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.

5 Of The Best Comic Book Adaptation Castings

For those of you who don’t live on twitter or facebook, and as such, don’t exist to me, International Woman’s Day on Tuesday. I felt I should commemorate this by doing a blog about it, maybe the best films directed by women? Maybe the best actress’s, or maybe the best female roles in films. The possibilities are endless. Then I realised, that’s condescending as f*ck so went with this instead: Enjoy!

1. Robin Lord Taylor – The Penguin (Gotham)

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I thought I’d start with the one that will annoy the most people. Not with picking someone that isn’t good, because he is VERY good in this, but because what it means for the rest of the blog. You see, I decided to limit myself in this blog to one per franchise. So this is the Batman one. Think about that, that means I’m not including Heath Ledger, I’m not including Jack Nicholson, Adam West, Anne Hathaway (which considering how much I love Hathaway, really says something), Michael Keaton, Mark Hamill, Robert Swenson.

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That alone should say how good I find his performance. But I’ll try to explain it better: before I watched the series I HATED the character of The Penguin. It seemed to cartooney, too silly to work, so something could never work in a modern gritty show. Yet with him, it works. He’s without a doubt the best part of the show, and makes it worth watching just for him.

2. Robert Downey Jr. – Iron Man (erm, Iron Man)

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Let’s get something straight, a lot of you don’t like the Iron Man character. You may think you do, but you don’t. You like Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. Let’s face it, when Marvel made this film it was risky, more than it would seem to be now. Captain America would have been a much safer bet as he’s more recognisable. But Iron Man was better as a character to introduce the audience to the universe. Luckily it paid off as now we have Guardians Of The Galaxy etc, on the downside, we also have Avengers: Age Of Ultron. So it’s not all good.

3. JK Simmons – J.Jonah Jameson (Sam Raimi Spider-Man)

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I’m not doing this blog in any particular order really, just the order I feel like, because I’m a rebel who don’t play by society’s rules, man! If I was doing them in order of how absolutely PERFECT the casting is, this would be top. Numero uno. Number one. Top Gun. Jaws. The Godfather.

It’s often said that certain actors are born to play certain roles, and this is the one that he was absolutely BORN to play. He’s not playing the character here, he is the character. He embodies absolutely everything about it. God knows who they replaced him with when they rebooted the series, probably some blonde sweepy haired blue eyed prick from Dawson’s Creek or something.

4. Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool

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I was tempted to go with James “Smugface” McAvoy for the X-Men section. He gave Xavier a certain vulnerability that Patrick Stewart was never really given the chance to. Then I thought, maybe Fassbender as Magneto? I mean, he OWNED that role. Or maybe Hugh Jackman for defying all odds and being amazing at Wolverine (odd to think now, but a lot comic book fans HATED the idea of him as Wolverine when it was announced. But then again they also hated it when Ledger was announced as The Joker and Ben Afleck was announced as Batman, so really this just proves they don’t have a f*cking clue). But then I thought; f*ck it, it has to be Reynolds. It really does. Not just for what he did in the film, but because of how he’s embraced the character out of the film as well.

5. Christopher Reeve – Superman

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Do you even need to ask why? I mean, LOOK AT HIM!

 

So yeah, that’s it for today. Subscribe, follow, comment, stalk us and send us cake. You know, the usual 🙂