*Please note, there are SPOILERS from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in this article.*
Batman and Superman are the two most iconic superheroes ever. They have obviously appeared in comic books together. They’ve appeared in animated television shows and movies together. But they never appeared on the big screen together, until Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice happened this past March. Not only were the two heroes in the same movie, but they also were fighting each other.
Batman v Superman was the second film in the new DC Cinematic Universe, following Man of Steel (2013). Both films were directed by Zach Snyder. Man of Steel starred Henry Cavill as Superman, and was received with mixed reviews from critics. The general audience was mixed as well — Man of Steel has a 7.2 user rating on IMDB.
The critics said Man of Steel was too dark, too destructive, used too much CGI, and Superman was too gloomy. As far as being too dark or too gloomy, there was an alien invasion where the planet was on the verge of being taken over. Did critics want Superman to worry about saving cats in trees instead of fighting General Zod?
As far as the CGI complaints go, they were aliens fighting. I don’t think General Zod was worried about killing innocent people when fighting Superman. Sure, Superman would have liked to avoid damage to buildings and limit the civilian damages, but it would have likely led to Zod winning, and everyone dying. I mean, Zod said it himself.
Nonetheless, the opening scene of Batman v Superman aimed at tackling that issue. In a flashback to General Zod’s invasion, Bruce Wayne helicopters to Metropolis because he has a tower in the city. In the most Batman way ever, Ben Affleck — who plays Batman — runs into a storm of smoke and debris. His building is collapsed. People are dead. Children are holding hands walking away from the destruction. Bruce Wayne saves an employee of his, and also saves a little girl, whose mother was in a destroyed building. He looks up at the sky, where Superman and Zod are fighting, in anger, and knows he must do something. It was a powerful scene, like so many other scenes in the movie, but the critics must have felt nothing.
The choreography for the fights were unbelievable. The dream sequence of Bruce Wayne where Batman fought Superman’s thugs was simply awesome. Batman used guns to both shoot the soldiers and knock them out. Keep in mind, for those who complained about Batman killing, that 1) this particular sequence was a dream, 2) he didn’t murder anyone — if the bad guys happened to be in the vehicles in his way, they were collateral damage, and 3) the rules were changed after Superman became a thing because Batman believed he needed to destroy him, because Superman could destroy the entire planet.
Another fight that was on the same level as the dream sequence fight was the warehouse scene, where Batman saves Martha Kent. Batman took out dozens of thugs with punches, kicks, baterangs, grapple hooks, etc. He was even shot in the head and just shook it off and continued to wreck havoc. I have never seen better choreographed fights in a movie than the two in Batman v Superman.
The fight between Batman and Superman was just as epic as the regular fights. I have seen a lot of people make fun of the ending — where Batman is about to kill Superman until Superman says “Save Martha,” because Lex Luthor is going to kill her if Superman doesn’t kill Batman. What would those who criticize this scene have done differently? It was perfectly done. Batman was able to see Superman as a human because he has a mother, just like he did before she was murdered, and they happen to share the same name. He no longer saw Superman as a threat.
I ask again, what would the critics do differently here? If they had Superman on the verge of killing Batman, the only outcome was death for Batman because The Dark Knight was going to beat Superman or die trying. Did they want Batman to kill Superman despite the plead to save his mother? Lex Luthor would have unleashed Doomsday and took over the world with no Superman to stop him. Overall, the fight was great, including some insightful quotes by Batman like the short speech about his parents and “You’re not brave. Men are brave.”
The critics must have watched a different movie than I did. And they must be cold-hearted to not feel the emotional impact of the ending — Superman sacrificing his life. The movie’s opening night was the eve of Good Friday, so it opened on Easter weekend, and not just the ending, but the entire movie had parallels between Superman and Jesus:
-Superman sacrificing himself and being resurrected as the final shot.
-Batman and Wonder Woman carrying him down to the ground after his sacrifice — similar to Jesus being taken down from the cross.
-The news media talking about Superman mention how he is a messiah figure.
-The statue of Superman and the defacement saying “False God.”
-Lex’s obsession with God and power. He said devils come from the sky (meaning Superman), and turned the painting in his house upside-down to depict that. The painting was flipped to show devils coming from the sky and angels coming from the ground, and actually foreshadowed the truth — Superman was in the ground and is coming back (his sacrifice proves he is no devil, despite what crazy Lex thought).
Critics were probably turned off by or didn’t even get the parallels. Perhaps it was too deep for them.
Any mistakes made in regards to Batman v Superman was from executives. Despite the length of three hours, Zach Snyder’s cut should have been used in theatres. It was released as the Ultimate Edition, and I suggest people watch that instead of the theatrical cut because it gives more insight into the characters and flows better.
Another mistake was the trailers, specifically the ones closer to release. The first trailer was one of the best ever, but as we got closer and closer to the release, more details came of the trailers. We knew Wonder Woman was going to help in the fight against Doomsday. We knew there was a Doomsday. We saw too much of the Batman and Superman fight. Yes, they made for cool trailers, but revealed way too much. My theatre went crazy when Wonder Woman showed up to fight (one lady near me cried tears of joy) but everyone who saw the commercials for the movie knew she was coming. I think the response was more excitement from comic book fans because it was opening night. General audiences and critics probably were not surprised.
The things shown in the trailers would have been like a certain character, in a certain television show being shown brought back to life in the season trailer. When it happened in the show, we wouldn’t have been as surprised or excited. It was awesome when Batman blocked Superman’s punch — and the look on Superman’s face — but it was revealed in the trailer, so took some away from in in the movie.
Despite the trailers revealing a lot, the critics were unfair to the movie. They did not like that it was “dark” or not “light-hearted.” It was real. Get over it. In a movie with alien invasions and monsters, everyone isn’t going to be holding hands and smiling. Critics said things like the movie was enough to “make you yearn for the lighter touch of the Marvel films.” I guess critics must be talking about the same Marvel films where a movie is called “Civil War” but no one actually dies.
The overwhelmingly negative reviews are concerning. I just can’t wrap my head around it. Some awful movies with a better Rotten Tomatoes score than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice include a lot of Disney movies, like Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Bambi II, and Herbie Fully Loaded. Really? Those movies are better than Batman v Superman according to the critics? That is hard to believe.
People might use the user reviews as evidence to show Batman v Superman is a bad movie, but 1) the user reviews were pretty good, especially in the beginning and 2) no one thinks for themselves anymore. It’s a herd mentality — critics don’t like the movie, so that means it must be bad.
Well, the critics are wrong. What have they done to make their opinion more valuable than yours? The first ever dipiction of Batman and Superman together on the big screen had heart — something the critics chose to overlook. Decide whether a movie is good or not for yourself. I know I have.
Batman v Superman: Misunderstood Masterpiece