Batman News Batman News #13: BATMAN V SUPERMAN Spoiler Review written by Sean Gerber March 29, 2016 It’s time for the first of at least two Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice review podcasts in which I will take part. First up is the Batman News podcast, in which I debate the film with Andy DiGenova and Chris Begley, both of whom enjoyed the film much more than I did. Later in the week, it’ll be Mark Hughes and I going toe-to-toe and exchanging long-winded arguments on Popular Opinion Podcast. Batman News #13: BATMAN V SUPERMAN Spoiler Review was last modified: March 29th, 2016 by Sean Gerber Related Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 21 comments 0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest Sean Gerber Sean Gerber is the founder and editor-in-chief of Modern Myth Media. When he's not writing here, you can catch him as the host of Popular Opinion Podcast, Batman News, and Marvel News! previous post Warner Bros. Offers First Deleted Scene From BATMAN V SUPERMAN next post Mowgli Meets Baloo In New Clip From Disney’s THE JUNGLE BOOK You may also like Batman News #10: BATMAN V SUPERMAN Gets... March 3, 2016 Batman News #14: Batman Scripted, Suicide Squad... April 8, 2016 Batman News #11: J.K. Simmons Joins JUSTICE... March 11, 2016 Batman News #7: Will Batman Kill In... February 9, 2016 Batman News #18: JUSTICE LEAGUE Logo, Synopsis,... June 23, 2016 Batman News #8: BATMAN V SUPERMAN Final... February 16, 2016 Introducing The BATMAN NEWS Podcast! December 6, 2015 Batman News #9: Good News For BATMAN... February 23, 2016 Oreole If not for Chris being there, I would’ve titled this podcast: Sean V Andy: Dawn of Disagreement. Next on the Popular Opinion Podcast: Hughes V Gerber: Dawn Of Disagreement. Azrael Sean’s disappointment for BvS is so immense to the point that he seems to have altered his previous stance regarding Jonathan’s words in MOS (37.48). Whereas before Sean defended and interpret Johnathan’s “maybe” in MOS as Jonathan being conflicted with Clark doing the right thing and risking exposure. Now that he’s disappointed with BvS its totally different, that’s quite unfortunate. Another issue is how critical this review was regarding Superman’s depiction and what wasn’t stated as oppose to what was actually shown. Superman’s actions more than made up for what wasn’t verbally conveyed IMO. Sean Gerber It wasn’t BvS that changed my interpretation and view of Jonathan Kent’s “Maybe,” but MOS. In the context of one moment, that line isn’t necessarily bad and is understandable as a specific moment in time in which Kent’s fear of losing his child led him to say something he didn’t actually believe. The problem is that the rest of Jonathan Kent’s behavior in all but the scene in the barn and watching Clark in a cape suggests that Kent really doesn’t want Clark to be a hero. Even when Clark is in college, Jonathan wants Clark to spend his life as a farmer. That’s my issue with the “Maybe” line. This review included many points about what was shown regarding Superman’s depiction. Azrael “but the scene in the barn suggests that Kent really doesn’t want Clark to be a hero” That’s strange because I never particularly got that from that scene. Everything else seems to indicate that Johnathan either wanted it or at the very least expected Clark would eventually become a hero of his own accord. I do however believe that both Jonathan and Martha were adamant about Clark not prematurely revealing himself which is explicitly stated throughout MOS. The closing scenes in MOS when Clark and Martha visits Jonathan’s grave indicates this……. “He always believed you were meant for greater things and when the day came your shoulders would be able to bare the weight”-Martha Kent This was reiterated by Clark in BvS when he tells Lois that “Superman was the dream of some farmer from Kansas”. Thus I didn’t really see a contradiction here. I’m just shocked at how much the film disappointed you since you’re usually a glass half full type of person. Stephen Exactly. Jonathan knew his son would eventually one day do great things, but he wanted his son to be fully prepared for the weight of it all. He did not think his son would be ready when he is young. As far as the “maybe” I absolutely love that line because it’s an honest answer from a father who above all wants to protect his son. He is ashamed of the words that come out his mouth and does not full out say “yes”. But his mind is on protecting his son. And I think we can all understand that. pud333 Well said. I completely agree. Sean Gerber You misread and misquoted what I said. Here is the original sentence.. “The problem is that the rest of Jonathan Kent’s behavior in all but the scene in the barn and watching Clark in a cape suggests that Kent really doesn’t want Clark to be a hero.” My point is that those are the only two scenes in MOS where Jonathan Kent seems to want Clark to be a hero and/or that he was sent here for some special reason. Everything else, including scenes that chronologically happen after the barn/cape scenes, contradicts Jonathan’s words and feelings there. His last conversation with his son is about Jonathan wanting Clark to spend his life as a farmer. Azrael “His last conversation with his son is about Jonathan wanting Clark to spend his life as a farmer.” How exactly does the conversation in the truck contradict anything we’ve already seen and/or heard regarding Jonathan? Why would Jonathan’s desire for Clark to take over the family farm preclude him from future heroics as well? I’m trying to understand because it almost seems like you’re interjecting your own preconceived notion into that brief scene. pud333 Few things: 1) Loved the podcast, even if Sean laid a big fat deuce on my beloved BvS, lol. Personally, I feel this podcast is a perfect representation of the public at large regarding this movie. Some really didn’t like it (Gerber) while others liked it but had issues with it (Begley), while others loved it (DiGenova). I’m in the loved it camp. 2) Overall, I vehemently disagree with Sean’s point of view. Where he sees missed opportunities and poor execution everywhere, and even resorts to outright dismissal of certain parts, I saw clear signs of motive, of brilliance and an overal movie that is so complex and dense with ideas, that for me, it’s like a Grant Morrison book, where there are ideas upon ideas and seeds are planted for future payoff (re: Terrio’s view of MoS, BvS and JL films as a trilogy). Sean has seen the movie more times than I have (I’ll be seeing it again on Saturday), so I trust when he says certain events happened a specific way. Yes there are flaws to this movie, but the flaws are so minor in comparison to the absolute epic scale and scope of the movie. Big ideas, huge splash-page imagery, great acting, not to mention the drops of easter eggs sprinkled throughout the film for DC nerds. The longer I listened to the podcast, the more I realized that we watched two completely different movies. 3) The biggest point of contention for me and what Sean saw was with Superman’s portrayal. I am a huge Superman mark. Christopher Reeves practically raised me. And I fully believe that Superman was done justice in this film. Mark Hughes today wrote a beautiful piece for Forbes. I urge people to seek it out. He said it more eloquently than I ever could. The main thing for me, is that I see Superman as the connective tissue from MoS to JL. Birth, death, and eventual resurrection. This is clearly his world. Yes, a darker, more cynical world, but where Sean sees nothing working (everything from the first African scene, to Jonathan Kent, to his death), I see clearly a man struggling to do the right thing in a world where every action is seen with cynical, jaded eyes. (Seriously, we live in the age of social media where within seconds someone can white knight one issue, then turn around and retweet smarmy memes the next.) Superman’s death is very strong for me. (Not as strong as it would have been if he had another solo movie before this, but I digress…) For me, he had to be the one to use the spear. Sure, he could have handed it off to Wonder Woman, but this goes back to the very beginning of MoS. Superman loves humanity, loves Earth, wants to help at any cost. Under constant criticism and scrutiny, he proves his love for humanity by commiting the ultimate sacrifice: his life. This also ties in with his love for Lois. He could have done the selfish thing as he did before, putting Lois before everyone else, but he finally puts humanity before Lois. It could have been easy for him to let Wonder Woman spear Doomsday, and he could live hapily ever after with Lois, but that’s not Superman. He gives up his life with Lois, his own happiness, to secure humanity’s survival. And this all ties into Batman and the fact that he lost his way after 20 years of crime fighting that got him nowhere. I nearly cried when I realized that, yup, Superman is going to die. The bit at the end with the rising dirt, for me, was just a fun nod to his return in JL. It didn’t diminish the death for me at all. 4) That said, Sean has many good points, the strongest case being Batman’s killing. We all know Batman has killed before and he’s used guns before, both in movies and comics. So let’s get that out of the way. The difference between this Batman, and Nolan’s Batman, however, is that this Batman is reckless and mean and the fullest realization of Miller’s Asshole Batman. This would probably be the next evolution in Batman if Miller had continued on the All Star Batman and Robin route. This was a Batman that clearly enjoyed inflicting pain. I remember when I saw it, I came out of the theater and said, “Well. There’s no way you can justify that.” I just don’t believe that no one can completely set aside their personal baggage and bias, especially when it comes to heroes you love. We all get affected. Regardless of bias, the heart wants what the heart wants, and I commend Sean for seeing this movie as many times as he did, because it must have been very hard to do so, knowing that his heart wasn’t into this movie. 5) I said it before, I’ve been so bored with superhero movies as of late. And this pandering and going out of the way to make sure people know that “Oh, no one died” even though most likely many many people died, is insuting to one’s intelligence. I want a movie that suprises me, that challenges me, and that’s what I got with BvS. I can’t count the times my jaw dropped. I’ve said it before, I will always reward a movie for going big, swinging for the fences and taking risks, even if not all the risks work out, over a movie that is safe, neatly packaged and easy to consume. 6) I caution anyone from buying 100% into Terrio’s words, that JL is a lighter movie. Lighter than BvS? Sure, maybe. But you can have really dark, and kinda really dark, if you know what I mean. Technically that means it’s a lighter movie. I don’t think it’s in Snyder to make a movie even remotely close to something like Avengers. If there’s anything we can count on, is Snyder’s lack of concern for pleasing the masses. He’s going to make his movie. But in the end, people will talk about these movies for years and years and years long after this DCEU is done. I’m sure of it. And I personally can’t wait to see what he has in store for us in JL, (even though I am outright scared of what he might possibly do. I have horrible ideas. And I’m afraid Snyder might be thinking the same things.) All in all, great podcast, guys. If everyone agreed on everything all the time, life would be so boring. And sorry for writing an essay again. I find it’s so hard to discuss BvS without going on and on and on about it. Stephen Well said! I agree with everything you said except the stuff about Batman. I loved it because we need to understand where this Batman is at in his life at the start of this film and where he is at the end of it. This Batman is a very broken man. This is a result of many things: 20 years on the job and nothing has improved, good men/friends have died or become the enemy, he feels immense responsibility for Robin’s death. “Criminals are like weeds, you pull one out another grows in its place”. I believe his turning point was Robin’s death. Now he’s out there night after night and its the same thing. He is taking his frustrations out on the criminals and has become brutal in the process. Another note of him being a broken man is how much of a womanizer he is in this film. This alien threat has shown up and killed his “family”. He doesn’t know who or what Superman is, all he can see in his rage filled eyes is what this thing is capable of doing and has done. This rage leaves him blind to anything else going on around him and is too stubborn to listen to Alfred trying to reason with him. This is why Lex was able to manipulate him. Lex didn’t really do anything that he wasn’t already thinking himself. He was already blinded by his hatred of this thing he does not know. Lex really just “encouraged” him to do what he was already thinking and further close his mind that he wouldn’t even listen to Clark’s pleas at the start of the fight. Batman would have none of it. He wasn’t thinking with his heart but with his anger. People take the word “Martha” to be too literal. What it did was pause Bruce for a moment. And for a split second he didn’t see Superman as an alien, but instead as a son, as a person. And he suddenly realizes what Clark tried to tell him at the start of the fight, what Alfred has been saying and that he just “conveniently” received the You Let Your Family Die note. He listens to what Lois was saying and how much she cared for this Alien. He realized, this a good man. I need to right my wrongs (From Childhood, to how I treated you). I need to save Martha for you. I need to save your mother. I promise no Martha will die tonight. You could see the pain and realization in Bruce when he fought his changing mind as the memories of his mother came flowing back. This connected him to Superman in a way he would never have envisioned. OUR Batman was Back! Superman was Batman’s beacon of light. He was Batman’s inspiration to be the hero that he was before. He brought back the good man Bruce was/is. I can forgive the deaths that occurred when Batman was trying to save Lois. He was informed by Superman of the clock Lex had set Martha’s fate on. This isn’t very different from Batman in the The Dark Knight Rises killing people with the Bat or Saving Gordon’s son but killing Harvey Dent in the process (by accident mind you). He knew Martha didn’t have much time and needed to get to her as quickly as possible. His line “I am a friend to your son” was a funny line given where he was at twenty minutes prior, and he put some humor in his response. But his answer was also where he was at. He now saw Clark as a friend, and he a friend to Clark. (note – Check out Brett Culp’s video on youtube “Batman v Superman: How I surprised myself & fell in love with this film”) At the end of the film, you can see how ashamed he was of his prior thoughts on Clark. He saw that Clark sacrificed himself to save the trinity, to save the civilians, to save humanity. He held Clark in his arms and gently passed him over to Wonder Woman. Then came the final proof of the newly evolved Batman, when he could have branded Lex but did not. I absolutely loved that Batman had an arc in this story (As did Superman who had a great arc). He was a broken and deeply jaded man with blinding rage. While he may still be broken (as any Batman would be) he now has inspiration and a glimmer of hope/light back. His mission that he started out with is now ‘on’. Although his new mission is to find the others. pud333 Some very good points. Thanks for this, it made me think of other connections. The criticism I’ve been hearing about the “Martha” line, like why did he say that and not “my mom,” I feel doesn’t hold weight, because Superman knows who Batman is by now. He clearly calls him Bruce as the fight is starting. He’s a reporter. It’s not like it wouldn’t be easy to google Bruce Wayne and get his parents’ names by that point. I believe he said “Martha” specifically to trigger the response in Bruce, to finally get through to him. It may seem contrived, but that’s because it is. Contrived by Superman, to get the response he needs just as Bruce is about to kill him. And you’re right, Superman is Batman’s beacon. By the end of the movie, he’s everyone’s beacon (except those that hated this movie, haha). I am probably a bit too harsh on my view of this Batman (even though I loved every moment. When he was plowing through vehicles and blowing stuff up, I had a goofy grin on my face the entire time). Looking back on his speech to Alfred, about how in 20 years, how many good men have stayed that way; it’s amazing, he’s projecting at this point. He’s really talking about himself. This movie has SO much depth and so much going on. I fully expect to see more new things with each subsequent viewing, and by the time I see it on Blu-Ray, I expect my view on this movie will be changed dramatically. All the pieces are there, and everything is connected. I’m sure the 3 hr version is better at explaining all the other stuff that seems cut up too much, but Snyder has said that the main story arc, Batman v Superman, is mostly all there; It’s the other stuff he cut out, so I am expecting an even bigger, broader, fleshed out plot. That said, if someone didn’t like the characterizations of Batman or Superman, I doubt the 3 hr version will alleviate their pain. Robert Reineke I’m in the middle camp. I will say I have little problem with Batman throwing another thug into a grenade. He was dead if the grenade was thrown into the room or whether Batman used him as a weapon to stop a grenade from being thrown in the room. I view that as pragmatic not murderous and not a whole lot different than Batman diving behind thugs who take bullets intended for Batman. stock I’ll say this about Batman killing. In the Nolan trilogy Bruce is almost immediately being coerced into executing a minor criminal in order to join the League of Shadows. He rightly refuses to do it. But, as Batman he’s placing himself in extraordinary positions where, in all likelihood he may have to kill someone. I work in a hospital. I’ve seen people die from a single punch to the head, and obviously, the beast that is Batman can do excessive damage without really meaning to kill someone. Now you have him dealing with an all powerful, unstoppable alien who, if he just sat down and talked to him he’d realize is a heckuva nice guy, but who could also destroy civilization as we know it. As Supes himself realizes in MOS, the only way to stop such a being is to kill him. Unfortunate, but logically true. You also have him dealing with terrorists and thugs who have extremely lethal firepower and the will to use it. You can’t pussyfoot around with these guys. As Tiny Lister says in TDK, “These men will kill you, and take it anyway.” Point is, a Batman who kills when necessary is more realistic than one who lives by one rule. He doesn’t have to be an executioner, but he has the obligation to defend himself and others. If that takes lethal force, so be it. I think we need to accept that, and judge him on what is happening in the scene, more than what we think should be crossing his mind at the moment. Brandon Crockett “Point is, a Batman who kills when necessary is more realistic than one who lives by one rule.” But there’s a big difference between killing when it’s absolutely necessary, and killing because 20 years in Gotham has left you really jaded. Many times, it seems as if Batman kills in this movie primarily to vent his frustrations with the vicious cycle of crime, punishment, and heartache that his life has become. When applied to some other heroes, that is a powerful, heart-rendering characterization. Applied to Batman, it’s still powerful in some respects, but it’s also such a steep, jarring departure from who he’s been for the vast majority of his existence that, to me, it just comes across as a regrettable change for change’s sake. So often in film, TV, and comics, we’ve seen Batman respond to unspeakable tragedy and loss with the strength of character a human being like himself would need to become a superhero worthy of fighting alongside, and against, metahumans. He’s done this too often (and too recently), in fact, for me to just accept BvS’s radical transformation of his character as a nod to realism and logic. Remember, Batman’s “real, logical” world still includes aliens, the city of Atlantis, and a warrior queen from the isle of Themyscira. Ben Affleck makes for a GREAT Batman, as shown by his performance. It’s just unfortunate that he wasn’t given more character-authentic material to work with. stock I understand your reasoning, and perhaps it’s just my personal issues that are the basis of mine. Without getting too political, I’ll say again that this is a post Metropolis Batman. If we allow ourselves to apply a portion of real world perspective, after 911 we all went through what might be considered a “sea change” in our world perspective. I know I did. On the personal side when Bruce says, “I’m older now than my father ever was,” I know exactly how that feels. Besides that, I have nothing in common with Bruce Wayne, but he’s about 45, he watched his world blow up, and he’s still a fatherless child. He’s at F-it stage and I completely get that here. Leave Superman out and he’s dealing with terrorists, sex slavers, child molesters, etc–the absolute lowest scum of the earth. If a few of those guys bite it while doing their damndest to kill him, Bats is still a hero to me. And I’m with him 100 percent. As to the rest of the film, it did a poor job with its subtext, IMO. Bats v Supes was silly. It was like 2 guys walk out of a bar. First guy says, “Let’s fight.” Other guy says, “Them’s fightin’ words!” And….scene. But I get you and Sean on Batman. He’s already acting above the law. You want him to be morally straight in spite of it. To be a better man than the people he’s fighting against. I’m saying, without a doubt, he still is. Brandon Crockett Fair enough. Thank you–I appreciate your insight. stock Anytime, and likewise to you, Brandon. I expect we’ll see a Batman more in line with how you’d like him to be in future films. Somehow, I think the criticisms of BvS, including Bats’ image, are being taken to heart by the powers that be as we speak. Have you seen “The Sound of Silence,” clip yet? Funny and heartbreaking at the same time. Brandon Crockett Yes I have, and I agree with your take, stock. That look on Ben Affleck’s face was amusing, but it also managed to strike a chord with me because he looked genuinely discouraged–as if he’d thrown his whole heart into something, only to watch it fail. I feel bad for the guy; hopefully the powers-that-be, and mainstream audiences, won’t find him guilty by association with Snyder and Co. He was terrific, and I want to see what he gives us in a solo Batman film (apart from Snyder). stock Like I’ve said in other posts, I’ve never been a fan, but he did Bats justice here, and still comes off better than Supes in this film. When do you remember seeing Bruce working his ass off in the gym so he can even BE Batman? Never that I can think of. And Irons as Alfred? I can’t wait to see that explored further. I liked Michael Caine, but this is going to be closer to my ideal for Alfred, I think. So, even though I think the movie fails in its goal, there is still hope for the future.🙏🖖 Adam Thanks to Sean, Andy, and Christ for the great podcast. I just saw the film yesterday, and, as a huge batman fan, my feelings are actually very much in line with Sean’s reaction. He’s already made the salient point(s) as well, or better, than I could hope to, so I’ll instead just add the following: the ‘no unnecessary killing’ rule, for me at least, really is one of those constitutive elements of the character (i.e. who, and what, Batman is and stands for) without which we can, and should, meaningfully ask whether or not we’re really even watching, or talking about, ‘Batman’ anymore. To me, at least, treatments that either play fast and loose with this rule – or worse, pretty much dispense with it altogether (e.g. BVS) are at best variations on a Batman theme, or something like that. But, as I said, this is already to belabor a point that has been eloquently, and more than sufficiently, expressed already. I was hoping to raise a slightly different point of concern here as well, one that I don’t feel is given anywhere near the attention it deserves in this day and age. Note that this is also by no means a criticism that is exclusive to BVS: on the contrary, this is something that is all-too common in most every modern superhero/comic book film. I am referring to the fact that, even now, in 2016 for crying out loud, women are still depicted in overtly sexualized terms. Don’t get me wrong, I thought that Gal Gadot did a tremendous job in the film. Her performance isn’t the issue. Likewise, though I obviously haven’t seen Age of Apocalypse yet, I fully expect Olivia Munn to deliver an excellent performance in that film as Psylocke. The problem is that these characters are basically wearing some kind of militarized version of what is essentially just lingerie. This is ridiculous, offensive, demeaning, and outmoded. Or consider Black Widow in the Marvel films; granted, her outfit is certainly demure by comparison, but note the perpetually un-zipped cleavage-exposing top half of the outfit. Seriously!? I’m sorry to say that things seem to be actually getting worse, not better, on this score, too (recall the much more utilitarian-practical outfits Jean and Storm wore in the earlier X-Men films). All in all, this would seem to be sending a really depressing message to young women: namely, sure, female empowerment is great and all that (a la “just look at how many dudes so-and-so beats up in that scene!”); but if you’re gonna be a badass, you’ve still gotta be sexy. Does any of this resonate with anyone as being problematic and unfortunate; or am I just shouting into the wind? stock Adam, take it from an old guy, there is one constant in the universe and that is Sex Sells. It sells throughout the animal kingdom but humans are the only animal that spends money on it. When I was too young for the pornography that is everywhere in our modern culture, the first thing that taught me anything about the difference between men and women was Julie Newmar as Catwoman. I was 6 years old and she was nothing like my mother, but I loved her for some inexplicable reason that goes back to the first days of man. Fast forward to my comic book buying years and before long, the artwork becomes more sophisticated and pretty soon, you have super heroines who are basically moving across the panels in pornographic positions, with hypersexualized bodies and then, who needs Penthouse when you’ve got comic books? Fact is, that’s the facts and I don’t see it changing, nor should it, really, unless you want to live in a very boring world. Sex is a main driver of our economy, and far be it from making women powerless, it actually makes them powerful. It may send an unfortunate message to young boys, but we can hope they find a good woman to snap them out of it. As for girls, I really don’t think it phases too many of them. They’re smart, and they aren’t generally the primary consumers of comic books or comic book movies. I think there might have been about 3 in the theater at BvS. It’s not Divergent, you know? Anyway Adam, you’re concern speaks well of you, but look not to the Entertainment Industry to set good examples for your life, or for the lives of young women. You be good and respectful. You set the right example. Actors will do anything for money. Anything.