Ever since the Michael Keaton Batman movie comic fans have been clamoring for a Batman and Superman team up on the big screen. On March 25, 2016 comic fans filed into movie theaters across North America to finally see the two most iconic super heroes in the same movie, fighting against each other. It’s perhaps not the first thing you think about when you here that Batman and Superman are in the same movie and for many it may have been an initial turn off. My mother who is not a super hero fan by any means was really bothered by the fact that these two heroes where going to be fighting each other. Yet this is not even the biggest weight that this movie carries, Batman vs. Superman is DC and Warner Bros launch pad for their Marvel style cinematic universe and its at the same time the movies biggest triumph and it’s biggest problem.
Prior to Marvel releasing the first Iron Man movie they had a plan which involved many movies culminating in an Avengers team up movie. Even with that plan in place and the now infamous end credit scene in Iron Man kicking it all off the plan seemed pretty far fetched. Nothing on that grand of a scale had ever been done before and certainly not with that many high profile actors and comic book characters. Many years later we have a movie, TV and Netflix universe that is all one big story and we are going to see movies and caring about comic book characters that even some die hard comic fans know little about.
DC and Warner Bros have seen what Marvel has done and they are trying to replicate it. The problem is that their universe is just as multi as the DC multiverse. The best of what DC has right now is on TV with Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Gotham and Supergirl. Yet as interesting as these shows are with the exception of Arrow, The Flash and Legends they are not all tied together, and worse they are not tied to the cinematic universe at all. One of the biggest issues is that the recent Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale Batman movies are not tied to this universe either so we are once again introduced to Batman. Yet the most jarring is that when the first Man of Steel movie was released that movie as well was actually not yet part of this overall plan so this movie needs to retro that movie into this new universe.
On top of all this Batman vs. Superman was tasked with introducing Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg into the mix all building towards a Justice League movie. So how does it all play out? Spoilers stuff ahead, be warned.
Batman vs. Superman will probably be viewed by three types of people: those who are just there to see this movie and nothing else, those of us who are aware of the bigger picture and of course the die hard comic fans who know everything. The average person going to see this movie depending on what they are looking for will either be highly entertained or highly confused. If you take Batman vs. Superman as simply a “popcorn flick” and look over and through it’s plot, plot holes and lack of comprehensive story you’ll probably enjoy it. I fall into that middle category of someone who knows there is a bigger story here but it was only thanks to the people who know everything that I realized more about that bigger picture the next day on the Internet.
There is one scene in the movie in particular that was probably one of the most pivotal scenes where I was left confused. Who was the person screaming from Bruce’s computer, what was he talking about “Lois is the key”, and was that supposed to be Robin’s ghost? Nope turns out it was The Flash time traveling to warn Batman to put together the Justice League. Even my friend who knows a lot about DC had that strange look on his face. It turns out that there are many pieces of this movie that reflect key stories and points throughout the DC Universe that start to make sense when you read more about them. The entire dream/ nightmare sequence for Batman includes a lot of Darkseid reference and directly uses the story line of the recent Injustice video game. Yet these were things that were pretty much just there and not even half explained. If you care to read more about the Easter Eggs and references CBR has a great article you can read here.
The Flash scene as I mentioned is pretty pivotal because it sets things in motion to do much in the same way this movie is supposed to do, create a Justice League Movie. Yet how can one movie introduce so many characters even within a running time of just short of 3 hours? My biggest concern with this movie prior to seeing it was how they were going to fit two main characters, a third leading character as an a additional character in the movie and then also cameo three other superhero characters in the same movie? Thankfully it was handled almost perfectly in one scene. Using a computer and an encrypted file both Batman and Wonder Woman discover The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg in computer video files. I actually could not have figured out a better way for that to have been done, it added to the movie without adding the burden of them into the actual on screen action.
Putting together the Justice League isn’t the only thing this movie has to do however it also has to put together Batman and Superman. I was never really sold on the plot introduced to put these two heroes at odds. During the final battle in The Man of Steel (in which Superman and General Zod bascially level Metropolis) Bruce races towards a Wayne Tech building that falls to rubble. It’s at this point where Bruce realizes he must stop Superman because he’s too powerful. Not a new story line since Batman has always kept a close watch on Superman and has on more than one occasion kept some Kryptonite in his utility belt but isn’t Batman at least smart enough to not jump to conclusions that fast? Yet through everything that he does to try and stop Superman and at one point I really felt Batman was being a super jerk towards Superman it’s when he finds out that Superman’s mother has the same name as his mother that the immediately become the best of friends. Ironically I am not the only one that after years of reading comic books never realized that Batman and Superman both had a mother named Martha!
So Batman and Superman become best friends very quickly after kicking each others butts through (and the movie keeps reiterating this) vacant areas of Gotham and Metropolis and finally take down Lex Luthor’s big baddie Doomsday ending in a climactic scene that ends both Doomsday and Superman! Two movies in and we’ve already got the Death of Superman story line! In short the people hate Superman, love Superman, hate Superman then mourn Superman in the course of two movies.
Yet this all comes together albeit on kind of a downer to put Batman and Wonder Woman together to go get the rest of the Justice League together because Bruce has a feeling. Lex has a feeling too that someone is hungry. Yet how either one of these two have any idea what could be coming really is never explained. The biggest key to this movies is that there is a lot happening in between scenes that we never see. Perhaps on the Ultimate Cut releasing on Blu ray on July 16, 2016 we’ll find out.
In the end after reading up on the movie I started to enjoy it a little bit more and I’m looking forward to seeing it again when it releases on Blu ray. Yet I’m concerned with where the universe goes from here. The Suicide Squad movie to me looks terrible and I will not be going to see that in the theaters and the other movies seem to be being planned without the greater plan in place that Marvel did so well. Perhaps it’s unfair to compare what DC is doing to what Marvel has done, and perhaps DC’s movies will be better enjoyed on their own merits as solo movies. If that is the case and DC does not continue to build properly on what this movie has tried to build then the biggest villain Batman and Superman will face in this universe may be DC itself.