We are mere days away from Zack Snyder’s Justice League, so once again take a trip down memory lane with the birth of the expanded DCEU with Batman v Superman.
Fearing that the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs.
Remember this little indie flick that came into the zeitgeist back in 2016? Batman v Superman, arguably the most talked-about piece of pop culture this century. One of the most polarizing, divided, and controversial movies I can ever really remember seeing, it finally introduced us to the possibilities of the Justice League.
After the semi-success of Man of Steel, Warner Brothers knew they needed to go big for their next movie. Zack Snyder decided to bring in the big guns, which was Oscar Winner Ben Affleck, coming off winning best picture at the Oscars. He was going to be suiting up and taking on the Son of Krypton. Ben Affleck was at the height of his power, he had more juice than almost anyone in Hollywood at the time and Zack Snyder convinced this guy to come play Batman for him.
Warner Brothers had just wrapped up the monumental Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy, proving that Batman was essentially box-office gold. How could this fail? Once production got underway, Zack Snyder and his team rolled out one of the most impressive marketing campaigns in history. Everything was a homerun, casting, posters, and more importantly the trailers. Fans couldn’t wait to sink their teeth into this movie and the world was waiting to see what Zack Snyder had in store.
When reviews came pouring in, it wasn’t what WB was expecting, arriving at 28% on Rotten Tomatoes and now that isn’t an important marker for every movie, but it can sink a movie in terms of box-office success. Not even eclipsing 1 billion dollars at the box-office, things didn’t seem the same once BvS was released.
Again, the problem with the movie for a lot of fans, they felt it had too many holes and some of the pieces of the puzzle seemed to be missing. Then came along the Ultimate Edition of the movie that proved the intended version that Zack Snyder had for the world was the superior one. It changed how a lot of people viewed the movie and made a stronger case for as to why Zack Snyder should be the one leading the charge on the future of the DCEU.
Personally, I remember being disappointed when I walked out of the theatre after seeing BvS. I waited over 700 days for the movie and it didn’t live up to my expectations. Until I realized I had set the highest of expectations that could never be reached. Like most fans, I didn’t really fall in love with this movie until I watched the Ultimate Edition. Now with every passing viewing, I find myself enjoying this thing just so much more. Mostly due to the fact, that there is just so much more to enjoy, and the movie just feels complete to me.
The movie serves as a launching pad for the future team-up movie, introducing us to Ben Afflecks’ dark and lost Batman. As he tries to find himself again and is eventually inspired by Superman. This is a Batman who has broken free from his golden rule and has lost all sense of what made him such a strong figure for Gotham City. We never quite got to see this kind of Dark Knight, someone who lives inside a world with super-powered beings all while having 20 years of crime-fighting experience. Without a doubt as of right now he is the definitive Batman because he fills out the suit to perfection and his relationship with Alfred is the best part of his entire character. Making his Bruce Wayne just as valuable on the screen as his alter-ego.
We also get introduced to the last piece of the Trinity, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. Obviously not as flushed out as Batman, but we knew she would be getting her own solo flick in the near future. Gal steals the last third of the movie, having one of the best entrances for a superhero ever. She looks fierce and has only gained confidence on-screen as time has gone on. She’s a much better actor today than she was when she was first cast as Diana. Not to mention a quick glimpse at Cyborg, Flash, and Aquaman, Snyder was trying to tell us a much larger threat was on the horizon and these heroes would need to come together in order to save the world.
This is just so different from anything that was going on in the comic-book world at that time. It was serious and dealt with our heroes in a very thematic and layered way. In the MCU it was mostly ordinary people trying to be Gods, where Snyder was displaying our DC heroes as Gods that just wanted to be like everyone else. Superman is a flawed character, for good reasons and his story arc through the first two DCEU movies was a unique take.
Fron the beautiful score, that hits right from the very get-go as we watch the Waynes get gunned down once again in Crime Alley. Leading all the way until the very last moments of our film. The action isn’t what propels this movie forward. When it hits, of course, it’s great, that’s one thing you never really have to worry about with Snyder (warehouse scene anyone), and his visuals are always on the highest of peaks. These characters have never looked better in a movie. Jesse Eisenberg who gives a more Mark Zuckerberg rather than Jeff Bezos kind of Lex Luthor portrayal was met with such criticism, but for me, it’s one of the things that works so well. It’s interesting that as the movie goes forward we see Batman and Lex go on opposite paths, Batman gliding towards the light, while Lex slips deeper into the dark. His rooftop sequence with both Superman and Lois Lane is his crowning achievement.
Over time I think more people have come around to this movie, but it’s still highly discussed and has polarized a fanbase. It will leave a mark on the comic-book industry no doubt, even more so with the events that played out after its release.
Batman v Superman may be flawed in some areas but overall, I truly believe it is one of the best comic-book movies ever made. It’s rich in context and in texture and it is more than just heroes punching one another. Zack looks at our heroes through a certain lens that leaves you wondering what he had in store for the future. In less than a week, we will finally get to see that vision and I don’t think the world is ready.
Batman v Superman – 92/100