Well, okay maybe the title was a little misleading. There is actually no conspiracy other than the one the film critics have staged to rid the world of Marvel’s competition. As a self proclaimed comic book geek as well as fan of the film industry, after seeing Batman V Superman, I finally figured out what has the fans and critics divided and it is clearly revealed in the first ninety seconds of the movie:
Thomas Wayne has a mustache!
Never in the history of the DCU has the father of Bruce Wayne, doctor, philanthropist and godfather of Gotham, ever been portrayed with a mustache! No wonder fans want Zack Snyder off the franchise. How could he take something as innocent an the upper lip of Thomas Wayne and give it…hair?
Since I nailed that and I still have you here, I guess I can give my take on all the hoopla surrounding this film.
First off, I would like to point out that while I understand the geek culture has a passion for wanting to stay true to the source material, this is a movie about a middle-aged rich guy who dresses like a bat versus an alien from another planet who is indestructible and shoots lasers out of his eyes. Not exactly a basis for serious adult speculation.
With that said, the film is a greatly entertaining spectacle. It is certainly dark in tone (intentionally) like something off the pages of a Frank Miller book. As a fan of the genre who is educated on the universe and the idea of what they were doing with this film, I enjoyed it immensely. With that said, my wife, who is not a comic book nerd, also really enjoyed it but had some issues following the plot.
Since I have mostly good things to say about the film, here are the few issues I believe the average moviegoer will have:
- Wonder Woman: since they are currently shooting her solo film, they do not delve into her backstory at all, leaving her presence a complete mystery. It is not discussed on any level what has brought her there so it will confuse some who are unfamiliar.
- Lex Luthor: going for the ‘Mad Scientist’ instead of ‘Evil Genius’ version was an absolute mistake on their part. Jesse Eisenberg floats around the screen like a wannabe Joker, wearing bowling shoes with his $10,000 suits. Luther is a cerebral villain and should be played as that, even as a younger man.
- Justice League: the teasers were a great Easter egg for us fans but to the non-fan they seem out of place. I understand giving the audience credit to figure things out but they may have over shot on that one.
- Doomsday: for such an iconic enemy of Superman, he was created and incubated way too fast, almost so they could fit him into the final act. The better play would have been to end the movie with him coming to life and started the Justice League film with the Trinity battling him.
Two other things I want to mention: Jeremy Irons is fantastic as Alfred but completely underused. He brings a swagger to the role that not even Michael Caine brought in the Chris Nolan trilogy. Hopefully his role expands going forward. The other thing is Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Incredible casting. She is gorgeous and looks completely natural handling a sword and kicking ass. Her in that costume may finally be the fantasy image that usurps Princess Leia in that gold bikini.
I enjoyed just about everything else about the movie and there should be no unfair comparisons to films in the Marvel universe which are historically brighter, lighter and funnier. If you have watched Daredevil on Netflix you know that Marvel does plenty of dark material and does it well. I think making the DCU the darker and more serious universe is the right call since they have the most brilliant villains and heroes who possess God-like powers that can not be explained by science.
Furthermore, if B v S is not the best DC film in the series that is not necessarily a bad thing. This is the jumping off point for the universe so the films should only get better and better. In my opinion, Marvel started off too strong as Iron Man was the best comic book movie of all time (again, my opinion) and since then their offerings have gotten weaker, culminating with the mess that was Avengers: Age of Ultron and the completely over rated Ant-Man (although Paul Rudd was great as always). Since DC is trying to be the anti-Marvel and spin off solo films from the team-up one, the expectations have to be adjusted.
Looking ahead at the Marvel offerings, the pickings are getting slim although Fox (which owns the entire X-men universe) is looking promising with Deadpool and New Mutants in the works. Marvel Studios has Captain America: Civil War coming out (which is essentially Avengers 3) followed by Dr. Strange, Black Panther, Spider-man and another Thor. In that same span DC will offer Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Justice League Part 1 and then Aquaman. I don’t know about you, but if I’m spending $11.50 to sit in a movie theater, I’m going with the Super Friends on this one.
In conclusion, I would like to appeal to your sense of sympathy and ask you to forgive Zack Snyder for his oversight. Considering it was supposed to be 1981, I think he probably thought everyone had a mustache back then.