Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) DEUX YOU BLEED?

All non-Nolan related film, tv, and streaming discussions.
User avatar
Posts: 54581
Joined: May 2010
Location: Arrakis
'Honey, I Shrank The Kids' > BvS:DoJ(UC)

User avatar
Posts: 13591
Joined: May 2010
Location: Mumbai
no contest there

User avatar
Posts: 12728
Joined: February 2011
I don't think I can ever understand how the film's haters so easily deny any of its merits and act as if it's something along the lines of Scorpion King III, nor can I see how the film's admirers ignore the massive problems that are woven into its structure from top to bottom.

I guess people are just generally attracted to extreme feelings. Between Batman & Robin and The Dark Knight, there must be a middle ground somewhere.£

User avatar
Posts: 54581
Joined: May 2010
Location: Arrakis
Master Virgo wrote:I don't think I can ever understand how the film's haters so easily deny any of its merits and act as if it's something along the lines of Scorpion King III, nor can I see how the film's admirers ignore the massive problems that are woven into its structure from top to bottom.

I guess people are just generally attracted to extreme feelings. Between Batman & Robin and The Dark Knight, there must be a middle ground somewhere.£
Film's structure was largely 'fixed' when WB decided to finally release the original cut, Africa scenes being the prime example. However, even though I'm an admirer it's hard to feel good about at least three aspects: Knightmare, JL tease right before the battle and three hour length, which is hardcore for G.A. There should be some objectivity even among the hardcore groups on both sides, which is why I disapproved how some of the members from the opposite spectrum here reacted to this movie. The rest I agree with as well since that's how I feel about most disappointing movies throughout the year... rarely any on B&R level since I really don't have the time, or courage, to watch Big Momma's House 3, Norbit, Sharknado sequel or whatever the fuck... The worst movie this year for me was Suicide Squad, followed by X-Men: Apocalypse. None of those movies are B&R bad though. I think in the last decade only Spider-Man 3 was that bad for me, talking purely from my theatrical, wallet experiences.

User avatar
Posts: 19175
Joined: June 2010
Location: The White City
Master Virgo wrote:I don't think I can ever understand how the film's haters so easily deny any of its merits
I've been very open about what I think the movie does right, but this is really easy to answer but it's sorta long so hang with me.

The BVS conception of Batman is intentionally controvertial and intentionally abrasive and intentionally unlikable and intentionally radicalized all to the point that a lot of fans—certainly among critics and just about every single person I know in person and online—felt like Snyder's version of Batman was an enormous FUCK YOU. Batman's not just a killer but an unapolegetic one, a man who sees Superman, a character who are sympathies should be with given Man of Steel, as nothing more than an overblown nuclear threat. He's angry and unethical. It takes all the truly negative aspects of Batman's character and dials them up to 12 while dialing everything else down. His moral code is out the window.

As I have stated, I like this idea conceptually, and I see nothing wrong with bold iterations of familiar characters and stories. But when this is on screen, Snyder's Batman is coded not as an 'iteration" but instead as THE Batman. And what exasperbates the problem is that this is our introduction to the character. It would be one thing if we meet a "normal" background so we have a basepoint for this version, and then we have—gasp—character development INTO the murderous version in need of Superman's redemption. So we have absolutely no emotional investment in the character to give us conflict about this presentation. So in essence, Snyder gives us no reasons to like him as a character.

I realize most fans liked Batman more than Superman, I certainly did, but the fact that of the two of them Batman is the easier to root for just shows how poorly characterized Superman is. Once again, by subverting a familiar character archetype completely, one who's presentation in tone in the past has always been about pure optimism and A Man Can Do What a Man Can Do, embodying classic Americana good will and triumph, and making him a dour, joyless, unhappy husk who's completely existentially lost, well, wowza.

Now we have not one but TWO characters who are actively abrasive to people's conceptions of both characters. And because we can't be invested in them, we can't be invested in the ridiculously stupid Lex plot, we can't be invested in the big BVS battle, we can't be invested during the third act "sacrifice", and we can't be invested for Bruce's redemption. We can't really be invested in anything. So what you're left with is this kind of boring, meandering, soulless movie about a couple people you not only don't care about, which is a huge problem to itself, but that you find actively abrasive to the point of feeling assaulted. Or, as if Snyder's just saying... FUCK YOU.

Based on the dozens of reviews I've read, the many message boards I've perused, the many fellow critics I've talked with, the many friends who've wanted to discuss the movie with me, the many angry people on Reddit, Twitter, the many almost offended angry people who posted about BVS on Facebook: so just about everybody that I know who has to do with film, I really think this is more or less what happened. Now for me personally? I think this is, in theory anyway, a novel approach. I think the ultimate humanization of Batman and Superman this way is extremely compelling, and with the right approach could have been both something special cinematically but also something satisfactory to most film fans. I think the main fuck up was a lack of compelling characterization to begin with. We need to already be incredbily invested in BOTH of these guys pre-BVS for these darker, existentially despairing figures to reveal their hearts to us. And MoS clearly didn't do that for Superman for most people, and there's nada for Batman to work with. I think we needed a more uplifting MoS 2 + The Batman with a more conventional iteration before we worked up to BVS.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents.


-Vader

User avatar
Posts: 54581
Joined: May 2010
Location: Arrakis
Fair enough and well said V. I would like to add that my experience with social media reactions is totally opposite though, mainly due to my precise and deliberate isolation to negative factors (thank you NF circa March '16), so I'm basically surrounded with family and close friends who like or even love the movie and spend some of my online time on reddit/reading tweets from people who are generally favorable to BvS.

However, no matter where you (as in each and every one of you) stand right now, one thing should be clear for all of us: both Wondie and JL have to be no-brainer hits for the majority. I like to believe that can be achieved without sacrificing the artistic integrity, boldness so to speak.

User avatar
Posts: 5435
Joined: June 2012
Location: Free
I also think timing played a part in how poor the characterization was conveyed. In Batman Begins we see a somewhat similarily "broken" Bruce at the beginning, when he's willing to murder Chill in cold blood. This was Bruce at his worst, the lowest (morally) he's been in life. But Nolan uses it as the starting point of his journey, a journey that takes years, so that by the point he actually becomes Batman he's learned a lot and you can sympathize with him better. BVS Bruce's "redemption" is left "on hold" for future movies, because immediately about the realization he's been at his lowest (the "Martha" scene) the movie needs its plot to keep moving, so it was always difficult to properly buy it.

And while I liked Superman's confusion, I think the overall theme became somewhat muddled in the Luthor plot.

I agree the editing problems were (mostly, things like Knightmare excluded) the studios fault. My opinion of the movie improved after watching the UC.

User avatar
Posts: 19799
Joined: June 2012
big spoilers for BvS
I'd like to add that people have a basic understanding who Batman is. Nolan has shown us Batman from the beginning to his own conveyed ending. And it's fantastic. In this universe they had to introduce people to another incarnation of Batman. He had to be able to exist in this world set up in Man of Steel, wherein Superman's place in the world was handled rather well and to an extent realistically so. I must say I'm not surprised we got this very hard/rugged version of Batman. That the film began with his origine has multiple functions as well. At first, they show us the origin of their Batman and it helps later in the film to reconcile Batman and Superman, that being Batman seeing the humanity in Superman only when he was able to reflect it on himself. Another function is that the direct scene after the prologue we see our first sequence of this incarnation of Batman operating in the same world as Man of Steel. It's basically a second origin but it sets him on the completely wrong thread. Then at the very end of the film, when Superman sacrifices himself, it's a turning back to basis for Batman. His eyes are opened and he returns to being the Batman we are more familiar with. However, since it was the end of the film, we don't get to see much of that. It's up to JL to show us that Batman, just with their backstory.

What I'm trying to say is that it seems like they trusted the audience in knowing who Batman is, and this Batman has been around for two decades already (stated in the film as well) he hit rock bottom, was at his most cynical and thus so sees Superman as a huge threat to humanity (black zero event etc). They had their own spin on it but I recognize that it's still a tough introduction to this new incarnation of him on film. Just shy of four years after we got to conclusion to Nolan's incarnation.

I also think that Superman will become the Superman we're more familiar with in Justice League. They decided to build him from his very first (lol literally) moment on. I really dig this more fractured, human and to some extent relatable Clark. I think him coming back from the grave and seeing that others are willing to follow him (the league especially) gives him more confidence and hope in the Earth. Even more so when he finally accepted Earth as his world.

Posts: 7738
Joined: February 2012
Location: Boston, Taxachusetts.
Master Virgo wrote:I don't think I can ever understand how the film's haters so easily deny any of its merits and act as if it's something along the lines of Scorpion King III, nor can I see how the film's admirers ignore the massive problems that are woven into its structure from top to bottom.

I guess people are just generally attracted to extreme feelings. Between Batman & Robin and The Dark Knight, there must be a middle ground somewhere.£
I have not yet seen this ultimate edition, but for the theatrical version I don't think it's worse or even as bad as crap like Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, or Catwoman. I don't think it's fair to put it on that level. Nonetheless I do think it's a disjointed and convoluted mess with perhaps some but few redeeming qualities, and I don't think history will remember it too kindly.

Posts: 3728
Joined: June 2011
I feel like they started on the wrong foot. More thought should have been put into Man of Steel. There are some great ideas at its core but a second draft would have been a huge help.

BvS was the wrong sequel plain and simple. It was like they wanted Bale to reprise his role and settled on Affleck because it was easier to sign a deal and better for the brand in the long run (i don't care what they say i believe this is what happened). Instead we have zero investment in this Superman/Batman matchup, and why? You're introducing a 45 year old Batman who has a 20 year history that we don't see, and he's pretty damaged right off the bat. He goes on a rampage but returns to his former self by the end of the film. By that point we don't care as much as we could have, if it was Bale or Affleck in his 2nd/3rd time in the suit. You introduce an asshole and then make him nice by the end, so what? You can't expect emotion from people. That's Warner Brothers saying shit like "ahh they know Batman's story, they know BATMAN, they care about him already, so they'll care!". It doesn't work that way. You're starting from scratch and you have to treat it that way. EARN it.

Same with Superman. The first movie had moments where you got behind Clark's struggle. But by the end you don't get the sense that Superman is fully developed just yet. So instead of Man of Steel 2, we jump into the Justice League prologue known as BvS.

Killing off Superman was the WRONG choice. It's not time yet. The end of JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 would have been the appropriate time to pull the trigger on that. Especially since they didn't do the best job with Clark in round 2. He wasn't developed properly (mainly in the theatrical cut that most people saw). The obvious next step after MOS was lighten up Superman, don't make him darker.

BvS has some nice moments i'm not going to lie. But every MAJOR decision was ass backwards including the casting of Luthor, the choice of villain/s, which not only cluttered everything but those choices clash with the tone they were desperately trying to set up.

The film is just there. Good moments here and there but a clusterfuck that doesn't feel like a logical sequel to Superman's origin story nor a good prequel to Justice League (or Suicide Squad for that matter)...because now look at the situation. Are people emotionally invested in the major characters going into the massive Justice League? I can care less about Avengers or most of the films that preceded it but it's clear that fans were pretty attached to the majority of those characters before they sat down to enjoy that movie.

I won't hate like i usually do. Justice League could be better. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, same with Batfleck on his own. But i gotta say, these early Live by Night reviews and the idea of Mr. Joe Deathstroke as the main baddie + Leto hamming it up somewhere...it's so hard to get behind the DCEU in the way i was when Nolan or Burton were making Batman movies. That kinda sucks you know? It's the DCEU. First time ever. This expanded universe should be fun, it should be taken seriously at times, it should be emotional, it should evolve into something greater as the years go on. Maybe they pull it off but jesus Zack, try a little harder next time.

Post Reply