Sunday, March 27, 2016

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice

Disappointing. Very disappointing.

Honestly, the only good part of the movie was Wonder Woman, but I think even she may have been tainted by Snyder's vision of superheroes.

Let me get the comic-fan nitpick out of the way, after all, it's kind of minor. Batman kills. A lot. He tears around Gotham in the Batmobile, taking down LexCorp's armed guards, blowing up cars and flipping them over and generally not giving a damn who he hurts. And in the second of his two fights (far too few), he deliberately kills someone in a scene lifted directly from The Dark Knight Returns (more on which later).

My more serious beef is that the movie kind of sucks.

When my brother and I went to see Deadpool, the trailer for BvS:DoJ came on and I said "I'm gonna see that, but I'm not really invested." When the trailer for Captain America: Civil War came on, "Now that, I'm invested in."

I think that really highlights this movie's failure, the distinction with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The MCU has spent a decade and a dozen films (and half a dozen tv shows) building up their universe and their characters. But BvSDoJ just throws us in and expects us to be okay with it.

Now, throwing the audience into a story, in media res (as the foincy people call it), is a fine technique. And this movie shows us quite well that Batman has been operating in Gotham for twenty years. The problem is that it doesn't actually bring this together well with Clark. Clark being concerned about Batman like it's suddenly a new story just doesn't make sense in that context. All that would have been necessary would have been one line from Perry White: "The bat's been doing his thing for twenty years; Gotham loves him. Shut up and cover a new story, you jackass."

Instead, it seems like Snyder was desperate to build up the tension and make it plausible that Batman and Superman would fight. So Superman is suddenly interested in a 20 year old story and Batman is an easily manipulated ... fool? Coward? Psycho?

And speaking of psychos, fucking Lex Luthor. Instead of being a criminal genius, he's a giggling, mad, child.

PZ Myers let me know that Snyder is a fan of Ayn Rand. Knowing that, a lot of this movie falls into place. Particularly the heavy reliance on Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. Miller's Batman is a psychopathic manchild, and he hates ... pretty much everyone. Oh, the "he" in that sentence refers to Miller and Batman both. For Miller, it seems every city is permanently stuck as Times Square 1983.

A lot of people call TDKR a masterpiece that, along with Alan Moore's Watchmen, brought comics back into maturity and relevance. I disagree. I think it's the prequel to his Sin City, which is "Imagine if millions of people were trapped in Times Square 1983. All the men are violent psychopaths, and all the women are whores".

And this movie lifts scenes and quotes whole-cloth from TDKR. The scene where Batman kills someone (which Batman famously doesn't do), for one, and the entire fight between Batman and Superman (albeit with the addition of a spear tipped in kryptonite), and the bit where Batman randomly starts talking about his parents. That quote comes straight out of TDKR, and makes no sense here.

As Snyder is a Randroid, it starts to make sense that his heroes are violent psychos that don't actually want to help anyone. Superman was perfectly content to stay sequestered from the world and not help anyone until Zod showed up and threatened him. Batman isn't shown fighting criminals; he's focused only on taking down the man he views as a threat. And Wonder Woman, it turns out, pulled a John Galt and retreated from a world that didn't live up to her standards.

A Randian hero is just a jerk who wants to remake the world in his own image, rather than someone who really wants to help. And that's probably why I don't much care for Snyder's heroes.

This movie at least did what Man of Steel utterly failed to do, and prepared us for upcoming movies. I'm just not very excited about them. Whoop de do, Darkseid is coming. Maybe they'll bring in someone other than Snyder.