Monday, April 11, 2016
A Review of Batman V Superman By Scud Farkas Jr. Before discussing the film at hand, I have to delve into its precursor a little, namely the movie Man of Steel in which the Henry Cavil take on the Superman character is introduced. I believe that film (and Batman V Superman) revolves around two central questions: What would superheroes really be like in our world today, and how would that world really receive such heroes? The answer given in Man of Steel is that largely no matter what kind of saint that hero tried to be, with that much power he or she would be viewed with a modicum of suspicion and mistrust. If it seems like I’m getting a bit too philosophical right off the bat about a movie that deals largely with men in tights (or power armor, as the case may be) then I think you and I will agree with one of the fundamental flaws in these films: they’re taking themselves just a bit too seriously. This is not to say that significant issues fundamental to the human condition can never be examined in a super hero film, or that they can’t be cynical or dark and brooding. But when I see a superhero film, I have some expectation that said hero, who is empowered with laser beam eyes, super speed, and the ability to punch through brick walls like they’re made of paper mache is going to spend more than a small portion of the film solving problems by punching things and shooting them with laser beam eyes. And if you title a movie Batman V Superman I am going to expect more than approximately 10 total minutes of the film where the title characters beat the stuffing out each other. I wanted more of an epic fight. Issue number two I had with the film: I think they’re trying to do too much in one film. DC is setting up the franchaise for a superhero extravaganza in the form of a Justice League film, and Bats Vs Supes is the wind up for that series. In this film, they’re introducing a number of heroes for the very first time, including Batman. Only Superman has been established from the onset of the current film. Even Batman is a newbie, with a take on him unlike any I’ve seen. He’s even darker than the Christian Bale interpretation. This is a Batman who is no above using guns, even killing his enemies with maximum force. And that could be okay, if we’d been set up from the beginning to accept that kind of Batman. But to attempt to combine a Batman origin story (for this is only one of the things packed into the story at large), introduce Wonder Woman as well, set the stage for 3 other possible heroes in wings, and on top of that come up with a plausible explanation why Bats and Supes would fight in the first place? I think all these things could have been done, but not in a single film. The resulting film is a porridge of themes that turns cold before the first bite. Compare this approach to the film Justice League is doubtless trying to emulate, at least in box office returns: the multi billion dollar Avengers films. Each hero had their own origin and a tight, self-contained story line in separate films complete with crossover guest appearances and stingers after the credits rolled. Bats Vs Supes could have been a great film, if it had been given enough time to develop and gestate. One film was not enough time. That being said, I had to see it. My dad’s been seeing these things with me since Christopher Reeve first donned the tights in the 70’s, and I pretty much learned to read on my dad’s old comic books. They’ll keep making them, and I’ll keep watching, hoping for that spark of wonder I felt when I first read the promo: “You will believe a man can fly.” See Bats Vs Supes in the theater if, like me, you must. Wait for it to come out on Netflix if you’re more patient and try to piece together the two or three good films that might have been with a bit more thought and planning.