over the edge in his hatred for Superman.
As an orphan himself, he really feels this girl’s pain. These “aliens” came here and orphaned this girl, crippled this employee, and killed countless others. Superman has the power to destroy the world and if there is just a one percent chance he would do it, we should take it as a certainty that he would do it. That is of course Batman’s logic for much of the film. Batman is driven to find a way to defeat Superman to protect the planet because he really does care. This he believes is his purpose in life. Criminals are like weeds; he has taken down countless of them and there are always more, but there is only one Superman and only Batman can take him down.
In order to take Superman down, Batman uses his investigative skills and his vast arsenal of toys to track down Kryptonite. He discovers that Lex Luthor is bringing into the country illegally and Batman means to steal it. This involves another action sequence on the road… this time with the Batmobile. I have heard that some critics didn’t like that Batman had guns on the Batmobile. But that wasn’t a problem for me because every fucking Batmobile has had weapons mounted on it in every other fucking incarnation of Batman. Even Adam West’s Batmobile had a Bat-laser on it. Batman’s issue is with shooting people, not shooting other cars or planes or anything else. So yeah, a lot of cars crashed and got blown up, but Batman didn’t actually shoot anyone directly in this car chase.
The Bat Branding was a little extreme, but this is a more grizzled Batman who has been fighting bad guys for a while. Again he still wasn’t killing people.
As Bruce Wayne, the film was able to capture his playboy persona and yet keep him grounded as capable. His conversation with Clark Kent bothered me in the trailer, but in its full context was actually pretty good. “The Daily Planet, do I own that one?” That followed by his substantive take down of the Planet’s hypocrisy of “puff pieces” about Superman was great. One thing that bothered me about that scene though was that it wasn’t clear at that time if Lex actually knew who these two people really were. It sounded like he did, but they didn’t really get into it and that was disappointing.
Clark was also very good at being a reporter who cared about his work. He wasn’t the bumbling buffoon of the old days. Diana Prince was also pretty awesome. The fancy dresses they put her in were exotic and gave her a commanding presence even when she wasn’t suited up. I also love how we see her use her Magic Lasso against Doomsday, but there wasn’t really any conversation about it. It was understated and that was really the best way to play it. Too much discussion about it would have made it stupid by unhitching it from reality. They can go into its origin and power more in the stand alone movie.
I love how Batman used his Bat-tracker to hunt down the Kryptonite and how he left his Batarang as a fuck you to Luthor. I loved how we got to see Batman train for his fight with Superman and how we got to see him weaponized the Kryptonite. I love how he planned out the fight with a trap and how he had the Kryptonite Spear in a prearranged position. He was ready for this fight the way I would expect Batman to be ready for a fight with Superman.
Okay, let’s get into it. The Batman/Superman fight was awesome! Batman vs. Superman, who would win? Batman! I never really realized that Batman’s mother and Superman’s mother shared the same first name. That was really interesting and really played well here. Up until this point in the movie, Batman viewed Superman as “the alien.” But at this moment, when he was ready to kill Superman, he was reminded of his parents. He was reminded that Superman has parents too. Superman would be an orphan and killing Superman would violate his code of not killing. All of this came to the surface in an instant. Superman wasn’t just an alien or a god, but rather he was a human being with a mother and a girlfriend who loved him. That’s Batman!
Batman’s fight against those holding Martha Kent was awesome. It was action packed, but it was strategic. Batman came in a floor below and at one point went through the wall. He stayed in the shadows as Batman does and used his martial art skills and gadgets to take down the bad guys. He did not shoot anyone. The bad guys shoot and he moved their arms to hit each other. Did anyone die? That is open to interpretation. I can’t remember seeing anyone clearly dying, but I might have missed something.
I did think it was a mistake for Batman to lure Doomsday back to Gotham to retrieve the spear. I don’t know why Batman couldn’t have gone to Gotham to get the spear and then return to the deserted island with it. Luring Doomsday to Gotham seemed like a mistake even though Batman mentioned that it was a deserted area of Gotham. Too close to a heavily populated area for my tastes. But I guess I’ll allow it.
What I didn’t like about this movie was the stupid dream sequences. Cut all that shit out. I guess they are trying to set up Darkseid, but I don’t know who that dude was in the Boomtube telling Batman that Superman was evil. It was confusing and didn’t really add to the film.
Ultimately, this was a story about Batman seeing Superman as “other” and then coming to terms with him as one of us. It is the Dick Cheney story if Dick Cheney learned the error of his ways. The whole movie leads up to Batman’s choice to kill Superman or not. It is a human story with heroes and villains. On the Superman side, it is a story about unchecked power. Is Superman… or Batman for that matter, above the law? This is a theme I think we will see more of in the next Justice League movie when I assume the Government will have to put a check on the Justice League’s power.
Nothing after the credits! I was curious to see if they would start up the four Supermen storyline after the credits or maybe a scene on Apocalypse. Nothing! Still, I thought this was a great movie and I really enjoyed it. I don’t know why people hated it and so far the negative reviews I have seen and read seem like the reviewers weren’t paying attention to the film they were watching. Why was Batman chasing those bad guys? Batman was shooting people with guns the whole time. It was just a fight between Batman and Superman for two and a half hours. Why didn’t Batman just kill Superman? – Were these assholes even watching the same movie?