Batman vs Superman and the Glowing Green Rock

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No spoilers. The only details discussed here are seen in the previews.

I had never attended a midnight premiere, but as my kids and I have become DC comics fans after a year of playing their role playing game, DC Adventures, we bought the tickets online a few days ago and stood in line at 11:15 last night, along with perhaps 100 other people.

They don’t have school today, but I have work, so the question is: Was it worth it?

I find I have to give the lawyer’s answer: It depends.

I loved Batman’s nightmares. Those were the best parts of the film.

I loathed how the director, Zach Snyder, combined the plots of two major comic series — Dark Knight and Doomsday — into one story with Lex Luthor as the integrating antagonist. That was even more of a Frankenstein’s monster than the creature Lex hobbles together to beat up the heroes.

I loved how the problems of Superman as Jesus figure are discussed plainly.

I loathed how Superman is blamed for things that no one would blame Superman for. There was plenty to work with in the 9/11-esque destruction of high rises during his boss fight with General Zod. The additional stuff was silly.

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Batman vs Superman is like the 1981 cult classic, Heavy Metal. There are a lot of cool scenes, but it doesn’t hang together as a coherent movie, even with the glowing green rock.

The upcoming Justice League series has potential. My worry is, the first two JL films are going to be directed by the same guy. He’s made good movies. Dawn of the Dead (2004) and Watchmen (2009) were excellent. But 300 (2007) is just a music video with abs and spears, and Man of Steel (2014) was watchable, but not very fun.

In Snyder’s defense, he’s having to deal with an era when movies have to market their own sequels. That can make things weird. If he’d had the discipline, or been allowed the discipline, to make Batman vs Superman one story, it could have worked. The original Dark Knight comic series from 1986, where Superman is flag-waving muscle for the Reagan Administration and Batman is an angry libertarian who beats the crap out of Superman as an act of political protest, is excellent. The Doomsday comic series (1993) is just a snuff film about a big monster that beats Superman to death, so you can guess which story I would focus on.

What I saw late last night was half of two plots held together by Lex Luthor, who had nothing to do with either story in original form, with several ads for upcoming films involving various DC heroes, and a little Wonder Woman thrown in for fun.

That was worth seeing, as a Sunday matinee, with no lines.

At midnight, full price? Nah.

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3 thoughts on “Batman vs Superman and the Glowing Green Rock”

  1. I’m very apprehensive about this movie. I’ve expected it to be really good or crap… leaning towards the crap based on all the buzz.

    I’m a big fan of the Frank Miller Dark Knight comic; with the big fight just part of the overall storyline. I still have my mint first prints in acid free baggies with backing. 🙂

    I’m not so much a fan of the Doomsday series.

    I still plan to see it when it comes to my local small town theater in a week or so. We’ll see. Fewer and fewer movies impress me in my old age.

  2. >I still have my mint first prints in acid free baggies with backing. 🙂

    You’re way ahead of me. I had a college friend who tried to get me interested in comics when Miller’s stuff came out, but I hadn’t picked up a comic since the 70s (Fantastic Four and Spider-man mostly), and just didn’t care about the medium. I recently watched the three-hour animated Dark Knight two-part movie from 2012 (based on the Frank Miller comics), and loved it.

    I also have enjoyed many of the DC animated shows — Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and especially Young Justice are excellent. My excuse was, I was looking for stories to incorporate into a role playing game, but then I just started enjoying them because they’re good. (The way Young Justice incorporates adolescent issues with superhero father-figures is really clever.)

    >Fewer and fewer movies impress me in my old age.

    You’ve been old since 1980. But I know what you mean. The recent generation of movies has been a lot of wire-fu, special effects, and soundtracks, and not much in terms of story fundamentals. It’s like nobody studies classics anymore. The Greeks taught us this stuff 3,000 years ago. Start your story in the middle (no “Batman Begins” backstory crap).

    I suspect the main issue is that marketing drives movie making, due to the huge amount of money involved. The DC animated stuff shows they can tell good stories. I just wish they could show that talent when the budget is $250 million (Batman vs Superman), and not just when it’s $10 million for a 26-episode season.

  3. I have to be a contrarian (always). I appreciated the thematic content on the nature of good and value of intention, and on faith and its sources in life. I appreciated the the ambition of the film, even in places where it failed (too much crammed in, the implied Darkseid stuff wrecking the momentum at the end). Despite the ponderous length I never felt the need to check my watch.

    I don’t know – I can see why people wouldn’t enjoy it. It has nothing to do with the type of film Marvel is putting out, and that’s what people are used to consuming now. Despite sharing a grimness it is the polar opposite of Nolan’s hyper-real Batman films, and people both loved those and viewed them as “so serious.” I can see how the emphasis on being symbolic can be off-putting, but it’s something I’ve honestly missed in a post Iron Man world.

    I feel that BvS is a plate of (sometimes bitter) cinematic vegetables, where Marvel has been serving up pure candy in 85% of their films. BvS stands among older stalwarts like “The Crow” and “V for Vendetta” in the things it tries to accomplish, and is proud to do so (even though it’s less successful than those films). I am absolutely not knocking the value of cinematic candy, but sometimes even comic book films need to stretch.

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