Batman v. Superman wrongly under-credited by critics

Hannah Mason, co-editor-in-chief

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Something that most people, even my closest friends, fail to realize about me is what a huge superhero fan I am. When I’m feeling bored, I’ll read articles to try to learn more about the comic universe. Monday through Friday I’m set in front of my TV watching Supergirl, the Flash, Arrow or Legend of Tomorrow.

Over spring break, I was a blob on my couch as I watched every movie Marvel and DC Comics, the two leading comic companies, put out. As you might guess, the biggest movie I watched was Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which hit theaters March 25.

What caught my attention in the world of superheros was how we have seen the comic world shift in the last decade. Both Marvel and DC are using these superheroes to create blockbuster movies, which are not only extremely well-made but also connect to each other; they aren’t movies as much as they are a series.

DC began with the installation of Man of Steel in 2013, starring Henry Cavill as Superman and Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Not only did this movie re-establish the story and the beginning of Superman, but it also built the foundation for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

For a lot of people, the whole idea of this movie just didn’t make sense. Why would two of the most powerful superheroes be fighting each other? Let me explain.

In the last scenes of Man of Steel, General Zod, the Kryptonian general played by Michael Shannon, uses a machine called the “world engine” to try and turn Earth into a new Krypton. Obviously, trying to reshape the earth is no clean task, and, along with Zod and Superman having this huge brawl, Metropolis is a disaster.

Here’s where Batman fits in: one of the buildings destroyed was a Wayne Finance building, and nearly all of the employees in this building were killed or injured. So obviously, Bruce Wayne, played by Ben Affleck, is mad and uses Batman to get justice.

Now, as stated several times by Affleck, his version of Batman doesn’t compare to the familiar styles of Michael Keaton or Christian Bale. Affleck is a notably older Batman, and thus he portrays one who is beaten down, cynical and filled with rage.

I thought the older Batman was cool, but what bothered me was how in-depth they went into his childhood. I think that as he is one of the most popular superheroes most people have a decent understand of his beginning.

After sitting in the theater for two-and-a-half hours, I really couldn’t care less about Batman’s haunted past and all the trauma he currently has. They open the movie with the death of Wayne’s parents and that should have been all that was presented to the audience.

It’s not that giving Batman’s background wasn’t logical—it makes sense since Man of Steel gave us a look at Clark Kent’s story. However, I would have loved to have seen more depth in the climax of this movie. Viewers go through the first 120 minutes of the movie putting together a giant puzzle and then speed through the last 30 minutes. Yet, those last 30 minutes were the most important.

Unfortunately, the movie didn’t get the best reviews, only accumulating a 29 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. While I disagree with the harsh criticism, I also understand that super comic fans hold high expectations. Superhero fans want the movies to be perfect adaptations of the comics with huge, elaborate fight scenes. While Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice did excel in both these things, I think the reason fans looked past this is due to the darker look the movie has in both cinematography and tone.

A huge upside to this movie though was the amazing acting and the way DC Comics has set up the Justice League.

Prior to seeing the movie, I heard so many people say how amazing Gal Gadot was as Wonder Woman, and she definitely lived up to the expectations placed upon her. Here are these two guys fighting an evil force, and then suddenly Wonder Woman comes in and kicks butt. Outside of her action sequences, Gadot’s Wonder Woman is sassy, suave and confident. I can only imagine how great her solo Wonder Woman film coming out in 2017 will be.

Affleck was also praised for his interpretation of Batman, some even going as far to say he is the best Batman yet. While I agree with the remarks on Affleck, I thought Jesse Eisenberg was a scene-stealer with his portrayal of villian Lex Luthor. Eisenberg’s Luthor is extremely intelligent — so smart that it hinders his ability to socially interact. Right off the bat, we see a psychotic and murderous Luthor, which differs largely from the last time we saw Lex Luthor on the big screen in Superman Returns in 2006. Oddly enough I was hanging on every word he was saying.

Many have been putting aside the quality of the film to focus on the “Easter eggs” that were left for audiences. For a while now, #unitetheseven has been floating around the internet. This hashtag represents uniting the seven members of the Justice League: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Cyborg.

DC has a movie plan scheduled for up until 2020. In the next four years we will be seeing movies—solo movies for Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg and Green Lantern Corps. We’ll also see group movies such as Justice League:   Part one and two as well as Suicide Squad.

Overall, though many people weren’t huge fans of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, I appreciated the movie and the doors it opens for the next few years. You have to start somewhere, so hopefully from this point the quality of DC movies will only be on the rise.

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