Where Batman Vs. Superman Failed (And Where It Succeeded)

It’s been out for a week not and it’s pretty safe to say that it has failed, at least in terms of critical opinion. It’s got a ridiculously low Rotten Tomatoes score, but it’s not just critics, a lot of audience members don’t like it too. A lot of people I know have seen it, and quite a few have liked it, but nobody has loved it. It hasn’t inspired any passion in anybody. There’s been no “this has changed my life” moments. Which is a shame, as the enormity of this film means it should. Ok, yes, it’s gained a lot of money, but so do Adam Sandler films, and he’s basically the film equivalent of Florence Foster Jenkins

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The most niche joke I’ve ever done. If I said “Film equivalent of Eddie The Eagle” it would work just as well

So why is? Well, I have a few ideas as to why.

1. Too Much, Too Late

We’ve seen A LOT of super hero films over the last few years. Way way too much, and there’s more to come. There’s only so many times people can stay with this kind of thing. “Comic book film” is now a genre, and there’s a reason for that, there’s a lot of similarity between them all. Sadly these are the comics that get adapted, whilst graphic novels have a lot of different genres contained within them (Maus, for example is an entirely different piece of work to The Dark Knight). But the adaptations always focus on the super hero. Most of the films are: “hero defeats small villain, big villain comes along, beats holy hell out of hero, hero comes back and beats him”. Now I LOVED Guardians Of The Galaxy, and Deadpool is one of my favourite films of this year, but even if you didn’t know anything about them you can still tell they’re comic book adaptations. The only film I can think which would work without the “comic book branding” and will stand up on its own would be Captain America: The Winter Soldier which was a superb cold war style thriller. With that many films all being very similar, the audience is getting bored. This is made worse by the fact that the aforementioned Deadpool came out and seemed to indicate a change of direction for the genre, maybe make them fun, which is needed after years of films which if they were a colour, they’d be a dark blue.

2. Too many “new” things.

Introduction to Wonder Woman, Aflecks being Batman, Jeremy Irons as Alfred, Aquaman, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. That’s at least five things people were focusing on in the trailers and during the film. Every trailer was met with people saying “looks like they’re doing Wonder Woman justice” or “Afleck could be good” or “F*ck Eisenberg”, and the same thoughts were coming to people during the film. The audience for this is just focusing on the aforementioned things, so they’re not paying attention to the film. You can’t expect the audience to pay attention to the film if you’re basically telling them to pay attention to everything else instead.

3. Too Much, just too much.

The major problem with showing Wonder Woman in the trailer is that it cancels out her entire story arc. Her story in this is her coming back to being Wonder Woman and whether she’ll do it or not. This takes her the entire film, but the trouble is that you already know she will as she was a big part of the marketing campaign. This is trouble with a lot of other things as well, almost every single plot point and character was showcased in the trailer. The entire film was playing catch-up to the trailer. Side note, and I might be the only person who has a problem with this: Wonder Woman says she stopped being a hero in 1916. As such since then here’s things she’s completely ignored and done nothing about:

  • Half of the first world war.
  • The second world war
  • The holocaust!
  • The cold war
  • Vietnam
  • Korea
  • Iran conflict.
  • War on terror.
  • The fights for equal rights for women and people of colour in the US.
  • Khmer Rouge.
  • The remake of The Wicker Man.

So yeah, f*ck Wonder Woman! She’s a monster.

4. Zack Snyder

Erm, he can’t really direct can he? I’ll admit, his stuff looks good, a lot of shots look like they come direct from the comic books themselves, but that’s the problem. He can adapt shots, but he can’t compose them himself. The best shots in BvS are the ones he’s taken from the source materials. As soon as he has had to compose a shot himself, it looks awful. He cannot tell a story visually, he has absolutely no idea about shot construction etc. Nothing he has ever done has shown any emotion or anything besides “ok that’s a technically good looking shot”. He should not direct, at least not without a very talented co-director. But he would make a fantastic cinematographer. Basically, he’s like a very talented singer in a covers band.

Things That Worked

1. Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot, she was f*cking incredible. Anybody who comes out of this film and doesn’t want a Wonder Woman solo movie should not be trusted to tie their own shoelaces. Which I suppose is a plus for the film in general, it kicks off the universe quite well. It’s got people to buy into the concept of a Batfleck film. It makes people want a Flash film, it even gets people excited about Aquaman, a character who has sadly become a bit of a laughing stock among people lately.

2. Performances

Whilst the jury is still out on Eisenberg (for the record, I didn’t seem to hate it as much as everyone else did), it’s almost beyond argument that Jeremy Irons worked as Alfred. Too many actors have approached Alfred as a kindly relative, the Alfred in this is kind of a bitter drunk. He would not cry when telling Bruce Wayne a story, he’d instead tell him to stop being a stupid prick and just twat him upside the head.

3. The Opening

Yeah, THAT opening scene where we see Bruce Wayne. The moment where we see the battle from Man Of Steel from the perspective of people on the ground. That, was superb and is one of the best moments of not just this film, but any film from this genre. It showed the human side to superhero films, and how terrifying that must be. Sadly these themes were almost completely ignored. They did this again when it seemed like it was starting to discuss whether superheroes can be trusted, whether them existing actually endangers the world and causes more chaos, and who will hold superman to justice? Or to put it another way: Who Watches The Watchmen? This again is just forgotten. But for the moments where these two plot points unfold, the film truly lives up to the hype.

Recasting: The Justice League

So to celebrate (or commiserate: we haven’t seen it yet) Batman Vs. Superman (or to give it it’s full title: Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of The Rise Of The Planet Of Justice League Of National Geographic) we thought we’d do a blog about it. Marvel’s cinematic universe is in full swing (although after the somewhat muted reception to Avengers: Age Of Ultron, it’s fair to say there is a lot riding on Civil War) but what about the DC one? It’s irrelevant to this blog anyway, as we’re reshaping it anyway with our traditional recasting. So here we go!

Superman/Clark Kent

"The Hunger Games" Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals

Wes Bentley

This was quite hard to do really. I say this as a completely heterosexual person, but Superman has to be good looking. And in a certain way. He can’t be hipster good looking, and he can’t be the kind of guy you imagine stepping shirtless out of a lake, he has to be 1940’s good looking. The kind of guy you imagine playing snooker in a smoke-lit bar. I was going to go for Afleck for this but then realised someone better: Wes Bentley. Otherwise known as the guy who died in the first Hunger Games film. To me he has the look, he has the hair, and he has the certain “otherworld”ness that he needs.

OR

Matt Damon superman

An American as the American icon! Perish the thought! But really, even as he gets up there in years, Damon still has the boyish charms of a boy scout, but the chin and body of a harden soldier. His charismatic roles in light-hearted films like, The Martian, Ocean’s 11, and The Informant shows he can play adorkable very well, while his Bourne franchise shows he can kick-ass with the best of them. Dye his hair black and bulk him up a bit and, BAM-BOOM-WACK, we’ve got a lovable Clark Kent and a badass and charismatic Superman. Really he seems like an obvious choice, and I’m surprised he’s never been approached before. Admittedly he’d have to be an older Superman, but what’s wrong with that?

Batman/Bruce Wayne

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Tom Hiddleston

I know, never going to happen but I think he could do it. The reason why I never really brought Bale as Batman had nothing to do with his performance as Batman, it was his performance as Bruce Wayne that I hated. Bruce Wayne is basically a swaggering cockhead, Bale never had that “I’m the smartest guy in the room” mentality. Hiddleston would. I know some people may doubt he’d be physically imposing enough and to them I say this: Michael Keaton managed it. Side note: I was also considering Tom Hardy for this.

OR

Clive Owen

I really like the look of Ben Affleck as Batman, and I’m not surprised the early reviews for OwenBruceBatman v Superman are siting him as the best thing about it; but as my co-producer said, this is recasting, so we have to recast. So I choose the grizzled British badass himself Clive Owen because… well look at him. Those eyes. That chin! He’s shown he has the charm and wit to play a convincingly smarmy Bruce Wayne in films like Closer, and the action experience and intensity to be a terrifying Batman. Again another older pick, so realistically there would be a restriction to how long he could play the part, but who cares!

Wonder Woman

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Lily James

Yes, I know, Gal Gadot looks like she’ll be f*cking superb. But the name of the blog is recasting so I have to recast. This choice was made entirely because of Pride And Prejudice and Zombies, for which she was absolutely amazing and kicked the right amount of ass. I was also tempted to go with Ronda Rousey before remembering I have no idea if she can act or not. There’s a real lack of women in hollywood who could make believable action heroes.

OR

Emily BluntALL YOU NEED IS KILL

I just like Emily Blunt, can’t lie that’s part of it. But there are a lot of legitimate reasons why she would be a great Wonder Woman. One) she actually looks like a woman, not a teenager (and that’s only a small poke at Gal Gadot, who does look good). And two) with her excellent turns in the recent action heavy Edge of Tomorrow and Sicario, she’s shown she can own complex action set-pieces with the best of them, and can play intelligent militaristic characters with human flaws to a tee; traits a good Wonder Woman needs, coming from an island of Warrior Women and all.

Green Lantern

Nathan Fillion

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Mainly because in my head I can hear him do the Lantern Oath in my head. And he looks like the kind of guy who’s had powers bestowed upon him, rather than having been born.

 

OR

Michael B. Jordan

John Stewart has always been my favorite Green Lantern, and after the disastrous abortionlantern of 2011’s Hal Jordan Green Lantern film, I think a change of pace with the hero is needed. Now Michael B. Jordan maybe a bit young to play the part, but he’s a fast rising star who’s already proven himself to have the chops to carry a film and do action well, so a younger take on the character could easily work, and add some needed levity to the DCCU. Honestly Jordan would make the perfect Cyborg too, having already voiced the character in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, but we didn’t include him on this list because well, who thinks of Cyborg when you think of the Justice League!

Aquaman

eye-candy-ryan-gosling-4Ryan Gosling

Imagine the fanservice! The film would have an excuse to have Ryan Gosling walking slowly out of a puddle of water, thereby doubling your ticket sales AND encouraging a few more puddles of wetness in the audience. He has the looks, he DEFINITELY has the star power, and if you’ve seen Only God Forgives etc you know he has the acting skills necessary. Aquaman is generally regarded as a bit lame by the mainstream audience, so it needs somebody who can kick it back into relevancy. And who better than Gosling?

OR

Charlie Hunnamimg_0665

I haven’t seen Sons of Anarchy, or even Pacific Rim, though heard great things about both. The only things I’ve seen him in are Crimson Peaks, which was fine, and the UK Queer as Folk series, which I didn’t realize was him till just now. So this is based purely on look and reputation, but Hunnam looks perfect to bring the king of the sea to the big screen, and would actually fit the character’s iconic (and heavily mocked) design, adding the much needed edge and toughness too it, instead of just changing it like the Jason Momoa version has.