Yesterday, I watched Batman Vs. Superman, Ultimate Edition.
Mistakes were made.
I have archived my thoughts here for you all to see them.
*disclaimer: if you’re the type of person who cannot grasp that sometimes people don’t like stuff you like or like stuff you hate and that makes you want to get on here and yell at me about it, spoiler warning: don’t bother*
Let us begin. There may be spoilers, if you can comprehend my gabble.
* * *
this movie’s gonna be so dark I can barely see anything, isn’t it
“There was a time above… a time before… there were perfect things… diamond absolutes. But things fall… things on earth. And what falls… is fallen. In the dream, it took me to the light. A beautiful lie.” — what the sweet hot hell does any of that mean
OH THANK GOD I never knew how Batman’s became Batman omg his parents died I HAD NO IDEA ha ha lol jk —
Seriously, though, do we need to revisit this particular point of torture porn every time we have a Batman movie. We get it. We know. And by the way, Batman needs to be more than just the death of his parents. It’s a huge event in a boy’s life, but it’s myopic to focus on this again and again and again and again. Has nothing else of value ever happened to him?
(wait, I like the conceit of the gun’s hammer breaking the pearl strand though — I know the pearls overall are Miller’s inclusion, but the hammer breaking them, is that Snyder’s? Gotta give Snyder points for style)
(also as a sidenote, we need to get miles away from Frank Miller’s view of things in comic book film and TV — let’s find some competing visions from other creators, yeah?)
oh wait we’re in africa
I’m sure this will be handled really gracefully and not at all racistly and with all the gentle aplomb of Michael Bay stuffing your grandmother full of explosives and using her to blow up an M1 Abrams tank
OH GOD IT JUST OCCURRED TO ME ZACK SNYDER IS KINDA LIKE A MORE PRETENTIOUS MICHAEL BAY — like, Bay is Budweiser, but Snyder is a super-bitter IPA that claims to be craft-brewed but it’s really just made in the same tank as the Budweiser beer
jimmy olsen is
OMG jimmy olsen just got got
that seems really cynical
LIKE HERE IS A BELOVED CHARACTER FROM SUPERMAN HISTORY ha ha ha fuck you fan-nerds I just put a bullet in his head BOOM who will I kill next OH LOOK IT’S KRYTPO AND ACE THE BAT-HOUND AND wham I just drove them over with the Batmobile motherfuckers oh it’s Aunt May from SPIDER-MAN how is she in this movie IT DON’T MATTER because I just pushed her in front of a city bus and we watched her die in super-slick 4K slow-mo
god it’s really early in this movie and I have too many thoughts
let’s move forward a bit
*clock spins, calendar pages fly off the wall*
JESUS GOD THIS MOVIE IS 47 HOURS LONG
so here are some observations
first, Snyder hates Superman
hates him — like, just detests the very idea of Superman
He treats Superman as if he’s this angry, aloof Narcissist who really doesn’t like having his actions questioned while at the same time being perfectly comfortable questioning everyone else’s actions — he’s dour-faced and full of rage and not much fun
Which is the other thing — this movie is a humorless, joy-sucking vampire
Like, there’s almost zero levity, no jokes, no light, no warmth, just the dark shine of Zack Snyder’s soul katana slicing its way across your heart and your love of these characters
Batman has already killed a buncha dudes, either directly or by proxy
And the dialogue is inflated and pompous without saying much — it’s like that opening line, There was a time above… All of it is wrought in such a way to sound dramatic and thick with theme, but it’s hollow word salad garble-dookie that actually says very little at all, and does very little for character motivations.
Why are these characters doing anything?
Why is Lex Luthor doing any of this?
oh god he’s annoying
oh hey it’s Wonder Woman
oh hey she’s gone again
I’M ON HOUR 52 PLEASE SEND LIQUOR AND HOAGIES
this actually really reminds me of the Transformers movies — it takes a beloved geek fan property and does a lot of smashy-smashy action while pretending it’s about these BIG HEAVY IDEAS and while simultaneously milking any of the actual fun out of it because if it feels fun then it’s not GRR HMM SERIOUS BUSINESS
hey remember how much fun Guardians of the Galaxy was
or any of the original Superman movies
I mean jesus this movie makes WINTER SOLDIER look like ANT-MAN. Winter Soldier is full of sturm and drang and yet the characters get to have character moments and be funny and tell jokes and even in the middle of fighting each other they shine brightly whereas these superheroes are mostly just dull clods of hard dirt thrown at one another again and again
this movie is just a series of scenes
I’m not sure they really connect
They lead into one another but they don’t have narrative chain of consequence — they’re more like dominoes falling than storytelling
I mean, there’s a plot, but that’s all, it’s just a sequence of events
And my, what an incomprehensible sequence it is
WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING
I’m trying to figure that out again and again — I’m sitting here thinking, what is happening, why is it happening, why are these characters doing the things they’re doing, and I got nothin
ON HOUR 67 PLEASE SEND SUCCOR IN THE FORM OF A SMOTHERING PILLOW
okay, I’m being over dramatic — I’ll say this for Snyder — first, he’s stylish as a motherfucker, and if he were simply directing it rather than actually imprinting himself upon it, this movie might work with a different script — second, he actually does all right by Batman. In fact, I’d argue he really never wanted to make a Superman movie and was just doing that so he could sneak his way into the Batman canon. He handles Batman well, and Affleck is actually a rock-fucking-solid Bats. (I’d also argue that wossname is a very good Superman, too, were he given a better, cooler, funnier, more noble superman to play.)
That scene in the capitol is pretty cool, if grim
why am I doing this
wait is that the flash
what did he even say
okay he’s gone again? is this a flashpoint thing?
how does lex luthor know all this shit
he knows everything, he knows who these characters are, he knows everything there is to know about Zod and the Kryptonian ship — he knows everything, and yet the one thing I don’t know is why he’s doing any of this
It’s like Luthor is filling a trope — I AM VILLAIN AND SO I WILL DO VILLAINY IN THE FORM OF AN INCOMPREHENSIBLE AND WILDLY OVER-COMPLICATED SCHEME
I mean seriously, his whole plot is — what? I can’t even talk it out, because I feel like it makes no sense. He wants Batman and Superman to fight. So he spends limitless resources and pulls a thousand puppet strings to make that happen, but couldn’t he have done that faster? His whole end goal is STEAL SUPERMAN’S MOM AND THREATEN SUPERMAN WITH HER DEATH TO GET HIM TO DO WHAT HE WANTS. So do that, instead, dum-dum. But the larger point is, why? Why does he have a hate-boner for Superman? Does he hate Batman, too? What is the end game? What is the motivation? How does he know anything at all about Doomsday? Why would he even unleash Doomsday? I need a clear line of thought between his scheme and how the result benefits him — this film has no interest in letting me know the stakes or the motivations, it’s mostly just a 179-hour excuse to get Superman and Batman to punch each other
and can we talk about that
can we talk about how even that was an epic letdown
LET’S SEE HERE, uhh, Batman has a MECHA SUIT (cool) and Kryptonite canisters and a fucking Kryptonite spear — and his opening move is like, machine guns and sonic waves? And Superman’s opening move is a hard shove? Superman could easily oh I dunno, wrap a girder around Batman’s suit and be like, “Now we talk,” and Batman’s opening move should be like HEY HAVE SOME KRYPTO GAS AND NOW A SPEAR IN YOUR CHEST except why is he trying to kill superman? Like, murder him? What’s the logic there? Superman is a god-like figure, but mostly does good in the world — like, he’s not flying around squeezing kittens to death. Why is Batman’s response to MURDER HIM? Not trap him, not stop him — but straight up impale him? Batman is a fucking psycho. (And by the way, the whole SUPERMAN MAY HAVE KILLED THAT AFRICAN VILLAGE conceit is completely toothless. It is unconvincing that anyone would buy it or that there is any evidence at all — further, it barely matters if people believe it, as it doesn’t really affect Lex’s scheme in the first damn place.)
The resultant fight between the two superheroes is so brutal and bestial — it’s these two titans throwing each other through things instead of trying to end the fight. Then when Batman is triumphant, he drags Superman around torturously. Batman hates Superman. Snyder hates Superman. OMG ZACK SNYDER IS BATMAN
so back to doomsday
spoiler warning: doomsday is just one of the cave trolls from LORD OF THE RINGS
it’s like Snyder just downloaded a Cave Troll Program and was like, “boom, doomsday, done”
maybe they ran out of money
ugh the women in this movie are mostly just props
Lois starts out strong but really does nothing and affects little and is a hostage in the end
Martha has mom lessons to grant but says nothing and does nothing and is a hostage in the end
Wonder Woman is cool — aaaaaand utterly devoid of anything resembling character or agency — she just shows up to be cool with her sword and that’s literally it. No sense of who she is at all. She is the epitome of the Strong Female Character — OH SHE’S SEXY AND HAS A SWORD AND CAN FIGHT SUPER-RAD AND SHE’S COOL AND ALOOF AND
oh did we mention she’s totally secondary to the men?
the movie is over now
superman is dead-ish
but he probably didn’t have to die?
like, couldn’t he have just given that spear to Wonder Woman instead of being a sacrificial martyr — like, “HEY, WONDER WOMAN, YOU SEEM REALLY STRONG AND AWESOME HERE CAN YOU DELIVER THIS SPEAR INTO THAT CAVE TROLL’S RUBBERY CGI BODY, COOL, ME AND BATS ARE GONNA BE BACK HERE SIPPING SOME HERBAL TEA”
okay hey it’s a funeral now
batman is all like, I FAILED MY GOOD FRIEND SPIDERMAN and wonder woman is like HIS NAME WAS SUPERMAN and Batman is like SHUT UP WHO ASKED YOU HIS NAME IS CLERK KORNT AND HE IS SPIDERMAN AND I FAILED THIS GUY WHO IS MY FRIEND EVEN THOUGH I HATE HIM AND TRIED TO KILL HIM BUT IT’S COOL BECAUSE OUR MOMS HAVE THE SAME NAME AND SO NOW MARTHA IS OUR SAFEWORD WHEN WE SEXPLAY
and then they’re like, NOW WE FORM THE JUSTICE LEAGUE BECAUSE I DUNNO, WHO FUCKING CARES, IT’S IN THE SCRIPT, CALL ZAN AND JAYNA AND THAT FUCKING PURPLE MONKEY IT’S TIME TO GRIMDARK THE WONDER FRIENDS — ZAN IS A FASCIST AND JAYNA IS A HEROIN ADDICTED SUPERMODEL AND THE MONKEY HAS A ZOMBIE VIRUS and wonder woman just roooooolls her eyes
Batman says: “Men are still good. We fight, we kill, we betray one another, but we can rebuild. We can do better. We will. We have to” which is a lot different from when he said “I bet your parents taught you that you mean something, that you’re here for a reason. My parents taught me a different lesson, dying in the gutter for no reason at all… They taught me the world only makes sense if you force it to” and also when he said “Twenty years in Gotham, Alfred; we’ve seen what promises are worth. How many good guys are left? How many stayed that way?”
so earlier he’s a cynical jerk and somehow now he has hope for mankind and the good in all men but that transition literally has no cause or reason
earlier he also says: “You’re not brave… men are brave. You say that you want to help people, but you can’t feel their pain… their mortality… it’s time you learn what it means to be a man.” wait is Bats an MRA –
ugh jesus why did I do this to myself
the movie is over
I really don’t know what happened
I want to describe it to you — like, not the plot, but the WHYs of the plot
and every time I try, a line of blood creeps out of my nose
It’s not that the movie was bad? It sounds bad. But parts of it are interesting and hang together well, and Snyder has a directorial style that I actually like — but he always seems to hang it on movies that are just utter shitpants. I mean, SUCKER PUNCH may very well be my least favorite movie of all time? And yet, his DAWN OF THE DEAD reboot is masterful. But this one, B VS S, it’s about a thousand hours too long. It’s not fun, it’s not funny, it seems to actively hate the characters or at least have a huge erection for MAKING SUPERHEROES SERIOUS. It’s sound and fury but signifies nothing. I can’t tell you who these characters are, or what they want, or why they are who they are. Everybody is intractable and ego-driven and nobody has a conversation — in Winter Soldier, at least the characters spoke to one another. Conflict came out of those conversations. Here I don’t even know where the conflict originates.
fartman versus spooperman dawn of just-ass ha ha ha am I right
I heard the Ultimate Edition made the movie better
maybe it did
oh god what was it before
I’m gonna go build a time machine to get those four years of my life back
*crawls inside a cardboard box*