While I was watching Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and even up to two days after I saw it, I liked it. The movie was entertaining so I said this in my review yesterday: the film is flawed, but it’s entertaining enough that it deserves to be seen in theaters. I still stand by that, although the more I think about this film’s plot, the less I like it.
A film doesn’t have to be perfect or really good for me to enjoy it, which is why I liked Amazing Spider-Man 2 and why I enjoyed Avengers: Age of Ultron a lot. But I do want to talk about all the flaws that Batman V Superman had and offer my suggestions on what audiences should keep in mind to make these flaws more palatable. I’m going to go into a lot of details so SPOILER WARNING for those who haven’t seen the film yet and don’t want any spoilers.
Also, another warning – reading about all these flaws may influence your opinion of Batman V Superman negatively. So if you thought Batman V Superman was good, you might not want to keep reading this. Because thinking about all this did affect my opinion of the film, and I don’t want others to experience the same.
Finally, I won’t be able to cover all of the flaws of this movie, and I don’t think I should. Some complaints that I’ve heard/read come off as being nitpicky – when a person starts to nitpick, there’s no changing that person’s opinion. With that said, let’s get started.
The Lois Lane subplot
Lois Lane has this subplot in the movie that’s completely unnecessary. It starts with the Nairobi incident which really didn’t lead into anything other than to give Lois something to investigate. Superman would’ve made his appearance at the U.S. Capitol for the Congressional hearing even if the Nairobi incident didn’t happen – it was Wallace Keefe (the handicapped Wayne Enterprises employee) stepping forward that triggered this.
Lois eventually found out that Luthor framed Superman for both the Nairobi incident and the explosion at the Congressional hearing, but she never takes this information anywhere. One could argue that whatever she found out got Luthor in prison, but won’t they have enough evidence outside of what Lois got from her investigation to prosecute? Luthor would have still gone to prison for kidnapping both Lois and Martha Kent and for being behind the explosion at the U.S. Capitol. The best suggestion that I have for audiences regarding this is to just accept that they needed to give Amy Adams/Lois Lane more screen time and maybe use these sequences to take bathroom breaks.
I’ve seen/heard a lot of negative reactions about how Batman was portrayed, specifically his use of guns and disregard for human lives. I’m not among those who are complaining – I fully understand the kind of Batman that the filmmakers were going for, but I also understand why some people are reacting this way.
First and foremost, I think this version of Batman is misunderstood. This Batman doesn’t mind killing off criminals and doesn’t make an effort to keep them from getting killed, which is very different from actually going out of his way to kill them. So we’re not looking at Bat-Punisher here. If you don’t believe me, the film proves this through the “Bat Brand of Justice” subplot. Batman would’ve killed off those criminals that he branded if he truly wanted to kill them, but he didn’t. He just didn’t mind that branding them with his symbol was essentially giving them a death sentence. This explains why there’s a Suicide Squad movie that features criminals that Batman sent to prison.
As for why I understand this version of Batman, it’s simple. It’s clear to me that this version of Batman is not only older, but also broken and weary. In this version of the DC Universe, Robin was killed off by the Joker, and Batman is clearly affected by that. I don’t blame audiences for missing this though and I place the blame on the filmmakers for not giving us enough clues.
They actually showed a Robin costume briefly with the words “Hahah Joke’s on you Batman” spray painted on it. The costume is very dark and it’s hard to make out the “R” logo on it. I caught this because I already saw screencaps of the costume months ago, but someone who doesn’t know about this easter egg is sure to miss this given how quick it happens. I really think that the filmmakers should have added more clues about this, maybe in the form of Alfred’s voice of reason. But the theatrical cut is done and we can’t do about it anymore so it’s up to the audience to keep this in mind while watching the film.
Oh and by the way, I think the filmmakers could have done a better job at embracing this version of Batman by explicitly acknowledging how he’s become much more violent compared to before. They could have done this by (1) getting Alfred to talk about how Batman has changed and (2) having the newspapers in the film talk about actual casualties instead of criminals being branded. Criminals getting killed would actually give Superman a better reason for going after Batman earlier in the film.
The Wonder Woman subplot
To be honest, I don’t think anyone ever complained about Wonder Woman’s appearance in the film, but I did. I mean, her being in Batman V Superman didn’t make sense. Let’s revisit why she’s there – she’s going after Luthor because he’s got a picture of hers, right? So she takes advantage of Batman hacking into Luthor’s files, taking his hacking device before he has a chance to get it. She returned the device to Batman (presumably after getting a copy of what she needed), but she doesn’t even bother deleting Luthor’s files about her. She stops chasing after Luthor after this and was actually on a flight off to somewhere during the Doomsday attack.
So my question is… that’s it? Did Batman’s hacking device delete whatever data Luthor had on Wonder Woman? Was she only looking to get a copy of whatever it was that Luthor had on her?
But then I told myself not to overthink this. We know why Wonder Woman is in this film, there are two clear reasons: for fanservice (comic book fans have been clamoring for her) and to hype up her solo film. I don’t mind this at all, and neither should you.
You know what? Batman V Superman is a flawed movie. FLAWED. So flawed, that I can’t cover all of what I wanted to cover in just one article. Stay tuned next week as I talk about more of Batman V Superman’s flaws and how they shouldn’t affect our view of this film too negatively.