Batman v Superman: Dawn of Abject Terror
A Superhero Film!
To call Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice another bad movie isn’t accurate. It’s a film that feeds off of humanities worst traits. Man kind has a dark side to it that enjoys violence. Violence is a cliche that exists in films for a reason. It’s fun to watch people get shot, punched, stabbed, things blow up etc because it’s fiction. We aren’t directly affected by it. The audience is aware that those who were involved in sequences of such bestial actions are not actually hurt making it okay. Humans are mammals after all. Being mammals it’s perfectly understandable to feed off of our animalistic needs which is where Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comes into play. It enables us to enjoy traits of mass violence. BVS utilizes imagery from recent terrorist attacks as a MacGuffin for Batman (Ben Affleck) to beat the living hell out of Superman (Henry Cavill). Not only does this film use such disturbing symbolism to advance its plot forward but Director Zack Snyders predecessor to BVS Man of Steel did the same to provide a real world feel in order to tell its story. In this picture Snyder tries to rationalize why he echoed imagery of modern terrorism to influence his previous picture’s theme. In other words it’s Zack Snyder once more explaining his confusing tonal choices only this time it’s directly in one of his own films instead of an interview. Unfortunately when dealing with men who fly, Goddesses with the ability to barely age for hundreds of years who also possess super human strength and a giant rock monster it feels entirely inappropriate to place such adult elements into what should otherwise be a movie meant to inspire rather than depress an audience.
Presently living in a culture where a majority of its moral fabric has been placed amongst fear post 9/11 Batman v Superman adds fuel to many American’s fire. The movies rational decision to deal with terrorism is to engage it with brute force. Batman comes in to stop Superman’s reign of terror from the last film by attempting to kill him all the while being manipulated by Lex Luther into thinking that Superman is mocking Batman for the death of his family when he was a child. When it comes to Superman’s feelings of the inadvertent deaths that were a result of him fighting another super being from his own planet in Man of Steel, Superman is indifferent towards his actions expressing zero feelings of remorse or guilt. Superman is always angry yet we don’t know why. Batman rationally believes Superman is an apocalyptic threat that must die but we don’t know much about him as a person beyond that fact. Lex Luthor just wants to see the two duke it out so he can build his Doomsday monster but we have absolutely no clue as to why. Batman v Superman is a violent, soulless mess. Characters have no real motivations or characteristics beyond a mere base level of un adulterated rage. BVS only provides countless moments of exposition and needless bloodlust within a picture marketed partially at children with an R rated DVD coming in the near future.
Jesus… Space Jesus is pissed!
This was a film clearly made at the last minute with an unfocussed script, characterless characters, plot threads that serve no purpose to the story and an overwhelming sense of dread. I am not trying to sound like a Marvel “fanboy” but the reason Marvel’s films work is because they are fun. They are aware of how silly their characters are. They know how to make an audience escape unlike Zack Snyder who injects themes of absolute terror in a place they shouldn’t be. Tone Mr. Snyder. Tone is what works. Batman v Superman is extremely serious with no sense of levity providing a PG-13 version of our worst fears within the confines of a super HERO movie. Superheroes are meant to be heroes. Superman in this film is an emotionless cruel shell uncaring of those he hurts wanting us to see him dead. Is that what we want with a Superman film? Do we want our protagonist, a man who has been a symbol for “truth justice and the American way” to be a modern day terrorist enforcing thoughts of xenophobia amongst its viewers? This is a film that saddens me more than it angers me. To see a hero reduced to a cruel being is a dangerous picture to market to children. I recall leaving the theater where a father exited with this child. We walked out together side by side. The father looked bewildered. Shocked that he took his son to see what perhaps any parent would believe would be an otherwise innocent picture. He asked me what I thought. How could I tell him I believed it was a picture inappropriately evoking themes of modern day terrorism in front of his child? To see a film that makes me feel gloomy isn’t what a Superman movie should be. With the movie now having a strong opening box office return it is inevitable that The Justice League franchise is going to continue on schedule. I believe this a very disappointing time for cinema.