HERE BE SPOILERS FOR BATMAN VERSUS SUPERMAN!
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Sometimes there is a point in a film that stretches credulity too far. Unfortunately once this point has been passed, no matter what has gone before, or after, suspension of disbelief has snapped and the rest of the film just loses it.
This happened to me whilst watching Batman versus Superman. The film started promisingly enough. There was some narration, which will annoy Cinemasins. The visuals were stunning. We found out for the twentieth time that Batman’s parents were shot in a mugging, which was interspersed with their funeral and a young Bruce Wayne running through a forest. Actually a very good beginning, I was enjoying it. Bruce Wayne’s run through a forest and subsequent tumble down a shaft reminded me very much Tim Burton’s take on Batman. It was extremely promising! In the shaft were hundreds of bats…..which flew around Bruce Wayne and lifted him out of the shaft. And it was doing so well until that point!
The trouble was, after this I found myself incapable of taking the rest of the film seriously. You might say “Why was that so hard to believe when you have a bloke in blue tights flying around the place?” And you’d be right. I can’t tell you exactly what it was about hundred of tiny little Bats lifting up a regular boy that was more unbelievable than an alien flying around with his underpants on the outside (OK, OK, I know that stopped after Christopher Reeve). Maybe it was because Batman was set up in this film as “Man” opposing Superman’s “God”, and I don’t believe hundreds or thousands of tiny Bats can lift up any sized kid.
The plot moved fairly slowly. Too much emphasis was placed on why Bruce Wayne was after Superman. It was almost as if the argument, if you looked too closely, was fairly shallow. As I understand it, this ran something like: Superman destroyed Metropolis; Superman has too much power; Superman must be stopped. This is a fairly common argument in fiction. The Main Hero stops a villain, and unfortunately a lot of people die in the process, the guilt of which plagues the Hero. I have no problem with this, or the fact some people will blame the Hero. Nowhere though was the argument made that Superman had reacted to the threat and was the only person who could stop Zod and his cohorts. Superman did not cause the situation, he reacted. He would have been blamed equally if he had simply sat back , thrown off his cape, and said “Not without indemnity” (now that’s the film I want to see!). Batman, I feel, would have thought of this argument, particularly given his background. He didn’t blame his parents for going into the alleyway, he blamed the mugger for killing them.
Eventually the eponymous fight comes around. A lot of time was spent trying to set this up and by the time it materialised we had found out Lex Luther had been spending his time to engineering the entire situation. The problem was, having found this out I wanted to see Batman and Superman team up and kick Luther’s butt straight away (that was by no means the only problem I had with the fight). OK so Lex Luther had kidnapped Superman’s mother, and Superman intended to persuade Batman to help him. He did try, but gave up far too quickly. Snyder had set up Batman to be stubborn and not likely to listen to Superman, so there would have been no problem in Superman continuing in his futile attempt to talk Batman around.
Let’s consider Wonder Woman. There was no attempt to explain her background with an irritating montage—pleasantly surprising for a popcorn superhero film. I liked the portrayal, although I think she could have been given a slightly bigger role and maybe a few character moments (there was ample scope for this). I would have loved it if, upon seeing the fight between the two guys, she could have rolled her eyes and said “Boys and their toys!” Or something, anything…
There was a lot to like about the film. There were more comedic moments towards the end, but I would have liked more of those throughout the film. There was a particularly good moment for Batman just before Wonder Woman shows up in full costume, which wins my prize for “best moment”. Second prize has to go to the moment when Lex Luther makes a telephone call and gets an unexpected answer. In equal second place is Batman meeting Superman’s mum.
In conclusion then, its slow to get going. The fight is less than expected but I think this is mainly due to how it was set up. Then the film really takes off and we get a glimpse of what it could have been with some slight alterations. Whether they like it or not, the makers of this film could learn from Joss Whedon and putting in more character/comedic moments. Providing they also keep in mind that “less is more”, they would be able to make their film (and the rest of the planned DC universe) sufficiently different from the Marvel franchise. Better would be a matter for debate.