So I’ve been thinking about Batman V Superman a little bit recently, with the film coming out 2 years ago almost to the day (March 27th 2016), and not to lie, I’ve re-watched the film maybe 5 or 6 times (I have it on DVD as well) and it’s actually gone up in my estimation. Okay so I initially gave it a 6.5/10 in my review for it from last year but it’s definitely grown on me, the score with Junkie XL and the legend that is Hans Zimmer is fantastic and I love the visual aesthetic to it. And in general, while I acknowledge it’s a film that’s still very much polarising to DC and comic book film fans in general, I have the feeling that it’s possibly being seen a bit more favourably to people now and I’ve seen some people who seem to see the film in a better light now after Justice League funnily enough.
Anyway I wanted to go over 3 major points/gripes people seemed to have with it and address them with my views on them, looking back on the film in retrospect with some more recent DCEU entries.
The plot’s confusing and incoherent
This is an easy criticism to throw at any film and saying a film is incoherent has to be one over the most overused descriptors in recent years, very few films are incoherent and the ones that genuinely are, literally do not make sense, I’d cite films like Holy Motors, Only God Forgives as being incoherent but that’s because of their esoteric and deliberately strange style. But to say a film like BvS doesn’t make sense completely takes away from the storytelling and ignores the pretty logical plot points there, we get and understand Batmans origins, having seen it multiple times, we see the fallout from Man of Steel and understand Metropolis got majorly destroyed, including Bruces businesses, hence he’s pissed off and wants to take down the weird alien. Superman is conflicted and unsure of himself, Lex gets them to fight each other because he’s a sociopath but is also planning to use a monster to take out Superman (who he hates), the monster is eventually thwarted but Superman dies in the process, what doesn’t make sense about that?
I mean you could argue that Lex making Doomsday seems a bit stupid, what was his long term plan with it? How could he control it? But this aside, the main story arc of the plot is completely coherent and while there is a lot in there, it’s far from confusing and OK, Bruces’ dream sequence and the Flash scene may be a bit confusing but these 3 points aside, I think the film’s good. Honestly everything else is pretty straightforward, comic book films can’t really afford to be that ‘deep’ as they need to have simple to understand plots that people of all ages can and will go and see and you see this with Marvels formula and to the point plots, same going for DC, so I think Zack Snyder did a decent job.
The motivation for Batman and Superman fighting isn’t strong enough
I touched a bit on this exact thing in the previous point but you completely understand why Bruce Wayne wants to stop Superman and in his current savage state, (the man is branding people… and killing them), I can absolutely see him going all out to try and end Superman once and for all in his rage, despite how short sighted and bad of an idea it is, hell even Alfred tells him its wrong but Bruce is set. Meanwhile Clark is fighting for his mothers life and there aren’t any people more dear to him than Martha and Lois, so of course he’ll do whatever he can to save either of them, if Batman wasn’t going to listen to him and keep fighting, well what else can Superman do? Bruce in his experience with seeing evil and wrongdoing in Gotham and seeing good people / things turn bad can understandably see this God like alien force as something potentially bad which is perfectly logical for him in this universe. Although as fans we couldn’t quite empathise with him because we didn’t want to see two of our most beloved comic book heroes fight – especially fans who viewed this version of Bruce as being vindictive and cruel but for the sake of the plot I think it works.
Lexs’ plan was almost full proof, though he didn’t count on the caped crusaders allying with each other. And actually I think the better criticism of their clash is that it’s not quite long enough and it would have been awesome to see them go at it for a bit longer, though you’d then have fans complaining there’s too much fighting so…. as I’m sure Zack Snyder is well aware of now, you can’t win them all.
There’s too much going on in the story
Ok now this point is a lot more succinct and in some ways, fairly true, breaking things down, I don’t think there’s too much going on in Batman V Superman but there is fair amount plot point wise, with the anti-alien sentiment rising in America against Superman, leading to Batman taking action against him and people trying to frame him for murder, Superman being worshipped in other parts of the world, Lex building Doomsday, Wonder Woman being introduced. Batman being warned about the future by Flash and Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman taking on Doomsday, reading it all in a few sentences, it sounds like a lot but going through it sequentially, it’s really not that busy compared to say The Avengers, a quite fantastic film I might add but also a dense, packed story with a lot of elements to it.
And seriously if you break down the story to its core elements, what you have is growing anti-alien sentiment post the events of Man of Steel driving Batman to fight Superman, with Lex pulling the strings in the background and devising evil things, other things also happen, namely Wonder Woman coming into the fray but the main plot isn’t all that convoluted to be frank, it’s easy to follow but unfortunately gets mired by a few plot threads here and there. This isn’t anything story breaking but I can understand that criticism.
Anyway those are just my thoughts and I’m sure a lot of people haven’t changed their minds on the film but that’s fine, I’d like to encourage critical thinking and to avoid sheep mentalities, think what you want about a film and don’t go with popular opinions, re-watch and re-think films you may have thought you made your mind up on in the past and you may just find your opinion’s changed!