Posts Tagged ‘Man of Steel’

Batman vs. Superman Dawn of Justice is the second entry in the DC Cinematic Universe following Man of Steel. This movie, more than it’s predecessor, tries to expand the DC Universe, planting seeds for future movies to follow.

Batman appears in the title first as he does in the narrative as well. We start with the climax of Man of Steel where Metropolis is getting destroyed while Superman fights Zod. Bruce Wayne rushes into the wreckage to save his employees that work in one of the demolished buildings.

In this universe, Wayne has been Batman for a long time, and it has taken a toll on him mentally. He doesn’t believe in the inherent goodness of Superman, and sees him as a threat. Hence he starts training to take him down.

Meanwhile Clark Kent is wanting to cover the Bat story in Gotham, against the wishes of his editor Perry White. Clark disapprove’s of Batman’s methods, saying they violate people’s civil liberties. I wasn’t as clear to why he would object to Batman so much, as both Batman and Superman are vigilantes.

There’s some great training scenes with Bruce, and we get to the final showdown that does have a definitive winner. However while the first half of the movie is pretty solid, things fall apart toward the end. There’s a plot point relating to the reason that they’re fighting that should bring a lot of tension, but doesn’t at all. Said plot point almost makes the fight seem silly anyway. Plus certain characters seem figure out certain things out of the blue.

Meanwhile Lex Luthor is lurking in the background and uses the corpse of Zod to create Doomsday. Doomsday at first looks across between the Incredible Hulk and Cloverfield, and is pretty much attacks the heroes because the plot tells him too.

Part of the problem with this film as a sequel is that you pretty much needed to see Man of Steel to understand this. Especially the opening scene, you’ll have no idea what’s going on without having seen Man of Steel. Also, in this film Lois and Clark are very much in love, which is nice, but I don’t see that progressing from the last movie. The emotional weight of their relationship does not rest in the previous movie, but the fact that the audience is probably familiar with their relationship from 70+ years of pop culture.

All the characters are played well. Affleck makes a great Batman. Eisenberg’s Luthor is basically Zuckerberg from Social Network just more mentally unhinged. Wonder Woman is great, but her absence would not have affected the plot at all.

Some big chances were taken with this movie. Batman in particular already has a long established history in this world that hasn’t been touched on yet. Evidently some big changes have already happened to certain things we take for granted about Batman. I also liked that the first time you see Batman on screen the horror aspect of his character is played up.

One of the potential problems I see down the road with the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that they’re introducing all their big heroes at once. I like DC taking a different approach, having solo films spin out of the upcoming Justice League film, having their TV shows be their own thing. In this movie world the upcoming Wonder Woman movie takes place in the past. I would hope the next Batman movie would as well.

Batman vs Superman is not a terrible movie, but it falls apart at the end when it needed to be great. It does make me want to see a Wonder Woman movie and a Batman movie set in this world.

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Man of Steel is DC Entertainment’s reboot of the Superman Franchise. It has no ties to the previous Superman films. It opens with a planet Krypton that is not cold and lifeless like the first Christopher Reeve film, rather abundant with life yet still a civilization in decline. Scientist Jor-El has warned of the danger of tapping the planet’s core for energy, General Zod attempts a coup, and for the first time on film we get a Superman origin that kind of makes sense in regards to why it was only baby Kal-El who was sent of into space.

Interestingly enough we do not see the moment when Ma and Pa Kent discover baby Superman in the rocket. The next scene cuts to an adult Clark Kent rescuing people from an exploding oil rig. Sporting a beard he’s been wandering from place to place helping people along the way. During these sequences we get flashbacks to Clark’s childhood, where he discovers where he came from, and how his powers and abilities made him feel alienated from other people. The scene where his super senses kick in is good, as it shows how horrifying the experience must be for a child, and how it further isolates Clark from his peers. It also shows how his mother helped him to focus and control his powers which was a good touch.

Johnathan Kent plays up more the angle of fear regarding what if Clark is discovered. However in the end he teaches that Clark was sent hear for a reason, and he must decide what kind of man he wants to be.

The adult Clark soon finds a relic from Krypton in the Arctic which introduces him to a holographic image of Jor-El. There’s some info dump hear but also some extra things of Kryptonian history are revealed. (Though they still never explain why they look human and speak English)

This event gets Clark his Superman suit and also draws Zod to Earth where the big showdown starts. For years fans just wanted a Superman movie where he punches something. We get it here as Superman has massive battles with Zod and his minions. In the process the city of Metropolis is pretty much wiped out. There’s so many scenes of skyscrapers collapsing it actually gets kind of ridiculous. There’s also something involving how Superman foils the plot I didn’t get. Though it was interesting to see that Superman did not stop the villains without help, and also Lois Lane got to see some action.

 

Zod is a distinctly different kind of villain than the Zod of Superman II. Zod and Jor-El were actually once friends, and his main goal isn’t actually to kill Superman. He’s the type of villain that truly believes what he is doing is right, that he was born for a specific purpose and he is acting it out. This leads to a now controversial ending wear Superman must make a tough choice, and anguishes in his decision which in my opinion worked well.

All in all it was an enjoyable experience, though some parts felt rushed, such as Jor-El’s scene with Superman and the relationship between Clark and Lois. There is also a totally different dynamic between Clark and Lois than in previous films (Though it’s been done in comics before).

The big question for me and many others was what references to other DC properties outside of Superman would there be. While watching the movie I didn’t see any. Afterwards I learned I missed a few. A supporting character from Green Lantern briefly appears, there’s a backhanded reference to Booster Gold, and the Wayne Enterprises logo appears on a satellite. None of these are enough to get me excited or regret missing. At the time of this writing Man of Steel has had moderate box office success. It is my hope that this leads to a DC Cinematic Universe to compete with Marvel’s. It certainly is a job for Superman, but time will tell if Superman can save this dream for us.