So on Tuesday, despite the quarreling reviews, I went to go see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (mouthful of a title). To give a very short review in a few sentences: It’s entertaining, not a masterpiece or revolutionary, but I don’t think it deserves a 29 on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s sort of what I expected when I watch any other blockbuster superhero film.
It was strange though. At the end of the film, when my friends and I were discussing the film on the drive back home, I couldn’t help but think I watched it differently from them. One friend said he enjoyed it, and would probably watch it again. The other friend felt the opposite and was nitpicking small but yet notable details. When it came to my opinion the only thing I could, or perhaps wanted to, talk about was the philosophical and political questions that were touch upon in the film.
You see for me I’ve seen superheroes duke it out in movies, comics, and videogames; and I most likely will see them duke it out again in May. So it could be that I’ve smoked the shit of the superhero crack pipe since 2000, and now the effects of it have been diluted. I crave a different sort of high to stimulate the mind. Batman v Superman almost did that, as a superhero movie.
If you were to ask me how would I fix the film I would say change it to a political drama featuring superheroes.
The first half of the film is just that, and it is the most interesting bit. You have people asking Superman to stand trial and face the consequences of his doings, asking the government to limit his power. You have Batman, a mere mortal, afraid of losing power, afraid of not being in control, which sends him out on this mission to prove to himself that he is not powerless as he was when he was a child. Lex, the villain, tries to find imperfection in what others believe is perfect, “God takes sides! No man in the sky intervened when I was a boy to deliver me from daddy’s fist and abominations. I figured out way back if God is all-powerful, He cannot be all good. And if He is all good, then He cannot be all-powerful.”
The film questions the idea if someone should be worshipped if they also hurt the innocent? Should a god abide to human laws? Who should be held accountable for the casualties and destruction when the battle is all over?
You can see these questions and themes developing in the film, but they just blow it up in the end. As if to say, “get your politics out of my comic book movie,” because to create a film that questions the morals and beliefs of the audience can only result in a bore-fest. And Hollywood refuses to make something that won’t cash in, so just throw it in the trash and watch superheroes fight it out for the 100th time.
Question: What did you think of the film? Did you like? Did you hate it?