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A Film Student Weighs In - Batman vs Superman [Spoilers]

Asuka Langley

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Hey there. You're probably wondering what this is all about and honestly if there's a subforum for this to actually be put in whether it's now or the future then I'll drop it in there instead.


I'm a student in Sixth Form studying A Level Film - our current projects being to make our own movies self assessing them afterward and to assess a scene from a movie of our choice (something I'm going to spend my night after writing this review doing). Anyway, I've just come home from watching Batman vs Superman and to be honest, the critics seem to have overlooked it as a film and are instead judging it on the franchise.



-Spoilers start here, you've been warned-



Back to Life, Back to Reality


I'd like to start off by agreeing with something I've read in one of these said reviews which is that the movie attempts to fit too much into one sitting... To be honest I can't disagree with this as I myself felt a little overwhelmed by the amount of content that was thrown to me in the couple of hours I spent sat in the front row. While the story starts out in the dream world and we see a young Bruce who has yet to go through the torment of the Gotham TV series, we get shown for the umpteenth time the death of his parents. I understand how emotionally challenged Bruce would be upon being present when his parents were shot in front of him, however the fact that DC decide that they need to show this in one way or another with tributes to his family is beginning to become unbearable and in fact is one of the things that is used later in the movie to defuse a major conflict.



Ben Affleck trying to outrun his performance in Daredevil, ends up running into the mess that the start of BvS is.


After falling down a hole and being carried by a tornado of bats back out again into the light, we're reintroduced to the real world at a point where we can see Bruce in the wake of the Superman vs Zod battle which took place in Man of Steel. In this scene we're presented with an old guy on the phone to Bruce who is frantically driving through the oddly empty streets of a Metropolis in distress, miraculously dodging falling buildings and abandoned cars to get to what I assume was a Wayne Industries building which - surprise - gets destroyed in a struggle between Superman and Zod, leaving us with a wreckage and two new people to interact with Bruce. Wallace Keefe, who if I remember correctly was some sort of security guard for the building who has had his legs destroyed by the wreckage and later has both legs amputated and becomes a crucial part of the plot behind the conflict of Bats and Superman. The other person happens to be a little girl who's in trouble and is about to be squashed by a piece of wreckage from what was the Wayne building. Surprise surprise, Bruce saves the day and moves her out the way just in time... These just in time moments are already becoming a theme in this movie and we're not even 20 minutes in. After pointing out that her mother was in the Wayne building we see Bruce divert his attention to what seems to be the end of the fight between Superman and Zod, the camera focuses on it and then eventually we get pulled away to what god knows was a forgettable sequence - and I've only just come back from watching this dammit.


Now, obviously they've decided to add this scene from Man of Steel in Bruce's perspective to give viewers a bit of insight into what it was like for everyone other than Superman as well as to show why Superman is feared, however I don't understand why they couldn't have added a little more content on the side of Robin as in this DC Universe he's apparently been killed by The Joker. While we do see the suit of the now dead Boy Wonder on display in the batcave with the Joker's taunt towards Batman present, it still leaves us wondering exactly WHICH variation of Robin was killed and how exactly he died as upon inspection of the suit there are no wounds on the body - implying execution - however it does look rather burned out which could mean death by fire.



Better killing joke than the Daredevil movie (I'll stop eventually)



Offering a tease then giving The Full Monty


Now when we saw the teasers for the different films that could be coming in Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, not only were they presented in a dreamworld, they were quite disappointing and only managed to offer slight satisfaction leading towards them - the only one I can truly remember at all is the teaser for Thor: Ragnarok in which he enters some kind of cave and the dream pushes on to the prediction of Ragnarok. While these were quite disappointing it seems DC has managed to outdo them, offering us a look at each of the Meta-Humans who are to come - The Flash who stops a robbery at a corner shop, Aquaman who pummels the shit out of a submarine drone and Cyborg whose footage looked like some cheap YouTube video smashed together with someone who slightly understands CGI including a black box which seriously reminded me of the All Spark from the Michael Bay Transformers films.


While I am disappointed in the fact that they had to be teased this way, it was very good to see that DC didn't want to give anything away towards the films and keep fans wanting more than they got, perhaps a way to trick us into keeping an eye out for the trailers due to the lack of information given by the movie.


Cinematography among gods



If I have to have a favorite scene from the entire movie myself, it'd be Lex's first walk through the Kryptonian ship remains. While it's probably not a scene that comes to mind for most other people however the simple uses of cinematography and the relationship of what's being filmed in contrasts to the music just excited me to see the rest of the movie and how well it had been filmed in contrast. The scene I talk about sees Lex walk into the remains of the ship and as he takes a step, the music changes so that the drum beats then the violins draw, into another step and another drum beat. Eventually he stops to take a good look at the remains and even when he moves his feet while stationary the music just decides to work with him and in my opinion it's just so breathtaking to see something like this come together so easily to create the effect of power that Lex has - even if it is Jesse Eisenberg who's playing him. (You can listen to the track above, which is the track played in this scene)



"The Red Capes are coming" - Lex to Jnr. Senator Finch over being denied Kryptonite Import Licencing


However, this is not just the only piece of cinematography that is noteworthy, infact quite a lot of the film uses advanced cinematography techniques that you won't notice unless you're looking directly for them - take for example the scene after Lois returns from the massacre in Africa. The scene starts out in a street with everyone wearing black suits and skirts and the street covered in black cars while Lois leaves from a yellow taxi, pointing out her importance to the audience almost as spontaneously as the taxi comes onto the screen. It's little things like this that I really appreciate in movies and are heavily looked over by film critiques as they'd rather talk about the story and rate on whether or not they were bribed enough.


Wondering about Wonder Woman?


There's quite a lot of interaction with Wonder Woman's alter ego throughout the movie, first being introduced in the party at Lex Luthor's estate as a competitor for the information that Bruce is attempting to take from Lex's servers in the basement - which she ends up "borrowing" from him for some time - however she's introduced more as eye candy rather than anything pivotal in the storyline until Bruce discovers a photo of her from 1918 alongside the footage of the other Meta-Humans.



Wonder Woman leaving with Lex's information on Bruce's hard drive in style.


While I have complained about being barraged with information from this movie, it seems the information that I really wanted to know about - in this case some back story to Wonder Woman instead of an image from 1918 - has either been long forgotten in the script, will come at a later date or has been selected for the deleted scenes section of the DvD/Blu-Ray when it inevitably comes in its limited edition, steel book, triple play form. However, if you live under a rock or just don't like looking at trailers because you know they spoil most things nowadays, there are quite a few pointers before you actually find out she's Wonder Woman that tell you that she's Wonder Woman. For example the second time we meet her, she's in a museum looking at quite an old weapon which Bruce tells her is a fake and she acknowledges this telling him she already knew. Now while this may just mean she's a collector with knowledge, the blade is quite old and memorable of the blade you'd usually see Wonder Woman brandishing, in fact without this slight hint I was actually convinced that she could've been identified as Catwoman - a romantic interest of Bruce Wayne's in several universes to my knowledge.



"I thought she was with you" Wonder Woman Joins the Fight!


We don't see Wonder Woman until the final fight against the beast that's produced by the body of Zod and the blood of Lex who at this point is becoming a complete maniac, losing his mind to the power that the Krypton ship has given him. While she's displayed as quite a good fighter, the suit she wears seems to show a bit more than it ought to - I understand how sex appeal works it's just that in contrast to Marvel superheroes, the outfit is definitely risque. Personally I enjoyed seeing Wonder Woman make battle, however her screen time seemed a lot shorter than what it should've been in her hero form, especially since they were trying to make a big deal out of her before the whole fight broke out... I mean come on DC, make your damn minds up :shakefist:


The Martha Continuum


My main pet peeve about this whole movie is how we go back to the fact that Batman is emotionally triggered by any reference to his parents death, so much so that it happens to be the reason that the fight between him and Superman was drawn to a close and to be honest at the end of it all the only way I can describe the constant view of the depression that Batman is going through in the tiniest way is...




Now, the fight between Bats and Superman is ended over the fact that Superman asks Batman to "Save Martha". In the confusion he experiences and after being told by Lois who just happened to miraculously show up in time - see how it's a theme in this yet? - that Martha is in fact the name of Superman's mother, causing batman to have a flashback and completely flip a tit emotionally. While the death of his parents wasn't the only thing he's dreamed of in the movie, it is the thing that we seem to be brought back to each and every time we think we've gotten away from it and personally it's the only thing I dislike about Batman movies nowadays, because surely we know about the death of his parents by now... and if you don't then where the hell was your childhood spent?


Escaping the Dreams



On the set of Mad Bats: Fury Road


The dream worlds presented in the movie are some of the most confusing aspects of the movie and were certainly not at all needed. The first dream of course being Bruce at his parents funeral, running away then after falling down a trapdoor in the forest, being carried up to the top by a whirlwind of bats. However, the dream sequence I found most interesting was the one I decided to dub "Mad Bats: Fury Road" which sees Batman outside what appears to be a post apocalyptic Metropolis, he meets up with some other people who are about to spring a trap involving a fake box of Kryptonite - what Batman would need to kill Superman. After the trap has been sprung we see soldiers with the Superman crest on their shoulders shooting down people who had come with Batman, after even more fighting for whatever reason fucking bugs with wings and guns fly over to help restrain the Bat... After being knocked out he comes back to his senses chained up next to two of his allies who are mercilessly cut in half upon Superman's arrival, we hear that Lois has been killed due to Batman for some reason and then Superman puts his hand through Bats' chest, causing him to wake up to another dream which I can't even remember the majority of but was a warning from the future before he finally properly woke up.


Yeah, I figure it'd be as painful to read as it was to watch.




With the death of Superman I'm honestly intrigued to see where the franchise is going to go, especially with Justice League around the corner... However we did see some signs of what could be life at the end of the movie from Superman's coffin... I don't hold high hopes but I could see this being a plot turn in the long run. Personally however I hope DC decides to think through their work with Suicide Squad because if it's as much of a cluster fuck as BvS was then they're going to have a riot on their hands


Enjoyment: 8/10

Soundtrack: 5/10

Rating as a Movie: 7/10

Rating based on Franchise Portrayal: 3/10

Edited by L-Brawl3r
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Some great points you touch there. Wholeheartedly agree with it being pretty rushed and trying to insert too much stuff in one sitting, requiring us to have knowledge from the comics to appreciate it some more.


Nothing like the Nolan trilogy.


What I would like to add is how utterly disgusting is the character of Lex Luthor on this film.  He's practically an immature, bitter, Joker-wannabe kiddo, which just doesn't suit the essence of his true identity at all.

Edited by Lord_of_Ra
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I felt like they could have dropped all the dream sequences (4 of them, 4!!!), the awkward bathtub scene with Superman and Lois, and made better connections to Lois being saved by Superman and how exactly that was a bad thing. They never show the repercussions of the choice and was left thoroughly confused on why he was villainized for it so much. The movie was way too long IMO, but these changes would have made it shorter and more clear. A win-win IMO.

Also, there are some editing issues from scene to scene that makes the movie harder to follow. Can't name them off the top of my head, but rewatch it and you'll see now that I mentioned it. Trust me. Seen the movie twice and caught it the second time.

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Wow, John wrote a decent well-written article that didn't include "fam" or "where there's a will there's a way"

I thought the movie was pretty good, but I had issues with it such as Batman killing people, the start feeling really disjointed, and the fact that it belonged in the middle of a cinematic universe chronologically and not the second movie. Contrary to a lot of people, I thought Eisenberg was really good as Lex Luthor. However I haven't seen anything of the character before so I judged it based on the movie alone and not how faithful to the original character it is.

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Eventually he stops to take a good look at the remains and even when he moves his feet while stationary the music just decides to work with him and in my opinion it's just so breathtaking to see something like this come together so easily to create the effect of power that Lex has - even if it is Andrew Garfield who's playing him. (You can listen to the track above, which is the track played in this scene)


I think this is a typo... Lex is played by Jesse Eisenberg. 

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I don't know who wrote this so I'll just chalk it up to a Brawl3r hivemind creation, but a nice read nonetheless. I personally liked the Martha scene between batman and shoes (meant to be 'supes' but the autocorrect was funny enough so I'll leave it there), unless doomsday walked into the room instead of Louis, there would've no other way for that whole fight to end imo. Plus the 'Beautiful Lies' soundtrack accompanying the scene is one of my favourite Hans Zimmer tracks. Honestly this was the only Batman film where his parents death wasn't a 'been there seen that' scenario for me, as it had relevance to plot and was backed up by some sweet ass cinematography. I agree with everything else though :)

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