As you could tell from our individual reviews—Review 1, Review 2—Brandy and I had very different opinions on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. However, there were many points we couldn't discuss in our spoiler-free reviews, so we're going to hash some stuff out over here, viking style. Join us for a spoiler filled discussion of Batman v Superman, and its many, many problems.
Topic 1: Doomsday
STEVE: As soon as I heard Doomsday was in this film, I thought, well they're going to kill Superman. It's the same line of faulty thinking that shoehorned Green Goblin into Amazing Spider-Man 2 just to kill off Gwen Stacy. These filmmakers seem to think that fans will revolt if things like this don't happen exactly the same way as they happened in the comics. It's the most misguided form of fan service because it's done with what I believe to be good intentions, but it just comes off as desperate. In a film this jam packed with nonsensical bullshit, Doomsday was indicative of the film's entire vibe of constantly throwing bones to the fanboys. Yes, some fanboys will revolt if Superman is killed by someone other than Doomsday, but those people are assholes. Stop trying to please those among us most impossible to please. I'm sure you have bigger fish to fry in this discussion, Brandy, but that was sort of the big roadblock to my enjoyment of the film. What are your thoughts on Doomsday?
BRANDY: The only good part of Doomsday being in the film is that Superman dies. Straight up. I'm a Superhater—he's the most consistently dickish superhero ever created. He makes Cyclops look like fucking Wolverine. And we all know he's not going to stay dead. That little teaser at the end where the movie alludes to him maybe coming back, because apparently Superman is Jesus—or Goku—which would explain his ridiculous martyr complex, ugh. Also, why does Doomsday look like the troll from Harry Potter with some warts glued on him? Did Snyder blow his budget on explosions and tires and Jesse Eisenberg's hair grease and have to recycle old costumes from a lot sale? I love fan service as much as the next rabid fangirl, but only when it's done well. Doomsday just didn't seem threatening to me. I was waiting for Neville Longbottom to come out screaming, "THERE'S A TROLL IN THE DUNGEON!" and faint away every time he was onscreen.
Topic 2: Lex
STEVE: I get the feeling that Jesse Eisenberg's performance will be dissected and post-mortemed to death, but I can't help but wonder what anyone was thinking when they cast him. I think they were attempting to go the Mark Zuckerberg route with the casting, but Eisenberg didn't want to play ball and kept doing all kinds of weird shit with the character. Here's what I'll say, I'm glad they established that this was Alexander Luthor, a character whose reputation isn't exactly what I would call sterling, but I'm willing to bet they backtrack like hell on this character. He's locked away now and can easily be ignored going forward, but I think they planned for this character to be the central villain for the DCEU, and I'm curious to see whether or not they stick to their guns on him. Considering Zack Snyder is Captain Double Down on Clear Mistakes, I might say it's possible Eisenberg returns, but I don't see it. I will say that I want to buy this action figure because why the fuck does this character get an action figure? Brandy? Your thoughts on Eisenberg?
BRANDY: I have been skeptical of Eisenberg as Luthor from the beginning, because he's such a Softboy. None of the villains in this flick are really menacing, or seem to provide that much of a threat, which made it hard for me to be interested in the central conflict. Watching Eisenberg trying to pull the strings was like watching the world's second-worst puppet master (after Jeff Dunham) wackily and maniacally trying to be villainous and just kind of coming off as the annoying little brother.
Topic 3: Wonder Woman/Diana Prince
BRANDY: Gal sold it for me as Wonder Woman, but not as Diana. She seemed comfortable in the superhero role, but when it came to playing a human she was cold and distant. Wonder Woman's end battle might be the best part of the film for me. Gadot was a combat instructor in the Israeli army , and holy shit can you tell she knows what to do in her fight scenes. For me, the only good that came out of this film is the teaser we got of how great Gadot is going to be in her solo WW film. I'd like to see her warm up as Diana, but otherwise her performance was solid. I just wish she would have gotten more screen time.
STEVE: My nine year old daughter Clementine is dying to see this movie, but it's so dour and disturbingly violent in parts that I almost can't bring myself to take her. However, the one thing I would really like her to see is Wonder Woman kicking ass and taking names in this film. I know it'll be better to wait until her solo film next year, but to have DC treat their flagship female superhero with this level of care and respect says something. I agree that her Diana suffered from all of the problems you mentioned, but I think this was intentional on her part to show how weary the world of men has left her. Next to Batfleck and grumpy drunk Jeremy Irons Alfred, she was my favorite thing about the movie.
Topic 4: The Rest of the Female Characters
STEVE: I'm sure I don't have to sell you on this, Brandy, but the treatment of every other major female character besides Wonder Woman is pretty despicable. Finding out that Lois Lane's mission at the beginning of the film was set up by Luthor way in advance is proof enough that the gritty and determined reporter isn't as gritty and determined as she seemed to think she was. I will say, however, that my favorite Jesse Eisenberg moment was his "The fastest road to Superman is Lois Lane" bit was my favorite moment of his, even though it borrowed heavily from Heath Ledger's "Poor choice of words" Dark Knight moment. However, I'll be the first to admit that it comes at the expense of damsel-in-distressing the character.
Diane Lane, despite getting the biggest genuine laugh out of me in the entire film, doesn't fare any better. Apart from her "you don't owe these people anything" speech, the only other thing she had to do was pose for some disturbing Polaroids with a gag in her mouth. And Holly Hunter literally drinks piss in this movie. Don't get me wrong, she's going for the gold medal in the "I Couldn't Give a Shit Less About this Movie" category, but still. She's got an Oscar, guys. Come on. Brandy?
BRANDY: Ugh. This was the topic I was afraid of. The female representation was actually exactly what I expected out of a Snyder movie- which is to say, women are props or plot devices. Even Wonder Woman felt less like a human being and more like a superweapon. Lois basically exists to be captured, and there is more chemistry between Batman and Superman than Superman and Lois Lane. All I can say is, at least it wasn't Sucker Punch.
Wait, aren't we supposed to be disagreeing here for the sake of lively banter, Steve? In the spirit of that, here's my straw man argument:
YAY BATMAN FUCK EVERYTHING ELSE BATMAN BATMAN BATMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN.
..>That's all I got.
STEVE: Yeah, I feel we could've disagreed much more to be honest with you, but the film's got so many problems, it's easy to find things on which we agree. I think, at the end of the day, Snyder was trying to make a PG-13 The Dark Knight Returns while also remaking Watchmen and doubling down on Man of Steel's myriad third act problems, and there are just far too many people's ideas bubbling around in this big ol' pot of his. I do have a lot of lingering questions though, and I imagine they'll linger much longer than my goodwill toward the film. Here are just a few of them:
—Does Lex have mason jars full of urine sitting around, Howard Hughes style, or did he cook up that homebrew especially for Holly Hunter?
—Also, I get that Lex is powerful, but how's he getting that mason jar of piss placed at Holly Hunter's seat? Who is Lex's errand boy for this task?
—One more thing about the piss: How's no one smelling that thing? If Senator Purrington had said, "What smells like piss?" right before Scoot McNairy's wheelchair explodes like god damned Hiroshima, I might have given this movie a solid B.
—Last thing about the piss, I swear: Did Lex make up that little "Granny's Peach Tea" label on the mason jar himself, or did he have one of his graphic designers print that up for him? I know he's got graphic designers on staff, those Justice League logos didn't make themselves.
—Why does Barry Allen have a beard? No, seriously, he's got a total boy band beard. Why? Whose decision was this? Also, he looks like Emo Jimmy Fallon...
—I never need to see Superman go to Congress ever again... Unless someone—not you Zack—makes a movie of Alex Ross and Mark Waid's Kingdom Come.
—Jeffrey Dean Morgan did not look like a captain of industry. I know he was in the movie for thirty seconds, but he looked like a sleazy dude strolling in off the set of a John Holmes movie. Seriously, if he's not playing Eddie Blake, don't give him a mustache...
—Neil deGrasse Tyson, I love you man, but you're not allowed to criticize another movie for getting science wrong when you appeared in Batman v Superman.
—Do you think Kevin Costner and I will ever eat hero cake together?
Let us know your thoughts on this nutty movie in the comments section below...