Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"Batman v Superman" was not at all what I was expecting

All that waiting. All that buildup. And we get ... a climactic tennis match?


OK, I'm joking. This is actually (obviously) one of a series of vintage covers from World's Finest Comics. Almost every issue of that DC comic book featured separate stories involving Batman and Superman. But since the superheroes (and Batman's sidekick Robin) didn't actually meet on the page for many years, "DC tasked the cover artists with depicting the three characters together in a whimsical, unrelated scene kids would enjoy (often sports)," Sports Illustrated's Ben Sin wrote in 2014 to introduce a gallery of those covers.

So that's how we got Batman v Superman: The Wimbledon Showdown. (And keep in mind that phrase "kids would enjoy.")

There are, unfortunately, no sports in Batman v Superman, other than a poorly-thought-out javelin moment. The movie is a train wreck, although you could argue that train wrecks make more pleasing noises.

Many have already eloquently (and profanely) put into words what's wrong with BvS, notably Drew McWeeny of HitFix, Rob Bricken of io9 and Devin Faraci of

But, in the Internet age, it's not just the professional writers who make great insights. Smart commentary about the movie has appeared on message boards and in the comments sections of hundreds of different movie and entertainment websites. More likely than not, those Everyday Joe (and Jane) comments will get lost as time marches on. More Lost Corners of the Internet.

Here are a series of reader comments from Ain't It Cool News that I fully agree with. They speak to the tonal problem now inhabiting the center of the DC cinematic universe...

  • Kubrick's Rube: "I miss the good guy Superman with a huge heart who we can all look up to, aspire to be like, and who blows our cynicism away."
  • Captain Panaka: "'Lois, I never lie.' ~ Superman (Christopher Reeve). I'll never forget that scene as a 6 year old kid in the movie theater. The lighting, the acting, the costume, the set, the music, and Christopher Reeve's delivery were all perfect. And most importantly, it set a strong example for me as a kid to aspire to be my own Superman (even though he struggled with duality). ... Now we get snapped necks and blank statements about 'what it is to be a man', and selfish proclamation's like 'You don't owe this world a thing, you never did.' I'm of the strong opinion that MOS and BvS are films no young child should see whatsoever."
  • LaRusso: "[Reeve's] portrayal of Superman was so earnest and morally decent that you could not help but absolutely believe him when he delivered that line. Also, when Lois asked him 'Who are you?' and he responded, 'A friend.' - my God how powerful that moment was."
  • Pelvic Sorcerer: "That's what's missing from Snyder's comic-films. They lack wonder and awe and the desire to be more. Comic-book films should, at the very least, inspire the minds of children...not make them cynical and jaded by giving them reasons to question the benefits of a higher morality...and this should ring ESPECIALLY true for Superman, the gold standard for what a superhero should represent."

And if that's not enough, just take the word of my friend Jason Plotkin, a photojournalist extraordinaire and one of the world's biggest fans of Batman and Superman:
"A few people have asked me about how I liked Batman v Superman. I'm going to give a spoiler-free review so not to ruin it for anyone else. Here goes: Before I left my house last night, I began watching the movie Me, Earl and the Dying Girl, about a boy who strikes up a friendship with a girl who has cancer. I should have stayed home with the happier and more joyful movie. The end."

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