Excuse my French in the headline but I simply can’t say it more nicely. “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is the last nail in the coffin that I like to call superhero movies. These movies are getting so superficial and trivial that I’m starting to miss George Clooney and Joel Schumacher.
A Film Without A Story And Connections? “Batman v Superman” Shows It’s Possible
First of all: I studied media studies with main focus on movies and comics, so I probably see the two mediums differently than the common cinema audience. But I’m also a comic and movie nerd, so I can also understand the position of Batman and Superman fans and as a representative of both parties I have to say: “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” – worst superhero film ever.
Let’s start with the storyline (attention, spoiler alert): There basically isn’t one. In the movie the scenes are just strung together and have no connections. I didn’t see a film in a long time that had so many fades to black. Basically you just have to watch the trailer to sum up the story: The citizens of Metropolis are pissed with Superman because he killed so many people and because of that Batman is also angry with him (although he let’s people get killed now too, eh?). So Batman and Superman fight each other for a while (for justifying the title of the movie I guess) until – OMG – they realize during a fight that their mothers have the same frist name. “Your mother is also called Martha?” – “Yes! Yours too?” – “Yes! Cool, let’s be friends!” – “Yes of course, completely logical.” So Batman and Superman are friends now and fight together with Wonderwoman against Doomsday and afterwards against Lex Luthor, *yawn*.
For me in the movie there were no surprises but the story was completely predictable. But I guess you can not expect an exciting and coherent story when a movie just wants to prepare for the following Justice League sequels. Because nowadays superhero films are no independent movies with self-contained plots anymore but always prepare for the next part of the saga. Every film is a preparation for the next film that is a preparation for the next film that is a preparation for the next film and so on. You can observe that in the Marvel cinematographic universe where each movie like “Iron Man 2” is just a transition to “The Avengers”. And apparently DC is doing the same thing, if not worse. Because although I consider the Marvel movies superficial, because they have no depth and just want to entertain and stop there, at least they’re a little bit funny. “Batman v Superman” on the other hand is neither profound nor entertaining.
Cool Comic Book References? I Don’t Care
It’s obvious that Zack Snyder refers with his film to the Batman comics of Frank Miller. In these there is an older Batman that is already tired and reached a point of his life where he allows that people are getting killed. But in the movie it is never explained how Batman reached that low. In one scene you can see a Batman costume that had Joker written all over it and that could be a hint that he killed a person close to Batman, but that’s not enough. Batman is characterised by not killing and when you change that, you have to explain why. One could assume that they give us these answers in the future Batman movie with Ben Affleck but then I have to say again, that “Batman v Superman” is an example that there are no stand-alone storylines in superhero films anymore.
As a comic fan I have to say that I don’t really care if a movie has comic book references or not, because movies and comics are two different mediums. When there are references, great! But then they have to be justified in the storyline and not, like in “Batman v Superman”, just dashed off, so some easily impressed comic fans can say: “Cool, I know this scene from a comic book!” Although Ben Affleck says in the video above that the movie was too smart for him, I’m not buying it. Just to plunk some references doesn’t make a movie smart nor original. That can only do a good story, the directing and the cut.
Especially when you compare the film to the Batman movies of Christopher Nolan you can see the differences of quality. I don’t want to say that a movie has to be dark to be good, but the story has to be conclusive. Christopher Nolan wrote and directed thought-out and intelligent movies. There is suspense, unpredictable moments, in depth characters and mainly they take their time. The history of Batman in “Batman Begins” was told in a whole movie and not as lazily executed as in “Batman v Superman”. Now, you don’t need necessarily a background story if you already know the characters but if you do one, then do it right.
The Death Of Superhero Movies
But today’s superhero films can’t take their time to tell a story right because there are just too many characters. In a two hour movie you can not go into the story of five superheroes like in “The Avengers” or the “Justice League”, that’s just impossible. That’s why I generally consider a pile of characters as critical.
But the roots of all these problems that I mentioned (no conclusive storyline and references) are the makers of the movies. What can you expect from a director who brought us such ground-breaking movies like “Sucker Punch” and the infinite slow motion loop “300” (/ironie off)? In my opinion Zack Snyder just can’t direct movies. Whereas “Watchmen” still had a connected flow, the scenes in “Batman v Superman” seem to be fragmented strung together. But what I especially miss in his movies are emotions and a deeper meaning. In the end movies have to sweep you away. “The Dark Knight” I watched like 40 times (then I stopped counting), but I don’t think that I will watch today’s superhero movies a second time because they’re simply too trivial.
The film-studios in Hollywood just take advantage of the present interest in superhero films and produce as fast as possible one movie after another. By rushing these movies there is a huge lack of quality. To write a good script you simply need time and commitment what these producers don’t have. Sometimes I wonder how these studios can have so much money but aren’t able to do a good comic book adaption.
Truth be told, I don’t feel like wasting my time and money anymore on these movies. If the studios don’t take the time, why should I? But mostly these movies just became too superficial and exchangeable. Honestly I would prefer watching old superhero movies like the ones of Joel Schumacher. At least they sucked so hard that you could laugh about them. But to people who want to watch a movie where you don’t have to think, I recommend “Batman v Superman”.
A video that sums up perfectly what superhero movies nowadays represent, you can find below. I can recommend it to every true comic book and film freak. I personally am glad to have found it because now I know that I’m not alone with my opinion. Apropos: This article was my opinion and opinions can’t be neither true nor false. I know that there are comic book fans out there who like every film that is based on a comic. I don’t belong to them but you have my admiration if you can take some pleasure in this movie. However I have to disappoint you if you think that these movies were written for you. How the video will explain, these big budget films are made for the mainstream and not for a few comic fans. And that you can notice unfortunately.