Most Superhero Movies are Fun, But Not Batman vs. Superman
I always believed the point of superhero movies was to send a message of hope. The great importance of the heroes isn’t only what they do, but what they stand for. They present the idea that one person really can make a difference, that goodness can exist in the world if we all do our part. We don’t all have to be Superman or Batman, but we all need to follow their example to stand for what is right. We all need to stand for good.
I didn’t feel any of that after watching Batman vs. Superman. I felt the opposite — hopeless. The movie robbed me of my optimism. The movie darkened my outlook on life. It was bleak. But before I delve into that too much and depress myself all over again I want to present something else I took away from the movie…
Batman vs. Superman illustrates the dangers of millionaire millennial geniuses and their unpredictable, uncontainable exploits. This is one off the wall thought that I considered momentarily before laughing and dismissing entirely. I do not imagine that is what Zack Snyder had in mind. Whether he intended this or not, the movie is undeniably promotive of funerals. As other film watchers have already noted, it also places an emphasis on coffins. It’s a very pro coffin film. The story begins and ends at different funerals with different coffins. Where there is death, there are funerals and coffins. Snyder clearly wants to endorse the coffins. Don’t argue with me on this. I’m right.
The rest of the movie (i.e. the parts between the funerals) doesn’t change much in tone. It’s gloom and doom. It’s Zack Snyder doing Zack Snyder stuff. Batman vs Superman is essentially exactly what you expect it to be. If that’s your taste, cut off a slice and chow down. You’ll love it. If you’re one that prefers movies that offer a little sprinkle of a spice called fun, you may want to steer clear. Personally my tongue and I fall into the latter camp.
How can I like a movie that gave me absolutely no joy? It’s ponderous. It’s dull. The characters wore me out like JJ Watt wears out blockers (note to anyone living in a bubble containing only comic book material: JJ Watt is football player from a league called the NFL). Through its 2.5 hour run time, the movie somehow manages to feel rushed, yet laggy and littered with empty scenes. It’s almost impressive if you think about it.
In a more personal realm of analysis, the movie failed to connect with me on a level of preference. I disagreed with oh so many choices: Batman is psychotic killer who tries to kill Superman even though his only reason for doing so is flimsier than a car antenna. Bundy had better reasons for killing, or at least more interesting reasons. (Batman was afraid, that’s why he tried to kill him. Yes, really, that’s it. I know, it’s lame, right?). Then suddenly in the moment before the murder, Batman changes his mind because their moms happened to have the same name? Get real. I rolled my eyes so hard the force nearly knocked me out of my chair.
Moving on, I cannot comprehend the rationale behind the forced and inappropriately timed romance scenes. If my friends and I and everyone in the city were all in imminent danger of being brutally killed by a giant monster, I wouldn’t stop to smooch and chat with my girlfriend. I didn’t understand why Superman did that. I also didn’t quite understand Lex Luthor, but maybe that was sort of the point. He’s complex and zany. I can live with that one.
I don’t want to present the notion that I hated the entire movie. Not true. Certain moments reeled me in. My favorite element of movie, by far, was Wonderwoman.
Wonderwoman rocks. Even her theme music, which is so absurdly disparate from the rest of the music that it’s laughable, somehow still worked for me. Probably because the sound let me have fun for a second.
The girl was totally badass. She was battling for her life against this abominable beast and she stopped to smile. Then I smiled. She had fun in that scene so I did too. She also managed to be likable as a person and as Wonderwoman, a critical foundation to establish in anticipation of her solo movie. In her own movie she needs audiences to care about both Wonderwoman and Diana Prince. I see now that shouldn’t be a problem.
That’s the silver lining of this whole experience. Even if you didn’t care for this particular movie, you know there will be others, and the others look ripe with potential. Aquaman looks like a mysterious beast with an intriguing backstory. Flash and Cyborg look equally intriguing, even if they’re slightly less beastly. And I’ve already mentioned the enchanting Wonderwoman.
I’m looking forward to the future of D.C. comic movies. Hope is restored.