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David Poland

By David Poland

Review: Batman v Superman (Non-Trailer-Spoiler-Free)

It’s hard to know where to start with a film like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

I am not a Zack Snyder fan. But I have appreciated the skills he has shown and I have understood, even when repulsed by them, his storytelling instincts. I was trying hard to keep an open mind when he popped on screen with a “please-no-spoilers” request to the media before the screening I attended (note: always a good idea to screen a movie in IMAX in which a full third of the fully-booked room has horrible, too-close seats) and he referred to his movie as “Batman vee Superman,” my stomach sunk. I mean, it is literally what the film is named. But it’s an abbreviation of versus… unless he thinks it’s something more clever than that… who knows what that would be… so maybe it’s a kitschy insider way of talking about his own movie… and even so, be aware of your audience.

Now this is the moment when some people will accuse me of being overly critical or nitpicky and going in with a bad attitude. This “vee” moment was more a pet peeve-like thing than anything else. But it is, like it or not, instructive. As for a bad attitude, I am a little bit guilty. This thing smelled like trouble from a distance. The murky, overly arty outdoor campaign continued that. I think the WB pivot to the action between Superman and Batman was the right commercial pivot, but I could never have imagined how false an impression of the actual movie those ads turned out to offer. But honest… I was as open as I could be as the movie started. And this review is going to get a lot more critical and nit-picky, if that is how you want to see it.

So the movie begins…

Zack Snyder still shoots everything in close-up or wide shots. Everything else seems to challenge him beyond his skill set (or style, if you must). There is no possible way to follow any of the major action in this film. It is big. It is loud. It is violent. But it is a crappy CG blur interrupted by close-ups of this one or that one taking/making an impact or landing.

The dialogue has the feel of high school Shakespeare… which is to say, that if you are familiar with Shakespeare, you know what the words are meant to mean, but the people saying them really don’t understand them, so it feels like a foreign language, making little sense. In this case, it is the words and directorial context that are at fault and no matter how hard everyone (especially the actors) try, it comes out like pretentious teenage verbal masturbation.

Of course, that lets off the storytelling too easily, blaming the marble-mouthed dialogue. The ideas are terrible from start to finish. Does Superman have a single serious, considered thought why he’s so pissed off at Batman? Has Batman made any effort at all to consider – as the world seems to have, though the film doesn’t bother offering that context – that there might be a reason why Superman failed to protect Metropolis instead of being a participant in the killing of thousands? And as importantly, if not more, do either consider their own flaws or are they just two megalomaniacs with mommy issues, now joined by Lex, working out his daddy problems?

My critical brethren seem to have landed on the idea that this film is nothing but an ad for Justice League and I can’t argue that… but I do feel that it was meant to be more than that. (And as ads go, it is horrible.) There is a great idea in this. Two icons of great meaning and power who have come to believe that they have to fight in order for the world to be safe. Should be something great. Think about talking with friends about the ideas late at night and how many really smart takes might come up. And then, watch this movie and wonder whether anyone realized just how low this film really aims.

The Donald Trump/Ted Cruz comparison is a comical meme on the web, but it is shocking how much more interesting the real life conflicts are than the ones in this movie. Why does Trump have a constituency? Why does Cruz? Why is Trump such a threat to the Republican Party? Why do they all hate Cruz? Answer those four questions – and that’s just tapping the surface – in a 2 hour movie and you will have a vastly superior one than BvS:DoJ.

Imagine, if you will, that Hillary Clinton was really a mortal threat to the nation… and was likely to win. Think of the tension in the idea that these two people who are so opposite and so opposed to one another must come together, somehow, in order to save the nation. Serious drama. And what, for the sake of argument, if Wonder Woman was the only person who could break through their arrogance to unify them.

Great movie.

Of course, the argument that Hillary Clinton would be terrible for America is absurd and 80% of America knows it, even if many of them don’t love the candidate. Be clear on that. But as a dramatic idea, dynamite.

Instead, in BvS, you have a Lex Luthor, amusing at times, but who believes nothing. He’s a climber, not an ideologue. And yeah, a good writer could make that work too. It would be funny, as the Hackman version was in the first Superman, just working a real estate angle. But Zack Snyder has no sense of humor (or self-awareness, it seems). Nor a vision.

Now that I think about it, a mega-problem with this film is that every major male character is wrong in deep and profound ways, but never learns anything… except that they may need others to preserve themselves more than they need to kill them… because none of them are about anything more than their specific mistaken ideas of the facts. There is nothing for us to care about.

Snyder tries to create an intense, adult intimacy between Superman and Lois Lane, even doing a bathtub scene. But her passion for him is as shallow as the dialogue, like we should know why she loves him from some other movie. Is it the greatest (or most complicated) sex ever? Don’t know. Is she trying to fix him? Don’t know. Is he really that nice? Don’t know. We know that he will save her because he thinks he loves her.. but we don’t know why and because of that, we don’t care.

I don’t feel The Dark Knight worked as well as many did, though I still think it is a terrific piece of filmmaking. Specifically, the stakes that The Joker creates for Batman, choosing between his love and a large number of lives, challenges how Batman sees himself. The payoff on it just wasn’t satisfying to me. However, it was a really smart, complex idea inside a comic book movie.

In this movie, Lex pushing against Superman’s vulnerabilities means nothing more than playing him for a sucker in a bigger game. This is an example of how Snyder is a simple thinker and Nolan is a deeply ambitious one. (Success in ambition is not the best measure of the ambition, but that’s a whole different discussion.)

But let’s put aside the movie this could have/should have/might have been. Let’s get back to what it is.

Here is a list (without any overt spoilers) of things I disliked in this film:

The only non-celebrity black people in the film as villains/victims

Superman/Zod fight as 9/11 metaphor

Batman shooting people

Batman origin story… again… adding NOTHING!

Referencing John Boorman as though this director could carry his jock

The great Jeremy Irons cashing a check in really nice clothes (except the hazmat suit by Gautier, which is absurd)

Amy Adams’ boobs bobbing in a tub in a hacky stab at intimacy

Referencing Stanley Kubrick as though it wouldn’t make Kubrick vomit

Parental advice that sounds like it came out of the world’s largest fortune cookie

55-year-old junior Senator who heads a committee and speaks unilaterally for the US government.

Every woman other than the four with more than a few lines of dialogue is objectified

The wrong iconic assholic character with problem hair from the last movie gets a dialogue chunk.

No one seems to have been able to decide whether this Batman was Frank Miller’s 55-year-old Dark Knight (shamelessly and endlessly ripped off by Snyder to inferior effect) or the 40-year-old that the math of the film (parents killed in 1982) suggests. He is thick and a bit limited like the elder Batman, but a workout warrior and played by a 41-year-old Ben Affleck, whose righty curmudgeonliness never quite makes sense. (Affleck seems to be playing Clooney half the time, who would have made a lot more sense in this film, really, not that Affleck doesn’t do fine.)

Referencing Cole Porter in a way only someone with no wit at all would do

Upskirt of Gal Godot long enough to show a cleft where her thigh meets her groin

Major dramatic events created exclusively by characters not communicating

Previews of additional characters only to set up the next film. The movie actually stops to have these mini-trailers, watched by a character downloading files

More terrorism references that don’t earn the choice

Dream sequences that are good enough for ads, but not to be taken seriously by the screenwriters in the film proper.

“Clever” shift from all the daddy issues of Man of Steel to mommy issues.

Horrible jerk-off use of a coincidence of decades-past character naming.

Batman vs Superman not being enough for this film

Fake-outs so obvious that the audience is 30 minutes ahead


I was shocked. I have come to expect murky action and overripe dialogue and flat characters and bad ideas from Zack Snyder, but I didn’t expect to be listening to endless dialogue sequences that seem to be written by a teenager trying to be Strindberg nor to have the whole thing hinge on errors of judgment or filmmaker tricks nor to find these iconic characters so lost and uninteresting from start to finish. This is a movie that a mediocrity could have done much, much better. This film could only be this bad because the filmmaker was truly ambitious and truly not up the fulfillment of any small percentage of those ambitions.

It may seem oxymoronic to say that you should be able to feel the joy of a filmmaker who is trying to make a serious story that includes action. But you must. Or it is going to be terrible.

For everything that failed about Green Lantern, for instance, at least you could feel that the team, from director Martin Campbell to credited writers Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg were trying to do something interesting and it just didn’t come together. There was comedy. There was a crazy interesting performance by Peter Sarsgaard. There were wild aliens. But there was comic book seriousness that looked like shit (literally at times) and it didn’t work. But I felt the joy in there.

I don’t demand perfection. Not by a long shot. Great genre filmmaking makes you feel, not intellectualize… not analyze the minutiae. You can drive a truck through the holes in many of my favorite genre films. Don’t care. Don’t want to real lists of errors. Joy.

In Batman vee Superman, I feel a movie desperately trying to prove its intelligence while doing everything on screen that it can to prove that it’s not half as smart as it thinks. It will try anything to be important. But movie audiences see through this every time.

I have made the comparison to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. JJ Abrams, while a great guy and a clear talent in many aspects, may not have an original idea in his head. But he is as good as they come at putting the Silly Putty on a great piece of original art, transferring the framework, and coloring it in to make it look like a really good minor variation on the original. He always entertains, even if he never challenges an audience.

Zack Snyder might be a greater artist than JJ Abrams. But we will never know that until he stops trying to prove it. So he keeps revving the engine of the world’s biggest franchise, like the noise is what matters.

In the words of Frankie Goes To Hollywood…

“Relax don’t do it
When you want to go to it
Relax don’t do it
When you want to make Batman v Superman a pretentious crap show.”

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41 Responses to “Review: Batman v Superman (Non-Trailer-Spoiler-Free)”

  1. Nicolas Valle says:

    What. The. Fuck. Did. You. Expect?
    After all its Zack Snyder. Vastly untalented and pretentious.

  2. iamjoeslowercase says:

    After Mannequin of Steel my dislike for this sequel was already well-formed. Now I’m glad to see that my distaste was not wasted. I love it when a director lives down to my expectations. If there’s one thing that Zack Snyder brings to the DC Universe it’s this: schadenfreude.

  3. My absolute favourite thing about this is ho you nearly had a mental slip and needed out and wrote ‘Hilary vs Bernie – Dawn Of Social Justice’ in the middle of the review.

  4. mariamu says:

    Nice review Dave.

  5. Amblinman says:

    I’m no longer assuming this thing will be critic proof. It’s getting completely trashed and it’s over 2 and 1/2 hours. I can absolutely see it bombing. DC will need to hustle – delay JL, fire Snyder. They’re not gonna give up on a DCCU but you can’t build it off a movie everyone hated. Of course I always thought this was the dumb route to JL anyway. They should have done a stand alone Batman movie, MoS sequel in which we’re allowed to actually like Superman, WW, then boom you go to JL.

  6. Karl says:

    The comparison I always made was that DC was trying to rush to Avengers on the back of Iron Man 2 rather than all of Marvel Phase I. Now it sounds more like Thor 2.

  7. Shawn says:

    “Amy Adams’ boobs bobbing…”

    This is a bad thing…how?

  8. Sideshow Bill says:

    Snyder, as director, should shoulder much of the blame, especially for his filmmaking choices. But what about WB panicing and shoe-horning Batman into what was gonna be a MOS sequel? Amblinman is right. They went about it in a stupid, sloppy, desperate way. They make the Marvel people look like geniuses for building so slowly to Avengers. And what about Goyer who did a shit job with the dialog, and working Batman and WW and the other stuff into the script. Snyder has final say, probably, but this isn’t just his abortion and a lot of people should be getting more shit than they are.

  9. Jeremy Billones says:

    “Superman/Zod fight as 9/11 metaphor”
    “More terrorism references that don’t earn the choice”

    Is it just that they introduced the idea, mention it several times, but never do anything with it? It seemed like the only truly interesting feature of the trailers.

  10. David Poland says:

    Shawn – Nothing wrong with Amy’s boobs or Gal’s thighs… but it feels exploitative in this film, more for male perusal than offered with purpose.

    Jeremy – These things are at the core of Batman’s anger… but they ultimately end up being “misunderstandings,” which makes them cheap, lazy, and manipulative.

  11. Breedlove says:

    They should have made a Man of Steel prequel set on Krypton with Russell Crowe riding around on that fucking dragon for 3 hours.

  12. Ryan says:

    Agree with Sideshow-why does everyone put this whole thing on Snyder (if it is a debacle-haven’t seen it)? Shouldn’t you be saying that the dialogue sounds like Shakespeare by way of the writer who brought you “Jumper”? Goyer would be the one guilty of dialogue that sounds like ‘pretentious teenage verbal masturbation’ (whatever that is-I guess it wouldn’t occur to me to know or find out).

  13. John E. says:

    Hopefully this leads to Snyder being being removed from the director’s chair of Justice League I & II.

  14. EthanG says:

    I feel like the current crop of superhero movies has become a “winnowing,” much like the unwieldy crop of GOP presidential candidates.

    Sony for the moment is out without an assist from Marvel Studios. Fox has a clearly narrowed slate with Deadpool, but no Fantastic 4….huge pressure now for GAMBIT. Marvel Studios continues to hit doubles in its non-Avengers/Iron Man movies (with the exception of Guardians and Cap 2…ever).

    And DC, to me, has no clear path forward. Agreed with the “giant ad for JL.” Except I have no desire to see it. Scrap it.

  15. martin says:

    I’m glad to see a few other people questioning why Snyder is being burned at the stake when the history of this project is not a dark secret.

    Robinov and Tull imploded WB. Tsujihara started collecting the fragments. Snyder and Goyer hung around thinking they were going to be the Whedon/Fiege of DCU. Instead, Tsujihara panicked and gave the farm away to Affleck and Ratner.

    I should be surprised how those other three are getting off free, but I’m really not. A lot of people don’t personally like Snyder, whether they’ve met him or not, for whatever reasons, and I could run a list of them that are tangential to his filmography.

    While I agree with Poland’s view on the actual film, the smashing of Snyder, like every other critic whose doing it, is disingenuous at best.

    Affleck brought on Terrio and sidelined Goyer’s MOS2. Affleck wrote his own stuff while WB was dealing JL notes. This is without considering Ratner sticking his dck in all of this, which he did, cause he never stopped angling since his Superman flick got derailed.

    If the Batfleck stuff is so great and the MOS2 stuff is hack, why didn’t Ben just take total control? Because he knows he’s polarizing. Same with Ratner. Terrio had to splice three different priorities and Snyder played human shield as that’s part of his deal to shoot JL.

    We’ll know if a lot of what people don’t like will have come from WB, if Snyder doesn’t get axed from JL and they start principle in two weeks.

    The big question, is will this now open the door for Legendary to buy WB, or at least DC.

  16. Pete B says:

    I really hope your math is reversed and 80% of America knows Hillary will be terrible.

    I’m going to have to see this again just for the Gal Godot shot I somehow missed.

  17. js partisan says:

    Oh Pete. She’s better than a fucking fascist, by a few hundred thousand of miles.

    That aside, Man of Steel is pretty fucking terrible. The thing of it is: BvS isn’t a terrible movie. It even has some interesting ideas, like the alien helping the human get in touch with his humanity again. You can hate the Martha thing, Dave. I love it, because it ties into Batman trying to murder Superman… being his lowest moment. The moment in which one is the most susceptible to change, and it FIXES BATMAN.

    Everyone involved, took the Trinity, and made them incredibly fucking human. It’s a very interesting take, but I just can get why this movie is getting the shit beat out of it. Other than the fact, that people hate Snyder’s Ayn Rand loving ass, and hate what he did to Superman. Man of Steel may be shit, but this film isn’t shit. It’s like a live action DC animated movie, with a Batman as good as Kevin Conroy, which is fucking saying something.

    Now please: give me some shit for liking this apparent abomination of a movie, because how dare I have opinions about things! SHAME!

  18. Hmmm says:

    This is worse than MOS and the Martha reveal is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen in a studio movie.

  19. Stella's Boy says:

    Is the Zack Snyder fan club posting here now? What’s with the ardent defense?

  20. Pete B says:

    JS: Actually the choice between Hilary and Trump is like choosing how you want to die – in a fire or freezing to death. Both options suck. Time to vote Libertarian.

    As one of the few dissenters that actually LOVED MoS (I know there’s one other poster here that defends it too), I was expecting to like BvS as well, but wow – it is one disjointed flick. The edit cuts in the first hour alone can give you whiplash.

    Alot of folks are praising Affleck, but is playing a womanizing prick really a stretch for Ol’ Ben? Its a shame they waste Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Thomas Wayne. I would really dig him as an older bitter Batman.

    One thing I am definitely looking forward to is the Wonder Woman film. The first Captain America is my favorite Marvel movie (aside from Guardians) due to the historical angle, and I’m hoping the time period of The War to End All Wars will help WW set itself apart.

  21. Amblinman says:

    Here’s the thing with Trump: people need to put their ideology aside and recognize that by voting for this man you are telling others like him that this is how you want future candidates to conduct themselves. Forget the politics cause the next four years won’t look vastly different regardless of who is President (too much gridlock and money in the governing of this country to allow any one person to considerably change anything. That’s why the Bernie backers are delusional.). So. How do you want your sisters/wives/moms/spouses spoken to by public figures? If you’re a woman and voting for Trump, what prospects do you think you’ll have for a career once you’ve signaled its open season on you if you’re not what someone considers “hot?” What kind of political discourse do we want? So no, it’s not the lesser of two evils between Trump and Clinton. It’s a damaged, politics as usual candidate that would be perfectly whatever as president vs a complete moron who thinks you’re a loser because his wife is hotter than yours.

    I am now mildly hopeful about BvS based on JS’s assessment. Can’t believe I just wrote that but I did. He’s wrong about MoS but that’s okay.

  22. Breedlove says:

    The comment above by ‘martin’ is the most interesting comment I’ve seen on the Hot Blog in a long, long time. Thank you for that. Fascinating. Love that insider behind the scenes shit – had no idea about any of that stuff. I seriously wish I had a Hollywood insider contact who could tell me interesting behind the scenes stuff like this.

  23. Sideshow Bill says:

    “Zack Snyder fanclub”? I don’t know about that, but I’ll open myself up to ridicule and admit I like him more than most.

    I love Dawn of the Dead and Watchmen (even as an older fan of the book the movie mostly felt right to me). I like Man of Steel. 300, I can take or leave. I hated Sucker Punch. I have no fucking idea what was going on in that movie and never will. Haven’t seen the owl movie and never will.

    I haven’t seen BVS yet, probably next week, and will admit despite the overwhelming negative response I’m still looking forward to it. We all make up our own minds. Maybe I’ll hate it. JSP’s thoughts give me a bit of hope, and even some of the bad reviews don’t make it sound intolerable to me (not counting David’s, but even he offers some hope for Snyder towards the end).

    Maybe I’m just an easy mark. Oh well.

    I’m not worried. The Witch has already assured this movie year will be an all-timer for me. Saw that thing 4 times. I never do that.

  24. Hmmm says:

    I hate to break it to you but Martin has no idea what’s he’s talking about. Ratner has zero creative involvement in the DC movies. He’s making shit up or seriously misinformed.

  25. Breedlove says:

    Well then, Hmmm, let’s hear your version of how things went. (Not being sarcastic – seriously)

  26. Stella's Boy says:

    No ridicule from me. Just seemed like suddenly there was some vociferous defense of Snyder here. I hate his movies but know and respect people who are fans of his. Earlier this week some colleagues and I had a healthy discussion of Snyder’s films.

  27. jspartisan says:

    Breed, Martin loves that sort of world soup shit. It’s his thing.

    Pete, don’t ignore fascism, because Trump wants fascism.
    Also, Bruce isn’t a womanizer. That’s just such a weird take on the character.

    If you don’t like the Martha bit of business, then let me break out this old chestnut: YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT! Woo! Haven’t used that one in while, but it’s a very human bit of business. It’s Clark getting through to Bruce, in a very human and real way. Sometimes, hokey shit can be the realest shit there is!

    Also, let me just put it out there: HENRY CAVILL IS THE MOST HUMAN OF SUPERMEN WE’VE EVER HAD! Yes. Caps are a bit much, but guess what? Cavill is getting shit on, for portraying Superman as a man. He’s been a hero for two years, and a lot of people proved his dad right. Supes’ doing the best he can to keep it together, and it’s hard. WHY? HE’S JUST A FUCKING GUY! He’s not Bruce. He doesn’t have 20 years of doing this shit. He has Lois, who loves him, but a world confused by him. Superman is as human as fucking ever, but people are ignoring it. They are ignoring it, because they want the infallible Superman. The Superman who’s more than a man, which is fine, but it shouldn’t fucking diminish the humanity they have given Clark in this movie.

    Hell. The most alien entity in this film, is Lex.

  28. Pete B says:


    Bruce Wayne hits on Diana Prince, and wakes from a nightmare to an unidentified woman laying in bed with him. He even remarks to Clark, “pretty girl – bad habit” when Diana walks by. If Lois Lane was there, he’d probably make a pass at her too.

  29. Doug R says:

    I don’t get all the hate either. I came into the theater as the Civil War trailer was playing and the comic book rhythms especially in the big hero launch were so manipulative.
    The characters in BvS felt like they had real emotions toward each other and didn’t necessarily make the right decisions, but you knew why they made them.
    Batman’s big scene which is alluded to in the final trailer was beautifully put together, he’s scarier than Superman.
    And Wonder Woman? Wow.

  30. Ben K says:

    Hillary good for America? Ugh. The Dem’s have a really weak bench if shes the front runner with her awful resume and large unfavorables. But I agree she makes a great Lex.

  31. Amblinman says:

    Movie wast near as bad as its being portrayed, but it ain’t good. I think the problem is, other than about 100 minutes of mostly people having conversations, is this filmmaking team has no real feel for these characters. Batman, up until his big fight sequence, is almost unrecognizable as Batman. He is an ugly, unpleasant creation. Not the kind of character you’d want to follow in future installments. Superman fares a bit better but once again he’s not allowed to be too heroic. Luther is a disaster, period. The worst version possible. It’s not that Eisenberg is bad, per se, it’s that he’s playing the wrong guy in the wrong movie. It doesn’t help that if they’re gonna go so left field with this version of Luthor they could have at least given him some recognizable motivation for his behavior. It’s like they wanted it both ways – us to recognize a brand new take on the character while shorthanding “Luthor gonna Luthor”. Why is this guy so evil and hateful towards Superman? Luthor gonna Luthor! Didn’t work at all. There’s a spark of an interesting movie in here. I can’t get over how badly they fucked up Batman though. If this version makes it to his own movie, I’d be hard pressed to tell the difference in behavior between he and the Joker. Also the design is a bit off. With the cowl on, Affleck looks like a pudgy dog. Wonder Woman was meh. People are losing their shit over her finally being on screen they’re not stopping to consider if Gadot is actually good. I could barely understand a word she said.

    P.S. Aquaman looks so fucking stupid. Hiring The Rock Jr to try and make him cool isn’t gonna work.

  32. Pj Edwards says:

    Sounds like you hated the full before you even saw it, this rendering your opinion worthless. If you are going to spend a paragraph ranting about how Snyder said the title of his film, the issue isn’t the film, it’s you.

  33. Ryan says:

    As I read this again after seeing the film, I’m stuck on your Donald/Cruz/Hillary analogy.

    If someone could sum up the problems and differences between those 3 people (and the people that they represent in America) in 150 minutes, make sense of it AND convince the American people that it makes sense AND make a good movie out of it, that person would BE president. I would at least vote for that person.

    Just saying…

  34. Ryan says:

    JS-I will bite-where do you see Ayn Rand parallels with Snyder? I don’t see it, unless you are stretching.

    Also, I am fascinated by the “Affleck did this” and “Affleck and Ratner did this”, and “Roboinov is responsible for this” ideas posted her.

    Did ANYBODY here who is commenting actually work for WB, for Affleck’s production company, for Snyder, for anything, where inside knowledge would be the foundation of your comments? DAVE-the same applies to you-this thing went through a production mess, everyone agrees. But nobody knows the whole story-there is speculation and blame to go around, and this thing is still going to open huge and produce numbers. Rotten Tomatoes sucks as far as quality-BvS is getting crushed, but JW got numbers, and that is a shame-JW is not JP, and the people who don’t realize the difference in criticism and film making are the problem right now.

  35. PcChongor says:

    Word through the grapevine on the lot is that Ben Affleck and Snyder were totes making out the whole time.

  36. Triple Option says:

    One big problem I had with the film, besides things being picked up and then dropped w/out cause or resolution, was the equivalent to why I dislike so many network comedies. If they just play things straight, they’d be a lot funnier. Instead, they overplay everything and telegraph “Ohhh, here comes the punchline….” BOING! “Punchline!! Yuk, yuk!” When setup, quick punch, tag, two jokes for the price of one, works much better in half the time. If they Zack, producers, studio execs, whomever, had decided to run this thing clean, especially up top and had it move like a thriller, the way Cap America 2 did or a crime drama the way Dark Knight was, I think the pace and info and reveals would’ve held everyone in their seats. It was too heavy on the style for me which brought out some clunky dialog moments and melodramatic points conducive to eye rolling.

    I thought Cavill was good. I was one who bemoaned the news of Affleck being Batman but really it was the character as drawn up that did more damage than him not fitting the part, (which, he didn’t convince me that he should be batman). Would’ve like to have seen more Wonder Woman, not so much in battle but story relevance and interacting with Batman and Supes.

    To me, there were some things wrong conceptually. Like basically making this particular film a film noir. Once that was signed off, there was a cap at how good it could possibly be. Those things need to be tight and with each minute past 1:45 you start the clock on the death knoll. While I liked many of the elements they tried to introduce, it was otherwise too much for something that wasn’t a wasn’t at least miniseries with the end product they wanted on the screen. I didn’t hate it but the more I think about it, the less to scrutiny it holds.

  37. jspartisan says:

    Man, of course he is unpleasant. He’s been fighting crime for his entire adult life, and one person makes him feel completely irrelevant. It’s made him feel impotent, and his entire response to everything in this film, is him dealing with his lack of control. It’s only at the end, that Superman makes him remember who he is, and it’s through MARTHA! It wakes him the fuck up, and that’s why it’s moving. Not totally fucking hokey.

    Also, the thing people are missing with Lex, is that he doesn’t start off nutty. He’s fine, relatively, until he starts exploring the ship, and being told the secrets of the universe. Once they tell him about Darkseid, and everything else out there in the night. He snaps, and becomes the nutter that believes he can make Superman bend to his will.

  38. martin says:

    RatPac is passive at 25%. They have the option to buy 50% of any project. It’s understood from the credit side that when they do, it’s based on his diligence.

    While it’s not Tull-level control, he’s also not a spigot like Kavanaugh. The odds of him not consulting with Tsujihara on a 100mil single investment are slim. Confidence in his resume and instincts were a big part of how they were able to secure the line.

    So do I believe Tsujihara when he claims they’re nearly silent partners? At 25%, possibly. But if he was a true hardliner on control, he wouldn’t have caved to get Affleck.

  39. Nick says:

    when supes gets in the bath all I could think was he’s putting his shoes from rainy outside into the bath.

    also any sense of surprise at ww joining at the end was killed by the trailer.

    finally, why was the nuke able to blow supes up? fucking kryptonian laser beams couldn’t do jack shit to him but nukes could?

  40. amblinman says:

    “Also, the thing people are missing with Lex, is that he doesn’t start off nutty. He’s fine, relatively, until he starts exploring the ship, and being told the secrets of the universe. Once they tell him about Darkseid, and everything else out there in the night. He snaps, and becomes the nutter that believes he can make Superman bend to his will.”

    This is all guessing on your part, and if true a complete failure on the part of the filmmakers to convey. (Seriously, JS, you need to retire “What people aren’t getting…” It’s not that people don’t get things, it’s that they get them and *still* think they’re a bad choice or they’re not “getting” some made up backstory you came up with because you’re familiar with the lore of the comcis). The film gives us absolutely zero clear motivation for Lex other than LEX LUTHOR. Now, that’s okay if they were going with a traditional take on the villain, but they specifically chose a different interpretation. I actually like your Cthulhu take on it but boy oh boy is that not represented on the screen. (And good luck to DC with Darkseid. Ain’t gonna be a non-comic book person on the planet who isn’t going to giggle at the “Thanos ripoff” when it comes about.)

    Going back to your not getting things point, let’s talk Batman. I completely understood *why* the character was behaving the way he did but it’s still in my estimation a poor choice on the part of the filmmakers. He was an ugly, almost unrecognizable incarnation of the character. And the “Martha” bit does not add up when you consider Bruce’s reasoning for why he wanted to kill Superman. That Supes has a mom doesn’t change the fact that he’s an immeasurably powerful being who can wipe out the population at a moment’s notice. “Martha” doesn’t negate what Batman’s ultimate concern was. In fact, Supes entire plan was to either convince Batman to help him or kill him to save his mom. The latter isn’t the stuff that would make anyone sleep well should someone put the screws to Supes mom again, except htis time insist he wipe out Russia or something in exchange.

    I liked the movie more than it’s being given credit for but it’s still a strikeout on a lot of levels.

  41. martin says:

    JS is most likely right about Luthor/Darkseid. He has a lackey named Desaad who can takeover/dopplegang, which may be the path.

    An idea floated that I like, which is based more in the overall unfolding of DC projects, is Eisenberg was originally Joker and it was a tandem of Lex/Joker, ala AK Walker’s World’s Finest script.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon