Friday, April 8, 2016

Thoughts on Batman v Superman

For better or worse "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" is out. People around the world have had a chance to see it and react to it. Critics have been very harsh on it while general audiences have given it more favorable scores. As you may have guessed reading this post I too felt like putting my opinion out into the fray. I don't write regularly like I did a few years back for many reasons, yet BvS has left me compelled to get my thoughts out on the film as well as the universe DC and Warner Brothers have built with two films now under the direction of Zack Snyder. Everything below includes massive spoilers, so if you haven't seen the film you may want to steer clear from this post. This is something to read and enjoy following your own viewing(s). This conversation will continue in my own draft but this is how I feel after having seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice three times.

First and foremost I gotta say I really enjoyed my experience with this movie. Like so many others I had very high hopes for BvS. Reactions from critics and a few close friends who saw it before I got a chance to led me to adjust my expectations. Expectations really can damage your experience when you set them too high. You set yourself up to be let down. It is real easy to do with beloved characters like Batman and Superman, two characters people hold very close to their hearts. People, myself being one of them, can put themselves in a position to expect too much. This is why I often have to remind myself to watch a movie for what it is, not what I wanted it to be.

Seeing the movie, I had probably the perfect situation, although it didn't initially feel that way. Our family had a vacation planned to New York City to see our oldest son perform at Carnegie Hall with his High School Wind Ensemble in his Senior year. Eeek! What a experience. Downside, it is same time as BvS was set to release.You may be asking where my priorities were, but come on this is Batman fighting Superman! My initial thought was to see BvS before flying out on our red eye to NYC on Thursday night March 24th, but it just wouldn't work. We wouldn't make our flight. Instead we opted to wait till Easter Sunday 27th to see it while in NYC at the second largest IMAX screen in North America at Lincoln Square. An added bonus, Lincoln Square would be running a 70mm IMAX print of   Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In the digital age seeing a 70mm print feels like finding a four leaf clover. Plus seeing the highly anticipated movie while on vacation allowed our family some freedom with our reactions. If we all loved it, cool. Then we could all go see more of NYC. If we all hated it, oh well, we could quickly forget about it and go see more of NYC. It was a win win situation being in such a busy city with so much history to see and experience.

My short assessment of the film -- All the right pieces are there, they just are not put together correctly. BvS has huge heroic moments, HUGE. It is has simple motivations that are easily identifiable. It builds off what we already know. It is grim, burden heavy, and layered with dark undertones. DC feels set to tell the burden of being a hero in contrast to Marvel, who is sticking to the fun of it. A contrast that I am very engaged to see play out. Ultimately the film is a success, it just has a few nasty scrapes and bruises that some may not be able to overlook. As for me, take all my money, I'm so ready for more!


This is a Batman movie that happens to use events from "Man of Steel" as its jumping off point. It is not a sequel to Man of Steel. Well that's not true, it is a sequel in the fact that all the characters from Man of Steel are in the movie. At the same time it is not a sequel to MoS, because Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman is a supporting character the entire feature. Like I said, this is a Batman movie that happens to use events from "Man of Steel" as its jumping off point. It is Bruce Wayne and Batman's point of view. Starting with the opening sequence. Taking us back (once again) to the death of Bruce Wayne's parents in a dream sequence. Director Zack Snyder immediately puts his undeniable visual style on display. The opening dream sequence feels like a flashing sign warning people what they are in for, "Be warned, this is a Zack Snyder film and he won't let you forget it!" What's important is the purpose of the dream sequence. It is simple way to plant a seed that will blossom later in the feature.

"THE WORLD MEETS SUPERMAN." The words flash on screen with a certain impact that feels like a punch to the stomach. The audience immediately recognizes we are seeing the Kal-El and Zod fight that destroyed a huge chunk of Metropolis at the end of MoS. This time it is all centered from Bruce Wayne's perspective. This is one of the more thrilling sequences in BvS. Everything from the visuals to Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL's bombastic score add to the impact. The scene was heavily teased in marketing, whether it be trailers or car commercials for the all new JEEP Renegade. Regardless of ads, the scene still holds tremendous weight. The audience gets to see a heroic Bruce Wayne maneuver through the destruction of Metropolis trying to reach Wayne Tower only to see it crumble in the wake of the Kal-El/Zod fight. The destruction caused by these two alien beings pushes Bruce Wayne to become fueled with anger, "bat-mad" if you will. He demands revenge for what has happened.

It should be noted that the first 20 minutes is all re-hash of established material. First being the death of Bruce Wayne's parents which has been done in numerous comics and feature films. The second being the Zod event established in Man of Steel. What is different is the perspective, again, it is all from Bruce Wayne's point of view.

The Zod event in Man of Steel changed the DC comic book world we have known. This is something audiences need to realize and move on versus repeatedly complain about. Their cinematic universe, like I said earlier, is focused on the burden of being a hero. The Zod event is a vessel of that debate. In MoS Clark Kent began a journey towards becoming Superman. That journey was delayed by the Zod event. Clark was forced to fight an alien being from his home planet that he is only beginning to learn about. This is a much younger and inexperienced Superman than we've ever seen on screen before. I don't like calling him Superman yet, to me he's still just Clark. He hasn't embodied what his Kryptonian father set out for him to do. He's still learning. His growth was stunted by Zod. Zod comes to Earth hellbent on finding the Codex and recreating Krypton on Earth. A plan that would kill every human on the planet. Clark is forced to confront and kill Zod in order to save humanity on Earth. Their fight is epic and sees the kind of destruction Americans can only relate with the 9/11 tragedy.

What I find interesting is how the Zod event has been perceived by audiences and the characters within the DC universe. At its core, Zod comes to Earth to end our known humanity, Clark aka Superman stops that, yet he's blamed for not saving everyone. There was collateral damage. Again he stops planet Earth from being destroyed, but doesn't save everyone so people are furious. The "Superman would have saved everyone argument" is a fantasy. It comes from people who probably only have seen the Richard Donner Superman movies and haven't read the comics. It is something that DC isn't concerned in telling us. At least not yet. I do believe we will get a true blue heroic Superman, but it is gonna be a while before we get there. He needs age. He needs history. He needs a legacy. He needs to become a bit of a veteran first. This is also why I believe Man of Steel was titled  Man of Steel and not "Superman" because he's not Superman yet. Furthermore, this again isn't a Superman movie despite his name in the title, it is Bruce Wayne's. It is Batman's movie. Who has a legacy. He has a 20-year career. He is a veteran. A veteran who has changed over the years. He's hardened watching as new criminals sprout up like weeds.

The Zod event creates the same motivation for both Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne. Superman represents something they can't control. They each have a god complex and desperately feel like they need control. They HAVE TO find a way to control Superman. Liken it to the United States controlling other countries in the name of protecting our own freedom. What separates Luthor and Wayne is revenge. This isn't about revenge to Luthor. Luthor isn't concerned with the devastation the Zod event created, but more so that it represents something he can't control. Lex will do anything to have that control, and the easiest route to that control is killing Superman err Clark. This alien being represents the only obstacle Lex faces from having his believed world domination. Throughout the feature he is framing Superman and trying to tarnish his image. Luthor wants to strip away how Superman is viewed as a savoir and replace it with fear and anger. Turn a god into a devil if you will. Once his name is tarnished enough, Lex wants to ultimately kill Superman using Kryptonite recovered near the destroyed World Engine in the Indian Ocean.

Let's talk more about Lex Luthor. His character represents the problematic areas of BvS, yet I still really like what the filmmakers and Jesse Eisenberg went for. The negative, Luthor is too much of a puppet master here. He has his hands on nearly everything happening in the two and a half-hour movie. He controls Senators and other Heads of State. He knows who Batman is. He knows who Superman is. He's discovered the Meta-Humans (Aquaman, Cyborg, the Flash, and Wonder Woman). He even appears to have created an insignia for each of the Meta-Humans. He knows way too much. He's pulling the strings on tarnishing Superman's name/legacy. Hell, he's the reason Batman and Superman ultimately fight. He creates Doomsday. He's the link to more baddies that are now on their way. Most of the of ways Luthor is pulling the strings I can tolerate, but some of it is just lazy storytelling. Maybe not so much lazy, just bad. Lex doesn't need to be the reason Batman and Superman fight. Batman already has plenty of reasoning on his own.

The positive side of Lex Luthor. He represents the unfortunate inequality of power in the United States. He represents the ginormous gap between the rich and poor. He illustrates how much power or control the wealthy have within our country. How the wealthy can sway our leaders through their wallets. Luthor is the embodiment of right wing war hawk Republicans who have used events like 9/11 to strip away unalienable rights in the sake of protecting our freedoms. Think of the Patriot Act, a bill which allowed the United States the power to tap any phone they wanted, all for the sake of security. A bill that we've seen applied to other comic book movies too like "Captain America: Winter Soldier" and even before in "The Dark Knight." I love seeing America's political spectrum play out in the DC universe on screen. It makes sense and feels authentic to our current climate. More importantly I appreciate how quickly we've moved into this territory. In contrast we are 13 movies into the Marvel cinematic universe and we are barely going to see a similar situation play out from devastation that happened in movie 6, 9, and 11 (respectively The Avengers, Captain America: Winter Soldier, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron). Zack Snyder didn't turn away from the complaints over all the destruction caused in Man of Steel he wisely used them as motivations moving forward.

Moving on to Bruce Wayne. Like I setup earlier, he is driven by revenge from the Zod event. Wayne witnessed the power of Superman and wrongly fears it. Wayne explains to Alfred, "He has the power to wipe out the entire human race and if we believe that there's even a one-percent chance he is our enemy, we have to take it as an absolute certainty." Wayne desperately needs control. It doesn't matter to him that Superman saved the planet from Zod's plan. From his perspective, that alien poses a threat he cannot control and he must remedy that any way he can. His solution, kill Superman.

In order to kill Superman Bruce Wayne will need to find his weakness. Something that is unclear throughout the film, does Wayne knows how to kill Superman from the start or if he learns it from Lex Luthor's vault of endless files. Early on in the story Wayne tells Alfred he is looking for a smuggler trying to bring a dirty bomb into Gotham, later Wayne reveals that smuggler and dirty bomb are Lex Luthor and Kryptonite. It is clear he uses his detective skills to discover the smuggler is Luthor but there is no indication if he knew the dirty bomb was actually Kryptonite the whole time. Which raises a larger question, if Wayne didn't know it was Kryptonite, how was he planning to kill Superman? Wayne is one of the best detectives in the world. He has the tech and the gadgetry at his disposal to easily shown him explicitly learn that Kryptonite can kill this alien race. There's a scene to this effect for Lex Luthor. Why not Wayne? It would have made a lot more sense to have Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor simultaneously looking for Kryptonite versus him seemingly stumbling upon this information while looking for something else. Ultimately Wayne's detective work is different in Snyder's universe. Hunting down KGBeast all we see is Wayne using a cell phone. Feels more blunt and stunted to some degree. He is still hi-tech, using gadgets and decrypting, but instead of feeling like detective work, it's like your friend directing you to the bathroom.

Bruce Wayne / Batman is handled fairly well. Don't think it is crazy to say that Ben Affleck could quite easily be my favorite actor as Batman since Michael Keaton. I thoroughly enjoyed all his dream/nightmare sequences. They offered Easter Eggs that really worked and didn't feel tacked on (much like the Meta-Human files sequence does). Plus they teased a future for DC without having to have use post-credit sequences. Something that DC seems to be purposefully doing in contrast to Marvel. Pleased we have an aged Batman. This allows him to be weathered. There's wisdom in his 20-year career as a vigilante. He's seen his partner, Robin, die at the hands of the Joker. I love that Wayne clearly points out to Alfred, "We have always been criminals," meaning Batman is no saint in this universe. He's much darker than we've seen him on screen before, but let's be real, not on the page. His tactics may have also turned darker with his age. For instance the bat-brand. In the film we learn he uses a brand on his victims. A news anchor stresses, the brand equals death in prison. Reminds me of government officials not afraid to use torture in finding Osma Bin Laden. The end justifies the means argument. At this point in his career, Wayne feels a good outcome excuses any wrongs done to achieve that good. So when we see him flying the Batwing or driving the Batmobile and he's firing on enemies, those deaths to Wayne are warranted. It is very minor but I also really dig the decision to refer to Batman as the Bat. Perry White is the only character to ever refer to him as "Batman" and even he only says it once.

Complaints that Batman kills in BvS? Having seen the film three times now I'm fairly certain Batman does not directly kill anyone outside of in a nightmare sequence. In the kick-ass Martha rescue sequence, he is certainly vicious, but he doesn't outright kill any of the assailants. I've heard mention of both the Batmobile and Batwing sequences. Batman is certainly firing on Luthor's thugs, but it is all off-screen deaths. There's been implied deaths at the hands of the Batmobile and Batwing before Snyder's version. Burton's Batman dropped bombs and fired gatling guns at Joker's thugs. Nolan's Batman may have shows restraint playing chicken with the Joker and not firing on him, but elsewhere in the that trilogy Batman inexplicably kills plenty of people. Pointing it out now comes across as either lack of knowledge of the character or you just want to create more reasons to not like this movie. Personally, I was far more concerned that Batman really doesn't have any hero (in suit) moments till the Doomsday fight. Worse in that fight he basically hangs out under a rock until he shoots his last Kryptonite gas grenade at Doomsday. Batman should have instead been helping out his new super friends as they fight Doomsday. Throw a batarang or something, sheesh!

Let's spend a little time on Clark Kent. Zack Snyder and others have gone out of their way to make Lois Lane the center of Clark's universe. He will keep her safe at any cost. This shows a couple of things. First, he's young and NOT Superman yet. Second, Clark hasn't gotten over letting his father die. MoS establishes the Kents teach Clark to hide his identity (which he mostly does until Zod forces him out). In the face of a tornado, Jonathan Kent holds his hand up and tells Clark, "No!," because he didn't want the world to know. The Kent's knew that the world wouldn't accept him. Clark doesn't want to cope with losing another person he loves so dearly. He'd be losing one of the only other people in the world who knows he's Superman. Clark is still learning. He is still understanding death. He's learning the burden that comes with being a hero. Much like the new scene with Pa Kent in BvS. In a vision Jonathan Kent tells his son Clark about a heroic moment he had growing up. He tells Clark how saving their farm from a flood led to another farm being swallowed up by the very same flood. The lesson has been largely disregarded and snickered at by critics but the importance is there staring us all in the face. Being a hero takes hard decisions. Some of these decisions will not make everyone happy. Clark is really wrestling with this. He's experienced it first hand. He saved humanity from Zod but was blamed for all the collateral damage. Doing what is right isn't easy and for Clark, who is more human than Kryptonian, coming to peace with that is what we are watching play out on screen. He'll get there, we just need a bit of patience.

Something to add here, this universe is being established at a very low point. Lowest we've seen in comic book movies maybe? The characters are not in any regard happy about their value/position. Take Wayne, he's established as a pretty sour man, and for good reason. His partner was killed, he's spent 20 years fighting crime as a vigilante and isn't satisfied with the results. In one scene we see him wake up and search for a gulp of alcohol. Wayne is at his lowest. Clark too. All he cares about is Lois, he says so a couple times in the movie. His actions however, at least he's saving people around the globe. A montage that I actually really dug. Although, what was with the ship he was pulling? That ship looked like a wreck from the bottom of the ocean. I didn't understand what exactly he was saving there. Regardless of his actions, Clark remains confused how the world has reacted to him. He's doing his absolute best saving humanity and it is not enough for the world, so they point their unappreciative fingers making him the bad guy.
Remember Clark is mostly human sans the powers. His brain and heart are human. The human reaction to all this hate aimed at you when you are doing your best is more than likely negative. We see that struggle in Clark. Finding the balance will eventually lead us to the Superman you've expected from the onset. One can only assume that Zack Snyder wanted to start low with these characters so we can watch them rise. Kind of a nice thing to look forward to also. I'm all in favor of improvement and progress over the course of the universe.

Lois Lane is a mess. The film opens with her stating "I am journalist not a woman" yet 30 seconds later we are back to the Richard Donner Superman movies with her always being saved at any cost. Snyder ineffectively tries to establish Lane as a strong female character but he gives us mixed messages. For instance, in the tub? Really? Did we need nude Lois Lane? Throwing Lois in the tub following a powerful line like "I am journalist not a woman" is a sucker punch. Reminds me of how the world perceives women. You can be a journalist BUT we need you to be beautiful, also we want to see you compromised, you don't mind right? Lane is saved three times in one movie. It goes to show how extremely lazy the film is at times despite being an overall success.

As lazy as BvS can be, the film is also just as over complicated. Let's use Africa as our example since I was just talking Clark Kent and Lois Lane. This sequence is our first reminder that BvS will heavily feature Superman saving Lois Lane at any cost. Lois Lane is investigating an African warlord. She's transported (alongside Jimmy Olsen) to a secret location for an interview. Upon arrival it is revealed that Olsen had a tracking device in his camera revealing their whereabouts to the CIA. Olsen is immediately killed. Following Olsen's death soldiers, more like henchmen, kill everybody outside of Lane and the warlord. Sorry for all you Superman fans that were hoping to see Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent have banter in future movies, doesn't look like it'll happen. Anyways, moments later Lois Lane has a gun to her head and then you know who shows up. Superman has a stand off with the warlord and knocks him through a brick wall saving Lois from a gunshot to the cranium. We then cut to a Senate hearing where an African woman is explaining how Superman is somehow at fault. Story does a poor job of clarifying what the public is being told. Whether Superman kills the warlord so in turn the warlord's soldiers kill the rest of the villagers OR Superman killed the villagers? The audience clearly sees killing begin BEFORE Superman shows up yet the story wants you to believe he's somehow to blame and it just doesn't jive. We later learn that Africa was designed by Luthor and it was part of his plan to tarnish Superman's image as a savior or a god. It is just over complicated where it doesn't need to be.

A huge portion of the movie that could be cut from the film is the Daily Planet. Clark's story line there is useless. Perry wants him to write about football while Clark wants to do a piece on Gotham's vigilante "The Bat." This research is somehow supposed to give Clark motivation to fight Batman later but it doesn't. Instead it goes nowhere. Lane's side story (the recovered bullet from Africa linking Lex Luthor) is also useless outside of showing Luthor's overarching control in government. One thing that I did like about the Daily Planet sequences, Perry White. He has an exchange with Clark that was a perfect representation of why we haven't seen the Superman everybody expected. He says, "This isn't 1938. Apples don't cost a nickel and the WPA isn't hiring." He's referencing the Great Depression, when Superman was created. A time when people needed a perfect hero. A cookie cutter hero that embodied American values. Something optimistic and peppy in the face of all the harsh times around them. It is a stark reminder this is 2016, the world doesn't allow for perfect heroes anymore. Don't believe that, ask yourself why "Deadpool" is such a hit?

Senator Finch represented a cool idea that we didn't get to see play out. Maybe Superman shouldn't save lives? Raises questions we'd hear in our current political climate. She's the opposing point of view to Lex and Wayne, she wants to talk with Superman. It's too bad we aren't allowed to see where that could have led. Snyder instead uses her to fuel Lex's power. There's complaints over why Superman doesn't recognize the bomb at the Senate hearing and I feel that is complaint is reaching. The easy answer is because his powers are not all on, all the time. They may have been when he was a child, think to the scene in MoS in school, but Clark has learned to refine his powers, control them. More importantly, Superman is actually concerned with how he comes across to the public more than he is safety in that moment. It is also a reminder he's flawed. He's not centered. His burden is on his chest. The scene allows the planet to recognize Superman's fears. They clearly identify Superman didn't blow up the Senate, it was a bomb. Makes him less god-like. Following the attack Superman flees and talking heads ask, "Where is Superman? Why isn't he helping?" Lex has chipped even further away at Superman being a savior to the world. Lex wins here.

Let's get into the title card, where Batman and Superman supposedly duke it out. Earlier I mentioned Lex Luthor being the ultimate reason Batman and Superman fight is not just lazy, but bad. It really is my biggest problem in the movie. That said, if you eliminate Lex from being the one forcing them to fight you remove something that I really loved. "Save Martha." Batman and Superman are forced to fight because Lex Luthor has kidnapped Clark's mother, Martha Kent and will kill her if Superman doesn't bring Lex the head of Batman. Why Luthor wants the head of Batman we can get into later. Superman instead goes to Batman and tries to convince him to help save Martha, but Batman is still batmad over the Zod event and instead he continues antagonizing Superman. Sadly it never feels like two guys fighting. Instead it feels like one guy pushing around another guy who keeps saying, "I don't want to fight you." In other words the payoff isn't as dazzling as we'd all hoped. What dazzled me is what stops their fight. Clark utters the word "Martha." Surprise surprise both Batman and Superman have moms named Martha. I know people found this to be eye rolling but I sobbed. Not just shed a tear, but full-on crying. Emotional tears streaming down my face. What boy doesn't love his mother? Using a motherly link between these two icons felt at the very humanity of us all. Only way to end Bruce Wayne's rage was to recall his mother. Beautiful to the core. Absolutely loved this moment which leaves me twisted. On one hand I think Lex puppeteering this showdown is awful and on the other I was again, very emotional about this endearing moment.

Here's what I would have done; Luthor has no hand in Batman and Superman fighting. Batman instead kidnaps Lois Lane forcing Superman into a fight. It would be easy to show Wayne recognizing that Superman will drop anything to save Lane (Africa sequence). Clark shows up and unsuccessfully stresses he doesn't want to fight Batman. Batman insinuates that he's tortured Lois in order to instigate a real fight and Superman takes the bait. As the fight progresses, Superman gets further irritated by Batman's use of Kryptonite pushing the fight to get vicious. Both men are enraged and can't see past their own fury until Lex unleashes Doomsday forcing them to drop their beef and focus on Doomsday instead. That leaves us able to still get to Wayne trusting Superman in the final act after sacrificing himself versus Doomsday to save humanity.

Doomsday sucks, but so does his comic counterpart. He's designed to do one thing, kill Superman. People that have questioned his drive or motivation, why is he rampaging? He is Zod's reanimated corpse, a being who swore to Kal-El he'd kill him to save the Codex. Zod was created, more rather, designed and modified to protect the Codex in MoS. Lex reanimating his body would trigger the same motivations. We can infer that Lex also told the ship how to modify Zod's corpse once in that ooze. Something simple as "destroy," but there's no outright moment leaving his motivations in question. Doomsday is a bland humanoid with no unit? Not that I needed to see a unit, it is just weird. Is he an Orc? Is he a Ninja Turtle? Is he Supreme Leader Snoke? Very poor design. Left me feeling like Weta Digital didn't put their full efforts into the design and he was done in haste. Not only is Doomsday poorly designed, most of the fight is just a lot of CGI and feels like a four-walled green screen world. It mostly washes over with no impact. Electricity everywhere, explosions, laser eye blasts, yet it is a yawn.

What's not a yawn, Wonder Woman fighting Doomsday. It is the highlight of the bout. Using her power bracelets to deflect Doomsday's blasts really got my blood pumping. Her getting knocked back and looking like it excited her is a such a huge heroic moment I let out an audible cheer along with a "fuck yeah" fist pump. Wonder Woman's powers are evident and I loved seeing her in action. Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL's music for her also really elevates this moment to an unforgettable level. Seeing the DC Trinity (Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman) standing together ready to face-off with Doomsday is also cheer inducing moment, however it could have been even more powerful had WB's marketing department not spoiled the shot in trailers and TV spots. As I said earlier, sadly Batman hangs out under a rock for too much of this fight while Wonder Woman and Superman do all the heavy lifting.

Must mention the Kryptonite spear Bruce Wayne crafts in order to kill Superman. First, it looks like the half-eaten lollipop staff Vitruvius carries around in "The Lego Movie." Second, Bruce Wayne steals the biggest chunk of Kryptonite Earth has discovered and he chooses to create a spear? Huh, seems like an odd choice for a high-tech gadget vigilante to create an archaic spear a caveman could craft out of stone. Third, the minute Wayne reveals the spear you immediately realize this is the tool that will ultimately kill Doomsday. Sadly that realization doesn't hit the super friends until quite a bit of destruction has gone down in Metropolis and Gotham. Destruction of course in desolate areas of Gotham and Metropolis. Fourth, no one ever uses the spear like you would use a spear, meaning no one ever throws it. Well that's not true, people throw it, they throw it away only to later retrieve it. Then there's Lois Lane and the spear. This sequence is tedious. First she throws it away because it is weakening Superman, then she has to go find it because she's realized it is the only way to kill Doomsday. Then of course we have to get all Richard Donner again and have Superman save Lois while she's recovering the spear. Like I said, tedious especially being such a simple archaic tool.

The Nuke. During the early stages of the Doomsday fight, Superman carries Doomsday out of Earth's orbit into space. As they leave the planet the United States wrestles with if they should fire a nuclear weapon at the two Kryptonians. They don't wrestle with the decision for very long because within a span of less than 90 seconds America fires a nuke at Superman and Doomsday. Crazy to think how quickly they do this. It stays inline with the dark undertones this universe has established, plus illustrates the lack of compassion the United Stated has for a being that saved the planet a short 18 months prior.

A minor thing noticed during the Doomsday fight. This DC Cinematic Universe has established Metropolis as Manhattan and Gotham as Brooklyn, in other words right across the East Hudson River from each other. Very weird to make the DC Universe seem so small. I'd always seen Gotham as Chicago and Metropolis as Manhattan. Places with some space between them but I guess that won't be the case here.

Diana Prince (she's never called Wonder Woman), as the film explains, she resurfaces after almost 100 years of hiding in order to recover a picture of herself taken in 1918. Wait, what? For a picture? If she doesn't resurface the picture has no validity. It's been almost 100 years. Life expectancy is no where near that, so why resurface? The answer is so that WB and DC sell tickets for her stand-alone movie due out next year in 2017. Also so we can see the Trinity fight together. Wanting them to stand together before the Justice League movie makes all the sense in the world, but her specific reasoning in BvS for resurfacing is laughable and hard to defend. She doesn't resurface for Meta-Humans? She doesn't resurface for Doomsday? She resurfaces for a picture. Weird. Needed better construction.

Meta-Humans.  BvS does establish Aquaman, Cyborg, and the Flash. The three out of the six members we will see Batman recruit in the Justice League movie due out in 2017. The introduction of these characters is handled pretty weakly. Wanye steals information from Luthor, within the information stolen he discovers a series of files containing key information about four Meta-Humans. Files? Couldn't there have been a better way introduce these heroes? Funnier is that it appears Lex created logos for each the Metahumans. Also odd is the way the sequence unfolds. It happens in the build-up of the two big final fights. Batman versus Superman and the Trinity versus Doomsday. Wayne sends Diana Prince the files and before she decides to suit up and join in the fight she reviews these files. Cyborg's setup was my favorite. It shows us the Power Cube. An object that is linked back to Darkseid but also gives Cyborg his powers.
The Flash and Aquaman are easier to nitpick. Flash isn't in any type of suit in the files stolen from Luthor and Aquaman just stares at camera for 30 seconds before swimming off similar to how Superman flies. I want to also talk about the Flash dream Wayne has while decrypting Lex's files. Technically it is not a dream, because Wayne wakes up and see's instead a vision? That's what I'll call it. In the vision Allen yells at Wayne, "You were right about him. Lois is the key." This sequence is there to do two things, confuse us but to also give us a bit of a tease. My brain immediately thought about the recent DC comic run of Injustice: Gods Among Us. In that series the Joker destroys Metropolis and tricks Superman into killing Lois Lane. Following these actions Superman kills the Joker and establishes a world government that he is at the head of leading to Batman calling upon members of the Justice League. Will that come into play following Barry Allen's warning to Bruce Wayne? Will they kill Lois Lane in future? Make Superman go crazy? Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Only time will tell. What is certain, like I said much earlier on in this piece, I appreciate DC trying to set themselves apart from Marvel with no post-credit sequences. To that point, this vision worked a lot better than the Meta-Human files sequence which felt abrupt and lumped in.

Last up, the death of Superman. Something we all should of seen coming the minute Doomsday was revealed in the marketing. Clark sacrifices himself for humanity by killing Doomsday with the Kryptonite spear. I joked earlier that no one throws the spear and I stand by that, but I did like the visual of Clark struggling to fly towards Doomsday with the spear in hand. It also allowed Bruce Wayne full recognition that he doesn't need to fear Superman. That one percent is wiped away. By the end of the feature there's quite a few funeral processions, enough you could count on at least one hand. The death of Superman could also lead us much closer to a true heroic character fans have been longing for. Fingers crossed we won't have to suffer through the black suit upon his return in "Justice League: Part I."

So there you go, there's my full thoughts on BvS. Like I said earlier, all the right pieces are there, they just are not put together correctly. Despite having plenty to gripe or pick part I really do like this movie as a building block for the DC cinematic universe. I do believe people's expectations were too high, but in the context of how deep rooted these two heroes are rooted into American culture it makes sense. They are staples, icons. They stand at the peak of mainstream awareness. That awareness created a level of anticipation/expectations that was difficult to match. Making it even harder, having a polarizing director like Zack Snyder at the helm. His name and vision insights division among fans. One thing about Snyder that is crystal clear, he pours himself into these movies. You can see his passion all over it and I'm so ready for more.

That's not all. Checkout Top 5 Film Ep. 104 - Martha, Martha, Martha for more insight on Batman v Superman:Dawn of Justice. Fire back in the comment section below too, I'd love to hear your thoughts on BvS as well.