I promised friends a rant re: Superman v Batman so here we go (I hate spoilers, but I’m gonna slightly bend my no spoiler rule, you have been warned).
I went into Superman v Batman with very low expectations – you’ve seen that trailer – I pretty much expected a two-hour fight. That would have been better than that hot mess I saw. No, I lie. It wasn’t a hot mess, it was just a mess. Within 2 minutes of the movie starting I knew I was in for it. Why does every director need to revisit Batman’s origins? At this point, can’t we just move on, get to the story?
It seems to me that superhero movies have one of the easiest story formulas: Good guy vs bad guy – throw in a few skirmishes – end in a big fight. See? Easy. That’s why we go to see them. They aren’t Kramer v Kramer, or All the President’s Men or Sophie’s frelling Choice – they entertain, shit blows up, the end. All DC had to do was follow the formula! It looks like they’ve followed it with The Suicide Squad – but with this movie they decided to get all arty and deep. Somebody decided it was a good idea to make a STATEMENT. To bandy about the merits of superheroes blah blah blah. But after the second act, the STATEMENT just stops – the movie never resolves it, nor does it refer back to it. It just ends. What the fuck? No seriously, what the fuck?
There was just way too much going on. They emptied the file cabinets and added as much Superman lore as possible – complete with Jesus allegory, cause you know, nothing get’s butts in seats like a good Jesus allegory. Then on top of that they smushed in Batman, Wonder Woman and Doomsday (yeah, they’re going exactly where you think they’re going with that). It was just too damn much. There was so much that it made the movie clunky and heavy. Because of the weight, (and the fact that they knew they were asking a hell of a lot from the audience) they needed to breadcrumb us to each clever little connection. Those were cool, but they had to cut too many corners to have it all make sense in a two-hour movie.
What the fuck was up that that weird time travel thing? I don’t even know what to do with that. Was that a Darkseid premonition? If it was, WHY???
When we eventually got to Luthor’s great reveal at the end… what? How does this even happen? I’m not going to reveal it because A. it’s just stupid, and B. if you know the characters, it’s implausible. Which is probably what pisses me off the most. Batman is way too fucking paranoid to let that happen – ever. Superman, while not paranoid to that extent… I’m just not buying it.
Oh and lest I forget, Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. *le heavy sigh* That wasn’t Lex Luthor, that was Joker-lite. He plays the same frigging character in every movie – the mentally unstable, creepy, twitchy, guy – and I’m over it. Why they thought he’d make a good Lex Luthor I’ll never know. At the end of the movie, while alluding to the eventual appearance of Darkseid, he was a raving lunatic – and it felt like a stretch. It took very little to send him over the edge, and I’m sorry but Luthor isn’t that fragile.
Ben Affleck as Batman. He’s ok, I guess? I didn’t love him, I didn’t hate him. I wish there had been more Batman fight scenes – we got a taste and that taste was good. Batman seems to be sliding into Dark Knight territory – he’s way darker than we’ve seen him. I’m not writing Affleck off just yet.
Gal Godot was fabulous as Wonder Woman! Again, because they stuffed too much into the movie, her Diana Prince role was thin and a little wtf? But I loved her as Wonder Woman. Really looking forward to her movie.
I don’t know, I think DC saw the BILLIONS of dollars we were throwing at Marvel and lost all perspective, consumed as they were by envy and arousal at the thought of ALL THAT MONEY. The one part of the formula they got right was one of the best things about the movie: the fight with Doomsday, but by that time I was tired and wanted the movie to be over already.