The blood that pumps through the veins of the narcissist is that of an iron and glucose filled attention. The need to say here I am, this is me, and what my opinion says is all that matters. This is what it takes to keep the heart beating of a new wave of critics and those making a false path in the world of 2016. There is nothing wrong with wanting, imploring people to see something that you have created. However, when you choose to make your living off of destroying what others have built, that’s when the lines are crossed. Of course this is nothing new and not all critiques are bad but we will get into that momentarily. This movie review will serve not only as an analysis of the new smash hit Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, but will also tackle the deeper issue of modern day critics and the blatant harm that they are causing to our pop culture fueled society.
Let’s be clear to start with: I adored Batman V Superman. I have spent my entire life with these characters and to see them all together on the big screen was a dream come true for me and my past seven year old self. It was everything that you could want from a movie like this. Of course there are things that could have been done differently or things here or there that might not suit some, but at the end of the day that can be said about all movies but writers, actors, and directors have a vision, just as we all do, and to see Zach Snyder’s vision come to life was a brilliant and breath taking work of art. As a very brief and very mild plot synopsis, it is Batman versus Superman with the ever evil Lex Luthor lurking in the close background, over the fate of humanity and one man’s quest to protect us all and another’s to prove that he was never really a threat to begin with.
The characters themselves and their core development is the single best part of this film. Superman in this film works better than a large majority of the comics and films he has been portrayed in before. Snyder really understands that this character is human, not from another world, and watching his struggle between the want of his father to be a hero and his desperate urge to fit into a normal life is an all to relatable struggle. Combine these problems against his relationship with Lois Lane and the conflict that then ensues between them is a palpable feeling that we can all understand in our lives. At his core, the Superman character needs to be normal more than super but he cannot allow himself to be anything but a hero. He is a man trying to be a savior and pauper all at once and when you have a director that understands that character struggle then Superman is no longer an overpowered God with no depth and precision. He is one of us, what we want to be and all the things that we can’t be and that is a pain and pleasure to watch.
As compelling and relatable as the Superman character is in this film, he is a distant second to the true star of the film, the Dark Knight himself. The absolute crowning achievement in this film is Ben Affleck’s portrayal as the savior of Gotham City, not only as Batman but also as Bruce Wayne. For those of us who have grown up with this character, and even for those who didn’t, it is clear from the offset that this is a different kind of Batman. For you comic nerds out there that have torn through the unrelentingly beautiful disastrous worlds of Frank Miller, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Jeph Leob, and Scott Snyder, you know that this Batman is a darker, more visceral character. This is not the spry young Batman that most are familiar with. This Caped Crusader has run the gauntlet of devastation, destruction, and chaos. He has seen allies slain before his very eyes, he constantly relives the promise that he made his bloodied and dying parents, and everything that he ever thought about loving has been stripped away. This character, perhaps the greatest literary character to come out of all the western cannon in the past 100 years, works so well because he is the common man in the world of the extraordinary. To truly understand what this character brings to this movie, you have to dig deeper to understand what makes the character tick.
Christopher Nolan’s Batman brought forward this concept that Bruce Wayne is the mask and Batman the real face, which is undeniablely true. Batman is fighting a war that will never be won yet he has to continue the fight. It is what makes up his DNA. All of his villains, some would argue, are a direct result of his actions and each a twisted and perverse take on different layers of his psyche. We have seen idealist Batmen on screen before. We have seen the goofball of the sixties. We have ever seen George Clooney which still rots our collective minds but never before have we seen the true Batman that Affleck brings to the table.
This is a man that has absolutely nothing to lose. He has been in the foxhole for years now and he is battle scared. His brutality and nonchalance for criminal life and well being has never graced the big screen before in the way it does now and it makes for the most absolute and terrifyingly malevolent Batman. Affleck is near perfection in his role but also, his performance as Bruce Wayne is not to be taken lightly either as it is stellar in every sense of the word. He excels as the nuanced yet notably damaged playboy billionaire and when you take his roles of both Batman and Bruce Wayne into the context of this movie, he becomes the best man to play the character to date. All of this violence and devastation leads way to a moment, a choice of redemption which, at the end of the day, is all you could want from any comic book character or story. Affleck’s performance is not to be missed.
The last physical thing that I want to touch on from the movie is the change in tone and action form other DC movies of the past. Make no mistake about it, this is a comic book movie that is unashamed to be just that. Batman in the past on the big screen has always been taken as a grounded and real world character and we fell in love with Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan because of it.
Now as great as that was, we have something so different here and if you are a fan of the books, you cannot walk away from this movie without falling in love with it. There is loud action, huge scenes, big scores, and a different, grittier tone. It is everything that the Avengers are not, which is not a bad thing. This film sets up for the exciting future of the DC universe in dramatic and practical ways. There are threats looming and the world in which they will be spawning will not be the more happy go lucky universe of Iron Man and Captain America. No, this world is a real one, gritty and relenting and the future of the DC cinematic universe is off to an excellent and grounded start thanks to this films excellent cast and unwavering commitment to building a better future at the movie.
This brings us to the most pain staking and frustrating point that needs to be touched on about this movie. Critics have largely and unabashedly tried to destroy this film. Fortunately, fans in our modern world have thought for themselves and have given the film a stupendously large opening at the box office, guaranteeing its success for years to come. Now being a film critic is not necessarily a bad thing but for the purposes of this film, critics, having already made their minds up before the film was even close to theater release, panned the movie and all of the hard work and new direction form cast and crew.
It wasn’t so much as a I did not like this movie because and then gave a logical thought out reason, it was just unbearable tweets and idiotic pandering of everyone with a keyboard wanting to be the second coming of Roger Ebert. There were very few logical and thought out points saying this is why this movie worked and this is why it didn’t. No, instead we were greeted to mass writing and 140 characters of how this was the worst movie ever made and this is the end of the DCU as we know it. Everyone seemed to be popping up behind the glare of our screens with their incoherent ramblings of nothing and saying how terrible the film was. Even Kotaku and the staff at IGN were nonsensical with all of their tweets and reviews, effectively trying to kill this film. (Thank you Greg Miller for your honest and truthful reviews, one of the few I found in the research for this article).
There is one thing that is for certain, this is a symptom of a larger problem. This generation we are living in now, my generation unfortunately, does not stand for anything. We are afraid to look different, too worried about image to go against the grain, and to full of cowardice to stake claim and pride to things of our own making. No we would rather see what the true creatives and forward thinkers are doing and make our claims to fame by trying to tear down someone else’s artistic vision. We get our joy from laughter with friends about the apparent disappoint of failure of other’s passions instead of forging passions of our own. There is nothing wrong with disliking something or not being on board with the latest trends because of this reason or that but to blanket the internet and everyone around us with negativity towards what someone else has put their passion into creating is a millennia’s calling card and a sad state of what is ahead for the next generation. This problem does not just lie with the specifics of film critiquing but with the life these people are leading as a whole.
The bottom line is very simple. If we as a younger generation do not have the guts and the fortitude to find passions of our own and stake our laurels on those creations of passions, then we are truly going to go nowhere as a society. People in this country used to believe in the power of creativity and though but now in this technological age we would rather decisively try to tear others down rather than build each other up.
If this problem is not remedied then there is no hope for a more cohesive, stable, and unapologetic future. We all have to share this country together and there is nothing but miseries down the path we are headed. Batman V Superman is a great film by a dedicated cast and brilliant direction. It is not perfect but nothing in this world is and if we could just worry about the motivations of our own hearts and focus on what makes us happy, unashamed and uncaring of what others think, then maybe someday others would want to visit our Gotham’s and Metropolises too.
Jeremy Andrews Staff Writer