With Wonder Woman just around the corner, it’s time to reflect on Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
It’s been over a year since Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice was released, and I don’t think I even need to go into the shade fans have been throwing at Director Zack Snyder ever since. For all intents and purposes, I truly believe Warner Brothers Studios is overly controlling the direction of these movies, even more so than I am when my girlfriend and I are deciding which movie to watch.
This movie had a lot of issues, unexplained plot points, gratuitous bath scenes, Martha… the list goes on. Having said that, a fair amount of good came out of this movie as well. Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman was spectacular. Gal Gadot is without a doubt the best Wonder Woman we’ve seen yet, despite her limited screen time. Um… what else? I’m sure there’s more but it wasn’t pure garbage!
Hopefully the new Wonder Woman movie, set to hit theatres the 1st of June, won’t follow the same mistakes that Batman vs Superman did. And from the trailers we’ve gotten already, it seems promising!
So with Wonder Woman just around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the film that was Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, and provide some much-needed answers as to how to improve the DC blockbuster.
Also, this piece will really only make sense if you’ve watched the film, but by all means keep on reading.
Lex ‘too Jesse Eisenberg’ Luthor
The main issue that I saw with Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) in this movie was that he came off way to creepy. Instead of hitting a Hannibal Lector level of intimidating crazy, it was more like an unsettling crazy that you’d expect from Annie Wilks from Misery.
Lex, as he was portrayed, hates to be weak, which gets heavily reinforced by his ever-present daddy issues. And this provides solid reasoning as to why he’d REALLY want to take down Superman (Henry Cavill). He perceives Superman as being the only real individual who could pose a threat to him, which provides his motivation for wanting to import kryptonite as a deterrent for the United States Government.
Ultimately, Lex just seemed unhinged, rather than a megalomaniac psychopath with little to no value for human life. I can understand why the studio wanted to go in this direction, which worked extremely well for the Joker in the Dark Night. But it just ultimately flopped.
Having Jesse Eisenberg be essentially less like Jesse Eisenberg, with more control and diction over his lines, would give us a villain who is still mentally unbalanced (because damn was that boy crazy) but establish him to be a menacing villain.
Batman and Lex vs Superman
I think an incredibly interesting direction this film could have gone with is a Lex Luthor – Bruce Wayne team up. Bruce working with Lex would make a very interesting dynamic, which I don’t think has been explored much, except for in DC’s Injustice series.
Just imagine it: Lex approaches Bruce because Lex knows that Bruce has been investigating the ‘White Portuguese’, the person/ship harbouring kryptonite to take down Superman. Lex also knows that Bruce is Batman, and Bruce would be much more capable to take out Superman than Lex or any of his hired mercenaries, because dammit he’s BATMAN!
While all this is happening, you could still have Lex nefariously working behind the scenes, to frame Superman for crimes he didn’t commit (which was the case already). This way he could keep on manipulating Bruce throughout the film, manipulating him to want to murder Superman because there is no other alternative. And can you imagine the kind of emotional, personal and ethical turmoil that’d put Bruce in?
Batman vs Superman neeeeds to stop the flashbacks
GET RID OF THEM. Now I understand the purpose of the flashbacks; they were used to either add in some action sequences, set up for the upcoming Justice League film, or really bloody hammer in the point that Bruce’s mother was called Martha. But we know how Bruce’s parents died; we don’t need a third reboot to remind us of that.
You know what’d really show how much Bruce loves his mum without showing us a gratuitous Zack Snyder styled execution? Change the scene where Bruce and Clark meet for the first time.
Now if you’ll remember, Lex Luthor holds an unexplained philanthropic event at his mansion with the only real purpose seeming to be an introduce Bruce and Clark to each other. While that was still a pretty cool standoff, I reckon they could have been better.
Now imagine this: In a universe where Lex and Bruce are working together to fight against Clark, you have Bruce instead holding the philanthropy night to set up the ‘Martha Wayne Foundation’. Here you could see Bruce getting all emotional about his mum, talking about how amazing a woman she was, yadda yadda yadda. That way, you establish Bruce’s connection to ‘Martha’ without exploiting the trauma that was the death of the Waynes.
Lois & Clark: The Newer Adventures
Lois Lane (Amy Addams) was absolutely wasted. She’s only around for two reasons: To find out that someone is setting up Clark for crimes he didn’t commit (which she never actually tells him), and being a plot device to explain Superman suddenly appearing.
Now rather than having Lois on her own go and discovering the identify of Clark’s saboteur, what if Clark and Lois worked together? You could have them both doing investigative journalism, highlighting their chemistry, their banter, and also have an opportunity to provide some much-needed humour in this film. Hell, you could even have Lois completely shut Clark down with her amazing, Pulitzer winning detective skills. How cool would that be!?
The Doomsday Climax
Yeah… Doomsday can go. Many people will agree with me when I say that Doomsday is more stale, bland and indigestible than the bread I bought a few weeks ago but refuse to throw out because it was really expensive (don’t judge me). Doomsday’s only real purpose is to kill Superman and that’s all.
What’d be more interesting would be to completely scrap Doomsday, and introduce Apokolips Battle-suit Lex instead? You could have Batman and Superman fighting at the end of the film because, yes, Superman was framed in blowing up the Capitol building, and Bats could be convinced that there’s no possible way to capture him.
But rather then say ‘MARTHA’, Superman could say, ‘Hey look Bruce, I don’t know about you, but Lois and I have done some investigating and Lex has actually framed me for all those attacks, and you know what, he’s holding my mum Martha hostage, so it’s either let her die or kill you.’ Batman could reply ‘Yeah fair enough, he seems like a pretty shifty fella, and wtf, he set me up?’
If you watched the extended edition, you’d know that Lex had seen or was interacting with an alien by the name of Steppenwolf. If this was delved into a bit more, there could have been a conversation between Lex and Steppenwolf. That way there could have been a substantial link to Justice League as we know he’s going to be a villain and Lex could also be gifted an apokaliptic battle suit.
For those who don’t know, there was a time during the comics where Lex had a specialised super-powered battle-suit, making Lex able to go toe-to-toe with Superman. If this actually happened in the film, we could have gotten the climactic finale we need, and the one we deserve!
So yeah, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. In this author’s unprofessional opinion, DC fans, and movie-goers in general would be more pleased if the studio ceased intervening with the production of these movies, by trying to copy the success of others.
Disagree with me? Let me know in the comments why! And if you have some ways to improve Justice League, hit me up!