So once again we have survived.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

tn_bvs(HEAVY SPOILER REVIEW)

Here’s a weird thing about gigantic blockbuster movies based on popular licensed characters: you can end up making a sequel aimed less at the fans of the first movie than at the people who saw it once and have still not stopped complaining about it. At least that’s the fool’s errand that director Zack Snyder and writer David S. Goyer (this time rewritten by Academy Award winner Chris Terrio) chose for themselves on BATMAN von SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, which selects as its primary theme the criticisms that people had of part 1.

To this day I don’t feel like I understand the widespread outrage at MAN OF STEEL for having a comic book style battle between super beings where buildings were destroyed in the process. I still haven’t noticed this standard applied to any other movie or comic book (including the cover of the very first issue of Superman!) and I stand by everything I said in this essay about how wild misinterpretations of MAN OF STEEL have become conventional wisdom. Still, I gotta thank all of you for doing that because I suspect it inspired the most intense and cinematic section of BATMAN vehemently opposed to SUPERMAN, in which we see the Superman v Zod battle from an even more human perspective than before. Specifically, from Bruce Wayne’s point-of-view as he runs fearlessly into the destruction and tries to help.

We only see the Kryptonians in tiny glimpses, far away, high in the sky. Mostly we see raining glass and brick and glowing energy beams in their wake. They truly are gods. And now we specifically see that rubble landed on one guy and are told that a woman is missing. And Bruce Wayne doesn’t like it.

(SPOILER: Bruce Wayne is Batman.)

The best part of that scene: the title, which I believe says “METROPOLIS – MANKIND’S INTRODUCTION TO THE SUPERMAN.” For a minute I felt like I was watching a comic book movie unlike any other. I wish it had more of that type of pretentious bombast. At least the score (by MAN OF STEEL’s Hans Zimmer v FURY ROAD‘s Junkie XL) keeps it up all throughout.

That’s not the only scene to address Supergate. There’s also an event called “The Superman Incident” in which we see Superman rescuing Lois Lane from terrorists, but the media, politicians and at least one civilian blame Superman for a bunch of people killed by said terrorists. And it makes Lois and later Superman question their actions, even though they know he just flew in and pushed a guy.

There are anti-Superman protesters. Some militant, some otherwise. You’re only alive to hold that anti-alien sign because Superman saved you from the Kryptonian codex, you fuckin racist.

And there are at least two parts where they have a voice of authority (in one case Anderson Cooper) point out that an area where a superfight is happening is uninhabited. It comes across goofy, as if to say “Seriously guys? This is what you need us to do every time? Okay then.”

I enjoy that type of corniness for a laugh, but it stands out in this movie, and I think we as a nation should be embarrassed that the visual cues (people leaving buildings, police helping people evacuate, buildings being shown to be empty) and story context (characters and news reports never mentioning massive casualties, nobody acting like there have been massive casualties, massive casualties not being depicted on screen, no piles of bodies or skeletons other than in a symbolic dream about the fate of the world that Superman needs to – and then does – prevent) weren’t enough. We can’t complain that Anderson Cooper is now explaining our movies to us. We did it to ourselves.

And there’s more! For those who felt that the first half of MAN OF STEEL all about how he’s spent his whole life rescuing people did not count as rescuing, he leaves an important event to fly to Juarez to rescue one little girl, and then there’s a beautiful montage of various rescues, playing out under the sound of cable news talking heads arguing about whether or not he’s doing a good job of rescuing.

Meanwhile, cinematographer Larry Fong (300, WATCHMEN, SUCKER PUNCH, SUPER 8) made sure to make his cape look real red all the time. There you go, people who loved that video where they second-guessed the cinematographer of MAN OF STEEL for not saturating the color to your preference. Merry Christmas. (It looks good both ways.)

Admittedly, most of this MAN-OF-STEEL-revisited business is the best stuff in the movie. But the argument feels redundant. When Ma Kent (Diane Lane, STREETS OF FIRE) and even the late Pa Kent (Kevin Costner, 3 DAYS TO KILL) return briefly to give advice it seems like they’re continuing a debate that was already settled on screen, if not on the internet. And when the villainous Alex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg, CURSED) is dragging Zod’s dead body into Zod’s dead space ship you kinda think you know what,  could we get to the new stuff?

mp_bvsWhich in fact there’s plenty of here. There’s a new version of Batman (Ben Affleck, SMOKIN’ ACES) and his world, the first ever big screen Wonder Woman, this Clark Kent wearing glasses and pretending to be a nerd – but they’re involved in a plot that truly feels like a work in progress, a bunch of scenes they wanted to do but haven’t yet figured out how to make them make sense. Things that are unclear or raise questions, but not in an interesting way. Why did the world blame Superman for a bunch of guys being shot? Why did Alex blow up the capital, and why didn’t Superman see the bomb, and why do the people think Superman was involved, wouldn’t he just use his eyes, etc.

By the time Wonder Woman was sitting at a laptop clicking on files to introduce other DC characters in cheesy shot on video security footage it was good for a laugh since I had long since given up on sensible storytelling.

I still like Henry Cavill (HELLRAISER: HELLWORLD)’s version of Superman, but enough about him, let’s talk about the guy he’s v-ing against. Ben Affleck is excellent as Bruce Wayne, close to my favorite so far, or at least the most comic book like, and this is definitely the case with his more sculpted Batman costume. I like the little moment where he hops out of the Batmobile and pulls his cowl off like it’s a hat. It’s a total cheat (he could never do it with that thick rubber thing) but it’s the first time in seven Batman movies that they thought to treat it like something he could take on and off without a whole ordeal.

This is a more tough-talking Bruce (with fake looking grey streaks in his hair) and a more manly Batman. The muscles in the suit look more real and more body-builder-like, and he does ROCKY IV style workouts hauling chains and tires (sadly without montage rock). He already looks like a tank before he puts on his giant Superman-piercing armor.

Much of his operation is similar to Christian Bale’s: another combat-ready Batmobile, another space-ship thing, an Alfred (Jeremy Irons, DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE) who cops Michael Caine’s wise, fatherly vibe. But his Alfred is more fashionable, and he has a dead Robin, and a distorted robot voice (dishonorable caving to the people who didn’t like Christian Bale’s Batman voice) and he’s angry.

Not as angry as you’ve heard, though. I have been told that Batman murders a whole bunch of people and shoots everybody. Not true, of course. The only guns are

1. in a surreal dystopian nightmare scene
2. used by his vehicles to shoot inanimate obstacles, like in Tim Burton’s BATMAN
3. his biceps

And #3 is moot because in my opinion Batman calls his biceps pythons, not guns.

I’ve also seen alot of anger that this is supposedly a Batman movie unfit for children, a seducer of the innocent, which of course is exactly what their parents said about BATMAN RETURNS. Batman is supposed to be for the children, like Wu-Tang, and I guess the belief is that six other movies, 75+ years of comics, hundreds of hours of cartoons and an upcoming children’s Lego movie are not enough bat-stimulation to satisfy this generation. I get it but honestly DARK KNIGHT is as scary and more adult-minded. If they could handle that they could handle this, and I bet they’d (incorrectly) think it was better because it has a bunch of monster fights and shit.

(To be fair Martin Shkreli was 9 when BATMAN RETURNS came out, so the parental fears might not be as cowardly and superstitious as they seem on the surface.)

I do actually agree with the prudes, though, that having Batman be a guy who on two occasions has branded a bat symbol into criminals is too brutal for the character. I guess they had to do something to make you still root for Superman, and they show us through Alfred that the movie knows he’s gone too far. But it’s just a more sicko version of what Nolan already did with privacy invading batcomputer, done as a throwaway at the beginning instead of a developed theme. Not worth it.

A less obvious, way more troublesome departure from Batman tradition: he never outsmarts anybody. They forgot to do anything with him being a great detective who’s six steps ahead of everybody else. He doesn’t even bother to figure out that Superman is Clark Kent! And he gets tricked by a total douchebag.

In my experience the Batman pictures have had the best villains of the comic book movies. The Jokers, the Catwomen, The Penguin, one of the Banes, one of the Two Faces. Unfortunately, BATMAN violates SUPERMAN has easily the most annoying supervillain since Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones’s embarrassing turns in BATMAN FOREVER. Eisenberg is a great actor, and the cold-blooded intelligence he shows in THE SOCIAL NETWORK and other movies could be perfect for a billionaire prick who hates Superman and thinks he can take him out. Instead he tries to be… I don’t know, funny, possibly?… saying every terrible line in some kind of sing-songy, high-pitched, condescending tone (allegedly inspired by AMERICAN ULTRA screenwriter Max Landis, since this version of Luthor is an annoying little shit who inherited the company from his dad). It seems unfathomable that Snyder or one of the producers or even one of the other actors didn’t say wait a minute, are we sure about making people watch this character in a movie? Did these people seriously like what he was doing, or were they afraid that maybe they just didn’t get it, like whoever it was that wanted to fire Johnny Depp off of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN?

(In the case of Terrio it’s the former, because he wasn’t planning to write JUSTICE LEAGUE until he saw Eisenberg filming and “I really did feel like I was watching some strange, great performance in an independent film.”)

In his first scene he’s playing basketball in the Lexcorp office, and I didn’t even notice but apparently he sinks a 3-pointer, and he had to do 30 takes before he pulled it off. So we can only assume all of his other scenes were shot that night when he was exhausted and wanting to go home.

Even with a good performance I don’t think this character would work as written. He’s this mastermind pitting Batman against Superman, but it seems like Batman was already gonna fight Superman, and also Luthor was already gonna make a monster to fight Superman. It’s never clear what his motivation or point of view is, why he hates Superman. Also, why do the people of this world take him seriously? We see that he’s just some weirdo pipsqueak who inherited a bunch of money. If he’s a supergenius or something I don’t remember them illustrating it at all. He just makes an embarrassing, nonsensical speech that everyone rolls their eyes at. Wonder Woman’s look of disdain toward him is only one reason why she’s the MVP of the movie.

Played by Gal Gadot (Giselle from FAST & FURIOUS through FURIOUS 6), and given a small and mysterious enough role not to be burdened by any ponderous self questioning, she handily steals the movie. Snyder, having given us SUCKER PUNCH and Faora in MAN OF STEEL, delivers on his responsibility to paint her as a great womanly badass, utilizing her iconic costume and glowing lasso, though in my opinion slacking a little bit by not having her deflect a bunch of bullets with her bracelets. WHAT ABOUT THE BRACELETS FUCK YOU SNYDER.

But she’s not in the title. She’s not v anybody. A major part of the movie is that Batman wants to kill Superman to protect the earth. He didn’t even have to read all the essays about MAN OF STEEL, he was there, so we see at the beginning why he thinks Superman’s a threat. But then it just sticks with that. It doesn’t feel like there’s escalation or mounting developments leading to the confrontation, except setups that should tip Batman off that he’s being messed with.

The inspiration for the fight (especially Batman’s armor) comes from Frank Miller’s worshipped comic book The Dark Knight Returns (also turned into a two part DTV cartoon). In that story Superman was depicted as a naive sellout, a stooge for Reagan, so you could understand Batman’s perspective on him. But also Batman wasn’t trying to kill him (in fact, SPOILER, it’s kind of the reverse). Those versions of the characters had a long history together, a friendship, a long-held disagreement, and also Bruce Wayne was on his last legs. It was an accomplishment just to give Superman a bloody nose.

This version doesn’t have any drama like that. We already know Batman is being manipulated by Luthor to fight Superman. We can’t root for him, he’s being a sucker.

NOT MY BATMAN. MY BATMAN IS NOT A SUCKER. That’s Green Lantern or somebody.

Of course they get over it. The fight is resolved in a melodramatic way that has been widely made fun of. I actually really like the idea, but agree that they don’t really make it work. Anyway it’s more fun when they suddenly become friends. See? Why fight each other when you could work together and fight a giant monster?

And then the ending. MAJOR SPOILER FOR ONE BIG THING THEY ACTUALLY KEPT SECRET. The death of Superman sequence is so good that even though it felt like it was edited in from a different, better movie it got me kind of emotional. First, the heroic act of using the Kryptonite spear himself even though it weakened him. But the aftermath is the great part. It took me back to those relationships in MAN OF STEEL and it was sad to see Lois and Martha in the little farmhouse mourning him.

I especially liked cutting between the humble Clark Kent funeral on the farm and the glorious Superman state funeral in Metropolis, the “circus back East” according to Batman. It was satisfying to see the military who fought him in MAN OF STEEL now honor him with a flag ceremony, and to see the giant statue (I think) replaced with a more tasteful plaque and an acknowledgment that “the monument is all around you” because YOU SEEM TO FORGET THAT HE SAVED THE FUCKING PLANET, INTERNET. Also, I loved Wonder Woman’s comment that “they don’t know how to honor him except as a soldier.” She might turn out to be a bummer at parties but I think she is correct here.

* * *

BATMAN V SUPERMAN is not as good as MAN OF STEEL. Its ambitions may be higher, but its story is too haphazard for it to be as effective on an emotional level or a ramping excitement level. It’s also not as good as most of the Marvel movies, which almost always manage to find fun, pleasing variations on super hero formulas with great central characters. And though I believe none of them have great villain characters, they also don’t have any that are nearly as annoying as this Alex Luthor.

I’m sorry to say that I agree with the critical consensus that this is a bad movie. Where I differ is that I think it’s bad in an interesting and ambitious way. It looks and sounds great, it gets a bunch of things right, then it slides into headscratchingly misguided or seemingly unfinished, then gets exciting again. BATMAN FOREVER, GREEN LANTERN and the THE FANTASTIC FOUR movies I think are just ugly and stupid from head to toe, this is not that. This is beautiful on the outside and misshapen in the middle. I wish they would’ve pulled it off.

The buck stops with Snyder, but all the non-Eisenberg problems with the movie come from the script by Goyer and Terrio. I wish it had more of the tight storytelling and badass action moments of Goyer’s best work, less of the pondering. I wish it was more perfectly-constructed-badass-movie BLADE and less kinda-undercooked-best-picture-serious-movie ARGO.

But like MAN OF STEEL it also has a cinematic quality that the Marvel movies don’t. It looks, sounds and feels epic. Operatic. It’s not as grim or humorless as detractors claim, but I like its sincerity. I know it goes against the times, but I think it’s okay to have some movies that don’t undercut their melodrama with self-deprecating jokes. Sometimes humor is a defense mechanism.

The problem is that, with this one especially, the surface is far more successful than the insides. When Snyder made SUCKER PUNCH – a beautiful, crazy, one-of-a-kind movie that’s hobbled by its insistence on also Having Something Real Important To Say About Things – I learned that I should stop wanting something smarter out of him and let him do his own, stupid thing. But Snyder didn’t learn that lesson, and he keeps trying to prove that he’s part Zack Snyder, part Christopher Nolan. He’s, like, thoughtful about shit.

I hope he gives that up. Even if he was better at it I think we’ve done more than enough questioning about the ethics of being Batman or Superman. Let’s have some where it’s just about being Batman or Superman, doing what Batman and Superman do. I want to see them make it all the way through the movie without trying to quit.

And I know I’ll be in the minority on this one, but bless Snyder for the (admittedly awkwardly inserted) crazy SUCKER PUNCH type dream sequence and/or future-predicting vision. It’s the one scene that clearly only Snyder would ever think of putting in a Batman/Superman movie, the one that makes you confused and uncomfortable, the one you can’t believe is in a $300 million movie that normal people are gonna watch. Everybody derides Snyder as a “bro” (his movies would go over way better if he didn’t work out as much), but how are you gonna stereotype somebody who imagines shit like that? Let your freak flag fly, bro.

APPENDIX: Comments from my Nerd Issues Correspondent:

“We don’t know which Robin that is. I hope it’s Jason Todd and that Dick Grayson also exists as a Nightwing because Dick Grayson is one of the all time great comic book characters and has never been done justice on film” (?)

“That was fucked up what they did with Jimmy Olsen.” (after he explained this to me I disagreed. Apparently the photographer killed at the beginning was Jimmy Olsen so in this version he was a CIA operative but also he’s dead)

“Cool way to foreshadow Darkseid”

“They had Mercy Graves but she didn’t do anything and then got killed.”

“I hope in the next one we meet Alex Luthor’s dad and he’s the real Lex Luthor and his bodyguard is Mercy Graves’s mom also named Mercy and she’s played by Gina Carano”

“Batman is cool as a loner and reluctant member of the Justice League. It’s interesting that in this version it’s all his idea.”

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Monday, March 28th, 2016 at 12:36 pm and is filed under Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

402 Responses to “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”

  1. The problem wasn’t the destruction. It’s that Superman didn’t seem to care about any collateral damage. It’s a fundamental misunderstanding of Superman and what people want from a Superman movie.

  2. Agreed, Aaron. Man of Steel was so damn melodramatic. Yeah he saved folk here and there. But he was so conflicted about it. Christoper Reeve would save a cat from a tree and do it with a smile. Snyder-Supers would do it then brood in a bar for six months afterwards.

  3. This was kind of a bummer. I think the movie just didn’t work on a script level. I think they were trying to suggest that Luthor is tricking Batman and Superman into fighting each other, but how this plan was supposed to work, I don’t really understand. And I’m fine with the superheroes getting duped, so long as it makes sense. After all, how else are they going to get the two to fight? I was really hoping that the critical consensus was wrong. Maybe the three hour version makes more sense?

    Aaron – You should check out Vern’s defense of Man of Steel, and why a lot of those complaints are just plain wrong.

    Vern Tells It Like It Is: Why I think MAN OF STEEL gets a bum rap...

    I already wrote about MAN OF STEEL twice. First a review, then a second-viewing followup. Now here I am again, and for that I am truly sorry. But Superman is kind of like a new Batman, one of the inescapable topics in movie nerd discussions. With news stories about BATMAN... #dccomics #superman

  4. So… are we gonna get a full blown Superman as a villain in the next one for half the movie?. I think this is the direction Zack’s going. This sucks because we haven’t had much Superman fun in his movies. Zack Snyder clearly doesn’t like the character, doesn’t know how to use him.

    Also, if you ever happen to be in México and expect a full parade of weirdos in skeleton make up during day of the dead, you’re gonna be sorely disappointed. We don’t do that (except for douchebag bros at parties).

  5. That photo of Wonder Woman from 1918 that Bruce Wayne comes across— was it just me, or was the guy in the photo standing on her right Chris Pine? It looked exactly like him.

    Great review, Vern… and I’m sorry to say I was similarly underwhelmed. The budget for this has been estimated at $250 million, and for sheer appearance’s sake it looks like a movie that cost 2/3 that much; go figure. Not that a visual extravaganza would’ve sufficiently offset such a fragmented screenplay. For me, BvS wasn’t nearly the massive letdown that STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE POOPY FLAVORED LOLLIPOP was, but like that movie I have no real desire to [pay money to] see it again.

  6. @Larry that was Chris Pine, he’s playing her love interest in her standalone film

  7. Since Snyder is still on my shitlist and I will therefore most likely never watch this movie if I can avoid it, I just wanna mention that Junkie XL, after his triple punch with FURY ROAD, DEADPOOL and this, became one of my favourite composers of movie scores. Who would have guessed that the guy, who made some of my most played songs of my last years in school, would almost 20 years later provide extra epic action film and comic book movie music?

    Fingers crossed that they keep the Wonder Woman theme for her solo movie!

    Junkie XL - Saturday Teenage Kick / Billy Club

    Overdrive/Viva Plus TV 1998 Junkie Xl's appearance part 1

  8. Yeah, that is Chris Pine, who is starring in the standalone Wonder Woman movie. She meets him I think during World War I.

    I guess I liked the movie more than you guys. The script has some issues. I understood the dream sequences being familiar with the comics, but if you were not familiar with the DC stories, I could see how these scenes would seem out of place and confusing for the average moviegoer. I’m not sure they were necessary for this film, hinting at Darkseid and the winged creatures that Batman sees in his vision/dream. The editing really seemed off, but that probably had to do with 30 minutes being cut out for the theatrical release, which we will get back for the Blu-Ray director’s cut. There were a lot of hints at things to come with little explanation, which made the story a little disjointed.

    I was impressed with Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot, who both gave great performances under much scrutiny. Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of his character is being hotly debated, but I think his take on the character will certainly change in the upcoming films. I guess I looked at his character in this movie as an origin story of sorts. Also, Vern mentioned he didn’t understand Luthor’s hatred for Superman, but Luthor clearly doesn’t like the fact Superman is an alien with immense power, and he obviously is worried about meta humans too, considering the files he keeps about future Justice League members. I guess my questions lie more with the introduction of Doomsday. He was created to decimate Superman, but if Luthor hates Superman and meta humans, would he really want to create a creature equally, if not more powerful than Superman? How did he think anybody was going to be able to stop /control this being once his adversaries were dead? Maybe we are supposed to think his blind rage kept him from thinking about the consequences.

  9. I liked this one okay. It has it’s flaws, but overall, I liked it. I thought it was a little heavy, not in tone, so much as too much story weighing things down. If that makes sense. Too many different story threads and characters with their conflicting motivations. I had stayed away from any critic or viewer talk until seeing it for myself, so I didn’t know that I was going along with the crowd when I voiced this complaint upon leaving the theater. Guess I’ll have to agree with them.

    I liked Affleck okay. I LOVED Gadot. And I disagree, Vern, about Eisenberg. I liked his batshit crazy take on Lex. I liked his ticks and crazy eyes and inability to maintain his train of thought when he was grandstanding. I think he gives his motivation for wanting to kill Superman when he mentions his father being abusive. I suspect physical and sexual abuse from his use of the word abominations. Or was it atrocities? Either way, I think since no one was there to save him he can’t abide Superman saving anyone else.

    CJ, I loved the Wonder Woman music when she made her appearance, with jaunty, Celtic sounding violins. It’s distinctive enough that they must plan to use it for her solo movie. And, Vern, she did use her bracelets when she first appeared. She was striking them together to make the sonic wave to push back Doomsday.

    They don’t come out and say, specifically, that a lot of people died from the Superman/Zod fight, but I thought that memorial they put up, where they have his statue the guy spray paints, was covered in names of people killed. Did I just invent that in my head?

    Was that supposed to be Robin talking to Bruce from the swirling vortex of his acid trip nightmare?

  10. Superman should never, ever say the words “You can’t stay good in this world.” That’s the problem with these movies.

  11. Vern, you had me at “And #3 is moot because in my opinion Batman calls his biceps pythons, not guns.”

    I’ll be waiting for rental on this bad boy.

  12. If you guys already know everything Batman and Superman could, should, or would do, why bother watching the movies at all?

  13. >”To this day I don’t feel like I understand the widespread outrage at MAN OF STEEL for having a comic book style battle between super beings where buildings were destroyed in the process. I still haven’t noticed this standard applied to any other movie or comic book (including the cover of the very first issue of Superman!) ”

    Well, I don’t think the people complaining about it really understood why they were so mad either. But I think I know, and it has to do with another correct observation here:

    >”But like MAN OF STEEL it also has a cinematic quality that the Marvel movies don’t. It looks, sounds and feels epic. Operatic. It’s not as grim or humorless as detractors claim, but I like its sincerity. I know it goes against the times, but I think it’s okay to have some movies that don’t undercut their melodrama with self-deprecating jokes.”

    Directors tell you how to feel about what you’re watching. There’s a million tiny visual and aural cues to tell you how you should be taking all this; it’s how you control tone. With something like THE AVENGERS –an obvious comparison, since they destroy NYC at least as much as MOS does–, the gee-whiz, primary-colored action, quippy dialogue, and rousing score tell you that you’re having fun, that this is exciting, that it’s fantasy. You’re not encouraged to think about all those people who must be dying below, because the movie is telling you how fun it is to be the hero. MOS, by contrast, is –exactly as Vern says– Operatic, epic, sincere. It’s not utterly humorless, but it’s very much keyed in on the seriousness of the stakes and the tragedy of Superman’s situation. They use 9/11 imagery, for fuck’s sake. So even though on paper the two look the same –ridiculous costumed superheroes smashing up buildings– they don’t feel the same at all. Snyder decided to make a movie that makes it looks real unfun to be Superman. Which is his prerogative, but he shouldn’t have been surprised when people took him seriously and didn’t have a very fun time. HE told them not to.

    Of course, the fanboys didn’t really understand why they were so mad, and they tend to be literal and prone to nitpicking, so they decided it was the basic premise which was the problem, a patently absurd claim which somehow only Vern and a few others ever seriously questioned. And since the fanboys learned the wrong lesson, the filmmakers (or, more likely, the studios) learned a slightly misinterpreted version of that same wrong lesson. Hence, the bizarre takeaway that the problem is that superheroes cause dangerous situations, not that the filmmaking needs to depict this stuff in a more lighthearted way if they don’t want people to dwell on the awful tragedy of it all. Honestly I don’t care in the slightest about Superman, so it could go either way for all I care. But you can’t have both an operatic and sincere epic tale and a weightless, brainless fun-filled demolition derby.

    I haven’t seen BvSDoJ yet, but it doesn’t sound like they figured that out yet.

  14. I agree my favorite part was the odd title on the “World Introduced to THE Superman” flashback. Wish there’d been more pretentious weirdness like that. Maybe in the 3 hour cut.

    How’d the 70mm look, Vern?

    I liked the movie. Thought it was exactly what I expected. The ire directed at critics seems oddly vitriolic on this one. I mean, yeah, celebrate your victory lap that you still made money despite the bad reviews. WB hid screenings of this as much as they could from the critics, but yet they beg us to come see movies like Hot Pursuit. Remember Hot Pursuit? With Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara?

    Anyway, I’m pretty sure all the critics Snyder hates right now are the same ones who told all their readers, “Dude, you HAVE to go see 300!” back in 2007.

  15. Majestyk, that may be the most brilliant point I’ve heard all year. Can we get this man a “Best Damn Thing I’ve Heard Lately” medal?

  16. Maggie – I think that was the Flash, but it was a little hard to tell.

    I didn’t mind many of the little hints at where these movies might go next. I dug the Supernazis dream sequence, mostly because it was kind of bizarre. But I absolutely hated when they made us sit there and watch a bunch of youtube videos that serve as nothing more than commercials for the next film. It’s one thing to slip in allusions here and there, but it’s another to just stop the plot and make us watch some crappy videos for no reason.

    I also had the same third act problem with this film that I had with The Force Awakens. BvS shoehorned a big CGI battle into the finale just like TFA had to give us yet another Death Star. Neither threats arose organically from the plot. (If Doomsday were a part of Luthor’s master plan, then this would have potentially worked. But it looks like he was just screwing around with Kryptonian technology and decided to create this alien monster).

    On the positive side, I do think the movie’s visuals were kind of refreshing. Marvel’s films are mostly nondescript. They could have been made by anybody. But Snyder’s films are unmistakably his own. The way the top part of the gun (the slide?) broke Martha Wayne’s pearls was a clever visual touch.

  17. >>And there are at least two parts where they have a voice of authority (in one case Anderson Cooper) point out that an area where a superfight is happening is uninhabited. It comes across goofy, as if to say “Seriously guys? This is what you need us to do every time? Okay then.”<>He just makes an embarrassing, nonsensical speech that everyone rolls their eyes at. Wonder Woman’s look of disdain toward him is only one reason why she’s the MVP of the movie.<<

    I had to look this up after the movie, but this is the part where Lex makes a joke about Zeus or whatever that wasn't true. Wonder Woman makes a face like he's full of shit because she's the daughter of Zeus (this WW is apparently based on "The New 52" version of the character).

  18. I totally did not recognize the character or actor in the dream sequence either. That’s like some sort of meta spoiler, where you can’t actually spoil it because you literally do not know who the character is!

  19. People complain about Luthor’s lack of motivation but he fucking spells it out to Lois. I can’t remember the speech verbatim but it goes something like this: “People see Superman as a god and because of that he challenges the planet’s entire belief system. If he’s a god then god should be able to save everyone. If he can’t do that then he’s not a god.” Essentially Luthor is trying to make him fallible. To err is human, to forgive, divine so the saying goes. He wants to humanize Superman in the public’s eyes.

    Also Vern, Wonder Woman used her bracelets to deflect Doomday’s blasts. I know it’s not bullets but oh well.

    I have no clue why the internet hates the movie. I loved it. The Batman parts outshined the Superman scenes initially but they Superman scenes resonated more in the past few days. This is post 9-11 Superman and not 70s Superman. This Superman doesn’t save cats from trees. Snyder approaches the character as if he really existed. If Superman was real, there would be Senate hearings, assholes debating it on Fox News, and people proclaiming him to be a savior. Superman’s true enemy is the establishment. His very existence rocks the status quo. Because of him the world has changed. That’s what made Luthor’s plotting work for me. He essentially wants to kill or at least discredit Superman in order to bring things back before “The Introduction of Superman”.

  20. *bring things back to the way they were before “The Introduction of Superman.”

  21. I really enjoyed this movie, but I realized that Zack Snyder is a niche director who probably shouldn’t be given quarter billion dollar budgets. He’s the modern day David Lynch.

  22. I think this is the movie where I finally give up on Zack Snyder. I’ve been defending him for years against people comparing him to Michael Bay, even as he said things in interviews that made it seem like he had no idea what he was doing, but man, this movie is a step too far for me. If I was feeling generous I would give it points for attempting to wrestle with some big ideas, but this is a movie with 75 years worth of stories to draw from (including of dozens of Superman stories that do a better job dealing with the same ideas) and the GDP of a small country behind it. The best they could come up with is a clumsy mash-up of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (without any of the depth or context that made it interesting) and DEATH OF SUPERMAN (which was a disappointment to everybody except DC’s accountants).

    To be fair I don’t think it’s entirely Snyder’s fault as this movie that feels like it was studio noted to death. So many extraneous dream sequences, clumsy product placement and choppily edited scenes with barely any narrative thrust. That post-apocalyptic dream sequence is one of the best, weirdest scenes in the film and it serves no narrative purpose whatsoever and what the hell was that bit where The Flash(?) went back and time to warn him within a dream sequence? Weird to say for a 2 1/2 hour film, but it might be improved with a longer cut.

    I agree with the Vern that all the stuff dealing with the fallout of MoS in fine (in concept) and feels like a natural extension rather than an apology or retcon. Unlike the (multiple!) clumsy lines about uninhabited areas, but I’m not going to pull a Vern and blame the comic fans for bullying the poor billion dollar media empire rather than the people who produced, wrote and directed the damn thing. There were a thousand ways they could have got the idea across more organically. And Vern accuses comics fans of missing context cues, but points to the rescuing montage as an example of fan-placation and doesn’t even mention how it’s played as ominous and scary and hardly worth the effort. It’s not that Superman doesn’t rescue people, it’s that he doesn’t even want to (unless it’s Lois). This is totally a Superman who would angrily post on Reddit about how he refused to help a lost or injured kid because he didn’t want to be mistaken for a pedophile.

    Obviously I still haven’t changed my position on MoS or Superman. I think you can only bend a character so far until it breaks. This is like making a Parker adaptation where he’s a charming, wisecracking thief with a heart of gold, who can’t help but lend a hand to a friend in need. At that point it’s not Parker anymore. And I don’t want to read too much into Zack Snyder’s comments about THE FOUNTAINHEAD, but if he has objectivist leanings then it explains so much about his films and his take on Superman. His total misread of WATCHMEN, his worship of Batman, his weird, tough-shit-ivist take on the Kents (Superman’s moral compass!).

    I did not like this version of Luthor at all. I liked the idea of Luthor as quirky tech billionaire, but they did absolutely nothing with it and Eisenberg’s performance was irritating and out of place. In this movie in particular it was important to set up his hatred of Superman and they bungled it. They could’ve had Luthor despising Superman because he thinks he’s a crutch for mankind or that he’s stealing the limelight from (his) human achievement or that he’s too powerful to exist, but instead it’s a vague bunch of nothing about atheism and devils and daddy issues.

    I also think this might be my favourite screen version of Batman, and Jeremy Irons is great as Alfred. In the Nolan version Bruce Wayne was purely a façade, but here it’s more of an extension of Batman, which I like. I would totally watch a spin-off film about these two. Incidentally Vern, this Batman clearly does kill a bunch of dudes, blowing up several cars full of people with the Batmobile and exploding that guy with the flamethrower. I guess unless he holds their severed heads up to the camera they didn’t really die. Also execution-by-proxy with the bat-branding. I’d want them to scale that back a little for a new solo Batman film, but I can buy it here as a more fascist Batman that has turned cruel over the years (as Alfred points out). I think Batman comes closest to having a coherent point of view, which I think makes sense as this is clearly the character Snyder identifies with most strongly. I also think there is room in the world for multiple versions of Batman, both kid-friendly and not, but someone should tell WB’s marketing department because the stores are flooded with kid-targeted merchandise for this film.

    Gal Gadot was fine as Wonder Woman. Some good physical acting in the fight scenes; I particularly liked the brief smile before she plunges into battle. Although I got to admit that I had a bit of trouble understanding some of her lines, and I’m usually fine with accents. It occurred to me that she should’ve been the one to break up the Batman/Superman fight rather than the utterly stupid “Martha” line. It would let everyone know that she hasn’t got time for man’s testosterone-fueled bullshit when there are lives on the line. Also she did use the bracelets, she clapped them together to make a big shockwave to hit Doomsday. Hard to make out amid all the smoke and fire and explosions.

    It’s a shame because I think you could make a really good BATMAN V(S) SUPERMAN movie, but there needs to be a contrast between their characters and a clear personal motivations. When they are both mopey, angry sad sacks being manipulated by a third party it’s just boring. I did like it when Batman hit him with the sink though.

  23. Really enjoyed it and it made me even appreciate MAN OF STEEL a lot more.

    You guys know I’m the resident DC nerd and that Superman is my dude and I walked out happy.

    SPOILERS AHOY!!!!

    SERIOUSLY BROS DON’T READ IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW!

    To me the “dream sequences” were gold because being that Flash was especially the anchor cause of his power set. He transcends time and space so all of it you know it is possibly something that HAPPENED in this universe. He said something to the effect of “I traveled too far back”. I really think the events of this movie and the subsequent ones will change the timeline Flash came back to Bruce from which is where that vision came from. It was a remnant of something Bruce already lived but only felt instinctively cause the timeline reshifted. Hence his look at the end at the grave site and insistence on finding those other metahumans.

    I personally really dug Lex. Believe it or not there were people back in 1978 and in the 80’s that were mad that Hackman’s Lex was what it was cause it wasn’t the Lex from the comics of that era. THIS guy is. Through the filter of the 21st century

  24. Really enjoyed it and it made me even appreciate MAN OF STEEL a lot more.

    You guys know I’m the resident DC nerd and that Superman is my dude and I walked out happy.

    SPOILERS AHOY!!!!

    SERIOUSLY BROS DON’T READ IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW!

    To me the “dream sequences” were gold because being that Flash was especially the anchor cause of his power set. He transcends time and space so all of it you know it is possibly something that HAPPENED in this universe. He said something to the effect of “I traveled too far back”. I really think the events of this movie and the subsequent ones will change the timeline Flash came back to Bruce from which is where that vision came from. It was a remnant of something Bruce already lived but only felt instinctively cause the timeline reshifted. Hence his look at the end at the grave site and insistence on finding those other metahumans.

    I personally really dug Lex. Believe it or not there were people back in 1978 and in the 80’s that were mad that Hackman’s Lex was what it was cause it wasn’t the Lex from the comics of that era. THIS guy is just that; a manipulative and narcissistic highly sociopathic mad scientist. This is white lab coat Lex through the filter of the 21st century. It’s not business suit Lex but I could get jiggy with this shit.

    Superman has one moment to me in this movie that completely screamed “THAT’S SUPERMAN!” to me in this movie. The second moment in any of the modern movies (since 2006) where I felt that way (first was the plane rescue from SUPERMAN RETURNS) and it was when he was talking to Lois about the nature of what he must do to save his Ma. He seemed completely repulsed and I was like “yeah that’s about right”. Also I’m really curious about the people who kept saying Superman killed? where? I really can’t remember it. I remember him saving shit and spending time with his girl, his Ma and at his other job. Then selflessly stopping a Frankenstein monster with a lil help from his newfound friends.

    Batman is fucking jaded and broken and I thought it was interesting as hell. To me a more edgier maybe even draconian and borderline fascist take on him works cause of the nature of the rich boy beating up on desperate poor saps. That’s why I always loved the Burton movies. It’s just a more interesting type of guy to see cinematically cause there are so many ways to interpret him. More interesting in a movie than the “I have one law” absolute.Plus the fact the he used a crate to stop a bad guy and a car to stop a car just looked awesome. That and his workout montage was like something out of a Rocky movie. Batfleck works for me. He’s very similar to golden age Batman and that shit is cool as hell cause it’s pulpy as fuck.

    Also he has the single greatest Batman moment ever to me:

    So Superman is getting whooped then the effects of the kryptonite wear off Batman realizes this and proceeds to…..cower like a fucking pussy with a “please papa don’t spank me” look and hand gesture. I laughed so goddamn hard. Everybody in society always jerks off over Batman being the ultimate badass so I never thought anybody would ever have the balls to include that in a movie. To me that was one of those moments that sold it for me.

    I also didn’t mind the origin again cause the traditionalist in me is more pro “they come out of a theater with Mark of Zorro poster” than I am “they were at an opera”. It was a great nod to the comic with the pearls and all that stuff and the idea of possibly seeing Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Batman in a FLASHPOINT movie is damn nice.

    Another selling point was Wonder Woman. I fell in love with her the moment I realized she was enjoying every minute of combat like a DC amazon would. I want to see her movie like right now. I heard she improvised the smile too. Gal really came through I have to say.

    What can I say about Lois except well it’s Amy Adams and I can’t hate Amy Adams. I watched MOS last night for the first time in 3 years. This time I dropped the notion of comparing it to the superman in my head. I took it for what it was and really enjoyed it now in my 30’s. Especially his relationship with Lois and his Ma. I still think Ma leaving that damn dog in the car and Pa’s actions afterwards are contrived and stupid as fuck but otherwise I enjoyed this movie more than I did 3 years back and a big part of it again was Clark with Ma an Lois and that’s a big part of that here. Everytime she looks at Clark you could see she really loves this guy. I also appreciate at least showing her being an investigative reporter.

    That scene with the spear though is the equivalent of te tornado smallville scene in MOS. Like this is the shit that could destroy the man you love wouldn’t you want to confiscate it to make sure it never falls in the wrong hands like it could being left in rubble?

    Outside of that though I liked her enough and bought the dynamic to the point that I was touched when she saves Clark from this psychotic batfreak.

    Larry Fishburne: Still no “Great Ceasar’s ghost!” but he’s getting there.

    Jeremy Irons: Gold in every way and definitely got the biggest laughs out of me with some of the snark he was dishing out.

    Overall: I don’t know if it was my low expectations or the fact that I now as of last night specifically really buy into the MOS conceit of “this is a DC Universe that mirrors our own sociologically and politically” so I went into it more invested in this world Snyder created her but I really don’t think it’s the disaster people made it out to be. I do think it’s problem is that it’s very “show don’t tell” in a world used to “tell a lot more than you show” especially post-Nolan superhero movies but the sky is definitely not falling IMO.

  25. Sorry for the double but I wasn’t finished the first time and hit enter by accident.

  26. Oh yeah

    One more SPOILER

    I did laugh out loud though at Bruce’s “I failed him in life” at the grave site. Like what the fuck dude?!? you were chummy with the guy for like a cup of coffee and hated him every other time you interacted with him in and out of costume all of a sudden you have all these regrets?

  27. Also, is it wrong for me to want a Reign of the Supermen movie more than a Justice League movie?

  28. Seeing Joe Morton a.k.a. Brother from Another Planet a.k.a. Miles Bennett Dyson a.k.a. Cab Calloway’s son in BLUES BROTHERS 2000 in the role of “Dad of Cyborg” a.k.a. Dr. Silas Stone was a pretty nice surprise. Best part of the hilarious JL videos.

  29. Jack Burton I’d like that as well. Preferably directed by George Miller.

  30. What I don’t get is the hate for this particular iteration of Batman. I mean Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” comic is considered one of the more popular and groundbreaking comics ever in the history of comics. It’s influence is on every Batman film, TV or cartoon that has came after it. But this is the first time that version of Batman has actually literally been translated to screen and now it’s considered wrong headed. I swear, it’s like everyone wants to go backwards to Adam West vs. Christoper Reeve (or maybe George Reeves).

    Granted, I was never a big fan of Superman or the DC Universe (besides Bats or watching the JLA cartoon as a kid), so I didn’t bring my comic books into this one or “Man of Steel” to make sure they were doing right by the character. I’ve enjoyed both movies, although this one definitely feels like a script and plot that feels like it went through a lot of rewrites during production. Or maybe also because the final cut was truncated for theatrical release? Hate on Zack all you want, but I really can’t think of a director that can do justice to the Greek Gods On Earth-style that DC has over Marvel’s more everyman approach. He’s not perfect, but godddamnit if he doesn’t know how to create shots that look like moving graphic novel panels.

    By the way, VERN, I know you review the FILMS OF CINEMA but you should really break your rule just once and review the TV Series DAREDEVIL particularly the current one with The Punisher, you may have heard of him. Plus almost every episode has an “Old Boy” style fight scene. (I’m exaggerating, but not too much). And it has ninjas.

  31. I honestly don’t find Batman’s motivations all that hard to fathom. It’s not just about Superman, it’s also part mid-life crisis and part feeling of futility. He’s been doing his Batman thing for a long time and it doesn’t see like he’s accomplished all that much for all the shit he’s been through and people he’s apparently lost, so Superman’s a way to actual do something that matters, as he says. His and Superman’s first meetings have been told and retold many times, and they are often with them at first being at odds, mostly due to Batman’s paranoid “this too good to be true” attitude, only this isn’t the case here. The Metropolis incident wasn’t a “too good” time, and since it affected him personally, it makes sense he’d be way more vicious about it. I think Lex outsmarting him is believable, because Lex doesn’t tip his hand. He doesn’t really engage with Batman directly and lets him effectively outsmart himself.
    Seen people confused how Lex knows who Superman really is, even thinking the ship tells him, despite Lois being made clear as the way he connected Superman to Clark Kent. On a related note, I liked how they didn’t do an obvious thing and have Clark x-ray Batman’s mask to see his face, but instead figures out his identity by overhearing Alfred on the earpiece, and put it together without them having to spell it out for you.

    “Why did the world blame Superman for a bunch of guys being shot?”
    They blame him for showing up and escalating the situation so the mercs on site would kill the villagers, and we’re told that after that, the local Government came in and did worse, so the idea is that Superman triggered a whole mess of stuff, when in reality those guys were killed before he even showed up. It could be made clearer in the movie, because they emphasise tracking down the bullets so much.

    “Why did Alex blow up the capital,”
    The two Senators who knew what he was up to were both killed, which kept them out of his way. Scoot McNairy’s character knew Bruce Wayne, so it further drove home the personal investment he has in the feud with Superman, especially with the messages Scoot (or Lex? It’s a little unclear)were leaving.

    “and why didn’t Superman see the bomb,”
    Because it was hidden in a wheelchair, probably under lead. And he wasn’t looking. He said so. He went to a hearing to answer to his critics, not to assume there’d be a terrorist incident. I don’t think he makes a point of scanning every place he goes with X-Ray vision. Certainly not one of the most secure buildings in the world, where other people are supposed to handle that stuff.

    “and why do the people think Superman was involved, wouldn’t he just use his eyes, etc.”
    I didn’t get the impression they thought he literally caused the explosion, just that they blamed Superman’s actions for creating someone who’d hate him so much to do that. It’s kinda like the Superhero equivalent of blowback.

  32. Also, poor taste on the filmmakers’ part for having the legless dude played by a guy named “Scoot”.

  33. Crushinator Jones

    March 28th, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    @Aaron:

    ” It’s that Superman didn’t seem to care about any collateral damage. It’s a fundamental misunderstanding of Superman and what people want from a Superman movie.”

    First: Superman killed the last other Kryptonian to keep a family from getting killed. He also dodges a tanker truck (because as we saw earlier in the film if Superman gets his by a gas explosion he’s stunned for 30 seconds) and when it blows up he turns around and stares at the explosion like an idiot allowing Zod to sucker-punch him.

    Second: All kinds of people want all kinds of things from a Superman movie, don’t imply that you’re some kind of spokesperson for the masses.

    @CrustaceanLove:

    “It’s not that Superman doesn’t rescue people, it’s that he doesn’t even want to (unless it’s Lois). This is totally a Superman who would angrily post on Reddit about how he refused to help a lost or injured kid because he didn’t want to be mistaken for a pedophile.”

    You’re projecting and this isn’t clever. Superman is tailing Bruce Wayne and trying to see what’s up, and he aborts the whole investigation to go save one girl. Like, I’m very disappointed in Snyder in a lot of ways but let’s not start doing the stupid shit that people did with Man of Steel where they start inventing shit out of whole cloth that isn’t even vaguely supported by what’s on the screen.

    @Jesse B.

    “Superman should never, ever say the words “You can’t stay good in this world.” That’s the problem with these movies.”

    In case you didn’t notice, he looks like his soul is being ripped out when he says this. After the Capital bombing he goes away for a bit and comes back full of purpose – and immediately gets told that his mom is hostage and he’s going to have to kill Batman. This is Superman at the lowest point of the film and feels completely helpless and trapped – the line is delivered without conviction and accompanied by a pained expression, I don’t think you’re suppose to believe that Superman ACTUALLY feels this way.

  34. Crushinator Jones

    March 28th, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Sorry, in my reply to Aaron please add this sentence: “if a guy stands there like an idiot looking at an explosion until he literally gets pounded into the pavement and is willing to murder the last link to his heritage with his bare hands to save some anonymous family I think that shows a lot of caring about collateral damage, actually.”

  35. Crushinator Jones

    March 28th, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Sorry, in my reply to Aaron please add this sentence: “if a guy stands there like an idiot looking at an explosion until he literally gets pounded into the pavement and is willing to murder the last link to his heritage with his bare hands to save some anonymous family I think that shows a lot of caring about collateral damage, actually.”

  36. Crushinator Jones

    March 28th, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Wow double post. Sorry. Anyway I’m typing up some brain droppings about the film, hope to share them soon.

  37. I have a solution that probably would have made this movie better. Don’t have Superman fight Batman.

    I get that Snyder has a certain filmatism or whatever, but all these dark non fun DC movies are such a turn off to me.

  38. Also I feel lkke they also puposely find director that actually hate their main characters. Like I would be way more interested in the Nolan movies if it wasnt clear to me he really didn’t want to make a Batman movie.

  39. Also I feel lkke they also puposely find director that actually hate their main characters. Like I would be way more interested in the Nolan movies if it wasnt clear to me he really didn’t want to make a Batman movie.

  40. I think the wheelchair was made out of lead which is why Superman didn’t see the bomb. Later he says he wasn’t looking for it but I think he said that because he was just beating himself up and that the fact it was made out of lead should have been a dead giveaway something wasn’t right. I did love the pained face he made as everyone around him burned and he was powerless to do anything. That’s part of the reason why I loved this new take on Superman. It’s Superman with survivor’s guilt.

  41. *spoilers*

    I never liked the idea of Batman branding his enemies, but felt the actual execution was handled in a credible manner. Bruce is becoming more desperate and yet we’re still told he’s only resorted to the tactic twice. I can buy that idea in this version of the character and his world.

    There’s no denying this film is saddled with a mess of a script- one that was clearly damaged by heavy studio interference- and yet I can’t bring myself to hate it. Much of that is because the core vision of Batman presented here is in many ways the one I’ve been wanting to see for decades. Even the moments where Superman gets to do something heroic is done on a scale that feels long overdue for the character in modern superhero cinema.

    It’s a shame the character is otherwise wasted in a project that was originally intended as Man Of Steel 2. Honestly, I’m not even sure what Superman’s point of view is in this story. He apparently didn’t bother to clean up the world engine mess, is okay with the government having all the Kryptonian remnants, and now just wants to do his job(s) without any hassle.

    However, I do fall into the camp that didn’t buy Eisenberg as Lex. I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to Michael Cera but for much of the film all I could think of was Crispin Glover’s infamous appearance on David Letterman’s show back in the late 80’s. (Lex even bizarrely loses his train of thought during his one big public speech in the film.) The entire casting decision feels like a miscalculation- one which Snyder has proudly taken credit for in interviews. If he was overly-sensitive about the reaction to Man of Steel’s destruction, it will be interesting to see how he responds to the criticisms about Eisenberg’s Lex. (Bring in “Lex Sr.”? Tell Eisenberg to stop what he’s doing? Bring in Robert Vaughn?)

  42. Crushinator Jones

    March 28th, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Ok so I basically agree with Vern. This isn’t as good as Man of Steel. The initial 10 minutes are CRAZY good – I love that initial Bruce Wayne scene – and just like everyone else I was basically fully onboard by “Mankind is introduced to the Superman” and the Batman view of the Man of Steel finale. Then the movie largely squandered that shit although I felt the Batmobile and Batman Warehouse scene were great. Other stuff, not so much. The actual Bat vs Supes fight was like a high-octane version of one of those rom-com situations where one sentence could clear up the whole thing, but nobody says it. “Bruce, Lex Luthor has my mother and he’s ransoming her to make me kill you.” Done.

    Like Broddie I am a huge Superman fan and want to see the character remain relevant. I’m actually super-worried about Snyder accomplishing that after seeing this movie.

    Let’s talk about some of the choices Snyder made with Superman. The first is that Snyder has always had a core of meanness to his sensibilities and I’m not sure that these huge DC movies are the best place to indulge that shit. The Capital bombing was just a nasty bit of work. It sets you up to think that Superman is finally going to defend himself only to yank it away in the cruelest way imaginable. And it does double duty because it also basically says that Superman fucked up bad by not immediately using his X-Ray vision on that wheelchair. And it just seems really, unnecessarily mean to not only punish the character for trying to show up and explain himself but also make him partially culpable. Now I don’t want you to think that old Crushinator is saying that we need an infallible Silver Age fun strongman Superman but at the same time I think this fell a little on the dour, mean-spirited side. There were a lot of ways to do this scene without fucking with the audience (just having Lex say that the bomb go off if X-Rays were detected – thus making it a no-win situation for Supes – would have probably softened this enough IMO)

    The second thing is I’m not sure how much more I can take of “stand there and listen” Superman. I saw the movie twice – once on the 21st at the fan screening, and once on the 24th with some friends. And the second time I noticed that Kal-El in the Superman suit never talks to anyone other than Batman, Wonder Woman, Lois, and Luthor. He literally talks to nobody else, he just stands there and looks pensive. I thought the beginning of the movie, when he crashes into that African hut and then just kinda nods to Lois and puts a guy through a couple walls, was a little strange, But when he didn’t correct Luthor when ‘ole Lex called him a God I started to really dislike it. His consistent non-reaction makes him seem very cold, very Dr. Manhattan, very detached. Honestly it reminds me of how he acts in this comic called Lex Luthor: Man of Steel, which shows how Lex perceives Superman (mostly hovering in silent judgement). I just don’t understand it, let the dude speak already. I don’t get what this non-reaction is supposed to be accomplishing other than making me frustrated that Superman doesn’t speak up for himself and making him seem a little less Man.

    Thirdly is…well I’m probably flying very close to Not My Superman territory but I’ll just say it – I didn’t like the “he does it for Lois” thing. I honestly feel it weakens the character. Superman does what he does because he’s a good person. I’m willing to be open-minded about a lot of interpretations of the character. And I felt that they messed it up here. Superman doesn’t do it for the love of a good woman. Now it’s possible that they meant to show that he love of a good woman keeps him going psychologically through all the high-stakes drama that comes from being Superman but the Knightmare vision from Batman heavily implies that if Superman loses Lois he goes bad. And I’m sorry, I just totally disagree with that. That decision really does go at the heart of the character and it makes Superman lose a lot more than he gains, IMO. I’m willing to go with a Superman who fails, who makes mistakes, who tries his best only to be defeated. But I’m not liking one who does it all for True Love, it just seems hacky and awful.

    So to close it out – and I can’t believe I’m saying this about Snyder after Man of Steel – I hope he gets his shit together re: Superman. Stop making the character a miserable cypher who can’t win for losing. I don’t want an infallible fun Superman but the reality is the only real victory for Supes in this movie (outside of a brief rescue montage) comes at the cost of five feet of bone being stuck through his chest.

    Ok but what about Batman?

    Fuck the haters, Snyder’s Batman is rad and Batman should kill people if they threaten his life. Good stuff, want to see more of this guy.

    Just no more horrible cut-aways of Wonder Woman watching Justice League Youtubes, please. Seriously. That was so bad. Like in Empire Strikes Back, if just before Luke and Vader were going to fight, they cut to fucking Jabba’s palace and gave you 5 minutes of him saying “I can’t wait until Han Solo arrives, ha ha ha! I’m sure there’s no way anyone could save him, ha ha ha! And even if they did they would have to fight my RANCOR!” and then show the rancor and then cut back to the regular movie. Just a fucking momentum-killing narrative-busting shitshow, holy cow.

    Anyway I’m curious to see the ultimate cut of the movie and all that shit. Batman V Superman is not terrible but it’s uneven and kind of a mess. An interesting mess but a mess. And sadly that phrase is starting to describe a lot of Snyder’s output.

  43. Crushinator Jones

    March 28th, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Oh I guess I should say that I liked Eisenberg as Lex and understood the character’s motivation just fine. His father abused him and nobody saved him. It messed him up bad. Now Superman saves random people and he just can’t deal with that. He wanted to be saved, it never came, and now he hates Superman.

  44. I appreciate Vern’s defences of Man of Steel, and others on here who feel the same. But it unfortunately doesn’t make me feel any different that the movie was a horrid, horrid mess. And BvS sounds even worse.

    The more Snyder actually comments on these movies, the more it’s obvious that his vision is based entirely on things that look cool, or his motivation is often the exact opposite of these defences of MOS.

    He recently stated that essentially he thinks Superman killed Zod because he hadn’t killed anyone before and had to do it find out if killing was bad.

    He’s also stated that the Superman movies are about what happens when you are a boy scout, and being so causes bad things to happen.

    I’m all for more Zack Snyder movies, but definetly needs to stay away from trying to make ‘smart’ movies.

  45. Hey Vern,

    Enjoyed the review, though I think you’re wrong that Snyder is trying to be like Nolan with “BvS.” That clearly was the case with “Man of Steel,” most likely because Nolan and Goyer were co-writers and Snyder was trying to tap into what made Nolan’s Batman films so successful. It definitely worked to an extent. I am a big fan of “Man of Steel” for many of the same reasons you are. But with “BvS” Snyder seems to have doubled down on the strengths and weaknesses unique to him, eschewing Nolan’s influence entirely. This movie reminded me a lot of more of Snyder’s “Watchmen” than “Man of Steel” or any of the Nolan Batman movies. The handheld, somewhat-shaky cam aesthetic of “Man of Steel,” which Snyder took from Nolan, is largely gone here. In its place is the same lead-footed approach Snyder took with “Watchmen.” I’m talking about a highly-controlled, though often static, camera, stilted character blocking, and that comic-book sheen. The images here don’t resonate because they are so meticulously crafted, leaving no room for spontaneity and the possibility of countless interpretations. (Though the opening sequence with little Bruce being lifted by the bats was pretty awesome. I was sad that it had to be explained away by the voiceover. As if Snyder thought audiences wouldn’t find it believable in a movie in which Batman has the gift of precognition and is visited by the Flash through Bruce’s computer screen in an apparent time-travel dream.)

    The movie feels like such a departure from “Man of Steel” that I wonder if Snyder felt hamstrung by Nolan’s initial influence. I wonder if, in some ways, he doesn’t feel like “Man of Steel” is a Zack Snyder movie, and so with this film, he pulled out all of his tricks to distance himself from the realistic aesthetic of the first movie. That was probably a mistake, because it betrays the character development in “Man of Steel.” To me, the Superman in “BvS” isn’t the same Superman we got to know in the first movie. The two films just don’t feel connected on a visceral, aesthetic level, which to me is more important than plot. They don’t seem to belong in the same universe. That’s a shame because the character foundation laid by “Man of Steel” is so strong that it would have been exciting to spend more time with Superman in a sequel, the notion that he would become for the world, in his dad’s words, an “ideal to strive towards.” Perhaps this is Snyder’s endgame with the Justice League movies, but I think “BvS” is too much of a stumble that by the time we get to the last Justice League, we will have forgotten what the Superman of “Man of Steel” was all about in the first place. I hope I’m wrong! I am quite invested in the potential that this interpretation of Superman has.

    Let me know what you think.

  46. Crushinator, I actually wondered if the “she” he was angry at Batman for losing might’ve been his mom. Most likely it would’ve been Lois, but a tiny fraction of me wondered.

    This whole idea hinges on Bruce’s crazy dream actually having some prophetic possibility in some reality. If there was a reality where Martha was killed by Lex maybe Clark blamed Bruce. But it was probably Lois.

  47. @Crushinator Jones

    “The actual Bat vs Supes fight was like a high-octane version of one of those rom-com situations where one sentence could clear up the whole thing, but nobody says it.”

    I think a fundamental problem with BvS is that it attempts to adapt the big showdown from The Dark Knight Returns without any of that story’s context.

    When Bruce ignores Superman’s attempt to reason in TDKR, it makes logical sense. The story has spent a lot of time getting the characters (and the reader) to a point where that interaction can only go down one way. By failing to make a similarly compelling argument in BvS, it just makes Batman come across as not only someone who is easily duped but also…kind’ve a dick. (And all the more jarring when he has a sudden change of heart mere minutes later.)

    The other problem with wanting to build a film around TDKR’s big fight is that there’s nowhere to go afterwards. The audience knows that neither hero is really going to be defeated. It worked in TDKR because the true appeal of that story was the way in which it deconstructed such iconic heroes. But it’s not a concept that lends itself to the sheer blockbuster spectacle of something like the Civil War storyline, which I suppose is how you end up having to shoehorn Wonder Woman and Doomsday into the mix.

    I still think the core idea here was an interesting one, though: In a post-Man of Steel world, what would happen if Superman- still adjusting to his role as Earth’s protector- was presented with Batman’s brand of vigilante justice? (No pun intended, although it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s how the writers came up with that.) Season two of Daredevil shows how effective such an approach could’ve been. It’s only when the studio decided that this also needed to introduce Wonder Woman, set up the Justice League movie, and pave the way for the entire DC film slate that I suspect things began to go wildly off the rails. (Unless the rumors were true and they really didn’t have much of an initial plan beyond saying “Hey, let’s put Batman in this too!”)

    “Anyway I’m curious to see the ultimate cut of the movie and all that shit.”

    I know most fans are hoping the extended cut will somehow offset the script’s shortcomings but I’m actually more eager to see what kind of fan edits emerge. I think it could be very entertaining to see the central conflict distilled to its purest form without all the unnecessary baggage.

  48. Vern laments that Batman isn’t shown being a detective and being six steps ahead of everyone else. As a more casual fan I guess I wasn’t aware that that was a key aspect of the character. I don’t remember the Michael Keaton version doing much of that, for example.

    It’s interesting that DC is turning out to be where directors are allowed to do their own thing, compared to Marvel where directors have to fit the mold or quit.

    I liked the movie fine. But I don’t think the stakes were as high for me as they were for other people. Superman and Batman have both been interpreted in multiple ways in so many previous films. So any “not my Superman/Batman” baggage I might’ve once had was long ago lost at the airport.

    But it does seem like DC fans are liking this movie more than uninitiated viewers (e.g. film critics) who have a more squeaky-clean perception of Superman. So for once the “not my Superman” knee-jerk rejection is coming from reviewers and not fanboys – which seems odd. Someone should make a Bizarro joke about that.

  49. One thought I had after seeing this was: I’m not sure why Batman wanted to kill Superman.

    Best I can figure, it all hinges on that initial scene where he’s like, “If there’s even a ONE PERCENT CHANCE blah blah blah-“ but did he say he was going to kill him in that first scene? Do y’all remember the lines exactly? Alfred seemed to disagree, so I think maybe Bruce DID say he needed to kill him…?

    Other than that scene I can’t think of a reason for Batman to fight him. After the bomb scene they pretty much immediately reveal that it was the crippled guy who did it (SPOILER) – so that can’t be the reason either. Was all the messiah stuff the reason Batman wanted to kill him?

    It’s just a weak premise and a stupid motivation for Batman, who’s supposed to be smarter than that. Anyway, we all knew going in that they were going to fight, but I was (like Vern) surprised how sloppy the whole thing felt. I actually LIKED that Luther threatened Martha Kent in order to make Supes fight. It’s simple and unoriginal but at least it makes sense.

  50. Superman is just too purely moral and optimistic a character for Snyder. A more accurate image of who Superman is as a person is him talking a suicidal person down from a ledge than punching someone really hard. I doubt Snyder could ever give us the former.

  51. @Curt

    Well Batman IS nicknamed “The World’s Greatest Detective”, but admittedly it’s an element that has never been explored all that heavily in the films.

    However, I would say Keaton’s Batman did very well conveying this side of the character. There’s that great scene in Batman 89- arguably the best of its kind in any modern Batman film- where he takes Vicki Vale back to the Batcave and clearly breaks down how the Joker is poisoning the citizens of Gotham.

  52. And another thing about THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS…

    …Batman doesn’t try to kill Superman. He just wants to beat the crap out of him in order to make a point, and he (SPOLIER) dies of a heart attack while doing it. Which is part of his plan. It’s more clever and way, way more powerful than the crap in this movie.

    But Vern makes a good point about the burial scene; it IS shot well. And there are bagpipes.

  53. @Christof

    I got the impression Alfred suspected what the endgame was when he pointedly asked if Bruce intended to steal the kryptonite in order to keep it out of the wrong hands.

    The movie starts out with a solid foundation on which to build Bruce’s case against Superman but simply fails to do so in any meaningful way.

  54. Crushinator Jones

    March 28th, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    @Jesse B.:

    “Superman is just too purely moral and optimistic a character for Snyder. A more accurate image of who Superman is as a person is him talking a suicidal person down from a ledge than punching someone really hard. ”

    Hey bud. If you read my long-ass screed above you’ll realize that I think that Snyder is kinda fucking up with Superman. I’m a guy who has seen a lot of different versions of Superman and think that almost of all them have merit. I am willing to let the character ride and see where it goes but even I’m starting to wonder what’s going with Snyder’s version.

    Having said that, that doesn’t excuse you being 100% full of shit about what Superman stories consist of. Yeah we all like that page from All-Star Superman but Superman has always been about dealing with problems via violence and the good deeds for regular people that he does are almost always treated as interstitial between his huge epic battles. The thing about most Superman stories is that the violence is sanitized and there are no consequences. Snyder doesn’t believe in sanitized, consequence-free violence. And that’s a problem if you’re one of those people who needs Superman to be a consequence-free power-fantasy who has a grand old time being Superman. He’s never gonna be that character as long as Snyder has him. He’s still moral (maybe, as I said the Lois thing threw me for a loop) and he’s still and optimist who tries to help even as the world tells him that maybe he should take a fucking hike. You can be a moral optimistic guy and still have it turn out bad, or not win 100%. It happens.

  55. @Jake

    That foundation may be solid cinematically . . . but intellectually it’s weak. I mean of all people, Batman would (eventually) see that Superman had little choice but to try and stop Zod however he could. And that it wasn’t Superman’s fault.

  56. Crushinator:

    I know Superman super-punches evil in the face on the reg. I’m a big fan of it. But he’s more than that – the violence is not the aspect of Superman that makes him an ideal for us, and I just don’t think enough (if any) of the heart shines through Snyder’s darkness to satisfy me.

  57. Superman didn’t see the bomb because he couldn’t bear to even look at the fruits of his battle.

    At least, that’s what I want to believe the movie is capable of. That superman is superman because he is a man, but in the moment where he is most human – ashamed – he utterly fails to be super.

    Also, Batman’s weird fear of Superman only makes sense if Batman believes the Knightmare scene to be a vision from the future… But we’re explicitly shown that it’s a dream. And Batman reacts as if it’s a dream. But we’re also very clearly supposed to understand that it’s real.

    I kinda love the idea that Batman in the present tries to kill superman because he completely misunderstands an muddled message, sent from a future where Superman and Batman are friends. Like, it’s Batman meets 12 Monkeys.

    I love the Martha payoff. It’s a great Freudian freakout moment that reaches a primordial part of my own psyche. Unfortunately, it necessities a bizarre damsels get of Martha Kent, so it doesn’t work as well as it should.

    Why the fuck does Alex have mercs with “experimental bullets” especially when said bullets get lodged in a moleskin journal, completely uncompressed.

    The woman playing Mercy Graves and/or her costume designer is the most special effect in the entire movie. I hope she’s like Kenny and they just kill her off randomly in every movie, only for her to return unscathed. If she’s actually dead imma be hella pissed. Why isn’t she playing Wonder Woman? Shes so charismatic and stupefyingly chic. Seriously, she’s going to be the first Japanese actress to hit the A-list in Hollywood. She’s an absolute star.

    At the beginning when the Boko Harem-esque warlord (you know, for kids!) holds Lois hostage and says

    “Cone any closer and I’ll show you what the inside of her skull looks like!”

    I really wanted superman to power up his laser-eyes and say —

    “I already have x-Ray vision.”

    Then melt the fucking warlord’s face like Raiders.

  58. Crushinator Jones

    March 28th, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    Well in order to be an ideal you have to earn it.

    And Superman does in this movie.

    That’s why I haven’t written it off completely. But I am getting sick of cold, pensive Superman. I felt that they nailed Clark Kent, btw, he was great. And earnest. Kal-El needs to go to some Toastmasters meetings and work on his communication abilities.

  59. Curt – Keaton’s Batman cracked The Joker’s poison code and stopped his chemical assault on Gotham City by giving Vicki Vale his file (“avoid the following combinations deodarants with baby powder…” etc.)

    He also figured out what The Penguin and Christopher Walken were all about. Most of his sleuthing didn’t involve him walking the streets with a magnifying glass but all those moments he spent on his batcomputer weren’t spent playing Monkey Island or Commander Keen either.

  60. Now I’ve read Vern’s review, I’m conflicted: I agree with most of it, although I dug it way more than him – maybe it was the fact that this was a full on comic book flick, unapologetic, rather than a staid Nolan-y batflick – that alone kinda won me over. I was glad Batman had been reclaimed for us geeks.

    Also, put me in the “quite liked Eisenberg’s Luthor” camp. He’s an asshole, who tries way to hard to be funny and charming and comes off as a prick. His speech moment sums him up: he’s all over the place and then he just kinda gives up. I loved that.

    Another tiny moment I loved: Bruce makes Alfred a drink. Not the other way round. Has that *ever* happened before? That, to me, showed the respect and love Bruce has for, let’s face it, his dad. Awesome.

    Sure, Snyder just can’t help himself at times: the scenes with Bruce walking to the burned out family home – holy shit, terrible…yet I found myself thinking, yeah, go for it. You wanna put a scene in a £300 million dollar film that looks like A fucking Sting video from 1993? Do it. It’s like Tarsem, McG and Bay all had a baby.

    And the dream/future/PRINCE OF DARKNESS scene – just wonderful. I actually heard people say, what the fuck at my screening, and for that alone the film will always have a little piece of my geek heart.

    The three leads were all great, too – kudos to Affleck for playing it as The Goddamn Batman.

    So, did it work overall? Heavy handed and messy as it was at times, for me, yes. It did just enough. It’s nowhere near perfect but it won me over. It was sincere. It wanted to be – and succeeded at being – a comic book film, and not a pseudo-Michael Mann flick. See how we go with the “ultimate BATMAN HITS SUPERMAN EVEN MORE” cut.

  61. Despite not being ecstatic for the film, I’m rooting for it at the box office. There were moments that seemed studio mandated (shoehorning Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League into the film), but there was enough in the movie that was unique and bizarre that I hope WB won’t just try to pivot into making more Marvelesque films. I think there’s enough room at the cineplex for multiple takes on the superhero genre. Also, I’m a bigger fan of DC than Marvel, so I really want them to keep on pumping out these movies. Like Vern’s Nerd Issues Correspondent mentioned, I’d love to see Dick Grayson as Nightwing. Plus, I want to see Darkseid on screen, goddamnit!

  62. One thing that surprised me has been the strength of the critical reaction; not even the strength actually but the sheer glee a lot of reviewers had as they took this thing apart. Seems to me like a lot of reviewers have saved some of their cattiest comments for these reviews. For my part I liked this movie, notwithstanding the points Vern and many of you guys make that I agree with and despite it being a failure in just about any way you care to judge it (also can’t believe the score was given a pass Vern, it’s unrelenting bombast was too much for me). In some way I am struggling to articulate, this film was more than the sum of its flaws if that makes any sense at all. An interesting failure. Or maybe I don’t get out enough these days, it’s hard to tell.

  63. Analog, as I mentioned before I really liked the WW music. However, when *SPOILER – Do we really need to put these in? The whole thing is kinda spoilery* Batman was chasing the truck to steal the kryptonite the music got really crazy. I thought, “Does this scene really call for opera?”

  64. I don’t know how you can say he didn’t do any detective stuff in this one. He interrogates 6 different low level thugs before hacking their bosses phone to connect him to Lex Luthor, whose house he then infiltrates to steal his server, before tracking down the woman who stole the intel he got. Yeah, it’s maybe more a case of legwork than cerebral sleuthing, but I think it’s still detective work, and the fact Lex wanted him to do it doesn’t discount the effort he had to go through for it.

  65. Agreed MaggieMayPie; I read your comment earlier and it reminded me that the WW music was an interesting choice so I can’t say I didn’t like everything about the score. Generally though I felt the opera eventually undermined the drama in a lot of scenes because it punctuated everything from the moment the movie began, seemingly whether something very dramatic was happening or not, just about.

  66. When it gets to the last third or so, which is more or less just straight up action, it is quite fun, if rather po-faced. And I am “Team Eisenberg”; I enjoy some ham with my villain, and I don’t apologise for that. I wasn’t actively annoyed by the film, even though the first two thirds are unstructured and never particularly engaging. But ultimately I feel this is a $250million film, which made $450million in the blink of an eye, without a single truly memorable moment.

  67. Good point about the detective work, Stu. I think what I miss though is Batman outsmarting people, being ahead of the other characters, including the audience. An example would be in DARK KNIGHT, the whole scheme he pulls faking Gordon’s death, or the way he convinces that random employee not to reveal his identity, or the extraordinary rendition of the guy in Hong Kong. I just like this type of stuff, and Goyer seems to also (for example, Blade already knowing that Scud is a traitor and having a bomb planted in him). Because Batman falls for a dumb and hard to follow scheme by Luthor to make him do something really stupid it loses this “smarter than everybody else” aspect of the character. Otherwise though he is a topnotch Bat individual in my opinion.

    Analog – I didn’t just give the score a pass, I genuinely thought it was excellent. The MAN OF STEEL score was more moving, and I wanted to hear that theme a little more, but some of the more bombastic sounds, the sort of classical Luthor theme and the Wonder Woman guitars to me sounded different from standard blockbusters of today. Other parts had a sort of driving repetitiveness that is becoming cliche, but that comes out of Hans Zimmer’s scoring since DARK KNIGHT and also reflects Junkie XL’s sound on FURY ROAD and I think that works very well too.

    Oh yeah, here’s Luthor’s theme. I wish I liked the character as much as the theme:

    https://youtu.be/h3N-O5BCZSM

    Shoulda saved that shit for The Riddler or somebody.

  68. Gosh pacman2.0 I’m personally confident I’ll be remembering the batcrossfit montage till my dying day.

  69. I got so wrapped up in everything else I did not mention that the action clarity in this one is not up to Snyder’s standard. There is a pretty cool one take scene and I did like alot of the other stuff, but it’s very chaotic and dizzying. That’s intentional and very effective in the opening but not as much in the rest of it.

    I would also say that his Batmobile action scene seems too similar to Nolan’s approach without being as good.

  70. Oh I definitely agree with you there, it sounded different to other blockbusters to its credit and as MaggieMayPie reminded me I dug the Wonder Woman theme. The rest just didn’t work for me. I was especially disappointed seeing as how much I loved Zimmer’s work on MAN OF STEEL and this lacked anything that memorable or affecting for me. I think overall I liked this movie more than most people seemed to though, despite the numerous issues with it. Also, and I don’t mean to be a contrarian, but I vastly preferred the action in BvS to MOS precisely because I thought it was less chaotic than that earlier movie. I’m starting to think I watched a different film to everybody else.

  71. @Christof

    I was referring to the story’s foundation being more than just the basic premise of ‘Superman made a mess while stopping Zod’.

    Batman has devoted his entire life to protecting Gotham and suddenly he’s presented with a potential threat he may not be able to defeat. So I can buy that as a valid argument for wanting to get the kryptonite and even thought that whole subplot was a decent example of the character being a detective in this film.

    But you’re correct that the story would’ve been stronger if it had allowed Bruce to argue and reason more logically. He’s only worried about Superman while Lex is about to see the big picture and talks about the possibility of other Kryptonians or aliens coming to Earth. I get that Batman is supposed to be obsessed and a bit myopic in this, but that’s where the story fails to deliver a convincing level of development for the character. It’s not believable that he wouldn’t be a little smarter about everything.

  72. Vern- I don’t think Batman was in on Gordon faking his death in THE DARK KNIGHT. He had no way to set it up before hand, as it was a totally impromptu thing Gordon does taking a bullet for the mayor, then we have him brooding outside the Gordon household, then the cops trying to signal him but he’s too busy tossing Sal Maroni off a fire escape and breaking both his legs because he’s mad about Gordon. Goyer also had him getting surprised by the League of Shadows in Begins (he really should have put two and two together that Ducard was really Ra’s, or that he’d at least assumed control, after leaving him alive), and the whole thing in RISES that Bane and Talia do.

    As for the action, I do think it could be clearer, but I am so thrilled to see the most mobile live-action Batman ever. I mean, besides Adam West’s, technically, since that suit didn’t restrict movement as much, but he never suplexed a motherfucker into the floor.

  73. @karlos

    I think that’s what prevents me from hating the film: That unapologetic desire to be a comic book movie.

    It’s not particularly concerned in getting bogged down with exposition or making sure every audience member understands what’s going on at all times. And it isn’t afraid to show something batshit crazy like the nightmare sequence. It’s almost as if the writers watched Age of Ultron and thought the best part was when Thor decided to take a bath in that cave. (“We should put stuff like that into BvS!”)

    Messy, muddled, misguided? Sure. But this movie also created a blueprint for how to visually adapt the Batman of the comics to the big screen and for that I’m grateful. If the critical beating ends up causing Affleck’s Batman film to be moved up on the schedule, so much the better.

  74. I love how much he used his gadgetry in his fighting. Especially his, I don’t know what to call it, thingy that shoots out the cable to grab a crate & then retract it to smash someone over the head.

  75. I thought the action unclarity might have been because I was seeing it at the Imax and sometimes those giant screens are too big for me to be able to take in everything. I thought it might be better on a bit smaller screen.

  76. “….. I like the little moment where he hops out of the Batmobile and pulls his cowl off like it’s a hat. It’s a total cheat (he could never do it with that thick rubber thing) but it’s the first time in seven Batman movies that they thought to treat it like something he could take on and off without a whole ordeal.”

    Actually Bale also does that, in Batman Begins, I think; and he’s sitting, in costume, with the cowl on his lap in The Dark Knight

  77. Warners have released a deleted scene – if the longer cut has more batshit stuff like this then count me in.

  78. Gotta respect a movie which can delete a scene which introduces a crazy H.R.-Geiger-meets-Tim-Curry-in-LEGEND monster and not substantially change the plot.

  79. Not to get too into nerd stuff, but if that’s who people think it is, it might not be so monstery as it seems, just appear that way because of the Kryptonian Communication system.

  80. @ Mr. Subtlety

    I like your explanation about why comic nerd types seemed to hate MoS. I really find the reaction people had to both films to be very strange. In both cases I didn’t understand a) what exactly people didn’t like about it and b) why they’re so pissed off. If I hated this movie I wouldn’t take it as personally as many people seem to be taking it. I think some people have this very strict idea of who Superman is, and they compare any movie they see to their preconceived notions, rather than just engage with the movie as presented. I kinda wish the studio would stop listening to these people for the next one, and just get a better script.

    As for my 2 cents, I saw it Thursday and enjoyed it. I mostly agree with the flaws around the basic plot that people have pointed out, but I enjoyed the way Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were done, and basically wouldn’t mind seeing more movies like this. I liked Man of Steel and was happy to see the characters return. I would have liked some of the characters to just speak with each a bit more, like Superman/Lois in particular.

    The Martha/Martha thing was sloppily done, but I thought true to human nature, and something that I can personally related to.

    I hope they have better scripts and villains for the next ones, but I don’t think BvS is so far off the mark as people seem to think.

  81. “I’m sorry to say that I agree with the critical consensus that this is a bad movie. Where I differ is that I think it’s bad in an interesting and ambitious way.”

    The hardest thing to articulate about how I feel about this movie is what you captured here.

    I think Captain America: Civil War looks pretty good, but somehow Batman v Superman has interested me much more. With the Avengers Marvel characters having been literally Walt Disney-fied, we’re getting regular quality movies, but they’ve gotten very comfortable in their approach.

    I was very excited to see something new and different, and I appreciate that this was an honest attempt at that, even if what we got wasn’t great.

  82. Once again Vern, you provide more insight into the fallout from Supergate. Anything less from an outlaw journalist such as you would be surprising. My only input to your review is that you are completely wrong about Alex Luthor—he is the comic book supervillain our selfish and whiny society deserves.

    The last thing the world needs is more words written on the clash of the two titans, Bruce and Clark, yet I’ve thrown my hat into the ring and come up with a different take on this highly divisive, yet entertaining film.

    http://www.timhoran.com/?p=285

  83. It’s interesting how, mere months after observing Star Wars’ transition from the messy auteurism of George Lucas’ prequels to fan-pleasing Greatest Hits, we now get a DC movie that has inherited that mantle of getting people confused and riled up by something they thought they knew, with venomous detractors as well as some fierce supporters.

    I grew up on the Christopher Reeve films and still love them. But we’ve had four films in that style (with SUPERMAN RETURNS an honorary fifth) so I don’t get why it’s such a trauma that something different is now being tried.

    I guess I don’t know what moviegoers want from a Superman movie. I liked SUPERMAN RETURNS but so many other people seemed to consider it a turkey. That movie had a lighter, friendlier tone and it was rejected. Now we’ve had a tougher, more godlike Superman, said to be closer to the comic books from what I hear, and that too is being rejected.

    And I don’t know what people were expecting based on BvS’s trailer and premise. I was pissed off by MAN OF STEEL as much as anyone else, because I wasn’t expecting a Superman movie that would put so much emphasis on destruction. But this time everyone knew going in that this would be a movie where Superman’s great power was distrusted by the public, and Superman and Batman were going to be enemies, and Batman wanted to make Superman bleed. This was one time where the movie was exactly what the trailer depicted.

    But at least I understand where the “it’s too grim and serious” complaints are coming from. Otherwise I have to admit to being a bit puzzled by the rage against this movie. The previous Batman movies (with at least the first two Nolans excepted) aren’t exactly hailed as exemplars of storytelling or character development. For better or worse they’ve tended to be more about mood and spectacle, with the characters’ psychological issues expressed in very on-the-nose dialogue.

    So I’m not sure why this one is being criticized so much more heavily, unless it’s simply that expectations have been raised by the Nolans and/or the Marvel movies. Did this movie really make that much less sense than superhero movies tend to do? I don’t mean that to sound like an “it’s not supposed to be Hamlet” type comment, but other folks seem to be judging the genre by a standard I wasn’t aware had been established that often.

    Or maybe I just let some things slide because I knew these characters from general pop culture and therefore accepted some things without needing them explained (e.g. Luthor is evil) or because I knew that there would be future movies in this series that might explore some things more fully.

    Maybe on a second viewing I would catch things that are bothering other people, I dunno. But then it’s not like I spent the first viewing scrutinizing the details of the story or characters to a more fannish degree than I would if I was just watching a regular action movie. I saw it once and liked it but then started to forget about it and move on with my life, as you do.

    (I read an angry screed on io9 objecting to the fact that a Superman movie prominently featured a jar of urine, and I genuinely had no idea what this writer was talking about. I had to keep reading in order to be reminded of the “peach tea” gag in the courtroom, which I guess didn’t burn its way into my soul as it did for that io9 person.)

    I guess other people are taking this stuff more seriously than I do. Consider me the equivalent of your non-Star-Wars-obsessed friend who went with you to see Episode I or II opening night and came away saying “Yeah, it was cool I guess” without sharing your level of investment in these characters and thus not feeling your irritation or disappointment to the point of writing a 500-page Internet essay about how it betrayed the franchise.

  84. fyi I decided to sit this one out, but Ben Affleck looks dead sexy as Batman and I hope we get a good standalone Batman movie with him someday.

    If DEADPOOL is starting a trend of R rated superhero movies maybe his penis from GONE GIRL could make another appearance.

  85. Rob Bricken’s Io9 FAQ is up.

    Batman v Superman: Spoiler FAQ of Justice

    Given its massive box office, you likely saw Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice this weekend. And whether you loved it or hated it, chances are you had some questions about the portion of the movie you managed to stay awake for. As always, our patented Spoiler FAQ has the answers you seek!

  86. The Original Paul

    March 30th, 2016 at 5:23 am

    Griff:

    “Consider me the equivalent of your non-Star-Wars-obsessed friend who went with you to see Episode I or II opening night and came away saying “Yeah, it was cool I guess” without sharing your level of investment in these characters and thus not feeling your irritation or disappointment to the point of writing a 500-page Internet essay about how it betrayed the franchise.”

    Here’s the thing: I was quite literally that guy. The one you describe. I went to see it with a friend who was a fan of the franchise, solely as a favour to him. He couldn’t stand it. I kinda liked it.

    “Franchises” make film criticism that much more complicated, don’t they? I’ve seen people here object to the “That’s not my Superman!” school of thought. But why? What makes that point of view any less valid than the “I don’t have any particular attachment to these characters and just want to see a good movie”, or “I have a few expectations but they’re only based on the previous movies, not the comics”, or “I’ve read the exact comics that these films are based on and want to see the most faithful adaptation possible”, or any one of the other hundred or so points of view that people who’ve seen these films and commented on them have had? I have no idea whether or not I’d like BvS. Why? Because every single person brings their own particular “baggage” when they form an opinion of it, and I have no idea which person’s “baggage” would match mine, if any. Would I like this movie despite its bad points, or would they just make me hate it even more? I don’t know, and I don’t want to waste my money on something that, at the very least, something that most people do seem to agree is seriously flawed.

    I also feel obligated to point out here that Vern and I disagree on one thing: in my opinion there is nothing “smart” about the Scud storyline in BLADE 2. That it (and the vampire ninja thing) comes off as pandering to the “nerd demographic”, and feels as though it was only put in at the request of the marketing team rather than the creative one, is a purely subjective point that I can’t particularly defend – it’s just my personal reaction. That is makes Blade less badass, on the other hand, is not. We’ve seen how Blade deals with the Scuds of this world in BLADE 1. The corrupt cop in that movie didn’t even get through half a monologue about how he was protected from on high by his vampire masters and how Blade couldn’t touch him, etc, before Blade killed him. This awesome piece of badassery is how Blade deals with humans who make deals with vampires. And now he’s letting one of these humans live in his secret base (and, let’s not forget, lead the vampires straight to it)? For no reason that makes any sense whatsoever to me? Since when did Blade need to resort to these kinds of shenanigans to deal with his enemies? He’s motherfucking Blade, or at least he used to be. Fuck that shit.

    And I didn’t just put that BLADE 2 thing in there to be contrarian, because what you just witnessed was yet another example of the “franchise” quandry. Don’t get me wrong, if I had never seen the original BLADE, the Scud storyline would still be something I disliked, if only because it makes little sense on its own and I really really hate the “geek-insert character” cliche. But having expectations from the first BLADE movie, and having the sequel not live up to those expectations, gives me another reason to dislike this story arc. By the way, I do agree with Vern’s overall point about Goyer’s ideas regarding this type of storyline, even if I disagree that it was executed well in the specific case of BLADE 2. A Batman without his “detective” origins, and who’s easily fooled by a villain, sounds like a definite character downgrade from the previous films of his that I’d liked.

  87. The Original Paul

    March 30th, 2016 at 5:28 am

    And before someone starts the “why comment before you’ve seen the movie” argument again – yeah, I’m probably going to see this one in the cinema regardless. I got roped into THE FORCE AWAKENS, there’s no freakin’ way that I’m going to be able to avoid this, MAN OF STEEL-style. Somebody’s gonna want to go see it, and they’ll want me to come too, because misery loves company, etc. I’m sure I’ll have something to say about the film in due course.

  88. Sorry, I only skimmed it because I haven’t seen the movie yet, but am I right in thinking Vern liked BATMAN v SUPERMAN? Because if so that makes me feel a lot better. I was getting really bummed out by all the negative reviews. Hopefully I can get into the theater this weekend to see for myself.

  89. KingNewbs, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the review isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. But, of course, go see the film and decide for yourself.

  90. Crushinator Jones

    March 30th, 2016 at 9:17 am

    ” I’ve seen people here object to the “That’s not my Superman!” school of thought. But why? ”

    Because it turns movies from a visual and narrative art form into a series of boxes that must be checked or unchecked. It constrains filmmaker intent for no actual benefit. With original intellectual property being increasingly squeezed to the margins by risk-adverse studios, you’re going to see a lot of semi-original stuff under the guise of old brands and old “franchises” and an audience that feels entitled to pick and choose from franchise history regarding what they want to see is a destructive, censoring audience.

    What “not my Superman” actually does is set the boundaries for what artists are allowed to do and you could easily change it to just about anything. “Oh an assassin would never do that” or “Oh that’s not how a female doctor should act, she should be much more submissive” or “Terminators shouldn’t age” or whatever. It’s fundamentally saying “my stupid ass worldview overrides the artist.”

  91. Just to add to Crushinator’s comment, another problem I have with the “Not my Superman/Batman/Spiderman,etc.” crowd is that it goes against what makes these characters great in the first place. Batman in particular has an incredible history, and the character has survived because he is malleable. There’s no Platonic ideal as to what Batman is “supposed to be like.” The Adam West, Tim Burton, Grant Morrison, and Frank Miller Batmen are all legitimate takes on the character. And I would argue that it’s this malleability that makes these characters so interesting. I love to see what another creative voice is going to do with Batman next.

    Do I have my preferences? Sure. My ideal Batman is probably the one depicted in the 90s cartoon. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy other versions. Do I prefer it if Batman doesn’t kill. Yeah. But if he does and the creator makes that choice for a particular reason, then I’ll still be on board. I didn’t like BvS, but it’s not because of what they did to the characters. It’s because I had problems with the script, plotting, and motivations. The moment we ossify superheroes so that they fit the fanboys’ preconceived notion of what they should be, is the moment these characters start to become irrelevant.

  92. Griff just imagine the batpeen getting in on the crossfit.

    IMAGINE IT

  93. I think the comparisons to the Star Wars prequels are astute.

    Already it seems like some people are never going to stop whining about this movie.

  94. The Original Paul

    March 30th, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Crushinator and RBatty – let me preface this by saying that I do agree with you (at least in principle, since I haven’t seen the film itself yet and can’t talk about it specifically), and I’m purely playing “devil’s advocate” here. Now, in the interests of doing just that…

    …So here’s my thing. I wouldn’t want to limit someone else’s artistic vision, as you describe. The problem is that when you talk about a “franchise”, you’re talking about something that isn’t solely one person’s vision, or even one filmmaking team’s vision (since the screenwriter, producer, director, editor, and a whole lot of other people contribute to exactly what a film will eventually be.) It’s a combination of their ideas and a long history of lore and character, and it’s sometimes difficult to tell where one’s contribution ends and the other begins. We’re not talking about “original content” here. There’s a weight of expectation attached to it. And if the movie doesn’t live up to those expectations, is it the movie’s fault for that, or is it the viewer’s fault for having expectations that are either too specific or not realistic enough?

    And here’s another thing. In the INDIANA JONES 4 revisit thread, I talked about how people focussed on the “surface problems” – bad CGI, occasionally unrealistic actions, even to an extent some of the character problems that have been addressed – when there was a much more fundamental problem with the movie’s storytelling. Don’t you think that the “Not my Superman” thing may be more of the same thing? That, in effect, if the movie were better generally, the differences in the portrayal of the main characters wouldn’t matter as much? Heck, we have a pretty concrete example of this phenomenon in action with THE DARK KNIGHT’s portrayal of the Joker. Lots and lots of people wrote about how Nolan’s / Ledger’s vision of the Joker was different to many of the past portrayals of the character – and as far as I can recall, the vast majority of them meant it as a compliment. I can name at least one critic who’s specifically said that the portrayal of the Joker is a good thing, whereas the portrayal of the main characters in this movie are an insult to what he thinks of the characters. I don’t think this is hypocrisy on his part; I think he genuinely believes that the changes in one case were positive, in the other were negative. And who’s to say that his opinion is any less valid than anyone else’s?

  95. Let’s just turn all the distinct personalities of our cultural figures like Superman and John McClane and Blondie into other shit they aren’t for they sake of “the artist’s vision.” Sounds good.

  96. It might be the rock-bottom expectations, but I actually kinda liked this movie once it got going. It’s ridiculously flawed and outright terrible in parts, and I don’t ever want to watch the first hour and a half or so again, but there’s lots of good stuff here. I won’t really say I “liked” Superman this time, but unlike Man of Steel I really felt bad for him – *MAJOR SPOILERS* maybe it’s the meta-knowledge that he’s getting sidelined in his own movie, but I felt the whole movie was scenes of people being a dick to him, and then he straight up loses his fight to Batman, then he dies!! Jeez Louise.

    Loved Batman’s vampire-movie introduction with the cops. Loved his training montage and how his exercises actually tied into stuff he would do later in the fight. Loved the Superman face-punching gag during the fight and Batman’s Ric Flair-style cowering afterwards. Loved the warehouse fight, which actually showcased his gadgets and armor (Batman gets shot point blank in the side of the head!) Also liked that the “shocking” ending was unexpected and was somehow kept secret. Also like that the final shot was cribbed verbatim from the Carrie reboot.

    The movie’s flaws are too numerous to mention and everyone’s already bought up the plot holes and the time-wasting prototype bullet subplot and how the Senate bombing had nothing to do with anything. I’ll just stress that if Batman simply didn’t leave a Batarang like an asshole at Lexcorp when he stole the Kryptonite, Lex might not even have known he existed and sure as hell wouldn’t have pitted Superman against him, but I think his inexplicable Doomsday plan was already in motion by then? Who knows. This sounds harsh but this movie is really next-level bad writing. Like I’m used to Orci/Kurtzman/Lindelof-style bad writing, but this is something new – it’s got all the overcomplications and holes from a regular bad script, but it leaves out motivations in a story where motivation is kind of everything. Like Nero and Khan did stuff that made no sense and we had lots of questions about where Nero disappeared to for 20 years or how Khan knew what about people stuffed into 72 torpedoes and magic blood and personal warpers and shit, but at the end of the day we know what drove them and what they wanted to accomplish.

    Here Lex gets a TON of screentime and alot of dialogue, yet we still don’t understand why he does ANYTHING he does. Why does he hate Superman? Why does he hate Batman? What was he planning to do with Doomsday if his plan succeeded? You’ve got an unstoppable brainless monster running around, great. How did he know who Ma Kent was? Why did he blow up his own assistant? A movie this long shouldn’t have this many unanswered questions. Also we get why Batman hates Superman, but we have no idea why Superman is so mad at a vigilante that he interrupts a car chase and let’s a truckfull of guys with rocket launchers get away. Also I’m sorry but I think my jaw dropped at the “Martha” bit. I can’t believe that or the unintelligible Future Flash cameo, or the out-of-nowhere desert dream sequence got past the committee in this made-by-committee movie.

    So yeah it’s bad and pretty much every complaint out there is valid, and I really can’t explain why I still enjoyed myself. It’s a special movie, I’ll give it that.

  97. The “not my” stuff is also technically flawed because of how many variations of the characters there have been in 75 years. I mean, let’s just bring up the obvious fact that the original version of Batman used a gun and killed crooks, and Superman was a social crusader who beat the shit out of fat cats and abusive husbands, and one time even ended a war by kidnapping the generals on each side and telling them to fight each other to settle it, or he’d eat their hearts.

  98. I kind of think of the Superman Truthers as the Amish. The Amish slavishly stick to a level of technology and dress that they consider traditional, i.e., the way things have always been and should always be. But they weren’t always that way. At one point, people were wearing togas, and before that, they were wearing loincloths. Mankind changed and evolved for thousands of years to be able to make those “traditional” black hats and buttonless shirts the Amish wear. Why was it okay for things to progress to that point, but not okay for things to progress further than that?

    That’s what’s happening with these Not My’s. Every change that led up to the point where they jumped on board was just the natural evolution/perfection of the character. Every change afterward is an unforgivable blasphemy.

  99. By the way, “worst ____ ever” is a tired complaint, but I will wholeheartedly agree with anyone who says Lex is the worst supervillain ever. I can’t come up with a worse one right now, because at least Bullseye has a clever gimmick and Mr. Freeze has some purposefully groan-worthy one-liners that people would laugh at on youtube. Lex is so off-putting, so annoying, that you could see people in the audience shift around and exhale with defeat everytime he showed up. I never want to see this character again.

    Eisenberg’s performance is career-killing. It’s outrageous and in theory it’s something most of us should enjoy, but it’s so disconnected from the serious movie around him and Eisenberg doesn’t commit 100%; you can tell he’s play-acting in every frame. If you’re going to go this way, you need to go Full Nicolas Cage or go home, and he sadly doesn’t hold a candle to Cage. It doesn’t help that his character changes speech pattern and attitude and personality from scene to scene – when he’s standing over General Zod’s body, and tearfully saying “You flew too close to the sun” or whatever, I literally couldn’t tell if he was serious or making a joke, that’s how terrible and underbaked this performance is.

  100. Stu, of course “not my” people would say that they don’t want those early, crude versions of the characters portrayed in the motion picture medium that we all love so much. For many people in the past 75 years, they have crystalized into precise characters who represent something larger to them, and to criticize a movie for violating that is not invalid.

  101. Jesus, this shit has escalated. I am completely unqualified to judge this for two reasons:

    1: I have yet to see the film

    2: I fail to see the damage this film has done to the human race

  102. Majestyk: “Every change that led up to the point where they jumped on board was just the natural evolution/perfection of the character. Every change afterward is an unforgivable blasphemy.”

    You’re answering your own question and this is obviously about personal taste. DC/WB can fuck with Superman all they want, but we don’t have to like it.

  103. The whole discussion about “Not my _________” and “portraying these characters the right way” reminds me of one thing: Fanfictions.

    Have you ever read them? They are rarely good and out of all weird things that fans do and that get ridiculed by “normal” people, this is one thing that really deserves it, but that’s a different topic. The thing is, no matter WHAT the fanfiction is about, there are millions where the writer completely missed the point of the original property. Suddenly Elmar Fudd accidentally shoots a kid and has an existential crisis, Xena makes Gabrielle her sex slave, Harry Potter becomes The Punisher of the wizard world and John McClane turns into the Vic Mackey of the Die Hard universe.

    And while I’m sure a huge percentage of these was written because the writer thought: “Hey, wouldn’t it be funny, if…”, I’m also sure that an equally huge or even bigger percentage was written because the writer thought he or she was doing a deep or interesting interpretation of these established characters. And maybe some of them succeeded, but there is still the question: “Why!?” You have this established character and instead of creating your own character, you just twist that classic one around until he or she doesn’t resemble the one that you and the rest of the world fell in love with?

    Okay, these re-inventions are a staple of professional comic book writers. If a comic book character survives more than 10 years, someone will rewrite their history to update it to reflect the current time or simply to get new readers. But still, no matter how many times a character changes and gets re-interpreted, there will always be one definitive version. Spider-Man will most likely always be Peter Parker, who made a selfish mistake that costs his uncle’s life. No matter if he is now a clone of himself or a real mutated spider from dimension X in the comics. And maybe this Batman is a homicidal maniac who doesn’t give a shit about his “no kill” rule anymore, but you can’t blame people for saying: “Nah, I liked the other one, that was part of our popculture for a damn long time, much better”.

    I think I kinda lost focus about what I was saying. I shouldn’t comment on things past midnight. I just hit Submit and see if someone gets what I wanna say. Boom!

  104. Fuck it, I think MAN OF STEEL had some really good and intelligent ideas about diasporas and cultural identities that got lost in the shuffle as some people focused more on the destruction than the more carefully elaborate ideas about the Kryptonians that most people seem to miss. That shit is pretty deep. As they failed to make babies the normal way, the Kryptonians started to produce the future hopes in baby labs. What was wrong with that was that they were conditioned into a specific thought. As General Zod was.

    As Kal El was the first free born he could actually choose where he belonged. If that is not a free spirited and up lifting idea, then what the fuck are you doing watching that film for? Zod had no such choice. He was conditioned into a specific thinking as he was a result of the lab like most Kryptonians. He was bred as a warrior and as such thunk as a warrior. I think Zod is one of the best villains ever,as you can feel why he has tgese outdated and fucked up ideas. It is not his fault really.

    Kal-El trully is a super-man as he is the first kryptonian in ages that could make a free decision of his own. Wow. That is fuicking awesome if you think about it.

    Also, I have not seen this BvS film and it would break my heart if it would turn out shit.

  105. I’ve watched this movie a few times actually. I enjoy it. I also agree it’s not perfect but I don’t think there’s anything so terribly wrong with it that I can’t enjoy multiple viewings of it. I also don’t get the intense hatred towards it, just like I don’t get the intense hatred a lot of movies get. For example, I enjoyed 47 Ronin. It wasn’t a masterpiece but I found it entertaining enough. If you don’t like a movie, just never see it again. Why try to spread the hate you have? I saw someone complain that there were like 5 scenes with horses in BvS and that was a reason why it sucked. Really? Jesus, a horse only showed up in 2 scenes and what the hell does that matter anyway? Too much dumb negativity.

    On the topic of the movie plot I see people asking, I think Lex hates Superman because people see him as a god and that offends him because of his shitty upbringing and family history. He wants to prove Superman is not a god and no better than any human. I don’t think he had any real hate for Batman, other than Batman probably thwarted schemes of his over the years. He knew who Batman was (somehow, I’ll give you guys that one) and what he could do so he manipulated him into really hating Superman to the point he’d want to take him down. He wanted Batman to steal the kryptonite. The look on his face when he sees the batarang and his reveal of his manipulation later show this. If Batman killed Superman, great. If Batman was killed by Supes, then Doomsday would finish Clark off. Either way, he wins these particular battles. The way he acted when Doomsday came out, it seems like he thought he could control it. Instead it tried to punch him and Superman saved him, which I thought was a nice touch actually. Lex kept saying he was now above God after he got Superman to bend to his will so his ego probably got the better of him.

  106. That is very true. I’m not saying it’s not a valid point of view. I just think it’s boring. You’re arguing for a movie with fewer surprises and less possibilities. I like that this Superman is different. I enjoy having to try and figure out what he’s all about, what makes him tick. How dull would movies be if you already knew everything about the characters before the opening credits even started?

    I really do get where you’re coming from, though. Five years ago, I’d be on your side. But I gave up the idea of canon as a guiding critical principle in favor a restrengthening my commitment to the auteur theory, and it was incredibly freeing. I’m a much happier moviegoer that I only have to watch one movie at a time, instead of the one on the screen running simultaneously with the one in my head.

  107. (That was a response to Jesse B.)

  108. I agree with your response to Jesse B. Mr. Majestyk. I’ve been a comic book and, in particular, Superman fan since I was 5. I’m almost 40 now and I have no problems with seeing a different Superman than the one I’ve read for so long. I really enjoy seeing where they are taking this version and I do want this movie to do well so I can keep seeing it. Maybe they are going the Injustice video game route, who knows? I don’t want to judge a series like this before I see the endgame of their plans.

  109. @Majestyc: “You’re arguing for a movie with fewer surprises and less possibilities.” I’m not arguing that at all. For instance, the book “All-Star Superman” portrays my ideal Superman characterization (which is really the whole point of the story), but the premise and plot are far from everyday Superman. You can retain the “classic” character and still have wild, unconventional things happen.

  110. Jesse: I should clarify that I think it’s perfectly fine if you don’t like the changes to the character. If you don’t think they work, that’s your prerogative. I just take umbrage to the idea that the character should never be changed at all. I’m a writer and the idea of working on a character that I never get to control in any way sounds like creative prison, and I wouldn’t wish it on any storyteller.

    You’re obviously a DC guy so you know about Elseworlds. Can’t you just think of the Synderverse as an Elseworld? Then it’s just a little alternate universe that exists alongside the traditional continuity and not a canon-erasing transmogrification of the characters forever and ever. You still won’t like it but you might sleep better.

    But what do I know? I came to hate hate almost everything Grant Morrison has ever written (WE3 was pretty great, and having Frank Quietly draw fewer humans meant less drawings of men and women who looked like Val Kilmer) so maybe we’re just never going to see eye-to-eye on this. I gave up comic books three or four years ago for a reason: I don’t seem to give a shit about the stuff the medium wants me to give a shit about.

  111. The Original Paul

    March 30th, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    You guys don’t think it’s not how much the character is changed, but how well they’re changed? Or at least, how much the majority of people agree that the changes are positive – since “how well” is fairly subjective, yet there seems to be a definite “right” and “wrong” way to do it?

    Again, I go back to THE DARK KNIGHT. Most people seemed to like this new interpritation of the Joker, and most seemed to agree that it was something different to what they’d seen before. (I’m sure there were exceptions, but that was my impression at about the time the film came out.) That was after a lot of people (myself included) being seriously doubtful about the prospect of the guy from A KNIGHT’S TALE playing an iconic comic-book villain. It seemed like it turned out pretty well regardless, right?

  112. Majestyk: Yes, I can think if this as Elseworld. That’s why I didn’t hate MAN OF STEEL. But I’m just tired of it now after BvS and want my Superman back on the screen in a new movie. It takes so much to make a movie and WB doesn’t appear to be changing their course. So I’m not tolerant about it anymore.

  113. Jesse: I feel you. I didn’t care for the Nolan Batman movies at all while they were out (I’ve since mellowed on them, in large part because of the change of heart I mentioned earlier), so I spent however many years just wishing they’d hurry up and finish the trilogy already so I could get a take on the character that was closer to how I envisioned him. At least you have the majority of the critical establishment on your side. I had to suffer alone.

    I mostly like almost two of those movies now but I still think Bale kind of sucks in the role. Affleck is way more impressive in my opinion. He’s nothing like how I would have envisioned the character back when I still thought I had a right to dictate that sort of thing, but I like his look and his attitude and his style of kicking ass. So don’t worry. You’ll have to ride out the rest of the Snyder Era but things will work out if you’re patient.

  114. I think what I hear people reacting to is more Snyder’s particular package of cinematic vices, that he does bloated, pseudo-operatic, hyper-stylized films that generally try to do too much and that try to mesh the sensibilities of a Christopher Nolan with those of a Michael Bay in a fundamentally unstable, unholy matrimony. Basically, being hyper self-consciously “serious” and “deep,” but then having those delusions of depth-teur immediately and completely undercut by the co-existing vibe of “bombastic frat boy playing with visual toys and making shit blow up” (again, the Nolan and the Bay sides existing in deep tension). I have not actually seen many Snyder films: Dawn of the Dead remake and MoS are the only ones. This is just the theme I surmise from what I read people saying, and seems consistent with the trailers and stuff.

    I’m pretty much with Original Paul here, which is that you can go pretty balls out weird and do all kinds of alternate bizarro takes on these characters, but the key is that you really have to bring the goods. And that was my point in bashing the Star Wars prequels, you can certainly get some bigger picture history-of-cinema merit badges by contributing some neat ideas or technologies that will be further developed and better-used in later films, but there is also the question of the film itself as a self-contained whole that as a stand-alone work of art can’t just coast on the laurels of prior or later or hypothetical other works. From everything I hear, BvS does some interesting, bold, different, cool things, and some of those individual things “work” or have promise; the problem seems to be that it also does a lot of things that just don’t work, and in the end the scales seem to tip decidedly in the “missed opportunity” direction. I’ll reserve ultimate judgment for when I see the movie, but nothing I’ve heard so far has made me want to rush out to the theatre immediately to do so.

  115. ironcupshrug – Hahahahahahaha.

  116. “By the way, “worst ____ ever” is a tired complaint, but I will wholeheartedly agree with anyone who says Lex is the worst supervillain ever. I can’t come up with a worse one right now,”
    Malekith the Accursed from THOR 2. I still have no fucking clue what the Dark Elves were about.

  117. Crushinator Jones

    March 30th, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    @Jesse B.

    “For instance, the book “All-Star Superman” portrays my ideal Superman characterization”

    Yeah I figured. That’s a great Superman story. It’s also a 12-issue Elseworlds series with a definite endpoint where Superman essentially transcends his physical form and ties up his loose ends before keeping the Sun from dying (thus becoming an almost eternal savior). This is a story with a Superman that completely and utterly solves every problem but one (his dad dying), including not only completely beating Luthor but also shattering his mind with the power of love for all Mankind and using essentially a magical potion to make Lois have Superman powers for a day so she can get involved in super-heroics with him (and kiss on the moon).

    In other words, it’s totally boilerplate power-fantasy wish-fulfillment Superman. Which is great! It’s a great tribute to Silver Age Superman and he has universal appeal to all ages. There’s nothing wrong with this. I love it.

    But pretending that this is the ONLY valid Superman or that you can build a shared universe around a guy who can’t lose and always solves every problem with no consequences to anyone is nuts. Silver Age Superman has about 5 hours of screentime or maybe 20 issues of comic book in him. Then the rot sets in and if you’re the Superman fan you say you are then you know exactly what I am talking about. Overuse of Kryptonite, weird alien shit that keeps him away from Earth or incapacitated, etc. Basically what Bryan Singer has to do to Professor X in every X-Men movie. And it sucks. I hate, hate, hate the excuses that writers have to come up with when Superman is “too good” to sideline him until he swoops in and saves the day.

    And so I thought Man of Steel’s Superman was a great version of the character to share the screen with Batman and Green Lantern and all the rest. Here is a guy who is really strong and really tough and has bursts of speed but still makes mistakes. He’s a Super Man. He doesn’t have all the answers, he doesn’t have all the solutions, he doubts himself as anyone would in his situation but ultimately decides to to do the right thing because he’s a morally upright person. He might blow it and accidentally spear Zod into a gas station because he’s in a blind rage about his mom being threatened, but he doesn’t run away when 2 Kryptonians threaten his hometown (and btw, he does try to get them out of town during the fight, several times). He might get shot between the eyes by a gatling gun or hit by missiles or lit up by a nuke by the military but he never holds a grudge, he just gets back up and keeps trying to do the right thing.

    Like if Snyder’s Superman wore a black bulletproof jacket with a skull on it and shot people in the head I would be right there baying for Snyder’s blood with you. But come on. Be a real fan of the character and stop trying to make him a boring one-note power fantasy. He’s an alien from Krypton, he’s got the suit, he saves people, he cares about collateral damage even if he can’t prevent it all the time. It’s Superman.

  118. Crush:

    I hear you, man. But all you’ve really done is reinforce my belief that through thoughtful writing, you can still tell amazing, touching stories with a Silver Age Superman. It’s mostly about his personality for me, about the example he sets for how morally good and hopeful humans are capable of being. That’s his core. He doesn’t have all the answers, but he’s optimistic about them. No good deed is too small. He’s more Kansas than Krypton. Snyder shows us all the cool physical stuff Superman can do and yes he saves the planet, but Snyder can’t give us a story where Superman exudes heart and isn’t conflicted about being a hero. Plus, I never said there wasn’t room to explore the character and I even said I accepted MAN OF STEEL as an alternate take. But like I also said, I’m weary of it now and would like my Boy Scout again.

  119. My friend just sent me this well-said article by Faraci on the matter.

    Superman And The Damage Done

    A requiem for an American icon.

  120. The criticism of the current “grim” DC-verse has really reached its stride in mainstream social-media the past couple of days. I’m talking LOTS of articles and essays being shared on Facebook (some which have been linked here already) that lament the downward turn of Superman.

    So I’ve got a prediction I wanna share. It’s an UNcynical prediction, but fuck it, I’m gonna lay my dollars down:

    I predict that Warner Brothers will take this critical reaction to heart, and that when Superman is RESURRECTED, Henry Cavill will be garbed in a new, more brightly-colored outfit and that many of these moral dilemmas the character is saddled with will be jettisoned in future installments. We will get more of a boy scout. This boy-scoutness will not reach Christopher Reeve levels, but it’ll be a noticeable change.

  121. Crushinator Jones

    March 30th, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    @Jesse B:

    I try to stay positive and treat people with respect online so I’m just going to say that I don’t read Faraci seeing as he constantly says very poorly thought-out stuff I disagree with and demands adherence to his interpretation of Donner’s Superman to the point of it being unhealthy. I’m not reading that article you linked and I do not care what it says since it’s going to be some variant on “Snyder’s Superman is a murdering sociopath who spreads destruction and doesn’t care.” Faraci is so relentlessly one-note about this stuff that I don’t have to read his article to know what he says.

    I also really am getting frustrated with you saying “Yeah, Crush, I agree” and then saying something completely off the wall. To whit, regarding All-Star Superman: “He doesn’t have all the answers, but he’s optimistic about them.” Are you messing with me? All-Star Superman is a story where Superman LITERALLY ANSWERS THE UNANSWERABLE QUESTION TO SAVE LOIS’S LIFE. Like, I’m not exaggerating. That happens, in the story, as a major plot point. You want to tell me he doesn’t have all the answers again?

    Bud, you’re talking about a story where dudes from the future tell Superman how to treat a villain who later becomes an ally. I’m going to say that again: It’s not enough that All-Star Superman can answer the unanswerable question, he’s also so infallible that he has a direct line on the future for the villains he fights. All-Star Superman releases a living weapon created by the Controllers (the Sun-Eater) and it comes back to help him and loves him so much that it dies for him. You would think that releasing a living weapon might have a blow-back for old Supes but no. He always has the answers, he always does the right thing, everyone loves him everywhere and whenever he takes a chance it always works out for him. Always. He decides to spare some cannibal lizard men, and when he takes those lizard-men to the center of the earth it turns out they were just teenagers (and also they love him down there, too).

    It’s easy to be optimistic and good-hearted when everything works out for you all the time and everybody loves you and everything goes your way. Silver Age Superman and Entourage have a lot in common when it comes to being power fantasies for little boys.

  122. Crushinator Jones

    March 30th, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    I can’t imagine they’ll keep going with this. They’re getting reams and reams of ink spilled about how horrible they are and how they are misusing these precious cultural treasures and all that. And of course using the nerd favorite word of “grimdark” which means absolutely nothing.

    I’m actually going to go on the record and say that Justice League is going to be a disaster – it will be Snyder’s intensity with Terio’s semi-literary script cut through with studio notes about keeping it light and fun and a copy of Marvel’s junk-food aesthetic. And that sounds miserable. I would rather have a five auteur messes then another pandering studio Frankenstein.

  123. Crush, YOU said he doesn’t have all the answers, which he doesn’t most of the time, and I was talking about Superman in general when I agreed with you. All-Star is Elseworld, and I refer to it as an example of his bright personality and outlook, which is the whole point of the story. And in that story, everything isn’t going his way – his fucking life as he knows it is ending. Do you really think he’s happier up there alone in the sun than on Earth with the love of his life? And does Silver Age Superman have “universal appeal,” “nothing wrong with it,” “I love it,” or is it just a “fantasy for little boys?”

  124. The Birth Death Movies essay is a very good and heartfelt explanation of what Faraci loves about the character and would like to feel from the movies. What he asks for sounds great. My only disagreement is that the cruel, cynical, selfish Zack Snyder version of Superman he describes is not at all the one I’ve seen in my several viewings of MAN OF STEEL and one viewing of this one. This version is more conflicted and confused than what Devin prefers in the character, that’s fair, but come on dude, there is no way around that he is the good guy constantly trying to do the right thing, the farm boy protecting his mama. He literally saves astronauts and little girls and schoolbuses full of kids. And Pa Kent, who people write about as this evil figure, sacrificed his life so that his son could (in the logic of the movie) become Superman and save the world. It seems to me like people who are disappointed in this Superman not being the type they prefer then exaggerate and weirdly interpret what’s on screen to make him something much worse.

    I think Faraci is misreading both the movie and Snyder’s quote describing it. Superman should help people, that’s his entire reason for living, as Lois and his two fathers straight up tell him in MAN OF STEEL. What Snyder is saying is that people will still give him shit about it. It happens throughout BvS and I think is (whether intentionally or not) a critique of those responses to MAN OF STEEL that read Superman saving the entire human race as Superman murdering thousands of people.

    I’m not really sure what they’ll do with future movies. So far trying to respond to criticisms has not worked well for them (see BvS). But Terrio had already said, before the movie was so unpopular, that this is supposed to be the EMPIRE STRIKES BACK of the series and JUSTICE LEAGUE will be more upbeat. It has also been reported (by Faraci) that SUICIDE SQUAD is not the romp portrayed in the trailer, that those were all the jokes in the movie, and that WB made them do reshoots to add more humor when the trailer went over so well. If that’s true then yes, they might put on pressure to lighten up JUSTICE LEAGUE. Seems plausible.

    But also the movie heavily implies that Superman will turn actually evil in the future. “You were right about him!” The first part is a dream, but that seems to be The Flash talking to him from the future, right? Maybe a good Superman will have to stop an evil Superman of the future. But everybody will still say the good one is evil.

    I just hope they pull off the Wonder Woman movie, since everybody seems to agree that at least that character is great. I personally have high hopes for AQUAMAN since Jason Mamoa deserves a good vehicle, James Wan is good at action movies and it’s the writer of 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE which seems like a good template for it. Of course, that stupid video of Mamoa poking the camera with a spear is not gonna get other people excited. I hope it’s too late to cancel it.

    Finally, I’d like to suggest giving Faraci another chance. I think he’s one of the best writers about this kind of stuff, and it’s good to read people you disagree with sometimes. I understand the hatred because I used to think he was such a dick back in the Chud days, but I think he has matured and mellowed out over the years, as many of us have. He’s a good writer and his podcast The Canon with Amy Nicholson is one of my favorites. I just realized that when they argue it reminds me of the thrill of hearing Roger and Gene get into it back in the day.

  125. And if you go back to Faraci’s MAN OF STEEL review, he has some kind words for it. He didn’t seem to hate it, certainly not as much as BvS.

  126. Faraci knows how to ruffle feathers, but the dude can fucking write, and he HAS become much more palatable with time. I used to skip his output entirely, but I am daily reader of his now. You just can’t deny his passion for film and his talent for criticism.

    Though it is interesting to watch him over the last few years slowly walk back his positive review of Man of Steel. It wasn’t glowingly positive, but he went as far as SORTA defending it early on, even declaring that it had “the best superhero action ever put to film,” (which it does). But in 2016? In the last episode of The Canon, he said he “hates” it. And of course, opinions change and evolve with time, nothing wrong with that, but it does also make one wonder to what extent the “Superman is a murderer!” battle-cry of the BMD readership echo-chamber has affected him.

  127. “I consider myself lucky to have been alive at a time when I could, as a four year old, go see Superman: The Movie in theaters. ”
    I just can’t with this. Every time an article like this starts with a statement like that, alarm bells go off for me. Usually it’s people talking about being old enough to see the original Star Wars movie in theaters before they eviscerate George Lucas for the prequels. You might as well start off your piece with “[movie/director] raped my childhood”.

    “And there are no current cartoons to fill in the gap, no explicitly kid-friendly comics.”
    It’s not like we can’t just expose the children to earlier works that are “kid-friendly”, a term that can’t be defined absolutely because kids are different and individual and have different tastes, personalities, ages and such that would factor into what they like and can handle. Superman The Animated series exists on DVD and Blu Ray and streaming services for such a purpose, you know.

  128. Crushinator Jones

    March 31st, 2016 at 8:18 am

    @Vern:

    I gave Farraci a chance and read that article. And it’s exactly what I thought it would be. A bunch of misrepresentations of what the movie shows plus bad faith analysis plus nostalgic longing for the Silver Age Superman.

    A couple of choice misrepresentations: “There are no soft landings for this Superman.” Yeah, except for the part that’s in the Comic-Con trailer where he gently descends to the U.S. Capitol building, looking like a man who is walking to the gallows. Or the part when he lands with Lois in his arms after she falls. Or the part where he appears behind her before she gets in a taxi. Then there’s the bad faith. “[Superman] is a cold and distant being who hovers ever so slightly out of reach of people trapped by flood waters” is just about the most ridiculously negative framing possible for a scene where, in a montage of saving people’s lives, Superman rescues families from a flood. (you know what the real problem is? He never smiles during those scenes. Let’s see some optimism, Supes!)

    But the real crazy is reserved for “BvS also tells us that Snyder has every intention of killing Lois Lane in the future, as his gameplan for the future of the DC Movieverse is to recreate the Injustice game/comic, where Superman becomes a murderous warlord after Lois Lane is killed.” Whaaaaaaat? Where is this coming from? Does Faraci really think that the weird Bruce Knightmare dream is a preview of an actual upcoming DC movie? Wow.

    Vern, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to take-away from this article here. Is it that if you take everything in the movie with bad faith at all times, and assume the worst about every plot thread, that it’s a terrible experience? Because I agree with that, although I’m not sure that’s something that needs a couple thousand words devoted to it. Faraci is famously the guy who made the meme that Rocket Racoon saved more people than Superman, which is – to put it nicely – a bald-faced lie. He is simply unable to keep his head when it comes to this character. Maybe he needs to experience the horror of Superman Red/Superman Blue (Wikipedia it) to really understand how badly the character can be bungled.

    And I want to reiterate that I think that the Superman of BvS is at least a half-step backwards for the character and the entire enterprise is an inferior movie to Man of Steel. But you don’t need to read the movie in bad faith or make up things that didn’t happen in order to make an argument for this.

  129. “Faraci is famously the guy who made the meme that Rocket Racoon saved more people than Superman, which is – to put it nicely – a bald-faced lie.”
    WHAT? The same Rocket Racoon that caused the crash of the villains huge ship, which levelled who knows how many buildings and killed an unknown number of people? And don’t tell me that area was completely abandoned, because in the wreckage immediately after, there’s a crowd of civillian onlookers watching the Dance-Off/Showdown.

  130. Yeah not only did BMD give MOS a positive review, they had this article too –

    So MAN OF STEEL Made You A Michael Shannon Enthusiast. Now What?

    This weekend, Michael Shannon's General Zod became the most beloved supervillain since Heath Ledger's Joker.  No one should be surprised by this, but we should all be celebrating it.

    “Henry Cavill’s take on Superman was embraced by just about everyone. And perhaps most excitingly, character actor Michael Shannon became the superhero genre’s most embraced baddie since Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning turn as The Joker.” Uh….what? Sometimes I think they’re a little too concerned with trying to jump ahead of a trend for that hipster cred to say they were really into such-and-such first. Now that the hipster joke/meme is Superman killed a million people at the end of MOS, they’ve got to ride that horse into the ground.

    Re: the “killing of Superman” article from Faraci, I like alot of his thinkpieces and I see the idea of what he’s trying to say, but to be honest Superman is so back-burnered in his own movie that nothing he did this time really bothered me. He certainly wasn’t “cruel and selfish” since he y’know, didn’t kill anyone this time and *SPOILER* sacrificed himself in the end. There’s tons of problems in this ridiculous movie, we don’t need to make up new ones.

    And even though he says he mourns for the good ole days of the Reeve-era Superman, I can guarantee if that movie came out today he’d have an entire article complaining about how there’s not enough black people in it.

  131. Crushinator Jones

    March 31st, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Neal2Zod, that’s kinda a bad-faith way to look at it. I’m sure he would like it…and move on to how Batman doesn’t kill and how Snyder ruined him too.

  132. I grew surrounded by older nerds who kept saying they wanted Dark Knight Returns Batman and a Superman v Doomsday fight where shit gets totally wrecked. So it is mildly amusing to me that here is a movie (or movies if you wish to include Man of Steel) that gives the fanboys just that. A Batman who goes too far and is really mean and a Superman who has battles that destroy buildings. All throughout the ’90s I kept hearing about how fans wanted a adaptation of the awful Death of Superman arc and they seemed to have gotten louder after Superman Returns didn’t give them what they wanted (a Superman who gets into fights where there is heavy collateral damage). So yeah Snyder and Goyer heard their pleas and the fanboys screamed bloody murder that Superman gets into fights where there is heavy collateral damage.

    As for the movie itself: my opinion is mostly the same as Man of Steel, I love what it is going and trying to say but do not think they fully pulled it off. Kind of my feeling on the Star Wars Prequels. Like the Star Wars prequels, I’ll still go to bat for this (very) flawed but ambitious.

    Also, I’m glad I’m no longer alone in the not “getting” Grant Morrison (other than he’s British and American fans flip their shit for anyone and anything British like anime fans for anything (most-things) Japanese) and, as a huge Silver Age Superman fan, not getting what is so great about All Star Superman.

    Another Also, I was one of the bad ones and kept bringing Devin up here (one of many reasons I stopped posting). I do feel he is a good writer and is particularly adept at getting his point across (something I struggle with). He has gotten a better attitude lately but he still is real big on the ‘I’m right your wrong’ ‘My opinion is more valuable than your’s’ thing. He loves preaching about morality but then tells writers to go kill themselves on Twitter. Also his penchant to troll people and then act shocked when he gets what had to be his desired reaction (then he plays the victim card). There’s a lot of talk about Max Landis and how one shouldn’t let their personal opinions effect the opinion of his art, and I can say once I got a comment blocker and was inspired by Mr. Subtlety’s spiel about how useless and toxic Twitter is (thus dropping following all but a very small handful of people on Twitter) I was able to judge his views and opinions on his articles and not his personal tirades. I do not go to BMD daily like I used to, but every now then I check up. I voluntarily do not listen to any podcast he participates with as well for that reason. He is a very flawed individual but he is passionate about what he loves, even if I would say he is on the ‘Get it right/here is a checklist’ spectrum when it comes to these comic book/superhero movies. I always have the option to not read him and ever since I learned that (and dropped following assholes on Twitter and got a comment blocker) I’ve been that much better.

    Yet another thought, if Snyder is such a bro, why did he voluntarily make the Owl movie? Is it like those bros Vern mentioned he witnessed at his screening of The Peanuts Movie?

  133. Forgot to add, I’m legitimately curious in the What-If scenario of if this movie came out before the current Marvel Studios ‘optimistic’ and ‘light’ boom, would it have fared better when fans where clamoring for ‘dark’ and ‘serious’ takes on this material (mentioned in the first paragraph of my prior post)?

  134. Crushinator Jones

    March 31st, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    @geoffreyjar

    I don’t know. V for Vendetta came out in 2005 and it’s serious as a heart attack. It’s also an extremely unfaithful adaptation of the source book that heavily changes the themes around and nobody seemed to care at the time. And people seemed to enjoy it (B+ on Cinemascore) or at least didn’t spend multiple essays tearing it apart.

  135. Crushinator Jones

    March 31st, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    BTW, Dean Cain, on how he played Superman:

    “Whenever I played him, I played Superman as if I had a secret that nobody else knew. That secret is that you could always win. It seemed that Superman didn’t have that in this film.”

  136. Speaking of Dean Cain, I wonder if it is considered sacrilege to admit that I really liked LOIS & CLARK when it aired? Or is that considered an abomination by the Court of Internet?

  137. Crushinator Jones

    March 31st, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Lois and Clark is what made me a Superman fan. It’s a good show. I stand in contempt of the Court of Internet if it doesn’t like it.

  138. Also, I recently re-read THE DEATH AND RETURN OF SUPERMAN and came away with the exact same feeling I hade the first time I read it. The first few hundred pages are brilliant, but then it becomes so bizarre and abstract . Very sci fi-esque and it threw me out. The pages that dealt with the aftermath of the death of Superman was surprisingly strong and emotional. The Kents unable to visit their son at his funeral was especially moving.

    But then the whole shit seemed to fall apart and I became so detached to the whole story that it lost me.

  139. True about V, only the most insufferable Alan Moore fans gave that movie shit (as an adaptation that is).

    I like Cain as Clark Kent, he never seemed comfortable in the suit playing Superman though. By-the-way, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman is very ’90s, so if you decide to go back and watch it be prepared. Still more consistent than Smallville though.

    But whatever George Reeve from the 50’s Adventures of Superman TV series is still my favorite live-action Superman.

  140. Crushinator- I liked it a lot. As lousy Bond girlTeri Hatcher was, as good she was as Lois Lane I felt. She and Cain had some really good chemistry together. It was a funny show, sometimes utilizing Supes skills for more lighthearted everyday shenanigans, which I loved.

  141. Obviously I don’t agree with Faraci’s stance on Superman. His ongoing coverage is the main reason I wrote that long essay about MAN OF STEEL. I just meant to give his writing in general a chance. I notice alot of negativity toward him, and I wanted to stand up for him, because I like his work.

    As for the “Knightmare” scene, I absolutely do believe it’s intended as foreshadowing of the future of the movies. I don’t think the dream itself will literally happen, but I think the end of it is really supposed to be The Flash trying to warn him about something from a future that we will see in a later movie. If not, then what would the end mean, when Wonder Woman asks Batman why he says they need to be ready, and he says he just has a feeling? Clearly his knowing look refers to the earlier scene, right?

    So that part of Faraci’s interpretation is legit. (I don’t remember the dialogue enough to know if the Flash was referring to Lois. I thought at the time that the “she” referred to Earth, but maybe it was “she was my world” as in Lois was everything to him.)

  142. Crushinator Jones

    March 31st, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Vern, he “has a feeling” because of his visit with Luthor. The last scene is shown slightly out of continuity. We are at Clark’s grave. Batman says “I just have a feeling.” Then we flashback to his visit with Luthor in prison and the BELL IS RUNG scene. Then we’re back in the graveyard and Bruce is walking away. So the framing is, “This is why Bruce said that. He’s already gone to the prison and met with Luthor.”

    It took me a second viewing to catch this because, for whatever reason, Snyder doesn’t do anything to show that we’re in flashback. It’s just a bit of sloppy film-making IMO.

    Vern, I appreciate you sticking up for Farraci and I can respect that. Unfortunately he’s gotten about 7 strikes with me where he’s written an opposition essay full of lazy thinking and called people who take the opposing view some variant on being an entitled nerd. I’ve had enough of that, thanks.

  143. Crushinator Jones

    March 31st, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    Also the only things from that crazy Knightmare sequence that are going to show up in Justice League is Darkseid and the Parademons. Other than that it’s a cracked-out dream sequence from a director who once made an entire movie out of cracked-out dream sequences.

  144. Crushinator Jones

    March 31st, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Lastly, I hope nobody mistakes my genuine passion for Superman for hostility. I get fired up but I genuinely respect and like everyone involved in this discussion, even my Lex Luthor Jesse B (or am I his Lex Luthor?!?!?!?)

  145. I don’t think it’s a dream sequence. I think it’s the Darkest Timeline version of the future, because it sprang from tragic events that will now never happen or happen differently because of the Flash’s intervention. As BACK TO THE FUTURE proved, knowledge of the future cannot help but alter that future.

  146. Since George Miller is a producer on THE JUSTICE LEAGUE PART ONE: A JUSTICE LEAGUE JOINT I hope he ends up having a lot of creative influence. The ideas for his JL: MORTAL project were pretty ambitious in a very good way. Next movie could use that sort of scope since things are now continuously escalating in this version of the DC Universe.

  147. Oh good. That’s what cinema needs: more focus testing.

  148. To the people who want the Superman many of us grew up with to be on film I say this: you’re already getting him on the silver screen. It’s just that he’s not in the DCEU he is in the MCU and goes by Captain America. I’ve learned to come to terms with that and you should too.

    With that said I do understand where you’re coming from though don’t get it twisted.

    For instance I know this Superman is being put through the ringer but he could at least have a bit more enthusiasm. Superman in the comics has been put through worse than Snyder’s and even under those circumstances still maintains his composure.

    He could have heroically determined or empathetic expression when saving a kid from a fire. He looked like he just saw Pa Kent die all over again.

    Oh and when he was hauling the sunken ship his facial expression was: “why am I even doing any of this?” followed by a series of exasperated sighs and harumphs along the way. At the same time I do see both existing growth and potential further growth with this version. Here’s a Superman we’re rocking with from the ground up. He’s evolving in every movie and here’s hoping he comes back a bit more jovial and hopeful in the next one.

    I watched MAN OF STEEL on cable the other night and they were also simultaneously airing SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE on another station. When I flipped over while MOS was in commercial break I caught it at the scene where Reeve looks at the camera and smiles before the end credits. No lie those 3 seconds inspired more joy and hope in me than anything in MOS. Chris Reeve in those movies as Superman smiled and had charisma and looked like he enjoyed helping the world be better. Even down to a giving ON DEADLY GROUND type environmental speech years before Seagal brought treehugging in genre movies back. Snyder’s Supes is sullen as fuck even when helping humanity and I could see why people are ready to deconstruct him and tear him down. However that is also what makes him compelling.

    I watched this this past Monday. I watched MAN OF STEEL for the second time in 3 years the Sunday before. This time unlike back in 2013 I completely removed any of my preconceived notions of Superman (about 27 years worth in real time to date plus catching up on everything from Golden Age and Silver Age to Bronze Age quite a lot during that time as well) and just took it on it’s own terms. Know what? I really appreciated it the second time and thought bought into it’s conceit of “this is the DC Universe filtered through the political and sociological ideals of YOUR world”. The Kents and the tornado still bothers the shit out of me and on a more superficial level Zod’s lisp can’t help but make me break out in laughter every time. However the other stuff was pretty dope and even though it’s an all new Superman for an all new audience I saw enough familiar shit to end up going “ok I’m now on board.”

    Watching BATMAN VICTOR SUPERMAN the next day just pretty much clinched it for me. When I saw the pained look on Superman’s face while everything around him burned on capitol hill it kinda broke my heart. That’s when I knew I’m now fully invested in seeing where this all goes. Like Vern said here is a Superman who keeps trying to do the right thing but since this is very similar to our world in an idealistic way he naturally keeps getting shit for it.

    It’s interesting to think how much will he take? will he crack? I mean we’ve seen in the past that even when Superman snaps or gives in (TDKR, INJUSTICE) he kinda returns in the end so I wouldn’t mind seeing something like that. At least it’s something new for him on film and pretty fucking operatic. Taking it on it’s own terms this version of Superman is as interesting as the one in RED SON or MULTIVERSITY: THE MASTER MEN because he is a character with layers explored by ideas that are beyond the Superman many of us loved and at the same time he’s also very familiar because he’s still the kid from Krypton who just wants to do good by the world in his own way. Well except Ultraman. But fuck Ultraman.

  149. Dear WB, Be the money people and leave the creative guys alone. You really want to be anti-Disney then let the filmmakers do what they want to do for better or worse and let us see for ourselves.

    If they meddle with Patty Jenkins’ WONDER WOMAN or Jame’s Wan’s AQUAMAN I swear…

  150. To be fair, the moment I saw a film about killers and assassins called SUICIDE SQUAD was being made, I thought, this better be light with shit tons of gags.

  151. Snyder and his wife both said BvS is such a downer because of the context of the narrative. Both characters are going through a crisis of conscience. Which I guess is also why they strategically placed Wonder Woman having some fun being Wonder Woman in the movie to contrast it.

    They also said expect DA JUSTICE LEAGUE PART ONE: DA JUSTICENING to be a lighter and have much more levity. Especially with the inclusion of The Flash (a naturally easy going and humorous hero) and Wonder Woman as a main character. As well as I guess an swashbuckling Aquaman similar in demeanor to how he will be in his A JAMES WAN FILM solo movie debut.

  152. Crush: Neither of us are Lex. We’re friends.

  153. It’s possible to be funny and NOT all that light. The Suicide Squad are a bunch of amoral criminals. That lends itself to black comedy extremely well, a la what Deadpool does with his nemesis at the end of that movie.

    Yeah, the Knightmare’s a possible future. With Flash saying “am I too soon?” I expect we’ll see him pop up at least once more like that in Justice League part 1. Possibly to himself or non-Batman characters so we can see similar glimpses of what they end up like in that future.

  154. The Flash also plants the idea to form the Justice League to Batman right before he disappears. He says “you have to find us.” I don’t think the Flash is supposed to be just a vision since when Bruce wakes up, the papers behind him are still floating to the ground.

  155. Come on, don’t pretend that after the “Assholes are having a good time while being forced to save the world” trailer, you wouldn’t be disappointed if it’s gonna be another “YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE FUN WHILE WATCHING THIS, NO MATTER WHAT WE MADE IT LOOK LIKE IN THE ADVERTISING!” experience. Okay, they probably should have stuck with the snoozefest “little kid sings slow ballad version of classic popsong while everybody looks as sad as possible” kind of marketing in the first place.

  156. While watching this I suddenly realized that Zack Snyder is still making Watchmen. Only now, he’s doing it with the real Batman and Superman instead of parodies of them. Maybe that’s why I like this movie so much more than other people? Because I love the hell out of Watchmen.

  157. Well, I´m seeing it tonight. I probably will like it more than most people, I feel.

  158. I guess I just don’t quite get the whole “these films should be more fun” thing.

  159. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is the super hero film I´ve had the most fun watching. But apparently that must mean I am a war criminal or something.Because you absolutely must not enjoy such a film. You are a bad person if you do.

  160. The Original Paul

    April 1st, 2016 at 6:50 am

    Shoot – you say it as though we’d be angry at you. But we’re not angry. We’re just disappointed.

    In all seriousness though, everybody keeps saying how much “fun” the IRON MAN movies are, but the Russian ballet alibi/ex-girlfriend cockblock from THE DARK KNIGHT is the moment that most made me sit up and giggle like a toddler in the middle of a crowded cinema. And that film is about as “dark” as they get.

  161. Personally I miss the time when Hollywood made movies like THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 or even DIE HARD, which were full of lighthearted fun, without being comedies and were even dealing with pretty serious subjects, completely fun-spoiling moments included. Coincidentally ARGO was a newer movie that delivered on this style of old fashioned film making pretty well.

    I also don’t think superhero movies should be fun per se. The thing is just that I hate being told how this movie about guys in funny costumes punching each other is supposed to be Shakespeare (to twist one of our most hated phrases a little) and just because you have a madman blowing up skyscrapers, it’s a deep comment on the post 9/11 world that we live in.

    A few weeks ago, I watched the early Oliver Stone joint THE HAND, in which Michael Caine plays a comic book artist, who loses his hand (and then it may or may not start killing people). There is a scene, where Caine’s manager introduces him to the guy, who is now supposed to keep his comics (which is some Conan meets Flash Gordon type of cheesy space fantasy adventure kind) running. Caine (who admittedly plays some kind of an asshole, so I acknowledge that this example won’t hold uo 100%) hates the new guy’s take, which turns the barbarian hero into some kind of space Jesus, who has philosophical monologues about the reason of his existence in his head. New guy says something like: “I thought this would be an interesting take.” Caine simply replies: “But that’s not who he is!”

  162. (Drink, if you read “some kind” in my previous post)

  163. Crushinator Jones

    April 1st, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Of course DARK KNIGHT is fun. The Joker’s pencil trick is fun. Bane’s bizarre “For YOU!” is fun (fuck, his whole persona is fun). Batman’s reaction to Catwoman’s disappearance: “So that’s what that feels like…?” is fun. Morgan Freeman’s “and your intention is to blackmail this person?” is fun. There’s tons of fun in those movies without detracting from the good stuff.

    I just don’t know if Snyder is capable of that. He seems to want to stick it to the audience a little too much and undercut the pleasing moments a little too frequently. The recent news that the guy executed by the African warlords was Jimmy Olsen kinda sums that up. Even though he’s part of the Superman mythos, I don’t particularly like Jimmy Olsen…but that doesn’t mean I think he should be shot in the face. The movie gains nothing from that. It’s just mean.

  164. I’ve occasionally checked out Devin Faraci’s stuff. One time, he stated that anime was solely for perverts and losers, or something along those lines, and would continue to belittle those who were trying to have a fair debate with him. I thought it was off-putting because he seems to be respected by many as a legit film critic, yet he also seemed to enjoy acting like a random internet troll, and he chose some really easy targets to attack – anime fans, or even people who maybe just watch it on occasion. I thought, come on dude, aren’t you the same guy who talked a lot of shit to a mumblecore filmmaker and then got your ass kicked in a boxing match? Way more embarrassing than finding enjoyment watching animated stuff from Japan. I also recall him telling those who disagreed with him to kill themselves, but maybe he doesn’t do that anymore. That boxing video is enjoyable, though, and definitely my favorite work from Devin.

  165. Devin is – with the notable exception of Vern and FilmCrit Hulk – the best in the biz.

    And to be fair, his argument isn’t about Anime as a whole, but rather Anime that is brought to the American marketplace. It’s entirely possible that the fraction of Anime available to the American public represents only a small fraction of the whole, and might be aimed at a more prurient audience. Further, the audience attracted to the subsection of Anime that makes it to US shores, can rightly be judged as a self-selecting group. The racist implications of Otaku culture are clear as day and the emotional underpinnings that draw individuals into this often-fetishized affinity for the “Other” are fair game for judgement.

    I judge anyone who joined a Frat or Sorority. I judge women who believe in Astrology (I’d judge dudes too, but I don’t know any at present). I judge people who love Boondock Saints. I judge people who talk about the “positivity” of Macklemore.

    I’m not saying that every fratboy, or “spiritual” girl, or fan of objectively terrible movies and/or substandard rap music is the same; but to ignore an overriding trend of behavior is foolish. It just comes down to analyzing the unspoken/unconscious motivating factors, vs casting the surface-level of the group as a monolithic force.

    All of that said… I saw Violent J in concert last week and it was one of the best rap shows I have ever seen. So, I say all of this as, perhaps, a low key juggalo.

  166. I hesitate to say this, but I think someone here ought to: I actually do have a certain sympathy to the “not my superman” crowd, and even though as a whole they don’t tend to make a very good argument for it, I’d like to try. And again, I’m a complete Superman atheist, I never read the comics at all (I was a Marvel kid) never watched the show, didn’t even see the Donner movies til much later in life. So I have no dog in this fight at all. BUT…

    These character are iconic for a reason. They have certain things about them that have withstood the test of time in a unique way. Not all fictional characters have survived the way Batman and Superman have. They did this partially through changing and evolving, of course — as Mr. M suggests with his Amish metaphor awhile back, the Batman of 1940 is pretty distinct from the one of today, –and from the one in 1980, for that matter– in style, tone, content, audience. These characters do shift and change and grow with the time. BUT there’s also some timeless, iconic quality which they share, which makes them what they are. There’s something fundamental there which has lasted, which makes the characters and their emblems enduring and meaningful and constant, even as the surface details change. They’re like a folk tune, simple, primal, speaking to our subconscious in some mysterious way. Like Vern’s famous horror-movies-as-the-blues metaphor, you can take them and change them and put your own spin on them, but the foundation remains.

    Unless it doesn’t. Because icons this strong bend a long way, but they can also break. At some point, your weird atonal freeform jazz version of the blues standard just plain isn’t a blues song anymore, it’s something else. Whatever timeless element once made it so simple and satisfying on a gut level is gone. The point of continuing to adapt these characters is, indeed, to put a personal spin on them, to explore something new about them, to give them a solid place in modern times. But there is a certain point where you’ve warped the original context so entirely that you’ve got to wonder what the point is in using these beloved characters anymore.

    Sometimes it works. Miller’s Dark Night Returns for example, is a pretty fun read. But it’s more interesting as a commentary on Batman –and a window into Frank Miller’s frenzied maniac brain– than it is a logical extension of the Batman character. Fascist asshole Batman kinda defeats the purpose of the character, and wouldn’t really be meaningful OR especially interesting if the “classic” Batman was not so iconic. It works because its such a grotesque parody of the character, not because it’s independently great, and I think at least on some level that’s how Miller intends it. In BvS, Snyder is clearly thinking a lot about Dark Night Returns, but he’s not providing the proper context for the sort of radical deviations he seems to be making to the characters (again, I haven’t seen it; this is just what I gather reading people’s responses). He’s just presenting the movie as his take on these characters, not a commentary on them. So of course people are mad; he’s giving them a story which deliberately undermines the characters, without casting it as either satire or commentary. Frank Miller’s Dark Night was deliberately #NotMyBatman. I don’t get the sense that Snyder understands that; he just thinks Dark Night Returns was a totally hardcore Batman story. I doubt most fans would agree. Hence the disconnect. At some point, you’ve so entirely negated the things that defined Batman or Superman that they cease to be themselves, and become either A) commentary on their place as American icons or B) just plain not icons, something else instead, something less durable and appealing. Seems to me from people’s reactions that Snyder maybe have pushed a little too far into B, and perhaps doesn’t really fundamentally understand who these characters are and why they’re so enduring OR have any particular point he wants to make by intentionally subverting those things.

  167. The Original Paul

    April 1st, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Subtlety – I agree with you so damn much. (Except on the Miller stuff, but that’s only because I’ve not read it and can’t give an opinion. It sounds perfectly sensible as far as you’re describing it.) This is what I was trying to (rather crudely) convey when I presented the “devil’s advocate” argument above. I absolutely agree that a filmmaker should have artistic “freedom”. But when you’re dealing with established characters or a franchise, there are limits. And what you’ve described is exactly what happens when those limits are pressed too far.

  168. I quite liked BvS.

  169. Crushinator Jones

    April 1st, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    @Mr Subtlety,

    Some great points in your post. I want to talk about something specific though:

    “Fascist asshole Batman kinda defeats the purpose of the character, and wouldn’t really be meaningful OR especially interesting if the “classic” Batman was not so iconic. It works because its such a grotesque parody of the character,”

    There’s two things about this I want to say:

    The first is that the movie bludgeons people over the head with the idea that this Batman has fallen from his path. You haven’t seen it so let me make this clear: visually and with actual dialogue, this film says that the events of Man of Steel have utterly traumatized Batman and he feels impotent and traumatized. His transformation into the Batman at the beginning of the movie (where he rises into the light, arms outstretched, like Superman, but with the silhouette of his bat symbol) is described as “a beautiful lie”. He refers to himself as “a criminal, and I always have been”. Alfred, who is the audience stand in, points out how cruel he’s become, to the point that he starts branding criminals with a mark that leads to their death in prison.

    So saying “Zack Snyder doesn’t get that this isn’t the real Batman” when Zack Snyder himself seems to be saying “this isn’t how Batman always was, and isn’t how he’ll remain” (spoiler: at the end the film he has the opportunity to brand someone and doesn’t do it) seems to be misguided. But you’ll have to see the film yourself to make this call.

    Secondly, Batman is a walking contradiction and study of dualities. He’s a guy who believes in the law but operates outside it. The cops can’t help but that’s who he turns the criminals over to. He wants to prevent people from living in fear by inspiring fear in others. He’s a walking power fantasy of wealth and toys who is unable to get what he really wants, which is to eradicate crime in Gotham (and get a hug from his mom and dad).

    He’s such a compelling character because he is pulled between poles and that tension creates drama, suspense, and mystery. And if you go too far in either direction you start to get…well you still get Batman, but an extreme version of him. Go towards the police side and you get Adam West’s Batman. Go toward the vigilante side and you get Miller’s Batman. But I’m not sure either one is a parody of Batman. I mean that sincerely. I’m not entirely sure. I feel that it’s just a ratcheting-up/down of various Batman tendencies but not to the point of parody. I mean, sure if you exaggerate the guy he gets silly but so’s the concept of dressing up like a bat and fighting crime in the first place.

  170. I don’t think it’s embarrassing that he lost his boxing match. It’s not like he thought he was a real boxer. It was done for fun. If I had accepted Demon Dave’s fight challenge over CHAOS and got my ass kicked it wouldn’t have made me wrong about CHAOS. And Uwe Bolle winning his boxing matches doesn’t make his movies good.

  171. Exactly. He’s physically stronger, point made. Now can he meet them on the critical level?

    Tawdry, what am I, chopped liver? :)

  172. Tawdry – OK, then I’m sure I missed out on other relevant posts he made and rushed to judgment, but he seemed pretty blunt about writing people off who were making friendly counterpoints or suggestions, and it’s not like he would know how those people lived their lives.

    Vern, my mistake, didn’t mean to correlate his skills for critical analysis with his boxing ability like that. You’re right, he’s a non-fighter who shouldn’t be embarrassed by his performance. I just got some enjoyment out of watching him get beat up in this ridiculous debate/boxing event because he seems like an asshole. If I had a brighter opinion of him, there wouldn’t be the same entertainment value.

  173. Uwe Boll is a former semi-professional boxer who advertised the match to the competitors as a publicity stunt and all in good fun. He promised them there was no need to train for a real fight and even excluded a potential opponent because the man had actual experience. Then he got in the ring and pummeled opponents who thought they are having a laugh.

    The reality is even more exploitative than his use of German tax law.

  174. I described Doomsday from the comic to a friend: “He is an uncontrollable force of nature that walks through U.S leaving nothing but devastation in his trail” The response I got was : ” So he is Donald Trump?”

  175. The Original Paul

    April 2nd, 2016 at 7:46 am

    This may come across as incredibly petty (because it is), but I’ve image-searched Doomsday; his spiny-headed mullet-hawk is still better than the Donald’s creepy combover.

    I mean, let’s focus on what’s really important here.

  176. I still hope Nicolas Cage gets cast as Bizarro in one of these things.

  177. Ok: First off. It is really a shame that BvS suffers from that DC has been left in the dust by Marvel and only now seem to be planning their extended universe ( like anyone care…) and this one seem to have been caught in the middle. My guess is that Zach Snyders vision for Batman Vs Superman was compromised by the powers that be to shoehorn in a Justice League beginning. There is just too much that have been left unexplained or just up to open intepretation to why these two would actually fight and there is a lot of holes and wtf-moments in it.

    It is sure as hell that Marvel has a much better long sighted plan for their movies than DC when they let their biggest properties be so compromised as the case of this movie is.

    Having said that……………….here comes some ridiculous statements (please do not groan or make fun)

    POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHOY!

    I love this movie. I love the unrelenting mythic, operatic nature of the film. You can make as much fun of it as you will, but for me, the experience of watching BvS seem to be the modern equivalent to hear the Greek chanting The Illiad to a crowd way back . I know, it is such a preposterous and hilariously far fetched horsehit statement, but that is how I feel. And the pretentiousness of it is why I like these unwieldy messes that DC/Warner has made. I get the flack this film has gotten, I really do, but I just happen to like them a lot for its epic nature. They are mostly sincere and earnest, but when the counter it with goofy shit, it makes it more endearing to me. Like for instance the moment when the kryptionian gas is first unleashed Superman. Poof! I giggled at that. It looked so dumb, but it worked for me. The mix of earnestness and goofiness clicks with me.

    The promised WWE throwdown between these guys are pretty good. There is some good use of kryptonite ( Batman is forced to reaload and fire in a new batch as it is only temporary) even though it could have perhaps been “betterly” made.

    Ben Affleck is a great Batman. And I keep liking Cavill as Supe. He can switch from endearing, likeable dude to someone who is menacing. And it is quite disturbing to see Superman to have the potential for being evil.

    I feel like I need to take a step back and be more positive about stuff these days. Getting angry of how certain things are “wrong” or “uncharacteristic” are for me less interesting then seeing something fresh. And I feel I got that from the portrayals of the characters. You could most likely give me a list of how much I am wrong. And I probbaly am. But I really don´t care. I liked what I saw and I can´t help it.
    I loved Batman Vs Superman. Too bad most people don´t have room for love in their heart for this movie in which Ben Affleck is headbutting Superman and throws a sink at his head.

    Despite the mess it is.

  178. It’s funny. I have read a lot of the comments of those defending it and I haven’t seen it yet. However, I’m still convinced it looks m fucking horrible and I bet I’m right.

  179. O yeah, the fucking weird dream sequences are so great, especially the post-apocalyptic one. It feels like BvS had more creative juice flowing in it than most people give it credit for

  180. I loved the sink-tossing! I don’t think anyone else in the theater laughed but I thought it was hilarious.

    Good on you for being positive and staying true to your own tastes, Shoot. It’s so easy to let the zeitgeist influence how you feel. It’s hard to stand up and say, “You know what? I liked this stupid movie even if it doesn’t entirely add up.”

  181. Just for clarification, Faraci fought Joe Swanberg not Uwe Boll.

  182. I look at BvS as almost an avant garde film. It is a fucking mess, but the clashing of capitalist demand and artistic expression has created an ecclectic film that I enjoyed a lo t.

  183. Yeah, as a three-act story arc, it doesn’t work at all. But as a collage of weird images and ideas, it’s really entertaining and intriguing.

  184. The sink bit was fantastic but Batman cowering like a bitch is still the funniest thing I’ve seen all week. I have seen about 6 stand ups including 2 hilarious live showcases since I watched BATMAN vectors SUPERMAN and it still hasn’t been topped. For that alone the people behind this one have won my heart.

  185. You guys are great. I was afraid to even talk about this one because I assumed it would be an uphill battle that I wasn’t willing to fight over a stupid superpunching movie, but the willingness of so many of you to appreciate the movie for what it is instead of lynching it for what it’s not has been really refreshing.

  186. Majestyk- I think I can see through where people are coming from and most certainly feed on a certain audience that expect them to trash the film (Red Letter Media, Angry Idiot Joe, just look at those moronic comments on YoTube) and seperate that from my own experience with the film. I aknowledge the problems the film has, but what does that have to do with my own enjoyment of the film?

  187. I posted a facebook post in which I praised that this film did not seem focus tested at all, that it was what it was. Most of my friends and followers are not film afficionados at all. I come from a background where film is considered something foreign, if that makes sense.

    I may have made an ass of my self. But what can I say?

  188. Shit. I love Batman vs Superman. What else can I say?

  189. I’ve come around to liking – or at least respecting – BvS.

    I like it for the same reason I think everyone else hates it; Batman V Superman: Subtitle of Excess contains both UNreal and SURreal imagery.

    Flying Martians with heat vision are not surreal, they are unreal. Comic book movies are pretty much defined by the unreal. It’s the entire selling point. Unreal images display impossible subjects rendered corporeal. What you’re seeing is both impossible and literal.

    By contrast, Surreal images display signs and signifiers in a coded fashion, designed to communicate information about an unseen subject.

    In the former, you will believe a man can fly; in the latter, you might consider Freud’s interpretation of flying dreams as sexual in nature. The Essence of an unreal image exists on the canvas, the essence of the surreal image exists in the space between the canvas and the viewer’s mind.

    Audiences were not expecting to watch a movie focusing on UNreal beings in a SURreal context. It’s a tall order to keep the two straight, even for a seasoned viewer who goes in expecting such a thing. Consequently, the coded messages go unnoticed and the majority of viewers leave underwhelmed.

    There are rich explorations of the primordial mind to be found in BvS. Though there are many shortcomings, the sheer ambition and bravado should be applauded. I mean, what other caped crusader movie even attempts large scale symbolic storytelling?

  190. Did you guys see that deleted scene with Alex Luthor talking to… a, uh… a guy? About stuff? In a way it explains things (making it more direct that Alex is being controlled by or in communication with dark forces from beyond) but also adds an extra layer of “uh… wait a minute, what?” Especially since comic book people haven’t even been able to decode the monster guy as an existing character.

    I hope the longer cut on blu-ray has more of the weird shit like that. Unless it actually has connective material that makes some of the story make more sense. But option A seems more likely.

    Dustin: I knew that, I didn’t mean to confuse the matter. People who hate Faraci enjoy seeing him get knocked down in the Fantastic Debates by Joe Swanberg. It’s an event they do at Fantastic Fest where they have kind of a spirited debate (in that case about “mumblecore” as a genre) then have a boxing match. In a separate incident, Uwe Bolle set up matches with critics who didn’t like his movies. There’s a documentary about that called RAGING BOLLE, but I haven’t seen it.

  191. The figure in that scene has a connection to Darkseid, due to well, based on all the other Darkseid references in the movie, and the fact he has three of those floating cubes you saw in the Cyborg video, which has been confirmed by Snyder to be a Mother Box, an immensely powerful piece of technology that Darkseid uses. From the general silhouette of him (because he’s obscured by the fact the Kryptonian 3D printer communication thing doesn’t show him in great detail), he’s most likely to be a character called Steppenwolf, who is one of Darkseid’s generals. I think comic book people have been thrown because he does look a lot more alien here, which I’ll be interested to see if that’s what they do with them, because if they got for a more exact look from the comics, Darkseid’s probably going to be called a rip-off of Thanos from Marvel, even though it’s quite literally the other way round.

    I have wondered a bit if I don’t find the Justice League stuff in BvS all that intrusive just because it’s fanservice for someone like me, but I do think it ties things together a bit more, like Lex possibly looking into all these heroes because he’s trying to take out the most major resistance Darseid will ever have, and it explains Wonder Woman’s presence a bit more. Snyder also says Batman will be the one assembling the heroes “Seven Samurai Style” in Justice League, which could be a good opportunity to show him as a detective tracking these people down.

  192. Plenty of reviews have focused on the Justice League aspects as one of the major things wrong with the film, and they might be exaggerating a bit. This has become a go to critique for a lot of superhero movies: that they’re advertising the next film. I don’t think this is automatically a problem, but it was a little clunky in BvS. The obviously worst moment is when we watch those unexciting youtube videos, which were weirdly enough inserted into the film right as we neared the climax, which bogged everything down. (It seems to me there were some real problems with editing in this film, which hopefully will be cleaned up in the three hour version).

    And then there was shoehorning Catwoman I was hoping that Wonder Woman would be like Catwoman in the Dark Knight Rises, both an adversary and a potential ally. But she isn’t given as much motivation and reason for being a part of the plot as Catwoman was. It seems like her entire goal was to find that stupid picture, which in the larger scheme is incidental to everything that’s happening in the film.

  193. “Raging Boll?” I need to see this. I’ll never forget Uwe Boll milling around at Fantastic Fest 2009 wearing a shirt that said “And the Oscar goes to…”

    I like the horned alien thing, but really like this movie too. I don’t think I love it (though I suspect I may just love the Director’s Cut), but I like it a lot, and a big reason for that was for its weird, crazy streak. I don’t know exactly what’s going on in the Knightmare scene either, but it’s bizarre, it’s specific, and it’s something probably only Zack Snyder would put in a superhero movie.

    By a similar token, Silver Alien Dude is both evocative and opaque. He’s one more hint of a much stranger world tugging at the edges of the screen, but it’s just short enough to leave you with a creeped-out “what?” And I love how fucking terrified Eisenberg plays it.

    Here’s a part I am legitimately confused about though: Why was Superman dragging that oil tanker thru the Arctic?

  194. The worst part of the video footage cameos has to be the timing on the Aquaman one. I’m all about the look and Mamao in the role, but why did they hold that shot for so long? It’s like two beats two long and it’s really awkward.

  195. Dustin – Aquaman did linger in front of that camera far too long. To the point of comedy. I expected him to mouth the words “Aquaman in theaters summer 2018!”.

    It would’ve been better if the moment we saw his silhoutte and glowing eyes he would’ve came at full speed with the trident and destroyed the camera without the camera getting a good glimpse at him at all. Then we get the far range camera capture him swimming away like at the end like at the end of the clip there.

    I mean you’d figure he wouldn’t want anybody to see what he looked like. To avoid putting himself and his people in peril. Which is the obvious reason why Diana wanted that pic back from Lex.

    He did look cool as fuck though and I was hoping he would show up again during the rest of the movie.

  196. I was half-convinced Arthur would pop up just to help Lois when she was trapped underwater during the climax. It would have been the cheesiest thing ever and I would have loved the shit out of it.

  197. I was totally convinced Aquaman was going to save Lois & retrieve the krytonite spear.

  198. And then the Flash could zip up to carry the spear to Superman just in the nick of time.

    Clearly the problem with the movie was that it wasn’t overstuffed ENOUGH. At least that’s what the nerd sitting next to me in the theater thought. His only complaint was that Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern weren’t in it. When I replied that it’s not possible to fit EVERYBODY into one movie and still tell a story, his eyes kind of glazed over. A self-contained story arc was not what he was there for. He was there for the maximum amount of shiny packed into the smallest possible space.

    Finger on the pulse as usual, critical establishment.

  199. I don´t care for Justice League or DCs extended universe. They just have boring and lame characters outside of Bats and Supes. Those elements were easily the worst of the film as they detracted from the otherwise brilliant madness of the film. They could have exchanged those moments for more weird and disturbed dream sequences, maybe one narrated by Werner Herzog as he explains the nature of bats and their natural habitats.

  200. Please, no one will ever accept anyone other than Vincent Chase in the role of Aquaman

  201. Count me on the side of the lovers of this one. Snyder is a Supremo A-Grade Visual Stylist, second to none when it comes to Grand Gestures (and Small Moments) overriding narrative flaws – young Bruce’s spiral into darkness after his parents murder, and his ascension by Batnado from fear to fear-bringer. The darkened peace in young Bruce as he’s being lifted. Superman On Trial, like he has to apologize for being a hero. A FALSE GOD? Did he ask to be a god? The way Superman looks at Lois after catching her free-falling from Luthor’s push. That quiet smile.

    And holy shit can Batman rumble like a motherfucker, bursting through the wall like Leatherface or Jason. Batman The Demon exorcising his demons by saving Superman’s Martha – “It’s okay, I’m a friend of your son’s.” (Read – “I am your son, and you are my mother.”)

    Snyder proved (brilliantly) with SUCKER PUNCH that he needs a simple story to hang his ideas and visuals on, and BvS may have been overstuffed, but shit guys, there’s greatness in this. An unwieldy, insane greatness, but it’s there.

  202. Crushinator Jones

    April 3rd, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    A dude who reviewed the movie pointed out that the setup for Batman’s redemption is pretty great. In every movie before this one, when someone asks “who are you?” he always snarls “I’m Batman!” But in this one, he says “I’m Superman’s friend.”

  203. Good to see so many liking this movie. But would you really hate a handicapped individual that is a good person underneath the superficial flaws? A person that does not cater to your own belief, but tries to be the best person he/she can? It is what I feel about this movie. A flawed movie in the maki g. Made by people, and a result of interhuman relations; commercial and artistic ideology clashing like the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel

  204. I also would like to add that the warehouse fight might be the first time ever in which Batmans fighting skills are properly shown on film in an exhilarating fight sequence.

  205. I didn’t think the Justice League cameos were any worse than similar moments from other comic book movies. It seemed like the movie chose that time to insert those cameos in an attempt to ramp up the general level of crazy spectacle during the final stretch. This may seem too small and insignificant to complain about, but one thing that did bother me about that part was the fact that the character logos accompanied the files. That stuck out because it felt less like Snyder and more like someone from the studio wanting to make sure these recognizable logos showed up.

    The movie was a mess and I came out kind of hating it, primarily because I found the final 20 minutes or so to be really boring and I momentarily forgot about the various things I did enjoy. The Doomsday fight actually does have some memorable moments (Wonder Women smiling in the heat of battle was quite cool), but it still just felt like another big generic blockbuster final battle. Following that, the funeral scenes didn’t engage me because you knew that final shot was coming in a few minutes. If the movie excised that shot, I would’ve been pleasantly surprised, and you can just save it for the next movie. I think it would still fit the overall tone of BvS as well.

    Reading the discussion here and in a couple other places has been very interesting and I can appreciate certain aspects or moments from the film more now. For example, Affleck running into the destruction of Metropolis was a more powerful and striking image than anything I can recall seeing in the Marvel/Fox comic book movies. The choppy, messy quality overall still keeps me from really embracing the film, but for that reason I’m really looking forward to the director’s cut.

    One question and I’m sorry if I somehow missed this already being discussed: Were people suspicious of Superman’s involvement in the Africa incident because they thought he actually killed those people, or did they just think the fallout from his intervention resulted in people dying? I’m having a hard time remembering what the women in the court stated about what she witnessed. Whatever the case may be, I also don’t get why experimental bullets were utilized by Luthor’s men.

  206. I hope they keep Aquaman clearly holding his breath in future movies because that shit is funny.

  207. Well, since human actors still can’t breathe underwater, either Aquaman will have to be a mostly CGI character, they’ll have to shoot the whole thing dry-for-wet like VINCENT CHASE IS JAMES CAMERON’S AQUAMAN, or Mamoa is gonna have to hold his breath a lot. I’m voting for Option C.

  208. Joe – I kind of wish they hadn’t included Doomsday either. He seemed incidental to the plot, and like the Super Sized Death Star in The Force Awakens, they just kind of threw him in because the studio figured that audiences came for a big CGI slugfest, and they didn’t want to disappoint. Someone said earlier here said that the people were upset that Superman’s intervention lead the Boko Haramesque terrorists to kill civilians, but I during the film, I thought that it was insinuated that people actually believed Superman killed those people. Like a number of plot points, it’s kind of muddy.

  209. Just means Jason Momoa isn’t dedicated enough! I bet Marvel would have cast someone who have breathed under water! *sorry*

    I guess if they go with option C I guess they can use the evils of CGI to de-puff his cheeks? I bet Marvel would’ve used stop-motion to de-puff them! I just hope with the 81% drop off in the second week the rights revert back to Marvel.

    Disclaimer: I’m not anti-Marvel and I like their films just fine but after two weeks of reading articles and comments about how Marvel would have did it have defeated me. I know I need to keep that comment blocker on and not click such articles but I am not a perfect man and I can only strive to be better one day at a time.

  210. Crushinator Jones

    April 3rd, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    geoffreyjar I have a newer Android so it’s even worse. They have this thing called Google Now that’s kinda like an all-purpose landing page for your phone of articles that it thinks you’ll like. Googleman can’t tell the difference between a positive and a negative article, so it constantly does stuff like “hey you are interested in Man of Steel, here’s an article that calls everyone who enjoys it a fanboy hemorrhoid, is that something you’d like to read?” Eventually I just end up telling it I don’t like Superman or Man of Steel but it “forgets” and then it’s back to having my phone invaded by idiots. Bummer.

    Regarding Superman’s involvement in Africa, things got a little clearer on second viewing. The deal is that Superman shows up, roughs up a warlord, and of course Luthor’s men kill a bunch of people. The warlord being taken out causes a power vacuum which the government fills by sending in hit squads to kill villagers that were loyal to the warlord. So when the dust clears it looks like this: Superman showed up and a bunch of people died and nobody knows why…but Superman was there so he probably had something to do with it. And he isn’t defending himself. Fuck that guy.

    BTW after talking with a fellow Superman fan and RL friend I’m a little better with Supes in this movie. My friend pointed out that he’s absolutely terrified of making one wrong move in the movie and that’s probably a large part of why he just doesn’t react much. He doesn’t want to give people anything to pounce on. I think they could have done a better job with that but it does make sense.

  211. Joe – The woman never really said Superman killed the men. She just said “He came down. So many dead.” and then went into how the government then went into the village and killed lots more. She was so vague, it could be interpreted either way. But those men were obviously shot by guns. I kinda assumed she was paid by Luthor to say those things to put the blame on Superman since it’s revealed its a frame job later on.

  212. I will pay to see the Batman solo movie ten times if half of it is just him kicking the crap out of bad guys like in the warehouse scene.

  213. When I watched ENTOURAGE, I had no idea that Aquaman was a thing for real. It sounded like the kind of dumb generic shit when someone has to branstorm a new hero that ends with -man

  214. Crushinator Jones

    April 4th, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Shoot, you’re pretty much right. Just move the timeline back 75 years.

    He’s one of those characters that has tremendous potential but not a lot of solid hits. And when comic book writers try to make him cool, it falls flat. Aquaman #1 has him hear all the usual criticism from some nerd in a diner (you’re not anybody’s favorite, you’re a dorko who talks to fish, you’re a loser) and the response is for him to brandish his trident and then show how fabulously wealthy he is (from scavenging gold from shipwrecks). So, yeah.

  215. Crushinator Jones

    April 4th, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Huh the image didn’t link.

    http://i.imgur.com/nHAYQyI.jpg

  216. Also, the score for this is beautiful. Although I expect the Junk Xl be the more obnoxious parts of it. The more lyrical parts are simply majestic and beutiful and simple in their composition. Anyone who has seen the opening knows what I mean.

  217. I think what I like the most about Snyder’s version of Superman is he’s a guy trying to find his way. He doesn’t have all the answers or is given the benefit of the doubt. As a minority, I can relate to that aspect of the character. I could do something as simple as notice a kid dropping his cap while trying to walk with his family. I’ll run over, pick up the cap, catch up to the family and tell them they forgot the item. The wife will thank me, but the husband glares at me like I’m inconveniencing him or I must be up to something. Why? Because he feels I’m outside his tribe? I don’t feel I’m in the wrong, but there’s a sour aftertaste. I would still want to be a Good Samaritan,but it’s tough knowing some people will always mistrust you because what they think you are.

    What I like about BvS is it takes these beloved characters and plunges them into a world that closely resembles our own. They come close to succumbing to the turbulence and losing their way, but eventually they rise above it with a renewed sense of purpose. I get that it’s not for everyone and it’s difficult for some people to accept this alternate take of the character. Christopher Reeve was my introduction to the character and I understand having that feeling of wanting to reconnect to those childhood memories. After nearly ten years of comic book movies designed to not go a step outside the four quadrant zone, it’s refreshing to see a massive blockbuster attempt something different. I disagree with those who think Snyder hates Superman. He’s offering his interpretation just like the scores of filmmakers and comic book writers before him. I didn’t read the Faraci article (I think he’s a good writer, I really don’t care for his opinions on comic book movies), but I have a strong feeling he doesn’t reference the scene where Superman faces Doomsday for the first time. As Doomsday hurls a fist towards Lex, Superman intervenes and saves the man who moments earlier abducted and plotted to kill his mother. A murdering sociopath that critics describe as this Superman would have stayed back to allow Lex to die. This brief moment gets what’s great about Superman. No matter how chaotic the world can be, Superman will still try to do the right thing.

    There are problems with the movie (the Africa sequence wasn’t the best way to introduce Superman) but a second viewing provides a lot of clarity. I am looking forward to the extended cut and hope they’ll release it in theaters.

  218. To my own surprise I really am more pumped for the new movie by the biggest white trash fetishist whose name doesn’t rhyme with “Shmob Smombie”, than the one where Spidey becomes an official member of the MCU.

  219. I’m looking forward to it because it actually looks fun. It doesn’t go above Civil War for me because of how invested i am in with Cap.

  220. The bottom line on this whole thing for me is that Batman vs Superman sucks and you’re all wrong. Except for those who agree with me then you’re right lol

  221. Crushinator Jones

    April 11th, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Sternshein, I appreciate you dropping the bullshit and just going for it. Much respect.

  222. heh, I put up with all your over analyzing bullshit on things, time we got quick and to the point lol

    Larry, I think he’s about as good a choice as anybody. I just hope it’s not 2 and a half hours of telling us how much it sucks to be Batman. Man I really don’t like those Nolan movies. I get it, it probably does suck to be Batman but I got this feeling that Nolan didn’t even want to make a Batman movie but they told him he had to so he’s like “well fuck you then” I have nothing to back this up other than I think they are all severely overrated.

  223. Sternshein— Affleck’s performance as both Batman AND Bruce Wayne in BvS was spot-on IMO. I initially thought he had no chance of succeeding, and thankfully I was completely wrong. Having Jeremy Irons to play off of was a big plus as well (he’d better be the first actor beyond Affleck who signs up).

    THE TOWN gives me two steps forward of hope that Affleck can pull this off as a director. ARGO sends that hope one step back. I’m guessing this one will have a Summer 2018 release date.

  224. The Original Paul

    April 13th, 2016 at 12:32 am

    Affleck is a really good director – with THE TOWN and ARGO, he’s basically two for two for me – so I think he’d be an excellent choice, provided the script was good also.

  225. GONE BABY GONE is my favourite of the films Affleck directed. The other two are good, but not that great in my humble opinion.

  226. And yes, I hope it works out with him as director for the solo “Bat-flick”. I truly do.

  227. I’ve just seen it, I don’t have many new things to add to all the stuff that’s already been said, but one thing that was a huge letdown: Snyder letting Weta just recycle a troll from THE HOBBIT pictures to portray his Doomsday, rather than coming up with a cool looking new design.
    Also, finding out later that the next villain would be the same stupid looking alien from the Marvel post-credits sequences, when Luthor going “He’s coming, ding ding ding ding!” had me hoping that it would be Santa. Bummer.

  228. So there’s this thing that’s going around now that tries to make out that Snyder is some rape and gore obsessed meat head
    http://www.vox.com/2016/5/2/11565932/zack-snyder-justice-league
    Unfortunately, it seems to be working with a lot of people based on quotes that are being pulled, even though if you actually read the interview proper, the greater context is that he’s talking about how WATCHMEN (which he was making at the time) has a relatively much darker tone than THE DARK KNIGHT, and is just saying that stuff about Batman as example of what could happen in WATCHMEN’s world, NOT that he wants to do that in a Batman film. Between this and the DC movie director rumours about James Wan possibly quitting Aquaman (seemingly debunked), I’m getting pretty tired of the overall narrative of “Snyder is shit and DC Films are a mess”.

  229. I’ve been seeing some of those picture meme things floating around that basically translate to ‘Har! Har! Snyder works out and has muscles! Also Tattoos! What a loser!”

  230. He only has to knock JUSTICE LEAGUE out of the park. No easy task. Good luck to him and his crew. I really mean that genuinely and not snarkly like the rest of the internet.

  231. I was on board for Zach Snyder until I saw Sucker Punch and was so ridiculously underwhelmed when I realized this guy literally has nothing to say.

  232. I’ve read a couple interviews where Snyder comes across as a little dumb. At times it does seem like he has a thirteen year old’s understanding of storytelling. I wouldn’t necessarily care about what he says in interviews, but they do sort of back up what I’ve observed in his movies. I don’t think he’s talentless. I liked Man of Steel and kind of enjoyed the Dawn of the Dead remake for what it was. I want to see DC characters get films they deserve, so I’ll keep on rooting for Snyder, but if Justice League is another muddle mess, I also won’t be surprised.

  233. CrustaceanLove

    May 2nd, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    I read that full interview after seeing all the out-of-context quotes on Twitter. People have clearly misinterpreted them, but the interview still makes him seem like kind of a dumbass who only likes WATCHMEN because it’s full of rape and murder. I can’t judge him too harshly for it though. I’m sure in an interview like that I’d say all sorts of stupid shit.

    I’ve liked most of his movies and think they have some hidden depths, but finding them usually means fighting against Snyder himself.

  234. You can’t even talk about DC’s upcoming comic book rebirth without these jerkoffs bringing up their disdain for Zack Snyder. Like fuck dude I want to discuss upcoming comic books stop bringing up your beef with these movies already. It’s definitely really turned me off from any DC Comics discussion indefinitely.

  235. Crushinator Jones

    May 31st, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Devin Farraci whines about the entitlement of fans while writing multiple essays about how Zack Snyder failed to give him his Superman.

    Fuck that loser. And the ending of Mass Effect 3 was a sucker-punch of an ending – an absolute piece of shit – and Farraci’s defense of it as “kinda hard science-fiction” was literally one of the dumbest things I’ve read in my life.

    He’s shit.

  236. CrustaceanLove

    May 31st, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Oh please, whether the ending of MASS EFFECT 3 was good or not (I didn’t like it either) is immaterial. The problems is that “fans” actively campaigned Bioware to patch the ending to suit their tastes, which not how you treat creative people you respect and certainly not how you approach art. I agree that his Superman essays skirt the line of the kind of possessive entitlement he’s talking about, but I can cut him some slack. We all have creative works that we’re passionate about and feel connected to, and it’s only natural to want to say something when you feel like someone missed the point or is mishandling them. It’s not like he’s organizing a boycott or sending death threats to Zack Snyder.

  237. Crushinator – Whether or not he’s hypocritical, you’re letting your hatred of Faraci blind you to a great essay. He is absolutely correct that people treat art as products now and themselves as consumers who are entitled to demand that art be catered to their specifications. I especially like his comparison to people who treat waiters like shit, because that’s a pet peeve of mine. You hear me all the time complaining about people who call works of art that they claim to be moved by “content” or “i.p.s”. It’s ingrained in the culture of movie fans now and I fear it will only get worse as young people are raised knowing nothing else.

    The only point he missed was that fan disagreement with George Lucas about his creation is an early and extreme version of this conflict he describes. Then again maybe bringing it up would detract from the point by closing the minds of many people not ready to hear that.

    For anyone who somehow missed it, this is the essay in question:

    Fandom Is Broken

    Controversies and entitlement shine a light on a deeply troubling side of fandom.

  238. I also liked Faraci’s essay but see Crushinator’s point that alot of Faraci’s thinkpieces skirt dangerously close to embodying the very people he’s criticizing/making fun of. Personally I think trying to claim “well I can write online that I WANT them to do this, but I won’t DEMAND that they do this” is good in theory but in reality is kind of splitting hairs.

    ex) Some doofuses created a Change.org petition to get Zack Snyder off of Justice League that people probably looked at in a news blurb and said “ha, that’s funny”. Meanwhile Faraci writes one of many thinkpieces mourning the “death” of his idea of Superman and how the Snyder version is a selfish murderer (which I guess you could argue he is in the first movie, but he totally isn’t in the second, but oh well). That thinkpiece went pretty viral and I saw it linked in multiple places. Probably more people read it than saw the petition. I’d argue it definitely had more impact. So why is the article any better? (I mean, obviously it’s BETTER and is the kind of shit I love to read, but i mean BETTER on a moral high-ground, let-the-artists-be-the-artists sort of way) Just because he never literally says the sentence “I want Snyder taken off the Justice League” but writes like 20 paragraphs on why he thinks he should be? (And don’t get me wrong, I thought Batman v. Superman was a bad movie, so it’s not like I’m a huge DC fan dudebro or whatever the standard counterargument is these days). And no, I’m not saying he shouldn’t write articles like that, I wish he would write MORE articles like that. I’m saying at the end of the day the person who writes the well-thought out article, and the person who makes the dumb petition or hashtag – both of them want the same thing and are doing the same basic thing in different ways. (Provided they aren’t making death threats which is just common sense). I mean, Faraci wrote a followup article literally entitled “Yes, Disney should have a Queer Princess” where he clarifies how much he loves all minorities and how he totally wants a gay Disney Princess, but stresses he’s not one of those entitled unwashed masses who used the hashtag #GiveElsaAGirlfriend, because I guess using that hashtag is crossing over the line or something.

    Which brings up the fact that his article inadvertently and ironically brings up the OTHER sign of today’s fandom – that everyone thinks THEY’RE the “good” fan. I bet you every single person he’s complaining about read his article and went “oh yeah, I totally hate those people, good thing I’m not one of them!”. Full disclosure: No, I don’t think of myself as a bad fan either, so that may make me a hypocrite. In reality, I’m kind of too lazy and also don’t give enough of a shit to start petitions and hashtags, much less make death threats. They could announce tomorrow they’re going to reboot Under Siege 2 starring Justin Bieber and I wouldn’t start a petition or a hashtag. But I also wouldn’t criticize or look down on anyone who did.

  239. I remember when being a ‘fan’ of a cool character like Batman or Han Solo, amongst many other things like Les Paul guitars, hard rock music and good weed, was just another tie that binded friends together. Friends I still share my life with. What is all this geek bullshit? (Not aimed at any friends here.) Seriously. Get a fucking life.

  240. Crushinator Jones

    May 31st, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Vern sez:

    “He is absolutely correct that people treat art as products now and themselves as consumers who are entitled to demand that art be catered to their specifications.”

    CrustaceanLove sez:

    “The problems is that “fans” actively campaigned Bioware to patch the ending to suit their tastes, which not how you treat creative people you respect and certainly not how you approach art.”

    Vern, I know you don’t follow the vidya games and so can’t call Farraci out on his bullshit. But Crustacean I frankly expect more from you.

    Please do me a small courtesy and watch the following 10 second clip from the VERY FIRST PROMO VIDEO FOR MASS EFFECT that they ever made, back in 2006. It was included on every single Xbox 360 that people purchased in 2006:

    https://youtu.be/3Li2MIGxOww?t=223

    Are you hearing the phrase “Mass Effect is your story, your adventure?” Because let me tell you: they flogged that angle RELENTLESSLY. Go grab a random producer interview or a story vid – for five years worth of promotion – and it’s “MASS EFFECT IS YOUR STORY”

    Well it turns out that they decided to end YOUR STORY in a way that the vast majority of people reviled. Vern, again, I don’t expect you to follow this video game shit but imagine they said that The Avengers would always be “for the fans” and then in the last movie they killed all 4 Avengers brutally – like made them grovel for their lives to Thanos, who then executed them – and then it cut to “1000 years later – Wakanda” and somebody saying “but luckily we managed to rebuild and we owe the Avengers a debt of gratitude.” And that was the last MCU movie ever made. I mean, can you imagine the fucking shit storm?

    So Farraci’s whole premise “I first got aware of this for Mass Effect 3’s ending kerfluffle blah blah blah entitled shitheads” was total fucking garbage, because in fact Mass Effect did market itself as being partly owned by the player and when they spat in their audiences’ collective faces the audience spat back. It’s not entitled to say “yo, I paid 180 dollars for this trilogy that I’m supposed to have authorship in and I would have never authored something this terrible.” This ain’t an art gallery: if you put it in a box and type a description on it you have an obligation to your audience to meet that description. Niketown doesn’t trick you into thinking it’s a book on shoe collecting (well, not a traditional one. :) )

    Anyway, the problem now is not that the audience is entitled – it’s that they’ve been trained to be. All of Marvel’s “for the fans” dogwhistles and the critics gleefully tearing apart any comic book movie that isn’t an absolute potato chip (the carnival circle-jerk on Twitter over Batman v Superman’s “badness” was fucking disgusting – and I think the movie is a mess btw) has trained the audience to be a bunch of lazy, uncritical jerks who want constant pandering. And another thing: selling a “culture” around a movie of action figures and t-shirts and tie-in comics and shit makes people feel ownership over the material. They have “bought in” and now have a sense of ownership and pride. They didn’t do this shit before Star Wars. Can you imagine a Jake Gittes action figure (with cuttable nose!) Of course not. Chinatown is an artist’s movie and I respect it like hell. It’s not a convenient, smooth, nice mindless little story and audiences can smell the authenticity and autership. They can also smell when you’ve sold out for toy money.

    Also, people who treat waiters like garbage are the scum of the Earth.

  241. Crushinator Jones

    May 31st, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    Oh one more thing – I don’t hate Farraci, I just think he’s a dumb asshole with a big mouth and an unearned platform for it. But I don’t think he deserves to be beat up or anything like that. Forget it, Vern – it’s comic books.

  242. I liked ME3. That is all I am going to say.

  243. Crushinator – thanks for explaining the outrage over the end of ME3 in layman terms without any specific spoilers, I’ve never gotten around to playing any of those games but I still want to, even though it sounds terrible if that’s the ending.

    I should clarify my poorly-worded rambling post from earlier – I completely agree with Faraci that fandom (well, people in general but that’s another post) has become whiny and entitled. I think where i differ is that he seems to be coming from a place of “it’s dangerous to tell artists what to do and what not to do” which I agree with, but I come from a place of “there’s SO MUCH dumb shit out there on the internet telling artists what to do; so many stupid petitions to get such and such fired or cast Nathan Fillion as James Bond or cast Lupita N’yongo as the next Indiana Jones or whatever, that you really can’t get bothered by it because then you’d go crazy.” As long as death threats aren’t involved, this internet slacktivism (and yes, I count petitions and hashtags and anything requiring a few button presses as slacktivism) is pretty easily ignored, and if Faraci says these things are dangerous and have real weight and influence over a studio, I’d argue his articles probably have just as much weight if not more. I wouldn’t want anyone censoring him and as dumb as fan entitlement is, I don’t think it can be censored either, just ignored (pretty easily)

  244. Maybe this is a generational thing, but I kind of think that anyone who plays a video game for the story deserves what they get.

  245. I got to shoot a bunch of aliens in the head in awesomely constructed worlds. I was satisfied with ME3.

  246. This entitlement debate reminds me of my years as a writing tutor. Very often, I would ask freshman English students what they thought of a particular event in a story or novel. I would often get a response that boiled down to “I didn’t like it.” When asked why, they were generally inarticulate (for a culture so inundated with narrative, most of us are fairly terrible at discussing it) but what I gleaned was they simply didn’t want bad things to happen to good characters. It was extremely difficult to get across to them that you’re not supposed to “like” it. The important thing is: What does it mean? What is the author trying to accomplish by making this event transpire? But most people don’t think of stories as artificial realities that have been constructed to fulfill a narrative or thematic goal. They think of them as historical scrolls that have been passed down fully formed from on high. They didn’t “like” it when characters fail or die or betray loved ones or themselves in the same way they wouldn’t “like” it if the same thing happened to someone they knew in real life. This is the great beauty of fiction, in that we can explore the depths of tragedy, loss, and conflict from a safe distance and find some meaning or truth in it that we cannot were the same events to take place in the real world, but so many students were unwilling to engage with it on that level. Stories are designed for a purpose; life is not. Most people fail to see the difference, and thus they see conflict not as the crucible in which resolution is eventually forged, but with simple unpleasantness. It’s important to them that they “like” what happens, not that they try to understand why the author chose to make it happen that way. Many have no concept of the author at all, just that bad things happened in the story and it bummed them out.

    This fundamental misunderstanding of the origin, function, and meaning of narrative art is now writ large. The internet has given people with no grasp of the fundamentals of storytelling screaming their heads off about how a story was told “wrong.” This kind of thinking has always existed, but now it has become the normal form of discourse. And that’s a problem. When people stop wondering what stories mean and start demanding that they mean what they want them to mean, stories become fundamentally meaningless.

  247. Crushinator Jones

    June 1st, 2016 at 8:22 am

    Mr. Majestik:

    “Maybe this is a generational thing, but I kind of think that anyone who plays a video game for the story deserves what they get.”

    I’m 40 years old and played freakin’ Pac-Man and Defender in the original arcade. I also bought the novelization of Dragon’s Lair (!!!!!) so this has been a thing for a long time. It’s not generational. There were Super Mario Bros books in the early 90s (I sold them at Software Etc)

    Shoot:

    “I got to shoot a bunch of aliens in the head in awesomely constructed worlds. I was satisfied with ME3.”

    I genuinely wish I shared your low standards, because I would have been happy.

  248. Crushinator Jones

    June 1st, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Majestyk:

    ” But most people don’t think of stories as artificial realities that have been constructed to fulfill a narrative or thematic goal. ”

    One of the things that makes Mass Effect 3’s ending so bad is that it methodically detonates the themes of the previous games. It actually suddenly drops you into a different reality, a really shitty bad one that has the names and faces of the previous characters in it but nothing else.

    Imagine that Galaxy Quest had the ending replaced by one that was similar in tone to Schinder’s List. Think about how jarring that would be. Some people would be intrigued by it, or only focusing on the parts prior to that (kudos to Shoot). But most people would hate it. That would be about equivalent to what happened at the end of ME3, an ending that 80% of their audience (they did poll after poll across Facebook, their own site, etc. and it was always about 80%) disliked.

  249. Crushinator Jones

    June 1st, 2016 at 8:33 am

    The real tragedy of Mass Effect 3 was that they could have had a grim ending. Mass Effect 2 even allowed you to lose doing the last mission and have your entire crew die and fall to your death(!!!!) but they also had an ending where you got your entire team out of a “suicide mission” alive. Some people really liked that downer ending and I did too (knowing that it was one of many). Mass Effect 3 basically forced you to pick variations on the downer ending – which for a game that billed itself as YOUR STORY was devastating. The lesson of it should have been “Don’t force players in choose-your-own-adventures to make narrative choices they hate” but instead it was “Entitled nerds hate bad video games.” Sigh

  250. Crushinator Jones

    June 1st, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Sorry, that last post should have been “could have had a grim ending with no outcry.”

  251. I don´t even remember the ending of ME3. Maybe I have been indoctrinated by Bioware to forget it.

    Yes, my standards may have been low. But I just like to focus of the positive aspects of my experiences with ME3. It easily had the best and tightest and most enjoyable combat of the three games, which everyone seems to forget even though we are talking about a videogame where the core mechanic is shooting stuff. Fascinating how selective some people are.

  252. “Don’t force players in choose-your-own-adventures to make narrative choices they hate”

    Why not? have to make choices I hate all the fucking time. Practically every day, in fact. My life has not turned out AT ALL the way I wanted it to. Where’s the petition I can sign to get the ending changed?

    I keep hearing that video game fans want to their medium to be treated as an “adult” art form–i.e. one that can possess a point of view about life and not just be a mindless diversion–yet they throw tantrums when one actually tries to do that.

    Note that I’m not saying you have to “like” the ending of the game or think that it is successful in its goals. I have no idea if it is or not. (Even if I played the game, I generally skip the cut-scenes.) But all that means is you didn’t enjoy it, and now you don’t have to buy MASS EFFECT 4. No one is under any obligation to change the story to suit you or anybody else. You were not ripped off by anything except marketing, which erroneously led you to believe that because you had been granted a modicum of control, you were not still in the hands of an author who was guiding you to a predetermined resolution for his/her story. That is the nature of all art. You engage with it, yes, but you are not in charge. Your job is not to drive the bus to its destination, but to figure out the purpose behind the journey.

  253. Also, motherfuckers thought I was being melodramatic when I declared that the sale of LucasFilm to Disney marked the death of the auteur theory.

  254. You could already see that with IRON MAN 3. People were not interested in Shane Blacks version of IRON MAN.

  255. Stop with the sky is falling nerds.

  256. I never read any MARIO books, but I did have some SONIC novels. They were surprisingly good from memory; one was like a TRON parody where Talils gets sucked into a game, and one of the characters was obviously meant to be Mario.

    THE ADVENTURES OF SUPER MARIO BROS 3 was an underrated cartoon. The other two MARIO cartoons, not so much.

  257. Crushinator Jones

    June 1st, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Mr Majestyk:

    “Why not? have to make choices I hate all the fucking time. Practically every day, in fact. My life has not turned out AT ALL the way I wanted it to. Where’s the petition I can sign to get the ending changed? ”

    Real life is not art and art is better for it. This is such a basic concept that I can’t believe that a professor is taking this line of attack. Come on dude. If that’s the case then let’s all shit on Predator because aliens are not real. Holy shit. You really went to a “THAT ISN’T LIKE REAL LIFE” tack on a movie website where we worship dudes with two pistols blasting each other while doves fly around. Dumb argument, pal.

    “You were not ripped off by anything except marketing, which erroneously led you to believe that because you had been granted a modicum of control, you were not still in the hands of an author who was guiding you to a predetermined resolution for his/her story. That is the nature of all art. You engage with it, yes, but you are not in charge. Your job is not to drive the bus to its destination, but to figure out the purpose behind the journey.”

    The problem here is I am talking about a goddamn video game. I am driving the bus, actually. That is the point of the player.

    I’m really goddamn sick of people pretending that video games are pieces of art hanging in a gallery or a book. It’s not. It’s it’s own thing and the player has some primacy in the activity. Famously, the auteur programmer/designer of the puzzle game Braid was incensed when he saw a video of rapper Soulja Boy playing his very serious game like it was a comedy and laughing at it.

    Anyway, here’s the thing: you think that you’re dropping some knowledge about how I was deceived by the “marketing” into thinking it was some kind of choice-filled journey. But I wasn’t. I knew it was basically a coloring book where the artist was giving me a few choices for the picture and I was choosing the colors to fill it in with. And I was ok with that – it was a decent-to-good right up until the last page, where they forced me to color in a picture of a homeless man spreading his butt-cheeks to show me a cluster of hemorrhoids.

    And btw, you’re being a condescending asshole. First it was “if you play video games for the story you deserve what you get”. Now it’s “you’re a dumbo who was blinded by marketing and didn’t realize what was actually happening.” Actually, what convinced me was the prior two games, that largely delivered on that promise, but of course you wouldn’t know that. Can’t get in the way of your stupid “it’s artist’s prerogative to con their audience” and “it’s like real life” horseshit!

  258. This comment section should retroactively have a trigger warning

  259. Devin wrote a great piece. I just wish he had concluded with some positive suggestions fans could take to learn better how to appreciate art, including the creative decisions they don’t like, or if they must criticize, to do it in a constructive, even compassionate way.

    I must say, I’m also of the mind that I play video games for the game, not the story. It’s why modern video games have taken a backseat to movies and TV for me, but I appreciate that that’s a way people can engage in a story that is perhaps outside my wheelhouse.

    I truly did not know about the Mass Effect marketing of “it’s YOUR story.” How did that lead get buried in all the ME3 coverage? That said, even if ME3 was marketed that way, it doesn’t mean that all stories are collectively owned.

    We do need some new education on media literacy. There are widespread problems of media using tactics to sell their product (yeah, I said it) without addressing any of the lingering effects. They use sex to sell beer and guess what, we have a culture of dude bro rapists. I know they existed before beer ads but it contributes.

    I see the attacks someone like Amy Schumer gets online, with the excuse “she jokes about being promiscuous so it’s fair game.” No, she makes self-deprecating jokes in her PERFORMANCES. Giving a performance does not volunteer the performer to live that persona 24/7.

    We vote with our dollars, so if creatives make a bad choice, the consequences should be they don’t make money. Somewhere that system got broken, and I do hold the corporations who control the content accountable too. But we all have personal responsibility. Just because they encourage us to “participate” doesn’t mean we have to do it in the worst way.

  260. I should be a tad more specific before I drop a huge accusation like the beer commercial one. I’m not saying that seeing sex makes you a rapist. I’m saying the specific manipulative tactics of advertising have a deep psychological effect that can trigger certain personalities. That’s why we should have checks and balances for responsible advertising, like they have for alcohol and tobacco warnings, but seemingly not for other more insidious tactics.

    The general issue is that corporations like to tell consumers they are entitled to have nice things. That has gotten dangerously out of hand. Gone are the days where it’s cool to earn something. I’d love to see media literacy become a part of our primary schooling, but really once we educate people about how they’re being manipulated, the manipulators will just come up with new tricks anyway.

  261. Crushinator: First, I want to apologize for sounding condescending. This is a topic that means a lot to me and I get lofty when I talk about it. My rant is not aimed at you or anyone specific. It’s just a rant.

    “Real life is not art and art is better for it.”

    I never said real life was art, but anything that happens in life is fair game for an artist. Tough choices with no desirable outcome are a big part of life, and so they can and should be part of art, too. They can be handled well or they can be handled badly. That’s all I meant.

    “I can’t believe that a professor is taking this line of attack.”

    I never said I was a professor. I was just a tutor. I know too many professors to ever want to be one.

    “The problem here is I am talking about a goddamn video game. I am driving the bus, actually. That is the point of the player.”

    I don’t think that’s true. You get to decide when to jump and shoot, but the point of all the jumping and shooting is out of your hands. You only get to rescue the princess when the creator of the game decides it’s time. There’s always an authorial hand at work, at least until the technology improves enough to create truly open-ended stories.

    “I’m really goddamn sick of people pretending that video games are pieces of art hanging in a gallery or a book. It’s not.”

    Okay then. If that’s not you, then I wasn’t talking about you. I’m certainly not that way either. But there are a lot of people who want video games to be recognized as a viable storytelling medium. There’s the ongoing debate Roger Ebert had with video game fans about whether or not the medium could support the kind of , and I just saw the below meme earlier today:

    Video Games Meme: Instead of Another Multiplayer Game RED DEAD REIEFTION STARWARS KNIGHTS OLD REPUBLIC GIVE US MORE GREAT STORIES Real Talk | SIZZLE

    Instead of another multiplayer game
    RED DEAD
    REIEFTION
    STARWARS
    KNIGHTS
    OLD REPUBLIC
    GIVE US MORE GREAT STORIES.
    Real talk. from Twitter tagged as Video Games

    So clearly a large portion of the fanbase doesn’t care as much about gameplay as they do about story. I think that’s kind of foolhardy (Example: GRAND THEFT AUTO IV, in which the story is about a former soldier who’s tired of violence, yet the gameplay is all about savoring the most gratuitous violence imaginable.) It seems that you somewhat agree.

    “it’s artist’s prerogative to con their audience”

    It just sounds like they went with a twist you don’t like. Which is fine. YOU HAVE NO PREROGATIVE TO LIKE ANYTHING YOU DON’T WANT TO. But there are others who would rather the creators go back and change the game than put up with a story they don’t like. That I am against. Again, if that’s not you, I’m not talking about you. I’m just talking.

    Again, sorry for being patronizing. I was never a professor but I certainly have a lecturer in me.

  262. *support the kind of ideas, themes, and emotions that other mediums do

  263. One of my favourite games to replay over and over again is the UNCHARTED series. They blend videogames with the type of rough-around-the-edges-charming Indiana Jones type action adventure rollercoaster ride. They are really fun to experience over and over again with the set pieces and the character moments. They are not movies but not also complete videogames, so I think the complete distinction between the two mediums can sometimes blur.

  264. Fred— Seeing sex doesn’t make you a rapist… it makes you horny. Being horny as well as behaviorally aberrant makes you a rapist. Exceptions to this bit of a sticky wicket exist, of course. I remember reading a (local, for me) news story around 1998 about some 73 year old geezer who raped a 50-something woman whom he knew, who lived in his neighborhood… all because he’d just had his first (and one hopes only) Viagra tab kick in. BOING!… goofy bastard should’ve just rubbed one out.

    I’m happy to say I’m immune to most advertising, if only due to a self-trained Pavlovian conditioning to react to any & all forms of ads as being complete bullshit. It’s all about what THEY want (me to buy their stuff) and not what I want (me to decide for myself). All part of some innate, encompassing sense of rebellion, I suppose.

    Somehow it seems appropriate that a BvS thread would spin out this much.

  265. Crushinator Jones

    June 1st, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Franchise Fred:

    “I truly did not know about the Mass Effect marketing of “it’s YOUR story.” How did that lead get buried in all the ME3 coverage? ”

    Because game journalists are largely wannabe-game developers. That’s who they identify with, and the thought of the dirty proles being able to demand something out of the brave hard-working game-developers – who take these journos to their press junkets in exotic locations and tell them secret game design wisdom – sent a shudder down their collective spines.

    Nevermind that this had nothing to do with artistic vision, and everything to do with “delivering on what you said you would.”

    Mr. Majestyk:

    “It just sounds like they went with a twist you don’t like. Which is fine.”

    Actually, a great analogy would be if I bought a painting that was painted on a compound that sloughed off after 5 years and revealed a completely different painting in a different style with different themes. It wasn’t a “twist”, it was a complete detonation of narrative, theme, and character. I really can’t understate just how bungled it all felt and it’s not possible to evaluate in a vacuum and “get” that.

    I mean look, you can look at me, a guy who said “I don’t like telling artists what they can do with Superman”, loves 70s downer movies, donates to Vern on Patreon for just being Vern and has never asked for anything for it (and never will) and see how fucking red-hot I am about this and maybe say to yourself “holy shit, maybe there is actually something to this guy’s argument beyond entitlement” but w/e, if I can’t convince you I can’t convince you.

    Also I appreciate your apology. Passion is no vice.

  266. I don’t think you’re entitled, and I’m not arguing that the end of the game wasn’t shitty. I’ve never played it and probably never will, so I’ll take your word for it. But I’m sure they didn’t make that choice just to piss people off. No one does that. They probably thought they had a really cool, thought-provoking ending on their hands that people would enjoy. Turns out they were wrong, but that’s the chance you take when you’re the author of something. You make choices and not everyone will like them. As long as you’re not advocating berating the creators into reprogramming the game so it ends the way you want it to and not the way they want it to, I don’t think you’re being entitled about anything. You’re just criticizing something you think sucks. That’s your God-given right.

  267. Larry, I realize it’s dangerous territory, but I’m not suggesting “seeing sex makes you a rapist.” I’m suggesting that advertising is telling people they are entitled to sex and owed sex, often subliminally. Teaching people to read that and resist it is important. I’m glad you seem to see through it naturally.

  268. Mr. Majestyk – “This kind of thinking has always existed, but now it has become the normal form of discourse. And that’s a problem. When people stop wondering what stories mean and start demanding that they mean what they want them to mean, stories become fundamentally meaningless.”

    On the money as usual. Frighteningly so this time.

  269. Crushinator Jones

    June 1st, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    It’s become the normal form of discourse because that’s what companies have encouraged. They’ve pandered to people with the cultural equivalent of junk food. Star Wars was the beginning. What do you think critics are actually saying when they praise Captain America for its “pop sensibilities”? What do you think Kevin Feige is really saying when he talks about stuff being “for the fans” and slavishly recreating all of the comic book’s most popular storylines on the big screen? This is filmic chicken nuggets and ketchup. It’s the cultural equivalent of food for a five year old: endless status-quo supporting vaguely patriotic power fantasies.

    They’ve treated audiences like they were five. Know what a five year old does when they don’t get what they want?

  270. Crushinator Jones

    June 1st, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Let’s put this another way: has any movie that DIDN’T have some toy/comic/food tie-in receive any level of “nerd entitlement” toward it?

    …they’re treating people like children. Deep down, everybody knows it.

  271. Part of the reasons I don’t bother with the MCU is that they feel like inconsequential fluff. Another product on an assembly line and it’s obnoxiously transparent. Even more criminal when promising stars like Chris Evans and proven vets like RDJ are just doing this with their careers and not using their gifts across a greater spectrum of cinema much more often. What a damn waste of talent to be limited that way. The problem is since it’s the one product everyone else wants to be a lot of alternatives also feel the same.

    This is probably why I can count on one hand the amount of times I went to the cinema this year when I used to be someone who went every week. When something like ZOOTOPIA leaves me with more to chew on and ponder about than most live action “adult” fare from Disney themselves or anywhere else there is a problem. But today’s spoiled movie culture has settled and I can’t do anything but sit back and watch.

    It’s not just the “give me what I want or else” sense of entitlement with current releases that is damaging movie fandom. It’s stuff like me just receiving a link to a video where some adults are skewering something like TMNT 2: SECRET OF THE OOZE for basically being what it was designed to be: a silly kid’s movie as if that is something worth spending my time on.

    Like now they’re going retroactive with it. Expecting movies from 20 something years ago to measure up to the standards of movies today that “do it right because they give us what we want”.

    Like it’s unreal to me that I’m actually dealing with other so called movie fans that think it’s worth my time to see some idiots not take a movie on it’s own terms and then bitch about it not measuring up to be what they think it should be instead. On some: “These turtle movies were fun when I was 6 but on rewatch they’re fucking corny” shit. Like, no shit genius! YOU’RE NO LONGER 6!

    It’s just gotten really ridiculous and I generally loathe discussing cinema or reading articles outside of this sight anymore. Which is a heartbreaking realization considering how much I love this artform in the first place. When you can’t no longer read articles about upcoming pictures without these so called journalists pointing out random box office figures and other uncalled for “who really gives a fuck?” number crunching because they now assume we’re all armchair bean counters you know things have really gone to shit.

  272. Crushinator Jones

    June 1st, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Cinemasins is, and I’m not exaggerating here, one of the biggest pieces of fucking shit of all time. That mentality is un-fuckin’-believable.

  273. Crushinator Jones

    June 1st, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Also can anyone imagine someone watching “Captain America: Civil War” and saying “yeah, this is it. This is why I wanna make movies!”? It would be like eating a potato chip and wanting to be a chef.

    Ok I’m done spamming for a while. Cheers.

  274. It’s no longer about: “oh this movie is pairing actor A with director B and writer C. That sounds pretty interesting”

    It’s now generally more like: “I wonder what the budget is? will we be seeing all that money up on the screen? Will it look cheaper than what it actually cost? Does that mean most of that money went to marketing? Could it make it to a billion? Will it be able to make enough to break movie x’s record? What new opening weekend or random box office record will it set? Will it be able to recoup?”

    As if those are questions the audience member should even be asking.

    This is the exact same mentality that killed hip hop music (ie: what was the album’s budget? How many superstar producers will that be able to get it? Will it outshine the last overproduced quantity over quality formulaic release or will it just match it? Not in terns of quality by the way but in terms of budhet and sales bla bla bla). Which is what makes it even scarier. Movies in general as we knew them are now possibly gone forever because priorities will now lie where they shouldn’t.

  275. This idea of “fan expectation” kinda reminds me of seeing a famous comedian in the early ‘oughts, and having one drunk audience member shout out the jokes he wanted to hear. “Do ‘bananas!'” he would shout. It confused me at the time, because in order to request it, the guy had to already know the joke. Why would you want to hear a joke you’d already heard?, I wondered. “This guy doesn’t like the order in which I’m telling the jokes,” the comedian quipped. “He thought they’d be alphabetical.”

    Ten years later, we’ve all become that guy — shouting at artists to do the thing we already imagined, exactly the way we imagined it. I don’t understand why people even worry about “spoilers” anymore — they’ve got such a clear idea in their head about what they want, anything they couldn’t assume going in (or at least reasonably expect) is already gonna make them angry.

    I think Mr. M is completely on point, as usual: the problem is that while the culture has become increasingly saturated with reaction to art, we’ve neglected to teach people about actually engaging with art on their own terms. All we’ve taught them to do is shout about their feelings. It’s not criticism, it’s narcissism — “this is not what I wanted,” not, “this is how the internal mechanics of this piece of art do or do not work.”

  276. That was the biggest enemy of this picture.

    “WTF dude Bruce Timm already did it in some overrated cartoon all they had to do was remake it scene for scene in live action.”

    No! fuck you! cause that story has already been done and there is so much more you can do with Batman and Superman in a story than that. At least this movie tried some new angles and quirks with some at this point tired pop culture characters.

    Like I’m glad the hundreds of stories I’ve seen with these characters together still didn’t quite prepare me for what this movie was. I welcome surprises. That shit was more engaging than just watching the predictable route most wanted out of this. It’s just a shame that so many have such a narrow minded concept and complete misunderstanding of what storytelling is that they couldn’t do the same. Their loss.

    I remember growing up the storyteller never gave the audience what they thought they wanted. They went the extra mile and gave the audience what they the storyteller knew the audience NEEDED instead. Even if the audience didn’t initially know they needed it. Such a depressing notion that across media (books and music are suffering from this too) this concept is now as alien as a donkey fron Saturn.

  277. Broddie: I remember getting into an argument about Puffy one time. I said that he was a terrible rapper and a lazy producer who pandered to the lowest common denominator at all times and generally lowered the bar for hip-hop music in general, and nobody could argue with that. “Yeah, but he makes a lot of money,” was the crux of the other side of the argument. I just can’t wrap my head around why that would matter to anyone. I mean, that must be great for Puffy, but I listen to music, not spreadsheets.

  278. That reminds me of the people that insist Jay-Z is a better rapper than Nas not because he puts out superior music, not due to greater lyrical dexterity or fresher flows but because he’s:

    1) Richer

    2) Married to Beyonce

    Like….ok? How exactly does that make him the better rapper?

    I will never understand people’s obsessions with other people’s bank accounts and manhoods above their art or whatever their trade made be. As if those are supposed to be legitimate merit badges in any given field and shit.

  279. CrustaceanLove

    June 1st, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Crushinator: I couldn’t give one solitary shit that a bunch of people (yourself included, apparently) fell for the marketing too hard. If you want unconstrained freedom then play a tabletop RPG. It’s a video game, which by necessity means you’re picking from a series of binary choices that may or may not affect the story down the line. You’ve played games long enough to know that it’s all smoke and mirrors and the illusion of choice. You’re NOT driving the bus, at best the driver is asking you whether he should turn left or right every so often, and likely you’ll end up at the same destination anyway.

    They told the story they wanted to tell. You didn’t like it, and that’s fine. I didn’t much like it either (although I thought ME3 had other problems). I have a problem with the people who were campaigning to patch a new ending into the game under the guise of “consumer advocacy”. They are the ones treating video games like a consumer product that has to tick off a bunch of marketing checkboxes.

    And your nonsense about game devs and game journalists is some Grade A GamerGate-level conspiracy theory bullshit.

  280. CrustaceanLove

    June 1st, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Crushinator: I also find it really fucking weird that you dislike audience placation and praise filmmakers for making difficult choices, and yet when faced with a video game ending you didn’t expect you treat it like a massive betrayal of audience expectation and collapse into a bunch of hyberbolic nonsense about a homeless guy’s butthole or whatever.

  281. 1. I love games with good stories which is why The Last of Us is the best post apocalyptic zombie story since Forever.

    2. I don’t understand why it’s wrong for people to be upset about a shifty ending. Would you really be ok if we find out John McClain has been a dead alien monster working a 9 to 5 dead end job and all the Die Hard movies were an existential dream about watermelons? Or would you prefer yippe Kai Ai mottherfucker?

  282. I think Crushinator’s ME3 point is legit. I think there is a certain class of movie that has made an implicit contract with its viewers to deliver a certain experience, and certain narrative-slash-tonal moves that are beyond the pale for that film. There is no law against the filmmaker or the studio doing whatever they want, but the audience has every right to be angry and feel ripped off. As Crushinator points out, certain films absolutely are marketed as “brands” with entire product lines. A Chris Evans’s-starring 2010s Captain America film that ends with Cap raping Black Widow and then committing a murder-suicide is not against the law, but it is tonally and narratively off. Rocky murdering Adonis Creed and then fleeing to Mexico? Jack Sparrow dying of a heroin overdose?

    In contrast, there is a class of film that makes no pretense at being part of a “brand,” “franchise,” “product” or “universe.” Such films are presented as stand-alone artworks or narrative journeys that aren’t beholden to the rules of the particular franchise. Those kinds of films can go in any number of directions (but note, even with Revenant, wouldn’t it have been weird if it ended with Leo and Hardy going into an impromptu song an dance number then engaging in a full-on make-out session?).

    Different films bring different types of expectations. A film that costs $500B+ to make and market, and which is the umpteenth entry in a well-established, PG/PG-13 broad audience tentpole franchise based on a beloved 60+ year-old pop culture hero, absolutely is a product that critically depends on broad, multi-national, general audience appeal in order to break even. It’s not an art film, and it’s not being funded by charity. The interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe has become a product/genre unto itself, and there is some need for tonal and narrative cohesion across that universe for the whole thing to sustain itself and work.

    Meanwhile, good, weird, arty shit is being made all the time.

    Also, nobody mentioned foreign audiences and markets, which I think is only tangentially related to the internet per se. It’s not just fanboy slacktivism that’s driving the tentpole-ness of the film industry. Big budget tentpole-oriented studios were focus grouping and demanding reshoots and crap like that long before the internet was a thing.

    Also, an earlier point Majestyk makes is that an audience member is not entitled to a film that delivers enjoyment of the more fluffy, escapist kind. The film doesn’t owe you that. Bullshit. The Revenant does not owe you a happy (or sad) ending. Creed does not owe you an Adonis Creed victory (or loss). Captain America IV starring Chris Evans owns you fun and reasonable assurance that the film will not end with Hulk sodomizing Captain America’s rotting corpse.

  283. *”owns” –> “owes”

  284. I never said anything of the sort.

  285. CrustaceanLove

    June 1st, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    I’ve got no problem with anyone disliking the ending. I thought it was a total flub that aimed for a grand metaphysical statement and fell short. But for people to act like they deserve their money back, or worse, that the game devs should patch in a different ending that is more to their tastes, is an assault on art that I will not stand for. When you pay for a game you are trusting the game developers to take you on a journey, and that’s where your contract with them ends. If you are that upset then don’t buy MASS EFFECT 4, although I have no doubt EA will try to avoid a similar reaction by making it the safe, crowd-pleasing pabulum that some of you claim to hate so much.

  286. I think Crushinator and Skani both come really close to what I consider to be the crucial criticism of Feracis argument: namely, that he is wrong in thinking that comic books and Disney cartoons and Marvel movies are art and not commercial products. It is absurd to demand anything at all of an artist or his/her work, but it is equally absurd to deny consumers the right to request what they want from the products of their consumption. If Oreos stops putting the cream between the cookies, it is totally reasonable for people to be like #notmyoreos or whatever. Capitalism functions on the relationship between supply and demand; consumer desire is critical to the process.

    Marvel movies and comic books and Disney cartoons (and I suspect video games as well, though I dont have much experience with those) are just Oreos. Of course it is reasonable for the consumers of this shit to request that it be a certain way. This stuff is created specifically to cater to the fans in an attempt to get those fans to spend their money on it. These are not the products of artistic vision; they are the products of an assembly line. The problem isnt that the consumer is entitled; its that we have come to accept capitalist widgets like Civil War as legitimate art. Feraci is part of the problem here; not part of the solution.

    Once you realize this, the whole argument splits into two issues. One is the uncomplicated issue of pointing out that death threats and other forms of harassment are wrong. The other is the much trickier problem of defining the line between art and commerce and then deciding how to support or not support those two very different things.

  287. Crushinator Jones

    June 1st, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    CrusteaceanLove sez:

    ” But for people to act like they deserve their money back, or worse, that the game devs should patch in a different ending that is more to their tastes, is an assault on art that I will not stand for. ”

    What a sanctimonious little prick you are being. You’ve now degraded into the point where you’ve become a yes-man lickspittle to a flim-flam man that looked into the camera for half a decade and lied about the product. He didn’t exaggerate. He didn’t “spin”. He fucking lied about what he was going to do and how the goddamn thing was going to work. And your honest-to-god defense of this is “he’s an artist! he can say anything he wants and it’s just marketing and you’re a fool for believing it!” My god, man.

  288. Eric – if all that’s true, then what the hell have I been writing about here for 17+ years? I was under the impression that these movies were the expressions of artists and storytellers. I was reading all kinds of ideas and emotions into them. I loved when they surprised or challenged me, when they subverted or reinvented genres, when they were unexpectedly weird, when they threw people for a loop. I loved passionately discussing them, I found many who would discuss them with me here, and read what I had to say about them.

    If somebody had told us this was just Oreos the whole time I think we would’ve all spent these past couple decades very differently. thanks alot jerks

  289. Crushinator Jones

    June 1st, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    I mean it’s not real hard to understand my perspective: you don’t have the right to demand anything out of the artist that he or she didn’t promise you. But by god if he or she says he’s gonna do it to get your cash, he or she had better do it. This ain’t a fuckin’ art gallery.

    The fact that a sizeable chunk of you apparently think it’s sacrilegious to the concept of art to hold somebody accountable for what they said they were gonna do is fuckin’ nuts. It really is.

    And another thing: whether you want to admit it or not, if you slot your fucking movie/book/whatever into an existing franchise there is already a promise made and an expectation given, whether you want it to be or not. Y’all know it’s true. Long before comic book punchmans, Bruce Willis had to talk Vern out of the tree after we heard Die Hard 4 was PG-13. It wasn’t because we’re entitled babies. It’s because the name “Die Hard” was a fuckin’ promise and PG-13 directly contradicted that. And a couple people grumbled and said “man I wish it was R” but the reality is that Die Hard wasn’t a huge franchise obsessively followed by tens of millions of people. If it was I guarantee you a couple of them would have been unhinged enough to send death threats.

    Because, in addition to the pandering, the other problem here is that the audience for this shit is H U G E and if even one in ten thousand is a raving loon that’s thousand of people clogging up twitter and social media with crazy. It appears that it’s a huge mob but it’s actually the minority of minorities. So of course self-loathing nerds like Farraci inflate this group to be “everyone” and bash the hell out of them to feel good about themselves. I’m not impressed.

    People don’t change. Circumstances change. Society is filled with the same kinds of people as in Roman times. If they all suddenly demand that huge franchises pander to them, somebody put that idea in their head. It’s not some innate thing.

  290. This is the best and liveliest movie discussion ever to involve the metaphor of a homeless man’s hemorrhoids in a coloring book.

    Clearly we’re all mourning the death of art and the impossibility of audiences accepting stories with inconvenient events or themes in them.

    But maybe it would help to think a little less about franchise studio tentpoles and to look at, say, TV. I don’t watch as much modern TV as everyone else, but it seems like the most acclaimed, talked-about and passionately-followed TV dramas are all about putting their characters through difficult situations. Game of Thrones, in particular, is famous for its willingness to kill off well-liked characters.

    Here’s another optimistic way to think about it. For a while I’ve been worrying that movies aren’t as culturally important as they used to be, that it’s rare for a movie to be as controversial and talked-about as, say, BLUE VELVET or DO THE RIGHT THING (let alone EL TOPO or PINK FLAMINGOS) were back in the day. But if modern audiences really have become so thin-skinned and set in their ways then if anything that suggests that movies do still have the power to shake people up. Look, a freaking GHOSTBUSTERS reboot is becoming a major referendum on gender roles. And that’s not even talking about Lars von Trier films or anything that gets booed at Cannes.

    If the masses are threatened by art, that shows that art still has power. It sucks that storytellers now must be willing to endure Jackie Robinson levels of public abuse, yet somehow this reassures me that being an artist and storyteller is still a brave and heroic act.

  291. Majestyk, you said:

    Very often, I would ask freshman English students what they thought of a particular event in a story or novel. I would often get a response that boiled down to “I didn’t like it.” …It was extremely difficult to get across to them that you’re not supposed to “like” it. The important thing is: What does it mean? What is the author trying to accomplish by making this event transpire? But most people don’t think of stories as artificial realities that have been constructed to fulfill a narrative or thematic goal. They think of them as historical scrolls that have been passed down fully formed from on high. They didn’t “like” it when characters fail or die or betray loved ones or themselves in the same way they wouldn’t “like” it if the same thing happened to someone they knew in real life.

    Then you said:
    I never said real life was art, but anything that happens in life is fair game for an artist. Tough choices with no desirable outcome are a big part of life, and so they can and should be part of art, too. They can be handled well or they can be handled badly. That’s all I meant.

    —-

    I agree with your second excerpted statement but not your first. I think a person has a right to expect to “like” a film and to be dissatisfied if they end up not liking a film, because that film generally lacked quality or payoff, or because it substantially failed to deliver what could be reasonably expected of it in terms of tone, coherent character motives, etc., from the trailers and so forth. Note that “like” need not equate to “made me feel all warm and happy.” I “like” Crimes and Misdemeanors, Revenant, and Drive. None of them has a Pollyanna happy resolution. If a film sets itself up as Bridget Jones 3 but actually plays more like Tree of Life, I have a right to feel hoodwinked.

    Genres and sub-genres (I use the term loosely) create narrative, tonal, and character motivation/behavior expectations. These structures need not be hyper-rigid, and a lot of the entertainment value is in finding subtle ways to bend or subvert convention while maintaining and paying off the audience’s engagement, absorption, etc. Nevertheless, genres set expectations and a kind of grammar. For example, on balance the current iteration of the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” mini-genre calls for a net tendency toward a happy ending. It doesn’t mean there can’t be real-stakes betrayals, injuries, deaths, or fallout, or even individual movies that end on a downer note, but the ultimate trajectory is toward a “good guys save the day” happy ending. They also tend toward a pretty clean, linear, three-act structure. That’s the tone and convention of the established universe, and so one of those ridiculous, “how twisted is that shit, am I right?” alterna-endings that I was describing above would just be too harsh and dark and bizarre to work in that world. That’s my only point. The audience is in no position to demands specific storylines, character behaviors, or endings in a micro-managey way, but the audience does have a legitimate basis for rejecting certain things as so inherently tonally/narratively/character-arc-wise off-base or unearned as to be out-of-bounds. Of course, none of that gives the audience a right to demand a different ending, but it does give them a right to be pissed off and disappointed when Bridget Jones 3 ends with Bridget dying in a car crash or when Hawkeye contracts HIV from Ant Man after the two share a dirty needle in the final ambiguous maybe-it-was-all-a-dream/maybe-not sequence of Avengers IV. Which sounds like the rough equivalent of what happened with ME3.

  292. And it also seems like there’s a range of opinion here on whether Hollywood movies (and pop culture in general) are (a) works of artistic expression that should not pander to the masses, or (b) consumer products that should satisfy their audience.

    The reality of course has generally been somewhere in between, and that’s part of what makes Hollywood movies interesting and why we like to analyze them.

    I once got in an argument with some guy online who was bashing the J.J. Abrams STAR TREK movies for being “corporate”. I challenged him on that lazy insult and pointed out that STAR TREK was never this underground art movement restricted to Greenwich Village coffee houses, that STAR TREK was originally developed for network television, has sold all kinds of merchandise, etc. His stance seemed to be that STAR TREK had a particular integrity that would be destroyed by making it more “corporate” or “mainstream” or “Hollywood” … yet by the end of the argument he had resorted to the metaphor that audiences expected a certain product and are right to be disgruntled when that product is not delivered to the standard that the audience wants.

    So clearly people hold conflicting views on what feels authentic vs. what feels too much like calculated product. Maybe the basic conflict is that we regard anything we like as authentic and having integrity, and anything that seems tailored for other people’s taste as corporate and mainstream and pandering. People who like indie films have different expectations than those who like summer blockbusters. Even for myself, when I go to an indie film I have different expectations than when I go to a summer blockbuster.

  293. I think even massive, corporate “products” (read: any Disney movie) can also be art (no one here has defined art, have they?). My point is that I am entitled to form a valent reaction toward a creative work on the basis of reasonable expectations, and that the artist is not entitled to my plaudits or buy-in for any given un-earned character beat or lazily cheesy effect or tone-deaf line of dialogue or WTF narrative choice or tonal inconsistency or whatever. It is not a dichotomy between product and art, or at least need not always be one. When I buy or rent a film, I am paying for an artistic product. That seems self-evident.

  294. Perhaps one of the biggest issues behind all the recent nerd rage is not just the lack of respect for authors trying to tell a story.

    There used to be a basic respect for artists and for anyone else with some kind of public accomplishment to their name. But what I sense a lot on the Internet nowadays is a core resentment of anyone who has achieved something. If you got a movie made or a book published then you’re an uppity show-off making the rest of us look bad and you need to be taught a lesson.

    When I hear people say they dislike a movie or a musician or whatever, it’s often with a certain pride, as if by rejecting a piece of pop culture they are asserting their individuality against the system. The irony, of course, is that the ‘geeks’ who most espouse this left-wing-sounding rejection of mass culture are the very people whose entire cultural identity is based around those very products.

    Also Vern, I think Faraci didn’t invoke Lucas’ Star Wars prequels in his argument because Faraci himself is one of the biggest prequel haters you’re likely to find. And it’s likely he is unaware of the irony, given his not-my-Superman rants of late.

  295. Also, having read the Faraci article, I want to underscore that bullying or puerile trolling of artists (or anyone) is never cool. I don’t condone that kind of behavior. Nor do I condone fans dictating plotlines like the Frozen 2 thing or whatever. There are definitely a lot of dark currents out there on the web, whether it is truly creepy stalker or bullying stuff, or whether it is the more whiny, entitled, overly-on-the nose fanboy or identity politics slacktivism. That stuff sucks. At the same time, I think fans are entitled to certain expectations, the main one being a generally satisfying and meritorious film, which is somewhat subjective, but not wholly subjective. And it strikes me as just lacking credibility to say that a film for which tickets and DVDs and product tie-ins are sold, and which must make upwards of $1B to recoup its budget is not in some substantial way a “product.” That doesn’t mean it can’t also be creative, but to say that it is not a product reflects a misunderstanding or unwillingness to accept that “product” is a meaningful word with certain implications and features corresponding to actual features of reality (namely, commerce).

  296. Crushinator: Clearly I didn’t pay as close attention to the marketing materials as you did. I tend not to take that stuff too seriously. I mean, directors in interviews promise all sorts of things about their upcoming films, and of course there are plenty of trailers that made a bad film look terrific or like it belongs to different genre altogether. If the movie fails to deliver on what I thought I was promised I don’t walk up to the ticket counter and demand my money back or even think that’s a reasonable thing to do. That’s just the gamble you take when you plunk down money for a ticket. I see video games the same way.

  297. I think the entitlement issue illustrates a big picture developmental issue: it’s okay not to like something. You’re not entitled to like everything, but the way art is being sold (as it has to be sold to justify its budgets) is telling people that they should like everything. This is ALL for YOU.

    You’d think it’d be common sense that if you don’t like something, you don’t watch it (or at least don’t watch it again or buy it on DVD) and move on to something else. If it’s a franchise you love, they can make a bad sequel and maybe you’ll like the next one better (Fast and the Furious anyone?) It’s the demand to like everything, the expectation that you deserve to like everything, that is unhealthy.

    The issue of being promised something reminds me of Lost and the people who said they hated the whole six year series because the ending didn’t give them the answers they were promised. Well, so what if the artist promises answers? The artist can be wrong and still have delivered interesting art. I feel that watching a show for six years just to get to the ending is the wrong way to have that experience anyway. If you just want to know how it ends you can read the wiki. You should be able to enjoy the 5.9 years of satisfying emotional investment, or however many hours of gameplay, even if the ending is a disappointment or outright heartbreak.

    It’s a matter of perspective though. Are you trying to enjoy this experience? Seems the effort to violently demand the product/art/game/movie be changed is far greater than the introspective options of reframing your own experience or simply getting over it and moving on.

    Remember how happy Spider-Man fans were with The Amazing Spider-Man? Finally, a movie got Spider-Man right and he even built his own web shooters! How’d that work out for them?

  298. I gotta admit it was pretty damn sweet to see those mechanical web shooters. And one even malfunctioned, just like the comics. Hopefully the next reboot gives us those excessive gobs of McFarlane-style webs.

  299. Crushinator Jones

    June 2nd, 2016 at 8:55 am

    CrusteaceanLove:

    ” If the movie fails to deliver on what I thought I was promised I don’t walk up to the ticket counter and demand my money back or even think that’s a reasonable thing to do. ”

    We’re not talking about promise. We’re talking about misrepresentation. If a movie bills itself as a comedy, tells you it’s going to be a comedy, and has director interviews where he says “it’s going to be the funniest comedy you’ve ever seen” and the previous two movies were really funny comedies but the third is in fact a jokeless drama about cancer survival then it’s perfectly ok to walk up and say “Hi, I bought a ticket for a comedy and this ain’t one. I want my money back, please.” And if you can’t get your money back and the price of the ticket was…oh, say, 70 dollars…then people would be rather upset and probably demand that they get the comedy they were promised since that is their only remedy.

    Now a couple of things:

    1) OF COURSE you’re going to get idiots who interpret ambiguous shit wrong and flip out, like that dumbass lady from Drive. That’s not what happened with Mass Effect. It simply stopped doing what the developers said it would do.

    2) OF COURSE some small minority of people are going to be perfectly fine with a switcharoo for various reasons and watch the drama and enjoy it. That doesn’t mean that the overwhelming majority have no merit!

    3) OF COURSE saying that a drama is a comedy is not the same thing as someone saying “I’m trying to make the best drama ever” or showing clips of the movie edited to accentuate its best qualities.

    I mean even old Bill Shakespeare didn’t fuck around with audience expectations. The full title of Hamlet is “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”. I’m sure the playbills and posters promised you the most tragic tragedy that you’d ever seen – that’s marketing – but they didn’t lie about what the play actually was. They didn’t pretend it was a comedy. And I’m really quite baffled why you can’t pick up on this distinction.

    If the intent of the Mass Effect developers was to yank the story away from an easy space opera power fantasy (which every previous games 100% were) and instead descend into the realm of unsatisfying metaphysical nonsense despite the player’s wishes then that should have been communicated, because it’s a huge betrayal of everything they ever said about the game FROM THE VERY FIRST TRAILER to the last.

    And the funny thing is, if you actually know how the game was developed, they shot themselves in the foot. They wanted the ending to be some grand metaphysical statement. The original game ending that the team came up with it was a boss fight with the corrupted antagonist from ME2 and multiple endings but the producers decided that was “too much like a video game” and locked themselves in a room and decided to go with the garbage that they did. And that’s hilarious to me. Can you imagine Spielberg saying that the ending to Raiders of the Lost Ark was “too much like a movie” and going with some wacked-out, thematically incoherent shit? L O L

  300. Yes, and boss fights are sooo much fun.

  301. Crushinator Jones

    June 2nd, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Curt:

    “There used to be a basic respect for artists and for anyone else with some kind of public accomplishment to their name. But what I sense a lot on the Internet nowadays is a core resentment of anyone who has achieved something. If you got a movie made or a book published then you’re an uppity show-off making the rest of us look bad and you need to be taught a lesson. ”

    Well I’m gonna let you in on my theory: millennials have been absolutely destroyed by this country’s economy and they know it. Baby boomers don’t give a fuck about them – they got theirs and they pulled the ladder up behind them and are banking on being dead before all of their shit decisions catch up to them. GenX people like myself are barely able to hold on to what we have. And millennials are getting ass-fucked on a dying world where there’s not enough to go around. They know they’re fucked, and misery loves company. When there’s not enough to go around you don’t celebrate success, you tear people down.

  302. Crushinator Jones

    June 2nd, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Shoot:

    “Yes, and boss fights are sooo much fun.”

    Yes, they unironically are if they’re done properly. This isn’t controversial.

    And anyway I’m more laughing about a guy making a video game and saying “hold on….this is too much like a video game, the thing I am making!” and then pulling the narrative equivalent of slipping on a banana peel and falling down a flight of stairs into a pile of shit at the bottom.

  303. I seem to remember fighting The Iluusive man in ME3. Was that part of the Extended ending? I honestly don´t know as I have only played the game with the Extended Cut material.

  304. Crushinator Jones

    June 2nd, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Shoot, that actually explains a lot because they significantly improved the ending from the original. Don’t get me wrong – it was still pretty bad, but the most egregiously terrible stuff was largely excised.

    And to answer your question, yes you did confront him but did not fight him. You have a little conversation and then trigger an interrupt to shoot him in the head.

  305. Broddie:

    I grew up on the Bruce Timm cartoons and love them still but it makes me laugh at the whole ‘Just film that!’ which kind of translates into ‘Just do that again because it was faithful.’ The Timm cartoons took HUGE liberties with the source material at times but because that is how most of my generation was introduced to the DC Universe (and also it is so well liked), that is in our minds the ‘right’ way to do it. Which is of course ridiculous. I wonder how some of the changes Timm and his team made would go down today if they were released today? Not too great I expect.

    Also, adapting the World’s Finest episodes as-is would be a bad idea because it’s two good fun episodes with a not very good at all third and final episode.

    I do agree with you on why I side with liking BvS even though it’s not good. It surprised me despite me being a big nerd and starting to get a feeling I’ve seen everything that there is to do with these characters (which is a ridiculous statement as well).

    Mr. M
    Thank you very much on getting to the root of how we should consume art (finding it’s meaning) vs. how a lot of actually do. I’m going to quote (with credit to you) that for a while now.

    I’ll stay out of the Mass Effect 3 debate because, not having played them, I’m in no position to agree or disagree with Crush.

    As for the ‘Is mass-mainstream stuff art’ debate, I’m with the camp that it is, even when it was clearly dictated by a marketing department and clueless executives going for the mythical four quadrants. I once read a comment when the whole Ebert is wrong about video games debate was going on that said, even if video games aren’t art, they are made by artists and are comprised of art. It’s a simplistic view on things but I agree with it. Is BvS and Civil War a product? I’d find it hard to say no when there are cereals, Pop-Tarts, fruit snacks, and what have you being made to coincide with the release. But BvS definitely feels like it reflects Snyder and Goyer’s world views and attitudes even though it smacks of studio intervention (it seems so at least, Snyder is the one who keeps trumpeting it as a filmmaker’s movie so maybe he DID want Wonder Woman to sit down and watch YouTube videos). I’m not sure how much control the Russo Brother’s had over Civil War but Iron Man 3 and Gaurdians of the Galaxy and the two Avengers definitely felt like the works of their directors and not the result of some assembly line (yes even the much tinkered with Age of Ultron). I think my point is getting muddled so what I’m saying is, even if it is designed to sell lunch boxes, the hired artists make it art (in my useless opinion). I’m not saying I have to personally like it for me to (personally) consider it art. Example: I really do not like that Platinum Dunes remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, it’s as cold and calculated a product as they come out of the Hollywood system. I still consider it art, just art that is not to my liking (the kind made by guys who don’t care and just want to exploit a known-name). Hell, the Transformers movies are product through-and-through but after watching one/them you know EXACTLY what kind of person/artist Michael Bay. In my opinion that makes them art even though they are product. Thus I really hope that commentor I agreed with isn’t a game gator.

    I guess another argument is what a teacher brought up in an art class once asking if Football is art because it is accepted and beloved by so many people. She said there was no correct answer but to get a good grade the correct one was ‘No, football is for stupid plebeians.’ Which was a big round about way for her to say that if it is made for the masses (or made to turn a profit) it is not art.

    Skanni said no one here as defined art and I’ve seen enough of these types of arguments to believe that everyone has their own definition of what art is which makes these debates even worse.

  306. In keeping with the talk about “fan expectations,” check out the news that Disney is ordering reshoots on ROGUE ONE, “… to lighten the mood, bring some levity into the story and restore a sense of fun to the adventure,” “after execs screened the film and felt it was tonally off with what a ‘classic’ Star Wars movie should feel like,” and felt too much “like a war movie.”

    I mean, if there’s a more paradigmatic example of exactly the kind of thing we’re talking about here, I can’t imagine what that would be. Here they’ve got a movie with “War” in the name, which has a distinct enough character to be described in specific terms (“a war movie”) and they decide to go back and add a bunch of jokes, just to be sure that people will be getting something exactly like they already expect, nothing new or surprising or with its own unique vision.

    Also, rumor is they want to add a Han Solo cameo, because, of course they would. It wouldn’t at all ruin his character arc if he was helping the rebels before the events of NEW HOPE.

  307. I suppose I will never understand the video game thing, but I’m still not convinced. We’ve all had movies we hated, movies with terrible endings that ruined them, movies we love having bad sequels. We can hate them and discuss them but the idea of banding together and really believing that the studio owes us, say, redone A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD action sequences that are viewable, or a more sensical plot twist at the end of HIGH TENSION, just makes me cringe in embarrassment to even think about. It’s ridiculous. It just doesn’t jibe with what movies are, and isn’t even logistically possible because many times the masses are fucking wrong. If movies followed this policy then John Carpenter would’ve been in trouble with THE THING because the audience didn’t want something that dark and they wanted the ending to be explained. George Miller would’ve had to remake BABE: PIG IN THE CITY because we thought it was going to be adorable and huggable and we were misled.

    It also bothers me because it’s such a pet peeve of mine – even though I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it – when people don’t like a movie because they expected it to be something else. It looked from the trailer like it was this, but it was this other thing. Well, congratulations, you got to be surprised. It wasn’t the thing you pictured. What did you think of the thing it was? I hate the idea of wanting this movie or video game that you’re passionate about be limited by the small imaginations and sometimes stupid expectations of the masses.

    But I don’t think we’re even really arguing anything here. You are talking about this one case of this one game that got your goat, it doesn’t seem to apply to any other situation, which is good.

  308. BATMAN VS SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE Ultimate Edition Trailer (2016)

    Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice Extended Cut Blu-Ray Trailer 2016 - DC Superhero Movie HD (Official #Trailer) Subscribe for New Trailers: http://goo.gl/KKB...

  309. Looks like they may have dropped their plans for a theatrical release of the Ultimate Edition then. Unless they plan on announcing it later which is probably doubtful.

  310. Vern, I agree and I remember having this debate on a less sophisticated level as a kid when my friends were disappointed in a movie that turned out to be different than expected. I actually liked the thing it was better so I was happy. The main example I have was Joe Versus the Volcano. Friends expected wacky Tom Hanks comedy. It was magical realism satire. Although I didn’t know those words at the time, I liked magical realism satire more and I realized that I could adapt to what a movie was rather than what I expected. That probably helped me enjoy Hudson Hawk and Last Action Hero in the future too.

    As for art vs. product, I’m not really worried about that. There has always been mainstream, four quadrant entertainment and there always will be. There have also always been Steven Spielbergs, James Camerons and Christopher Nolans who found unique artistic voices in those formats, and there always will be. Hopefully we’ll add some women to the list in the near future too.

  311. Crushinator Jones

    June 2nd, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Vern:

    “I suppose I will never understand the video game thing, but I’m still not convinced. We’ve all had movies we hated, movies with terrible endings that ruined them, movies we love having bad sequels. We can hate them and discuss them but the idea of banding together and really believing that the studio owes us, say, redone A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD action sequences that are viewable, or a more sensical plot twist at the end of HIGH TENSION, just makes me cringe in embarrassment to even think about. It’s ridiculous.”

    I am not actually saying that. I am saying that if posters advertised “A Good Die to Die Hard ends with the ending you, the audience, choose!” and then they just went ahead and did their own thing it would be bad. I really don’t understand why this is so hard for me to communicate but it clearly is.

  312. I had no clue that this Mass Effect 3 ending was such a big deal. I guess I heard some rumblings through the internet, but, damn, people are pissed. I never played those games, so I can’t really comment.

    I do think Franchise Fred has a point about the way that film’s are presented. I’m sure these studios have an entire marketing arm devoted to placating the nerd masses, getting the actors to play nice at Comic Cons, and giving these audiences sneak peaks. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but the language they use is always about pleasing the fans. We will be “true” to the “right” version of Batman/Superman/Captain American when in fact there is no single “true” version of these characters. Both the studios and the geek chorus are guilty in making the audience think they own these characters.

    I’m reminded of how people on the internet discussed superhero films in the early aughts. There was plenty of talk about how these are serious stories with deep themes and the studios need to recognize this. To show they were serious, the studios went out and picked some directors with strong visions to direct these early movies: Sam Raimi, Ang Lee, Bryan Singer, Christopher Nolan, etc. The nerd community accepted some of these versions, but they hated anything that tried to do something unique with the character. They turned on Hulk and Superman Returns, which were arguably the two superhero films that tried the most to treat superheroes as real characters that had depth, and they’re without a doubt the most hated superhero films out there. So even nerds don’t know what the hell they want. Hell, they even turned on Raimi who arguably made the most accurate translations of comic book sensibilities to the movie screen.

  313. Crushinator Jones

    June 2nd, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    I’m sick of talking about a 4 year old video game ending and I want to talk about the new trailer, which pretty much confirms what I already suspected: executives sliced this film into hash. The new stuff looks really, really good.

  314. I agree! According to cinematographer Larry Fong it will not convert anyone though:

    Larry Fong on Twitter

    “Those of you who are fans, will dig it. If you hated it, you'll still hate it.”

  315. Crushinator:

    “When there’s not enough to go around you don’t celebrate success, you tear people down.”

    I think you nailed it, but I still think it sucks. In ye olden days, being dead broke didn’t completely stop people from being poets or painters. And technology has made it easier for people not only to create things but to share them. I still believe that if someone does something ambitious, the appropriate reaction is to be impressed or inspired and maybe motivated to do something comparable yourself … not just be mad that someone did something you didn’t do.

    I don’t like the idea of artists – individually or as a class – being targets of mob resentment. And I can’t see how anyone else who still cares about movies, literature, music, etc. (let alone those of us with the passion and drive to want to create such work ourselves) would not also be alarmed by this.

  316. Tired. Kind of a ramble…

    I agree that a lot of this stuff is ridiculous in terms of people attempting to petition the studios to make the movie the way they want it. Like the Captain America thing or Frozen 2 thing or whatever.

    At the same time, I think there are other things that are also ridiculous on the other side. Like, I think it is ridiculous to expect Disney or Marvel to plunk down $500M bucks or whatever on a big bet film and then have them waive any right to provide a level of oversight and editorial control on the process. Or to expect them to not focus group it or whatever else. They are a business, and you don’t spend mind-boggling sums of money on something and then just let the filmmaker go of the chain and see what happens. Unless it’s Fantastic Four or whatever, I guess. When certain films are pushed as products, and critically depend on huge international box office, and are supposed to work as a reasonably thematically/tonally coherent universes, I think the range of viable creative moves is more restricted and the need to satisfy the “customer” grows. It’s not a question of good or bad, it’s just economics and risk mitigation and whatnot. If you want to take big, far-out narrative or tonal risks, don’t couple that to huge financial risks, unless you (the studio) have nerves of steel and you (the filmmaker) have a track record to back you up.

    Also, there are cases of fans and their petitions and voting with their dollars having a positive impact. Shows being revived from the brink of cancellation, crowdfunding, etc. It’s not all bad. Likewise, I believe there are probably movies that have been made better as a result of focus grouping and reshoots. Feedback from diverse perspectives and revisions in light of feedback are not inherently evil.

    But, yeah, as a fan, if you love a filmmaker and their vision and their types of stories, I would hope a good fan would just butt out and let them do their thing. I’m not going to tell Woody Allen or Malick or Scorsese that his next film needs to include more prominent product placements or lighter tone or Beyonce or a happy ending. On the other hand, if you’re the studio that has committed to this high-stakes, big-bet tentpole filmmaking, I’m not sure it’s rational for you to butt out of the process altogether or to ignore what the “customers” are saying. You either treat it like a product or you make a less risky bet (lower budget).

    Not all movies operate on this type of business model, and I think there are other outlets for people who don’t want to be caretakers of a “property” or cogs in a “universe.” Depends on the film, depends on the budget, depends on the director, depends on the target audience, etc.

  317. You all understand how pretentious this whole discussion has become right :)

  318. Crushinator Jones

    June 3rd, 2016 at 9:22 am

    If you don’t want to discuss film culture or film on the film discussion site maybe you should find somewhere else to comment. “You’re all dumb and this is stupid” was refreshing the first time, but now it’s just white noise.

  319. Vern, I am a little late in responding, but of course I do not think that every movie is just an Oreo. In fact, the last paragraph of my post is about how one of the critical issues here is to define the line between what is a consumer good and what is art. That said, there are plenty of sites that review consumer goods. That is not as absurd an idea as you seem to think it is.

    I would not mind having this discussion, but I have found in the past that it is best not to respond to strawmen as if I know what the real argument behind it is supposed to be, so I will leave it at that for now.

  320. Mr. Subtlety – about ROGUE ONE, Christopher McQuarrie (who did rewrites on the movie, and was said in those reports to be behind the reshoots) said on Twitter that he was reading horseshit rumors and was angry that none of the people reporting them had contacted him. These days I think pretty much all big blockbuster movies like that plan to have reshoots from the beginning. Even FURY ROAD shot all of the Citadel scenes afterwards. It’s hard to say whether the studio really has those objections, whether they are right or wrong, etc. Even if the movie is bad it could be turned around in the reworking like THE FOG or many Pixar movies.

    Eric – I’m sorry if I misread your argument. Obviously I’m sensitive about people talking about types of movies I love in those terms, even if it’s in defense of those movies. Maybe especially if it’s in defense of those movies. It’s not that far removed from “it’s not supposed to be Shakespeare” or “leave your brain at the door.”

    I don’t agree with the idea of choosing some movies to expect to be consumer goods and some not to. Some of the great movies we love were products churned out for drive-ins or Blockbuster shelves, that didn’t stop them from containing weirdness and self expression and cinematic innovation. Expensive studio movies with Slurpee tie-ins are no different. If they always had to be generic mildly pleasing bland corporate product I wouldn’t be watching them and people wouldn’t be so passionate about them.

  321. I agree that there is no picking and choosing of what is a product, inasmuch as I think any film that is sold and made with the intent of being sold is a product, and it is also by definition art (even if it’s not good art). I guess part of my point here is what is so unseemly about calling something that is a consumer product a consumer product. You yourself have said repeatedly that piracy is not cool: that when someone is selling their art as opposed to giving it away, you should pay for it. And what is so entitled about expecting to like (I “liked” Seventh Seal) the product you paid for the same way I expect the haircut guy to cut my hair well or Chipotle to taste good and fill me up. I don’t think that cheapens a film to call it a product–that doesn’t mean it’s only a product, it just means that’s an important aspect of what it is and the function it serves. Just like sex: calling it a biological function doesn’t means it can’t be other things to, but the fact that it may also be those other things doesn’t negate the fact that it is also a biological function.

  322. But the argument isn’t whether you can call a movie a product. It’s whether you can expect it to be exactly what you want every time because a Chipotle burrito is supposed to be a Chipotle burrito. Calling it a product is a little annoying if it implies that you expect that second thing. Expecting that second thing implies that you’re not watching movies in the way that we should bother to even talk about them afterwards.

  323. Amazing Larry, please don’t comment here anymore. I wanted to give you a chance to apologize but your email bounced back. You can criticize me all you want, but insulting Ali on the day he died = go discuss movies with your dumb skinhead friends, genius. I hope my X-MEN review is a huge disappointment.

    But thanks for years of toxic negativity while I kept giving you time to change even though everybody begged me to ban you.

  324. I don´t get it. How hard can it be not to be a complete dick?

  325. Do I even want to know what he said?

  326. From what I read before Vern deleted the post was Larrys annoyance of Muhammed Alis death. Because it might have delayed the X_MEN review since Vern might have liked to write about Cassius Clay in an essay.

  327. Wow. That’s way less racist but way more petty than I’d feared. Not sure that’s an improvement.

    Still, the banning of Amazing Larry makes me sad. Not because I’ll miss him, but because Vern was forced to take it that far. We should be cheering the banishment of a longtime nemesis, but the victory tastes bitter. Like the climax of REDBELT, we have witnessed a good man pushed to very limit of his ideals by the callousness and selfishness of venal men.

    No one stays good in this world.

  328. I like this site so much because there has always been an allowance for sensible discussions between even politically different points of views, not just cinematically points of views. Remember the DEMOLITION MAN comments?

  329. I was definitely not that sensible on that thread. Pretty sure I called somebody the C-word.

    Sure, it was just Rogue4, but still. Not cool, Majestyk.

  330. I should be more careful constructing my sentances sometimes and how I communicate. Point being, there has been room for heated debate.C-word or no C-word. I seem to remember one or two “asshole” being used as well.

  331. Unrelated. I am sitting on a pretty sweaty pair of balls as we speak. You might not think Sweden to be a place where hellishly warm weather might be a problem. But it can be.

  332. We do keep it classy around here, don’t we?

  333. I didn’t say you are dumb and this was stupid, just pretentious. I just want to clarify for first timers wondering the fuck is going on.

    I’m sorry that Amazing Larry is such a douche nozzle because he also shares my first name. It’s already tough out there for people named Larry. That’s why I go by my last name that isn’t pronounced how it’s spelled.

    BTW, you guys have totally sold me on at least giving Batman vs Superman a shot so when that comes out in the 3 hour R rated cut I can give you maybe something interesting to say for once.

  334. If you need to know what Larry said, you can see it via the comments RSS feed. Though Shoot’s description is pretty apt. It’s a pity because when he wasn’t posting what he became infamous for, I enjoyed his contributions. Convinced me to check out the extended edition of X-Men DOFP at least. I mean his civil discourses don’t forgive some of his more colorful posts but I’m trying to be positive.

    Actually Mr. M, Mr. Majestyk would NEVER say such a thing as ‘No one stays good in this world.’ Sorry man but #notmymrmajestyk

    Sternshein

    Glad you’re giving it a chance! Temper your expectations though!

  335. Weird thing is, I don´t mind Larry. I just wished he did not pull that Jerk Card so often.

  336. Vern, I’m with you on the product thing as far as expecting it to be made to order a la a burrito. That’s a good distinction of where the pure product analogy breaks down, and it gets to the nub of where I totally agree with you and Majestyk: it’s offensive when fans attempt to dictate specific positive plot points for a film (what specifically needs to happen in terms of Elsa from Frozen needing to be a lesbian or whatever. I do stand by my other point that the internal logic of the Marvel universe, for instance, does establish some negative strictures (bounds on what can’t happen without so violating the tone or inner logic of the films as to just be a total WTF). What makes a film different from a burrito is that a truly creative product by definition should not be micro-made-to-order.

    Apropos of all this, here is a great quote at the bottom here from Shane Black about his (YEARS-OLD SPOILER) decision with respect to the Mandarin in Iron Man 3:


    Asked whether he’d do a more faithful interpretation of the character if given the opportunity to change the movie, Black responded that: “Of course not. The minute you start to govern your creative impulses based on anticipation of someone else’s response or their expectations then you’re going to fail. You’re going to fail them too. Because you’re not going to surprise anybody – you’re going to be busy second-guessing what other people want and indulging that people-pleasing side of yourself.”

    This is also a testament to the fact that Black had a good measure of creative freedom notwithstanding the strictures of the Marvel brass and their universe.

    Shane Black defends Mandarin twist in Iron Man 3, but feels bad for fans who were disappointed

    The big Mandarin twist in Iron Man 3 certainly upset a number of fans who were excited to see Tony Stark’s nemesis in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, rather than a drunken British actor preten…

  337. Crushinator Jones

    June 6th, 2016 at 10:04 am

    As I’ve been saying the entire time, something has shifted in culture. And rather than take Farraci’s stupid perspective – that nerds are entitled babymen, unlike him, a cool sophisticated guy – I would like to link a vastly better article I came across:

    http://mercurialblonde.tumblr.com/post/145447557213

    I agree with only about 33% of this article but at least the author recognizes that something is going on, and links to another article that talks about the exploitation of “fans” by the big publishers. Please read the article linked in the first paragraph as well.

    Money quote:

    “For me, I think both ends of it are tied to a poison that sits at the root of fan/nerd culture. This poison that measures worth in obsessive devotion, and operates at this idea that if only you can give enough of yourself over to this obsesssion, that the pain of your existence will be erased. So what happens is that people, rather than dealing head on with very real mental health issues at the core of their being, they attempt to replace and repress that pain with the mania of this fanaticism. So what happens is that your interaction with art or criticism becomes entwined with this pain you are trying to repress and forget. So someone telling you that there are white supremacist elements in a comic that you like, is them telling you that YOU are a white supremacist. And then on the flip side, your expectation is that the artist needs to maintain a kind of art that maintains the values that you hold dear, but have projected through this fandom.”

  338. So, fandom = self-medication for the mentally ill?

    I honestly think there’s something to be said for that (and I don’t mean it in a blasé way – mental illness is a muthafucker).

  339. SPOILERS. The many differences in the Ultimate Cut.

    Batman v Superman

    Ultimate Edition: What was different? • Bruce saves more than one kid at the Black Zero event. He’s the BatDad we deserve.
    • More violence shown in the village. More dialogue from the African man Lois...

  340. This actually sounds like it solves a few of the problems I had with the film. Specifically, it made no sense why people blamed the events in Africa on Superman. After reading the new scenes, it seems like the Ultimate Edition at least makes an effort to lay out how Lex frames Superman. I doubt the Ultimate Edition will somehow transform Batman v Superman into some sort of masterpiece, but hopefully it will make it into a watchable film.

  341. Surprised on the Jena Malone role though. After all that speculation.

  342. If legit, it sounds like some of this will (slightly) improve the movie. Doesn’t seem like they explain one of my pet peeves of why Lex’s men would use super-special rare proprietary bullets though. I like how Lois and Lex get more to do though. Still looking forward to it.

  343. I know that Jena Malone isn’t exactly Sandra Bullock, but it is weird that they waste her on a character who gets completely left on the editing room floor. I wonder if the character is someone from the comics who might return in one of the sequels.

  344. Devin Faraci on Twitter:
    “Theory: angry, unpleasant young men gravitate to DC movies because Marvel movies are popular with women. Also: these fans are fake geeks.”

    Can I officially hate this man now? Because YES, I know that he’s not saying all DC fans are unpleasant young men, just that DC movies appeal to unpleasant young men, BUT this is the internet, he damn well knows people aren’t going to make that distinction, so I consider this some outright trolling. Combined with his Justice League set visit article which while ostensibly positive was also just full of an insufferable mix of smugness, snark and backhandedness, I don’t get how this guy can take offensive to the perception that he’s a hater.

  345. ^take offense
    RGGGH. There’s my young male anger fucking up my typing I guess

  346. Vern once wrott that it is healthy to read stuff you disagree with. And it is. But this guy seems more like poison than anything else. I don´t bother with that. Not anymore.

  347. That statement from Faraci just seems straight up bullshit.

    The only reason he wrote it must surely be, as Stu says, he’s just after a fight/troll/civil war.

  348. The second a critic starts critiquing the audience instead of the movie, that critic’s opinion stops mattering.

  349. Also, is there much merit to the claim that Marvel movies are popular with women, or is that just a byproduct of Marvel movies being more popular overall? I’d be curious to see how DC putting out a solo female-led movie first will affect that perception.

  350. Mr. Majestyk – Critics can challenge audiences in their reviews/whatever. Hell Vern when he reviewed SCOTT PILGRIM and KICK-ASS more or less looked at the Geek Culture (including bloggers who praised those films) and thought “why are you guys losing your shit over them?”

    Or (IMO one of Vern’s greatest moments) that critical moment when the first TRANSFORMERS movie dropped and the “this shit aint supposed to be Shakespeare!” excuse factory went into overdrive and he (plus others like me) were baffled as fuck by it.

    Now what Vern did and Faraci did aren’t the same thing (and Faraci likes to troll people he don’t like, which thankfully isn’t in Vern’s nature.) But the blanket idea that critics can’t criticize the audience is outright nonsense. Don’t tell me you were never annoyed when people passed on a well-reviewed, awesome movie in favor of a junk sequel?

    Stu – they already did that, in the 1980s (SUPERGIRL) and 2000s (CATWOMAN). Hell even Marvel was associated with one too (ELEKTRA) from that same decade. I’m impressed people keep forgetting this.

    As for Faraci’s claim…I only notice heavy concentrations of women online when it comes to that weird Loki cult (which isn’t as big as it once was since a lot of them are now into Kylo-Ren, another black-haired wumpy bad guy with daddy issues employed by Disney) and all those slash fandoms like Cap/Bucky or Cap/Iron Man or Iron Man/Banner or whatever.

  351. Now regarding Faraci’s tweet directly: I don’t agree with his thesis, because it gives a blanket explanation for a whole fandom’s entry and that shit aint the case. Look at me, I became a Batman fan because I came across as a kid the Adam West TV show on my local UHF station. Around this same time was when BATMAN RETURNS on the big screen came out and BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES on the tube. Do you see “Marvel” and “women” anywhere in that backstory? Hell even as a kid, I found the DC/Marvel rivalry silly. Of course I was also the local weirdo who drank both Coke and Pepsi. Go figure.

    That said, DC fandom is full of angry young men who are merely a segment of said fandom but they’re the most vocal online and boy a lot of them can be damn annoying. (Which can be said of a lot of mostly dude-oriented fandoms today. Nothing unique) Thing is, if you go by postings on message boards and nerd-y websites that I visit frequently….many of them publicly make a point that their DC fandom is because they’re not a fan of the “jokey made-for-kiddies” Marvel movies.* Hell for years, they bragged about how BVS would launch the DCEU and that their movies would be more “adult” and “more drama, less comedy.” (Yeah I wonder how some of them now feel after the recent JUSTICE LEAGUE set reports where WB/DC basically elbowed nerdom saying “there’ll be jokes in this, bro”?)

    Them opposing Marvel is part of their identity, same way guys back in the 1960s preferred the Rolling Stones over the Beatles because they had “edge” and weren’t as “sissy.” (Codeword: they found them more “masculine” acceptable.)
    Of course that’s the other flaw with Faraci’s rant. There are DC stans who are stans because of the Greg Berlanti-produced DC shows on the CW network. And there are the movie stans I see on those sites who FUCKING HATE those CW shows, including ARROW at the very least because of the infamous “Olicity” Tumblr-fueled fandom which are mostly…women. Then there are DC stans (you know the sane ones) who like both or want to like both?

    I could also bring up last year when they were angry about DC pulling that rapey looking BATGIRL variant cover (which was a tone deaf decision for that book which partially was aimed at women) or the meltdown this spring after BVS got terrible reviews, when they claimed that Disney bribed the critics (I guess Disney was too cheap to bribe critics over ALICE 2 and that Chris Pine boat movie) or that the media/Internet/culture was biased against DC and brainwashed by Marvel movies or whatever. Those vocal assholes I mentioned earlier? They easily can paint that whole fanbase as angry boys over such episodes.

    I actually could see a similar online fusion bomb going off if a Marvel Studios film ever truely gets bad reviews. Not THE INCREDIBLE HULK or THOR 2 “eh” reviews, I mean FANT4STIC or…well, BVS level bad reviews.

    Or in summary: some DC fans sometimes have a persecution complex despite the cool shit going for them here and there today. Faraci knows that is their trigger and he pulls it just to fuck with them. I will give Faraci this: in other rants in the past, he’s made the point of DC fandom at times of being hijacked by the Batman-Jihadists (his term) who think he’s the beginning, middle, and end of DC Comics. And he’s not.

    *=flipside: Marvelites bragging about how their movies are “fun!” and not pretentiously too serious or too grimdark or “Murderverse!” or whatever.

  352. Notice I said “instead” and not “in addition to.” This wasn’t a review where he speculated about the reaction to a film in the context of discussing that film. This was a missive sent out into the world with no purpose but to make a blanket statement about a group of strangers. That’s poor form and shows a critic with his priorities in the wrong place.

  353. Mr. Majestyk – first off, you’re comparing a tweet with a 1000+ word review. Two different mediums. And maybe that was my mistake to make a comparison between the two.

    2nd, he (and other BirthMoviesDeath writers) have written columns on that topic (and in reviews) before. Because he was pissy for whatever reason, he reopened that old wound.

  354. But that’s the point. He didn’t write a review arguing a certain point of view. He got up in the morning and felt the need to use his station to belittle those who disagreed with him and to try to drive a wedge between groups of people (men and women, Marvel fans and DC fans, “real” geeks and “fake geeks) for no reason. That’s where his head is at. Us vs. Them. Over some comic book bullshit that’s supposed to be the kind of enjoyable leisure activity that brings people together. I’m fuckin’ tired of that shit. He’s an asshole. I don’t need to know what assholes think about movies.

  355. Gee, what a bunch of thin-skinned Twitter babies. Thought they raised them tougher around here. Looking at that tweet in context it’s pretty clear that he’s singling out a vocal minority of fans that are ruining it for everyone else, like Bernie bros or Gamergators. I’m a huge fan of DC comics and feel in no way targeted by Faraci’s comments. But no doubt his tweet will be screen-capped and reproduced by people with anime and/or Joker avatars as proof that he’s a confirmed Marvel shill or whatever.

  356. I know he’s not talking about me, but I don’t need to be personally offended to think he’s an asshole for saying it. It’s no wonder I don’t talk about superheroes anymore if this is what’s taken as normal discourse on that topic.

  357. So, has anyone seen the ultimate BATMAN VIOLENTLY OPPOSED TO SUPERMAN cut yet?

    If so, is it better? Worse? Longer? (Forget that last one.)

  358. Early word on the street is that it’s this generation’s DAREDEVIL director’s cut. Meaning it doesn’t magically turn the movie into a masterpiece, but fixes many of its flaws.

  359. Crushinator Jones

    June 29th, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Notes on the Ultimate Edition:

    Lex becomes much more dangerous and mastermindy. He’s not funny or a joke anymore. He’s pretty much an Alpha Male killer pretending to be a mincing Beta Geek.

    The Africa stuff is super explained and much more relevant. Lois’s investigation is not a narrative dead-end anymore. There’s also a new subplot that completely changes the context of the Capitol hearing where Superman appears.

    There’s lots more Clark Kent and much more context is given to his anger at Batman. He starts out trying to investigate some fallout from Africa but gets sidetracked by the trail of human wreckage left by Batman and Lex’s machinations.

    The jerky pace of the first 45 minutes of the film is completely eliminated.

    The third act is still largely the weakest part of the movie.

    The extra 30 minutes is pretty much 95% non-action stuff but pacing is not matter of film length, it is a matter of editing. The new film actually feels shorter than the theatrical version.

    The tone of the movie is largely preserved. This is not a happy, quippy film (although this new cut adds a couple more lighter character moments) It’s very serious about what would drive somebody to be Batman, what happens when Superman interferes with human endeavors, the fallout from the Zod Metropolis fight – all that stuff. Up until the slam-bang stuff in the final third this is a very contemplative film.

    If you were on the fence about the movie, this might convert you to “good”. If you are a Not My Superhero kinda person, well, you’re not gonna find anything in here that you like and should skip it. For me, it took me from “an interesting mess” to “very good, but not as good as Man of Steel.”

  360. With the possible exception of Lex (a character I enjoyed in both cuts), I’d agree with the above. But of course it’s hard to tell how much my enjoyment was effected by the alterations vs how much it was effected by knowing what, broadly, to expect. This time I certainly found myself appreciating Snyder’s visual style much more, and I really noticed the Zimmer/Junkie-XL score. CIVIL WAR is a better movie, but I find BvS’s artier aspirations far more intriguing.

  361. You guys have me intrigued about this Director’s Cut. Not enough to go out and actually buy the movie (I really wish it was on Redbox for a rental) but I’ll have to check it out at some point. One question – how R-rated is it? I imagine like most people, I’m more interested in how they fix the scattershot narrative and underdeveloped characters than on extra blood and gore which I don’t need in my Batman or Superman movies.

  362. Crushinator Jones

    July 1st, 2016 at 10:55 am

    There’s a little more blood. There’s one part where Batman throws a guy against the wall and he leaves a blood streak. The Death of Superman is a little more graphic and a few punches land harder. Other than that, nothing much.

  363. So the subplot where Bruce Wayne represents Coolio in court helps?

  364. neal2zod- I wasn’t always paying 100% attention to the action scenes, but I would say it was Rated R on a technicality. This cut is actually a 12 in the UK (our rough equivalent to a PG-13). R-Rated films being downgraded to a 12 is far from unprecedented but pretty rare, and usually for matters which the BBFC is generally more lenient than the MPAA, such as non-sexualised nudity (e.g. TOPSY-TURVY). For violence it’s far more common for a PG-13 film to be upgraded to a 15. TERMINATOR 3 is one of the few R-Rated action films I can think of that was rated 12, and I’d say this is about a TERMINATOR 3 level of R (though less profane).

  365. It should also be noted, that both the BATMAN V SUPERMAN DC and the also R-Rated HOBBIT 3 Extended Edition have the same 12 rating in Germany, that their respective theatrical versions had. So whatever it is that pushes the cut to an R, it can’t be THAT bad.

  366. SUICIDE SQUAD - Official International Trailer #2 (2016) DC Superhero Movie HD

    Read more exclusive stories ►► http://comicbook.com/ Follow us on Twitter ► https://twitter.com/ComicBook Like us on Facebook ►https://www.facebook.com/comic...

  367. Justice League Special Comic-Con Footage

    In theaters November 2017! http://JusticeLeagueTheMovie.com https://www.facebook.com/justiceleagueofficial Featuring “Icky Thump” by The White Stripes: http:...

  368. WONDER WOMAN Comic-Con Trailer

    Her Fight Is Ours. WATCH the official Comic-Con trailer for #WonderWoman, starring Gal Gadot! -- Gal Gadot stars in WONDER WOMAN - in theaters June 2, 2017. ...

  369. WONDER WOMAN looks great. No comment on JL till they put together an actually balanced teaser trailer that puts the scale in perspective as opposed to a series of random and redundant footage featuring Bruce encountering X, Y or Z while hilarity ensues.

  370. That Wonder Woman theme is so good. Probably my favorite piece of DC theme music since the days of Shirley Walker.

  371. Saw the “Ultimate Edition” and honestly I don’t feel it really improves anything. More of Luthor’s plan is on-screen but it doesn’t help make his motivations make any more sense or their take on Luthor any more tolerable. I think making that one lady a hired actor kind of goes against a lot of what the movie was trying to say. At least in the Ultimate Edition they don’t make it seem like everyone thinks Superman shot people and Lois gets a more active role. That said I do think the Ultimate Edition is better but only by a micro point or so. Don’t go into thinking it’s a Kingdom of Heaven or even a Daredevil situation. The only R-Rated stuff I noticed was the Batman warehouse fight at the end, Batman seemed a bit more vicious in it from what I remember. Over all I still like it even though it is flawed. I appreciate it for what it is trying to do.

    Despite BATMAN von SUPERMAN’s flaws, Snyder, Goyer, and Terriro can now hold their heads high knowing they didn’t make the worse Batman (and probably DC) movie this year because holy shit that BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE movie is bad. It’s like they took a story that had serious issues with women and then hired a bunch of guys who think it is actually a very strong feminist message to make this icky story worse. They added an a bad “adult” episode of Batman the Animated Series before they adapt the book (with liberties despite what I keep reading). In the bad episode portion we learn Batgirl isn’t very good at this vigilante thing and her icky girly bits keep Batman from being 100% awesome and perfect so she quits so he can keep being awesome. Then despite only being retired from being a ninja vigilante for a week, the Joker is able to just ring her door bell and shoot her even though the new section of the movie has her avoiding and countering far worse. Don’t worry, they made the implications that she may have been raped even skeevier. Also they add a musical number and Barbara now has a stereotypical gay friend who speaks with lisps because this was made in the 80s/90s apparently (maybe this guy is in the recent comics?). Also weird, they obviously listened to criticisms of the original comic because to make her more proactive in the story they made her the narrator (but only in the first awful half, when they get to the adaptation of Killing Joke her narration disappears and it becomes about the dudes again just like the comic. I’d say the animation is Saturday morning level but there are many cartoons currently airing that have way better animation, sure as hell doesn’t hold up on the big screen. The movie also supports that stupid/awful fan theory that Batman kills the Joker at the end. In conclusion I do not feel I can recommend THE KILLING JOKE.

  372. That JL teaser/thing made me smile, mostly because it’s clearly been rushed out to appease non-nerds by clearly being lighter in tone than BATMAN VIOLATING SUPERMAN.

  373. Crushinator Jones

    July 26th, 2016 at 8:52 am

    “More of Luthor’s plan is on-screen but it doesn’t help make his motivations make any more sense or their take on Luthor any more tolerable.”

    While Luthor’s tolerability index is a matter of personal taste, his motivations make perfect sense. If you can’t understand why an severely physically and mentally abused rich kid would be extremely angry that an alien was running around saving poor kids but did nothing for him then you’re either really bad at watching movies or have some kind of spectrum disorder. He’s not rational but that doesn’t mean he’s nonsensical.

  374. Re-reading my comment, I saw that I did have a mis-type and I meant to say his ‘plan makes no sense.’ As Crush says Luthor’s motivation is explained, he even has a straight-up monologue explaining why he is doing what he is doing (on the Lex Luthor featurette on the Blu-Ray we even hear more of the monologue via B-Roll footage (btw, most of the special features are PR fluff unfortunately).

    Even then saying his plan makes no sense isn’t true because it does at it’s base level: get rid of Batman and Superman and then I guess use Bizaro Doomsday (whom Luthor believes he can control) to take out the other meta-humans he knows to exist (and anymore that will pop-up). So I guess a better way of putting it would be ‘More of Luthor’s plan is on-screen but I do not believe I enjoy it’s execution anymore sadly’ but either way it wasn’t a deal-breaker for me because I still like the movie.

  375. Crushinator Jones

    July 26th, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Fair enough, that is a silly plan. Of course you can’t control Doomsday, Lex. Putting your blood in the pool doesn’t do squat. But I do like how he complains that “no man in the sky saved me from daddy’s fists and abominations” and then Superman blocks Doomsday’s punch. Good job, Superman.

  376. geoffreyjar — dear God, you’re not kidding about KILLING JOKE. It’s a complete travesty. I honestly only saw it in the theaters because I like to support adult animation when I can, but ye gods, if they’re gonna be this lackadaisical and slipshod about it I don’t know if I should even bother anymore. If they obviously care this little, why should I?

    Even setting aside the unpleasant misogynist elements of the story (which this adaptation makes incalculably worse with its profoundly moronic first act), the biggest problem is that it’s just incompetently made. That they were ok with sewing a completely unrelated first act onto an entirely different story –complete with unnecessary narration which ends abruptly once the feature starts– should give ample evidence of how much they cared about doing a good job here. This kind of shameless padding would be criminally lazy even for a DTV cash grab. Releasing it in theaters is just blatant disrespect for fans. And atrocious narrative disjointment isn’t even the movie’s biggest problem.

    Despite some fine vocal work, the animation is shockingly sub-par to the point of spectacularly undermining any attempt at dealing with serious themes. None of the characters have anything remotely close to the facial subtlety to express the complicated emotions the script insists they’re having, and a few scattered attempts to emulate Brian Bolland’s images are both aesthetically compromised and jarringly out of place next to the brightly lit, simplistic cartoony shapes that comprise the rest of it. Looks like it’s also animated at far below 24 fps, resulting in a disorienting flicking movement which is about as visually unappealing as animation comes, and occasionally highlighted by some computer assistance running at a completely different speed.

    Of course, it hardly needs saying that the moment the film deviates from Moore’s words and Bolland’s pictures it plunges in quality (their handling of the sexual relationship in the fist act is juvenile to the point of being outright uncomfortable) — but even when it quotes Moore and Bolland directly, it has not the slightest sense of pacing or atmosphere, let alone any eye for artistry. Everything feels rushed and disjointed, more or less adapted directly from the pace of the comic, and completely able to breath on its own in its new medium. The one shocking thing happens more or less squarely in the middle of this new version, and then it’s a mad dash through Moore’s still-fine dialogue to a whimper of a finale, with virtually no real obstacle left. On the page, this works. In film, it feels so bizarrely underwhelming that the audience I saw it with seemed genuinely confused when the credits rolled. “Wait, is that it?” Some guy behind me asked. “That’s the way the comic ended,” his friend answered, a bit defensively. Appeal to authority was the only option left, since there was so clearly no one in the room who thought it was an acceptable ending.

    Even the most rage-filled reactions to DvS:DoJ never had to come up with an excuse that lame. If DC really does want to be the Serious Adult Dark And Gritty studio, that’s fine. But they need to actually start taking this shit seriously. KILLING JOKE was not made my serious artists. Or if it was, it was made by artists who were so constricted by financial or corporate concerns that they were utterly unable to treat the material seriously. It’s frankly an embarrassment to everyone involved, and yet more evidence that you shouldn’t be playing around with mature themes unless you have the artistic maturity to address them in kind.

  377. Speaking as someone who has not read THE KILLING JOKE, and indeed precious few Graphic Novels or serious comic books, I enjoyed it. The voice acting was great, the story/stories had me engaged and while the animation was certainly mixed the design was generally appealing. I agree that it absolutely does not work as a movie though. It’s jarringly obvious even to a novice like myself where the new stuff starts and the adaptation begins, and that never the twain shall meet really holds it back as a work in its own right. Some of the “adult” dialogue in the second half also felt grating and dated, now that society generally accepts adults enjoying these kind of things. But as basically an R-Rated (though really a pretty soft R) episode of NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES I enjoyed it, as far as I remember it was at least significantly better than MYSTERY OF THE BATWOMAN.

  378. In preparation for hopefully watching Suicide Squad this weekend, I watched the Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman, and it might be an improvement over the theatrical release, but not by much. Some of Luthor’s machinations make a little more sense. It gives Lois a bigger role, but unfortunately most of her attempts at solving the mystery of who is behind Superman’s frame up involves her going to different people and showing them that stupid bullet. At the same time, the movie is still kind of a slog. I can see why they wanted to get rid of thirty minutes of the film.

    However, there’s one addition to BvS that I thought was kind of brilliant and showed what Snyder was trying to do. I loved Clark Kent’s investigation into Batman. They barely cover this in the theatrical release, but in the new one you really get a sense of why Superman wants to shut down Batman’s operation. The best scene in the film is when Kent encounters the former girlfriend of a man who was branded by Batman and subsequently killed in jail. They both had a kid together. She essentially says that she knows he wasn’t a good man, but that he was also a father to their child. It’s a pretty ballsy scene. And it starts to deconstruct the notion of being a superhero and interrogate vigilantism in ways that Snyder wanted to but wasn’t able to pull off in the rest of the film. If anything, these changes make Batman more of a villain, which is probably why they took them out.

  379. There was an added scene that counteracted that one, though, when it was revealed that the only reason the bat-brand was a death sentence in prison was because Luthor was paying off the other inmates to fuel Clark’s anger at the Bat. This takes the blame off Batman somewhat.

  380. Although I can’t help but notice that it was already widely known that Bat-branded people were being killed in prison, and it doesn’t seem to cause Bruce to reconsider the practice. He knows that it’s death sentence, he just doesn’t care because he’s not personally doing it.

  381. Good point. I find it hard to believe that Bruce would be unaware of what’s going on. The funny thing is, he never finds out the truth as far as I know. When he decides not to brand Luthor at the end, he is choosing between sentencing him to death (although the odds of Luthor ever actually seeing gen pop are slim, I believe this is what the movie is implying) and letting him live, unaware that Luthor himself was the cause of all the death in the first place.

    I actually liked it better when the inmates were doing it themselves. It made sense. The bat-brand is like a tag on an animal in the wild: It lets you know this one is being watched. Criminals don’t generally like having people around who are under observation by a guy who can swoop in and beat the shit out of them at any second.

    What a glorious mess of a movie.

  382. It’s hard to blame Batsy for not figuring it out when the whole thing manifestly makes no sense, though. Even Snyder seems a little confused as to how this actually works.

  383. Somehow it went over my head that Luthor was paying off the other inmates to kill branded prisoners. This seems unnecessary, since Batman would still be aware that branding his victims will lead to their death. Even still, I’ve never seen a summer blockbuster that actually looked at how the death or imprisonment of a bad guy affects their family.

    But I’m still confused as to why people want to blame Superman for the bombing at the Senate hearing.

  384. I just took that as some Fox News “Hey, we’re not saying he did it, we’re just asking questions” crap.

  385. Blaming Supes for the bombing actually makes more sense than blaming him for people who got killed by the terrorists, or whatever they were. I mean, he walks into a room with everyone who doesn’t like him, and then everyone else dies but he walks out unscathed as the only witness… I mean, that does seem pretty suspicious. Blowing things up isn’t really his MO, but obviously it would be a pretty simple matter for him to pull that off if he wanted. I can definitely see why people would find that highly suspect. All things considered, it’s probably the most sensible part of Luthor’s plan. I’d be willing to argue the movie would almost have made sense if it just dropped the nonsensical and poorly articulated “terrorists” subplot and just had the senate bombing be the main thing which called Supes’ benevolence into doubt.

  386. One shot of a blowtorch in the Ultimate Edition made the “Superman is blamed for killing a bunch of dudes” make sense. Then they added that whole subplot where it was revealed that the witness was paid to say Supes did it and it all comes together.

    I know length has always been a problem for epic productions like this, but it seems like lately there’s been a rash of movies where it’s pretty clear that major load-bearing scenes have been removed to quicken the pace. There’s the obvious post-production jiggerypokery of SUICIDE SQUAD, in which the same simple scene where a villain abandons one character and joins up with another had to be shown twice in the span of a half-hour just to make sense of everything that had been chopped out. Then there was that part in GHOSTBUSTERS where everybody’s like “We’re all back together! Yay!” but there was never a scene where they broke up. If studios feel comfortable cutting out the “darkest before the dawn” end-of-second-act plot twist scene (nobody’s favorite part of any movie, but usually pretty crucial to a three-act structure), film narrative may be in more danger than we thought.

  387. I saw the Ultimate Edition, and while I can understand that the movie would be completely obtuse without the shots of the flamethrower and the confession of the paid “witness,” even having them there makes for, at *best*, a barely legible plotline. The senate bombing is a much more elegant way of explaining the same thing (since it at least gives Superman motive), and I’m baffled as to why anyone thought the movie needed both side stories, or how it makes both of them so hilariously convoluted against all logic and reason.

    Honestly I feel like I could have rewritten the script into something vastly more effective in 30 minutes using only the “delete” key. So many elements in the finished film feels like leftover artifacts from previous drafts, halfheartedly trying to explain their presence and only succeeding in making the whole thing muddier. But maybe that’s part of its charm. If it were better, I might like it less.

  388. Just watched the plain old PG-13 penultimate edition. Man, I can’t be mad at this. Thanks, Redbox and lowered expectations.

    Great cast. I dig Cavill’s Superman. Looks beautiful. Trippy as hell. Aggressively paced. Kind of an operatic magical realism lucid dream thing going on. I had a lot of fun with Mark Zuckerberg’s Lex Luthor. CGI Michael Shannon Hulk monster throwing superman around like a rag doll. What’s not to like?

    Some unintentionally goofy moments, unearned character choices, to be sure. Overlong. A bit of a hot mess in some respects, but I had fun with it.

  389. I’m really glad I waited for the the (better in whatever measure) extended version. I unreservedly love this film. The central criticism that Snyder is somebody who’s reach exceeds his grasp is in my opinion rebutted by the movie I watched. The underlying thematic motivations that drive Batman and Lex and Superman aren’t just coherent to the point where you can excuse them, they’re fucking archetypal and awesome.

    My biggest problem with MAN OF STEEL’s action was that the load had been blown in Smallville, and the actual final battle against Zod felt like something you had to sit through rather than be exhilirated by. The visual techniques had long since become exhausted and the audience numb to them, etc. BATMAN V SUPERMAN is comparatively masterful in its reservation of the big fireworks until it has positioned the major characters to fulfill their respective arcs.

    Batman: The Martha/Martha scene is his moment of revelation. He has Superman at his mercy AND also has something hella personal in common with him, both of which cause Bats to see their shared personhood. But it also sets a great framework within which to view the subsequent battle. Afterwards at the funeral, when Batman laments his failure, you feel the weight. He knows the true stakes now. I like that it takes some shit like this to earn an alliance vs the Avengers approach of “we stalemated after trying to fight for 90 seconds, guess we should team up”.

    Superman: Snyder wants there to be high stakes for Superman. I don’t think he shows Superman kill somebody because he’s dismissive of the Superman archetype and is like “fuck that, let’s change him into a dark character that I would like even though it doesn’t fit with the Superman everybody else loves.” I think he shows it to us because he wants to show you the most fucking dire, epic, Mariana Trench version of Superman he can fathom. “What would be the most difficult decision for Superman to make?” Snyder asks himself, “To take a life.” And he builds up to it with being the last of your kind, and then having to kill the only other last of your kind etc. So what’s left this time around? He has to embrace his own destruction to save the world, and the gravity of his sacrifice reverberates in the surrounding superbeings and how their worldviews are accordingly rearranged.

    Lex: It happens when the monster tries to kill him, and Supes intervenes. This is THE moment where the scale of the combat opens up. There’s a super-ness to the mutant’s blow, and to Superman’s parry, that is far beyond what the movie has given us so far. And for Lex, this completely confirms and justifies his ideology, and that’s why he sees no irony in being saved. Lex is a mere plaything in the presence of Actual Gods. He laments that true power should come from knowledge, which Lex has, but yet Superman is arbitrarily granted infinite power. Doomsday is an even more vivid illustration because he is completely, mindlessly bent on destruction, AND even more powerful than the M of S, who needs the help of a demigod and two mortals to defeat it. For Doomsday’s first act to be to strike at his creator proves Lex’s point utterly: we are subject to the idiot whims of these beings. That Superman’s automatic, reflexive reaction is to SAVE his enemy is for Lex such fucked up irony that it’s worth getting your head shaven and committed over. In other words it’s a proper Origin Story.

    The film’s flaws having been well documented, I just wanted to archive this enthusiastic reaction.

  390. Crushinator Jones

    September 2nd, 2016 at 9:54 am

    I did think the Smallville fight blew a lot of Man of Steel’s wad but the Zod Metropolis Showdown gave us that enduring image of a flying Superman punching Zod out of Metropolis and some of the best mid-air fist-fighting in any movie, ever. The real culprit is the absolutely manic final pace of the back 1/3rd of the film – it goes from Krypton Ship Escape -> Kryptonian Clash -> “Start the World Engine” -> Fight the World Engine -> Destroy the Scout Ship -> Final Showdown with Zod with only a tiny amount of breathing room. And although the movie’s back half gives out tons of wonderful imagery – Faora decimating the US Military, Superman standing under the gravity beam and being inspired by humanity to end his planet’s legacy of imperialism, the aforementioned flying punches – it’s a lot to take in.

    I still like Man of Steel more but the BvS Ultimate version is worth seeing if you like the genre, and if you want something more from your superhero films beyond quipping focus-tested likeable dudes with center-left politics.

  391. Totally agree, Crushinator. The space fighting between Superman and Zod is incredibly well-done; it’s virtually photo-realistic. But that last 30-40 minutes is such a non-stop orgy of action chaos that it’s almost too much. I remember the sensation of being incredibly impressed at the visual execution and being frankly bored at the same time. Still a good film for my money, but a little undisciplined.

  392. Aren’t overlong third act fights expected in most superhero films these days? In Batman v Superman the big CGI slugfest felt like a contractual obligation, as if everyone just kind of shrugged and said, “Well, I guess we have to do this now.” Some pull it off better than others, but for too many blockbusters the third act seems to go on autopilot.

  393. So I watched the first 30 mins and enjoyed it as it exceeded my incredibly low expectations. I had to go to work, though. I then saw the last 15 mins or so and it somehow was worse then my low expectations. Looking forward to seeing the whole thing.

  394. This reminds me that I still haven’t checked out the ZACK SNYDER’S WHATEVER THE FUCK!: EXTENDED AND R-RATED EDITION that came out not too long ago. I should probably check that out.

  395. Has anybody seen the R rated edition? The scene were Batman goes to save Superman’s mom and he fights the mercenary guys, is it easier to tell what is happening in it? There are parts that are well directed and then there are parts that are cut way to quick. It was pretty great but it could have been fucking awesome if it were filmed easier to see. I think a long take fight scene would have worked awesome here.

  396. No sir, that scene plays pretty much the same if I am remembering correctly.

  397. Crushinator Jones

    December 15th, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Judge for yourself:

    [60FPS] Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition warehouse fight Scene 60FPS HFR HD

    Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition warehouse fight 60FPS HFR HD Better Quality - https://youtu.be/SHm6JWiCUYo

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