Try and Say Something Nice: Batman v. Superman Edition


If you can’t say something nice, it’s entirely likely you’re having a conversation about Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. It’s just not good! Still, while I fully intend to bitch and moan about it’s failure as camp, I decided this year that my One Blog Rule would to not be such a bemoaning bitch, so I thought it best to first say a few nice things about Batman v. Superman: Just Make Out Already. If for nothing else, it’s insurance against anybody who insists I’m just a hater who doesn’t get it.

Anyways, here they are:

  • For a brief moment in the beginning, as we’re given yet another flashback to Batman’s origins, I was really excited that Batman v. Superman would finally mark Zack Snyder’s entry into the pantheon of pure, naive camp. Young Bruce Wayne floating into the light in a swarm of bats is operatically ridiculous, and the shot of Martha Wayne’s pearl necklace catching on the gun is groooossss, but it seemed as though Snyder had pushed his hyperstylization so far it stepped into abstract absurdism. Like Ash did the xenomorph in Alien, I admired its purity.
  • Also, the man-on-the-ground stuff with Bruce Wayne during the battle at Metropolis from Man of Steel made me think of Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross’s Marvels. It’s like a proof of concept reel, except loud and ugly and unpleasant, but still! It’s awfully fun to imagine a Marvels adaptation, isn’t it?
  • Ben Affleck’s Batman is a marked improvement over his Daredevil, and I was quite fond of his herringbone jackets. He’s a good director, so if it happens, I’ll be curious to see his Batman movie.
  • Henry Cavill does a scene shirtless. Sure, you only get to admire SuperShirtlessMuscleBear from the side, but beggars can’t be choosers, plus he’s making fried eggs, so it was enough to make me clutch my pearls.
  • Jeremy Irons is an enjoyable fussy Alfred.
  • I know a lot of people hated Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, which is fair, but it’s catnip for people who left The Social Network saying, “I wish his Mark Zuckerberg was twitcher, like the 2nd day of a meth binge.” 
  • During the Lex Luthor Library Party (an actual plot point), Gal Gadot wears a very pretty gown. Also, she seems well cast for Wonder Woman and moves in front of a blue screen quite effectively, so I look forward to her getting  any characterization.
  • Holly Hunter discusses acceptable recipes for peach tea. Actually, Holly Hunter, full stop.
  • It’s nice to see Amy Adams getting to phone one in, for once. She works so hard.
  • Laurence Fishburne is the Gina Gershon of Batman v. Superman. He knows exactly what kind of movie he’s in, and knowing is half the battle.
  • Diane Lane is still getting roles, for which I’m grateful. As Hollywood seems so indifferent to women over a certain age (whatever age Jennifer Lawrence is today), I half expected her to be replaced by Meryl Streep or Andy Serkis in a fright wig and a motion capture suit.
  • Best I can tell, Wayne Manor is now a Wayne Frank-Lloyd-Wright-esque Pond House, which I guess is a reminder that the 2008 recession affected everyone, even billionaire crime fighting playboys with debatable drinking problems and definite impulse control issues.
  • The internal logic in this film might be generously described as “Dada-esque.”
  • The World’s Greatest Detective never once so much as Googles the phrase “White Portugese” (which is the highly visible name of a boat, and not a person), thereby advancing the plot 45 minutes ahead of schedule. Some might balk that this is a particularly egregious plot hole, but I’d like to think it shows Bruce Wayne’s commitment to handcrafted, small batch, artisanal investigative work. Where does Batman get all those wonderful toys? Etsy.
  • About an hour in, I was getting really pissy that it felt like there were zero heroics in this superhero movie, and the BLAM! We get a montage of Superman super stoically saving people other than Lois Lane. I mean, technically it’s just one girl from a fire, a part of a spaceship that may or may not have people in it, and staring at some people in a flood, but still! It’s like Zack Snyder knows this is the moment in the movie where he needed to throw the audience some scraps or GTFO, which I guess passes for empathy these days.
  • After a Particularly Dramatic Scene on Capitol Hill, there’s a scene of good old fashioned melodrama with Superman and Lois Lane. It’s almost Sirkian in its exaggeration, and it suggests that Cavill is the Rock Hudson of our time. What I’m trying to tell you is that I could bathe in this scene for days.
  • This movie has zero minutes of Michael Shannon acting but an extended cameo by a General Zodd Real Doll, which means Michael Shannon probably collected a check despite having something better to do. (Anything, anything at all, really.)
  • Carla Gugino is the voice of the salvaged Kryptonian ship, and that, my friends, is better than no Carla Gugino at all.
  • If you’ve ever wanted to see Ben Affleck in an 80s training montage that is without a shirt, neon colors, anthemic synth scores, or hint of irony, then this is your movie!
  • Speaking of scores, Hans Zimmer and XL Junkie have really outdone themselves with this one. It is insane, like if Wagner and the Inception score gave birth to a baby in a vacuum of nuance and subtlety.
  • Also, get used to the Wonder Woman theme, because every drag queen ever will be taking the stage to this:

  • I really liked for all the aesthetic desaturation, the colors in Superman’s costume read much more this time around, and also that there are two–TWO!–separate instances during the climax where newscasters inform us that the settings of epic, orgiastic destruction are basically abandoned as it’s after working hours. You guys, when the Internet complains, Zack Snyder listens, so I’d like to propose we complain about Superman’s costume, particularly that he’s wearing one at all, and that the next Batman/Superman movie should end in an even bigger though entirely different kind of climatic bang.
  • You can’t accuse Batman v. Superman for lack of ideas, but you should probably specify for cohesive, fully thought out, and reasonably well executed ones next time around.
  • I’m pretty sure it’s made me better appreciate Man of Steel.
  • At least it’s not Babel.

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