It’s 2016 apparently, and now more than ever, there’s enough to warrant our hate. Hipsters, orange-skinned racist presidential candidates, lawyers, Disney and money-hungry video game developers often come to mind. Yet in this foul year of our Lord, despite our ability to appreciate or, at the very least, avoid writing something off, folks have gone ahead and spread their cheeks to let loose a stream of hateful verbal diarrhoea against the new Batman vs Superman movie.
How did it come to this? The words of the late, great Hunter S Thompson come to mind. “Our vibrations were getting nasty—but why? I was puzzled, frustrated. Was there no communication in this car? Had we deteriorated to the level of dumb beasts?” – The film came out amidst the oddly stylized logos and posters and marketing activity and despite Superman and Batman being the comic book heroes that did the most to bring comics to the mainstream back in the golden age of comics, folks today shat all over it like it was supposed to win the Oscar for best picture. What the fuck dude? Was the film really that bad? Did it warrant as much hate as it received?
If you haven’t seen the film yet, go watch it. I watched it once, and I couldn’t see what everyone was getting their panties into a bunch about. As someone who second and third-guesses himself a lot, I thought more than once after watching the film that something was terribly wrong with me because I didn’t hate it the way everyone else seemed to. It’s been a few days since I watched it, and my thoughts haven’t changed at all. Earlier in the week, a friend on social media said the film sucked, and I resisted the urge to give him my 2 cents. On the same day, or maybe later, someone else stuck up for it, and again I kept my opinion hidden, like a bat in a cave, or a post-credits scene that never presents itself. I don’t know either of these 2 people to be comic book fans, but their opinions differed. I wonder what they’d say if they read this.
The movie wasn’t flawless by any stretch of the imagination. There was plenty that was off, but come on dude, the hatefest wasn’t as deserved as it was in a film like the newest Fantastic Four. (Do not watch that film, even as a point of reference to see where I’m coming from.)
Now I’m no stranger to comics, or comic book movies, and let’s face it, everyone who bought a ticket or watched this film has basic knowledge of the two leads before stepping into the cinema. A concurrent truth is that there’s a lot I don’t know about Superman and Batman comics, and maybe that’s factored into why I wasn’t waving the hate flag as much. Die-hard fans of either the big blue boy scout or the dark knight could very possibly see things differently, the way I watch X-men films and take them apart because of inconsistencies between the page and screen. But do the hate-filled voices we hear on review sites, social media and in the pub all belong to DC fanboys/girls who feel their idol was given a raw deal? Another friend’s poignant words on the issue still ring in my ears: “People love to hate what they don’t understand.”
I went into the film with moderate expectations. These weren’t my boys per se, and a part of me that’s more in touch with cynicism and the hoighty-toighty douchebaggery of people with ‘refined tastes,’ knew that it was ultimately a film about a fight between Batman and Superman. You don’t exactly unlock the Sophistication Trophy to get the story. But these are cruel, evil, unfriendly, and unforgiving times we live in, and the media circus, no, the media carnival that is part of showbusiness exerts in own influence over public reception of a film. Like I said earlier, when the initial marketing promotions began, the logos for both heroes didn’t do it for me. It was like when Batelco rebranded from their traditional logo to that fugly wtf is this slouchy potato boob turd thing. Ok, they aren’t as ugly as Batelco, but they sure as hell look too contrived, and it’s probably because the classic logos were too dated for generation Uber who were probably a big chunk of the target audience. When they announced Batfleck as the new Bruce Wayne, there was already so much negative reaction. Even at the outset, the film was doomed, and yes, the nature of “living” and “life” in this day and age has played a part.
Other dark forces came into play after the film was released and a clip from an interview went ‘viral’ – which is a word that ironically induces a wince and a headshake followed by a little piece of myself dying whenever I hear or read it. The now infamous Affleck non-interview clip about critical reaction to the movie ripped through him mercilessly, and the haters had their day. Didn’t he just get done playing the brooding, drinking raging and vengeful Batman? The same Batman who actually uses guns and knives and straight up kills someone? Give the guy a break, maybe he needed some more time to get out of character! It also made me wonder about the struggles of film-makers in this current period of human existence. Can full-length movies still hold our attention in the vine-soaked world we now live in? This is a discussion for another time, with many more words! Congratulations to you for reading this far btw! If I’ve held your attention with words for this long, thank you for the opportunity, and for your time. Generation Tinder would’ve swiped left /scrolled down on this right at the start. Makes you wonder doesn’t it – do people even fucking read anymore?
You’ve made it thus far and here’s a lame Wonder Woman joke that actually serves to illustrate a point. Q: What does Wonder Woman use to make sure her chest looks fantastic? A: A Wonderbra!
If there’s anything the cast and crew need to remember in these, the unsettling weeks and months of write-off season it is that the human attention span has possibly been tweaked so much because of smartphones and computer machines that despite the fact that everything that’s ever been online will live forever on the cloud, it’s only a matter of time before people forget about it and something new comes along to take its place.
This movie, like any other, isn’t without its flaws. I’d heard negative reviews and maybe I sabotaged myself by watching the trailers, which pretty much gave everything away. But I still gave it a chance despite all the apparent red flags all over this ‘Martha-fucka’ (See what I did there?). The opening credits played out in true cinematic style, especially the frames of the Waynes being gunned down and Martha’s pearls hitting the cold black floor. It reminded me of the opening credits of Watchmen, and I felt hopeful, because despite what people said about Watchmen, I liked it for what it was – there was no way they could make the film like the book. For a horrifying moment, that thought evaporated as I watched a colony of bats raise an orphaned young Bruce up a tunnel using their wings or maybe modified echolocation? Dream sequence or not, I wondered to myself : holy shit… did I just lose some money? To compound that, I caught myself wondering why the film needed six words in its title. Batman versus Superman: Dawn of Justice. Say all the words out loud and think about that, the way I did in a moment of grim and terrifying dawning reality. Hope nearly died in the cinema as those credits hit the screen, but instead, it prevailed.
There was enough to keep me entertained throughout BVS. Batfleck was cool, the batmobile was cool, Alfred was cool. Most of the Batman stuff is cool. The fight sequences were epic and the dark, murky atmospherics in Metropolis and Gotham both served the story in the best way possible. Much later, I told a friend that at one point in the film, I wasn’t sure if I was watching a Superman or a Batman movie. Interestingly, what classifies it as a Superman film are some of the things that I would’ve liked to see handled differently. Why the fuck was Perry White such a cheesy misrepresentation of a modern day newspaper editor? Jesus Christ, was it me or did the guy have a flair for zany, needlessly verbose headlines? But whatever, at least he didn’t authorise Lois Lane’s sudden and unexplained taking of a news chopper out to run a personal errand when the shit hits the fan. Oh wait. Nevermind.
Lois Lane gave me the impression that she was just there to prove to us that genius Lex Luthor can spot a pattern and that he notices Superman’s penchant for always saving her. She also helped me feel quite foolish as she made me think she was the one Luthor references when he plays his “I got your girl so you gotta do my bidding” card against Superman. Lois Lane didn’t quite do it for me, which is kind of how I felt about that Kevin Costner scene as well. Oh and then there was Jesse Zuckerburg as Lex Luthor apparently. Maybe they should’ve got someone like an Oscar Isaac instead? He’d just have to rework his method from Ex Machina and boom! The Perfect Casting Trophy would’ve been unlocked! Isaac even looks better bald than Zuckerberg, I mean, Eisenberg does. Fuck it, man. Who knows how these movies get made. I’m just a guy who watches ‘em.
Speaking of perfect casting, we really should’ve been given Wonder Woman in the tub instead of Lois Lane. Gal Gadot was convincing enough for my average brain, but if I’m honest, I actually found Wonder Woman a bit irritating in her early appearances, but that could actually be because for whatever reason, the song Barracuda kept playing in my head whenever she showed up on-screen. I was also dealing with the fact that days earlier, I had watched Horrible Bosses, and my mind kept telling me that Ben Affleck was Jason Sudeikis. What horror. That one’s my fault guys, but the whole “Martha” thing – that’s on somebody else.
For a film that assembles several heroes for the first time on screen and teases a few more possibilities, you have to give the devil his due. Ok, so I didn’t wet myself at the sight of Jason Momoa as Aquaman the way thousands probably did, but yeah, I can appreciate it. Maybe some of the film’s plot details were lost on me, like how the fuck are Wonder Woman and Bruce or Batman emailing each other? What’s the difference between the nightmare dream sequences and flashbacks or maybe time-travel warnings of future bad-thinginess! And having Doomsday and the whole Death of Superman storyline in the movie too? Jesus Snyder, don’t blow your load all at once!
Despite his ‘not-the-hulkbuster’ bat armour Batman can’t really do shit to superman without kryptonite. Superman could literally so easily remove any problems he could face without thinking twice. So, should any of these things matter in a film of this nature? Superman has x-ray vision but doesn’t know Batman is Bruce Wayne? Bruce Wayne is the greatest detective in the DC universe, but can’t tell that Superman and Clark Kent are the same. Fuck you! Take this seriously and obsess over it! Or just take a moment to realise that it’s a comic book movie.
So there you have it friends. There’s no way this movie would’ve been made without raining on somebody’s parade, and yeah, maybe people should cut the film’s creative and marketing team’s some slack. This film aint no Winter Soldier, but it aint Fantastic Four neither. Fuck the critics, dude. Encourage your friends to watch the film, and form their own opinion. If they hate it, let them hate it because they watched it and hated it, not because they’re supposed to, because Rottentomatoes or whatever told them they were supposed to. Rottentomatoes can suck my batarang. Too many peeps are drinking the haterade and it isn’t really warranted.