Popular Opinion Podcast Popular Opinion Podcast #13: BATMAN V SUPERMAN Spoiler Review And Debate written by Sean Gerber March 30, 2016 Sean Gerber and Mark Hughes have very different opinions on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In this episode, they review and, mainly, debate the quality of the film including its portrayals of the main characters and how well it constructs its central conflict. Not everything is up for debate, however, as their are points on which Mark and Sean agree, like how awesome Wonder Woman is in the film. Please rate, review, and subscribe to Popular Opinion Podcast on iTunes. Popular Opinion Podcast #13: BATMAN V SUPERMAN Spoiler Review And Debate was last modified: March 30th, 2016 by Sean Gerber Related Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 24 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 Dolby Cinema Provides A Moviegoing Experience Worth Seeking Out next post Ben Affleck Has Written A Batman Script You may also like Introducing POPULAR OPINION PODCAST October 20, 2015 Popular Opinion Podcast: Marvel Vs. DC February 2, 2016 POP – Talking ANT-MAN With Director Peyton... November 30, 2015 POP – Top 25 Superhero Movies Of... October 28, 2015 POP – STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS... November 8, 2015 Popular Opinion Podcast: STAR WARS: THE FORCE... January 18, 2016 POP – Top 25 Superhero Movies Of... October 22, 2015 Popular Opinion Podcast- STAR WARS: THE FORCE... October 19, 2015 POP: BATMAN V SUPERMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE, And... February 22, 2016 POP – SPECTRE Review And The Future... November 9, 2015 Oreole Gerber V Hughes: Dawn of Disagreement. The greatest gladiator match in the history of the Internet. stock Going to see it tomorrow despite all I’ve read here and otherwise. Looking forward to hearing the debate, though I’m likely TeamGerber on this one. pud333 Surprised anyone would read about a movie’s initimate details before paying to go see it. BvS is one of those movies you have to just experience for yourself before you get too influenced by any one person. It’s a movie where at the very least, love it or hate it afterwards, is a unique experience. stock I read Sean’s non-spoiler review, and since most other reviewers had to pledge to write non-spoiler reviews, I really haven’t read many details, but, yes, I’ve not maintained a cone of silence around me. It’s more my own speculation pre and post release that I’m going on. We’ll see in about a half hour! pud333 Ah, gotcha. Well, it’s an experience for sure. Good luck, haha! stock Well, I went in flat, cuz of the reviews, and I went out flat. But it’s ok, IMO. Without going chapter and verse, thought it was as good as MOS, which I really don’t like, but have learned to accept. I liked the Bat scenes better than the Supes scenes. But that’s just natural for me. Adrian Edmondson Both raised great points in this “debate” . It truly is a mixed film but certainly not a bad one . stock After watching it, I am on TeamGerber on BvS. I’ve always been skeptical about it and the finished product bears out that feeling. It’s a mess. It’s a beautiful mess, but still a mess. You need another podcast to get into some of the other messes that you avoided here, such as the Lex Luthor/Joker interpretation, (which I didn’t mind so much until he turned into Renfield at the end). The positives: I’m not a fan of Ben Affleck–even on films where he’s been wildly praised, I see a guy who is just…there. But I liked his Batman (I won’t say best because I don’t grade like that. They do what they’re given to do) and as far as killing, I look at it as a post 911 Batman. The DCU film 911 is the Zod-Superman destruction of Metropolis. So Bats killing terrorist in any capacity is personally, for me A OK. It doesn’t bother me because he’s dealing with people who only understand justice when it’s final justice. If it betrays Bats as a character it’s only because we’ve accepted a 1 rule Batman, who probably would not exist in a post Metropolis world. BTW I never knew Met and Gotham were NY and NJ. I always thought it was Los Angeles and NY. Anyway, I loved Irons as a younger, more Jack of all Trades Alfred. I liked that relationship. I liked watching Bruce train, something we haven’t seen before. Loved the car and the plane. Supes again gets screwed by Snyder. It’s amazing that Cavill doesn’t walk off this set. Agreeing with Sean about not needing Messianic imagery at this point. I also think Superman should not and would not allow a monument to be built. It’s a little ridiculous that he’s sanctioning worship and yet is still completely misunderstood by the govt. Podcasts. You always want to break in. Instead, here I am, hunting and pecking on a phone. So much to say. This is still an impressive film that sometimes borders on the cinematic equivalent of Spinal Tap’s infamous album, Shark Sandwich. That had a 2 word review but I can’t print that. In short, I can’t believe Nolan was a producer on this, except the Bat scenes are well done. I think it’s time for Snyder to exit because his view of the world makes for some dismal time spent at the movies. But BvS is still worth going to. There had to be one or two good songs on Shark Sandwich. Hey berto Listening now. The notion of Batman’s killing in this film is an interesting debate, and I’m with Sean. The problem with comparing Batman to Superman or even to Captain America and the ‘no killing’ issue, is that with Batman, it is so prominently stated by the character in almost every key incarnation. My issue isn’t that people die because of Batman’s action exactly.. it’s that this Batman clearly doesn’t care if he kills anybody. That’s not an attribute in Batman that I like. I didn’t like it in Batman ’89 and Batman Returns. I’ll settle for if he tries not to kill, and this one does not. That’s the issue. Not the technicality of whether we know Nolan’s Batman did, and that was clear in those films. Another criticism I’ve heard and agree with, is if you assume he does care, he’s damn reckless, and bad with his judgement. But I think the character is written not to care, and I have a problem with that from a characterization perspective. I was just fine with Superman killing Zod.. he had NO choice. Batman intentionally killing when his back is against the wall is something that I’m ok with, if handled properly and shown as a last resort. That was not the case here. I agree Affleck has great potential to be the best Batman we’ve seen. Action-wise, he looks and feels like Batman right out of the comics. It think Bale is a far superior Bruce Wayne, and the script has a lot to do with that. The film itself has a lot to get excited about, but story-wise, it has a lot of problems. I do think, like Watchmen, Snyder is too beholden to incarnations in the comics, rather than just being inspired by them. It led to a lot of clunkiness, but also some really nice moments. All in all, I’m with Sean on this one. TheTingler Saw it for the second time yesterday and I urge every DC fan to see it a second time if they haven’t already. The first time I saw Batman V Superman I was hugely deflated. It thought it was a hot mess, with lots of confusing or unnecessary moments and a disdain for all characters except Wonder Woman and possibly Alfred. The second time though I knew the flaws, accepted them, and went looking for enjoyment. And… I did. I really enjoyed myself, to the point that even through the flaws I am actually looking forward to seeing it again. I’m truly shocked at the turnaround in my opinion, something that hasn’t happened before even with other DC movies like Green Lantern or Man of Steel. It’s still got problems, but they no longer matter to me now that I’m expecting them. stock I’m wavering on seeing it again. My issues, as far as I know, haven’t been discussed, but I thought the political subtext was poorly executed, especially with the senator. In one minute she goes from tough adversary to Luthor, to quivering mess. And Supes just stands there! Hasn’t sworn an oath as a witness. Hasn’t introduced himself as Kal-El of Krypton. Nothing. And then, in a mirror of TDK–Boom! Beyond that, Supes allows a monument to be built in his honor despite the fact that boil it down–he’s the reason for the destruction. Superman/Clark should have removed that–explained that he is very sorry for the tragic loss of life, and also made sure that people know he is not God! I really hate how you get such conflicting messages about this beloved character in this current version. Martha tells him he doesn’t owe Earth anything. Wrong Martha! He owes it his very life! Lois tells him he’s the only thing some people have to give them hope. Wrong Lois! There is a Christian God and a Muslim God and a Jewish God etc that the faithful get their hope from. I know how that sounds, not everyone is religious, but Snyder’s Superman treatment grates on me a lot more than Batman killing terrorists. In MOS, even a priest doesn’t dare to mention God-just a “leap of faith.” That’s terrible advice from a man of the cloth, IMO. You’ll be surprised to know, Tingler, that other than that and a bunch of other things like Doomsday looking like a Cave Troll, “They have a Cave Troll.” I actually kind of liked it. Sorry to have gone on, but it’s a movie that has me in a talkative mood. TheTingler I’m not saying a second viewing would fix everything, but I was absolutely the same when I left the theater the first time. The second time I was fully aware of all the things that annoyed me the first time and just grit my teeth through them, and I found myself instead focusing on all the other parts of the movie and actually enjoyed it. Regarding a couple of your specific points, I can’t remember when the senator becomes a quivering mess unless you mean ten seconds before the senate blows up? I think that’s when she realized Luthor had done something. And I presume Superman was about to swear himself in and start talking, he was just waiting for her to finish and never got the chance. And I don’t think Superman really had a choice about the statue, as he didn’t want to start telling people what to do. I think that’s one of the points the movie (tries to) make, that some people think he’s a god or a devil whereas he’s really just a guy trying to do the right thing. I didn’t even really get that properly until my second viewing. I’m not saying it does it all well, but I could see what Snyder was trying to do at least. stock Supes could say he’s honored about the statue, but…Besides, statues are erected in memorium, unless you’re a dictator. These are the ideas that, since MOS, I’ve had problems with. Snyder either doesn’t have those basic concepts down, or, more likely, doesn’t care. But, I get you on it, and like I said previously, it’s a mess, but it’s a beautiful mess. thiinkerca Hello glad to see this debate up. I have seen this 6 times now and frankly speaking I’m on Team Mark Hughes. Mark your thoughtful analysis on Forbes has been fantastic. Hopefully you will provide how Zack Snyder is doing with all the bashing he has received which has really been uncalled for. Unfortunately Sean after your Batman news podcast with Andy, you came across as aggressive and unbelievably negative and not much is new here. Understanding a movie on its on terms important, otherwise one gets the ad hominem attacks as witnessed on Ifanboys review by one of the reviewers and in Blastr where one comment was actually racially insensitive. Again in this podcast Sean your ire and anger comes across and is rather off putting to be very honest and I frankly am happy there is a counter to your own attitudes towards the movie. It is in general an interesting point that the most aggressive reviews are negative and display an animus and vitriol that displays both passion but also sadly a real lack of balance as well. Returning to my first point, watching the movie on its own terms is important. If the intent of batman 89 was art deco 40’s batman and batman returns was influenced by burton’s own sensibilities and Nolan’s batman films were influenced by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale runs of Long Halloween and Miller/Mazuchelli Year One and Dark Knight returns and Knightfall/No Man’s Land, BVS is influenced by Dark Knight Returns/Dixon et al Superman combined with conceptual narratives that are taken from other stories and like the previousy stated films, it develops its own narrative as well. I think what was said in another podcast is the Cinematic vs Comic DC characters have different sensibilities and has to be treated differently. In sequential narrative, there are certainly developed ethos and themes that vary over time but have in some senses a moral code that in many cases is not always practical but makes sense within the realm of the sequential art ie joker not being killed because he is a great character. Cinematically the fact that despite it being a “comic book reality” depending on the tone and approach, it is inescapable for ourselves as the viewer to not bring in the aspects of the real world we live in. As such the ethos is both reflective and refractive in a sense to what is happening in the world and as such comic book movies are a very much of a time they were made as are all films in general. The current reality we live in is a complicated time and place as is always the case. The film BVS verey accurately attempts to relate some of those current concerns within the convention of what is a comic book movie vs a treatise or philosophical text. What has been married here is the visual along with a version of a reality while fanciful in the sense it has metahumans is not foreign or unrealistic in terms of how normal people are portrayed and reactive to things that happen in the film. The movie’s narrative arc requires thought and but considering I have discussed the movie with non comics fan who enjoyed it and had no issue following what is a simple story, the complaints are interesting as perhaps a movie that perhaps spoon fed the information was perhaps what many were looking for. In closing the aims of the movie were achieved in really showing the cinematic batman v superman with wonderwoman and launching a new universe of films. Btw as an aside this movie needs to be seen in Imax 3d as the clarity and the acting particularly facial expressions is sharper and added another layer of enjoyment. In any event I look forward to further Zack Snyder films (justice league) as his visual tableaux is expansive and he has created something enjoyable and entertaining with repeat value similar to MOS and Watchmen. Closing thought is Hitchcock was always aware that his films had the the 3am affect ie you would watch the film suspend disbelief, enjoy it and go home. Was everything perfect? No and sometimes one would wake up in the middle of the night and ask Wait how did they do ..? However the movies hold up because they are CINEMA not theatre and hold up on their own merits, though interestingly during his career Hitchcock was poorly reviewed and disparagingly called a stylist which is the same complaint against Snyder. Well it is Cinema a Visual Art, and BVS is very much a superb example of the Art of Light and Shadows. Thank you pud333 Saw it a second time this afternoon. Much more relaxed going in so I could enjoy it more. Brought my wife and four friends this time. First time I saw it, I thought it was an 8/10. Now? 9/10. Definitely. Going to Seattle for ECCC in a few days, so I’ll definitely see it while I’m there as well. Sean has good points, Mark has way better. My wife thought it was okay, one friend loved it, the other three liked it. But none of that matters to me personally. I know how I felt in that theatre. I had a couple tears roll down when Jonathan Kent gave his talk, and again more tears when Supes sacrificed himself. And that pretty much is all that matters to me. I just need these movies to make just enough money for Snyder to not lose his job, so I can see Snyder’s vision play out in its entirety. Then they can reboot the heck out of it haha. Bring on the Suicide Squad! Robert Reineke I think we should amend the Batman killing thing to go all the way back to the 40s serials. Heck, even the 66 movie has some henchmen buying it. I will say this, if we don’t have a Batman capable of killing henchmen, how much drama and tension is there for when Batman goes up against Superman? If he has a fully in place moral code against killing undoubted bad guys, isn’t he already defeated before going up against Superman? Hey berto Well, I think the seriousness and realism of the material ups the ante on the importance of the ‘No Killing’ rule for many. Again, it’s a key part of the character’s code, and specifically stated by him in most incarnations. On your second paragraph, I disagree. I had no problem with Superman killing Zod. They had set up that it was what he HAD to do to stop him from killing innocents. If Batman is going to kill, they need to do something similar. With Superman, I think it’s kind of the same. To beat him, it means he has to kill him.. or at least, a case can be made for that. But human bad guys vs. an alien Superman? I think a case can be made for that, and going to kill Superman doesn’t suddenly mean Batman can just disregard the rules he’s set for himself. Just because he’s going to kill Superman doesn’t mean he suddenly is ok with killing others. Lee Harvey Cobblepot Mark came across to me ass really defensive and pedantic on the show. His rationalizations for why Batman would kill were almost funny, in that Sean laid his case out very plainly and Mark then tried to counter that, bending over backwards to create a logic for Batman’s actions, where they could possibly have led to people not dying or whatever. It required, very simply, for him to ignore dialogue and context in the film, as well as deliberately misunderstanding basic film grammar – All logic is not created equal. In this case the literal side of nerd-dom requires a rational way to reconcile two sides of an issue (the popular and iconic image of Batman with the one the movie presents) in a situation where that shouldn’t be necessary. Liking the film and thinking Batman’s actions in the movie are OK, but trying to explain it away and saying “maybe they didn’t die…”, that does NOT work. Also, I read Devin’s review where he said Snyder hates Superman, and I think Mark is taking that a little bit too literally. It doesn’t need to be countered. Mark’s piece seems to have misunderstood the point he was making there. Hey berto Nothing against Mark, or trying to put down his defense of the film. But when you have to go to great lengths to rationalize what’s on screen (and mostly, I’m talking about the rationalizations/explanations for Batman’s killing and how it’s presented on screen), I think you’re talking about a situation that asks too much of the audience to just overlook. I’ve said it above, and so I’m going to repeat it. If a faithful version of Batman is presented, and you’re going to then deviate from the key characterization (He now is unconcerned with killing), it needs to be justified and addressed on screen. We shouldn’t have to make all these inferences just because he’s walking around pissed off at the world and Superman. Even in the context of the film itself, and ignoring mythology, there is a key characterization problem.. this man who is so concerned with the destruction in Metropolis cares nothing for his own collateral damage. I don’t buy it. Again, Mark is free to make whatever personal inferences he wants, and there is nothing wrong with his perception of, and love for, the film. I’m not trying to bash him or anyone that does. If he watches the film and buys in, that’s cool. But just looking at the film structurally.. there are problems and I don’t think I should have to make these inferences and try to connect the dots to justify the characterization. That’s my issue and where I disagree. Lee Harvey Cobblepot Very good points, and I wouldn’t want to take away anyone’s enjoyment of the film either. And the rationalizations were where I had problems with the arguments as presented on the show. It’s been a couple of days, but I believe he tried to argue that maybe the guys in the car Batman shot up and plowed through – that maybe those guys lived? Maybe that was it? I’m not sure. Anyway, it made me go “come on, man, just say it didn’t bother you that Batman killed people, don’t try to invent ways to let the film off that hook and then call it logic”. You know? I thought it was a good chase and didn’t have as much of a problem with it as Sean had – I like a good bit of action as much as the next guy. The one thing I really reacted to was when the Batmobile jumped and tore through the trailer. That actually made me sit up and say “Hey”, but at that point the movie had already established that Batman was willing to kill. Hey berto I agree wholeheartedly. Scott Finally saw the movie. I didn’t expect to like it, due to the poor reviews, but I actually liked it quite a lot. It’s not perfect, of course, but overall it was a great movie. I will make a comment on the issue of Batman killing. To be honest, it doesn’t bother me (and yes, I have read all the great Batman stories from the comics). I don’t think the “no kill” rule is a critical part of the character; there are much more critical aspects of the character, and those were presented in this film. What is critical, as far as killing goes, is that Batman isn’t killing people in cold blood. Sean referenced the “no kill” rule being introduced in Batman Begins, but really it wasn’t. Bruce didn’t say he wouldn’t kill in that movie, he only specifically said he would “not become an executioner”. That gives him the ability, if absolutely necessary (and in any realistic world, it would sometimes would be), to kill a villain while actively in the process of preventing them from committing a crime. We accept that from our police officers all the time, so I don’t understand why people think it can’t apply to a masked vigilante. The two men in the SUV absolutely were criminals and were firing a machine gun in the city streets. Yes, Batman also fired a machine gun of his own, which means he was also breaking the law, but the whole point of Batman is that he operates OUTSIDE of the law (and often breaks it himself) in order to stop criminals. I didn’t see him execute anybody in cold blood in this film, so the scenes where he killed criminals did not bother me at all. Matthew Dickinson Thanks Gentlemen, I thoroughly enjoyed this! I tend to be on Sean’s side of the debate, but Mark argued really eloquently and won me over on some points. Are you going to have a Q&A about BvS? I’d like to know what people thought about where the blame falls, with Zack Snyder, with WB or equally both? Do you think WB has been hypocritical in paying lip service to allowing filmmakers freedom to create their own vision and then interfering (like the rumour about Suicide Squad suggests) or do you think they allowed Snyder his vision, it just wasn’t a successful vision? Hey berto You know, I think they’ve given Snyder a lot of freedom, but you have to wonder if that will continue at this point. The studio really needs someone like Kevin Feige who can lead the creative effort and keep cohesion. Supposedly, Snyder was kind of doing that. After BvS, he’s clearly not the guy who should be doing that, because his view of the material just doesn’t strike the right chord. But they need a guy with the right vision, for sure.