Gal Gadot is WONDERFUL in “Wonder Woman”! I can admit when I need to eat my own words. I may have not been that impressed with her in Batman v Superman, but I sure was on the edge of my seat watching her kick butt this time around! What a justice she does for Wonder Woman’s first solo feature film! Bravo! Can’t wait to see more of her in Justice League.
Also, Themyscira was absolutely stunning and I couldn’t get enough of The Amazons! They were fierce! I wish the film could have spent more time on “Paradise Island”, but we of course had to get the ball rolling and enter the land of war and men.
Sadly, Hans Zimmer just announced his retirement from scoring superhero motion picture films.
I’m going to go ahead and tackle on this big one. Normally, I don’t review new films – mostly because it takes me a while to actually get myself interested in all of the new stuff that comes out. But this film, guys – this film is what I have been waiting on for years. Even before it was announced. Sadly, though – I left the theater not knowing how I felt about Batman v Superman. There were just so many things going through my mind and even as I type this, I still don’t know how I truly feel about the movie.
I didn’t hate it, but there are so many things that are keeping me from saying with out a doubt, I loved it. The goal for this post is to air out all of my feelings and hopefully come to a decision about how I feel about Batman v Superman. The title still makes my cringe, so that can’t be a good start.
As an avid DC Comics fan, I have been wanting a live-action Justice League / more than one DC hero collaboration film since I started watching Bruce Timm’s influential DC Comics animated series including Batman: the Animated Series, Superman: the Animated Series, Justice League, and Justice League: Unlimited. Especially those last two.
These series are normally what I use as my DC Comics bible and guide. When and if I miss a few comic issues, I feel like the series are the holy grail for the main and most interesting story-lines and transitions throughout DC Comics. In fact, a lot of the animated series and films are great references to know what’s going on in the comics. JL and JLU just seemed to get everything right and keep me entertained and educated in my DC Comics familiarity.
And I understand that the animated series were just another method of telling the stories of our favorite DC Comics heroes – just like the comics, live action-television series, and films. The main reason that I love Smallville is because I like how the series includes plot points and characters from the comics. They aren’t exactly like their comic versions, but the show allows me to see what I have been reading live and in living color, so to speak.
Confession: Early in my Smallville watching days, I used the animated series as my reference guides while watching the show and became angry during times when I thought the show missed out on capturing stories and characters exactly like the animated versions. I understand now that that was ridiculous and unfair, but at the time it was just how much faith I had in the animated series. I wasn’t accepting the concept that Smallville was another creative version of these characters and another way to depict the classic stories while bringing in new stories…and characters.
The founding members of the JLA for me were always Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash (Wally West), Green Lantern (Jon Stewart), Hawkgirl, and Martian Manhunter. They were the league. The core. Seeing an ensemble of superheroes calling themselves the Justice League without ALL or most of these members just never seemed truthful or right to me. I loved Smallville’s version of the JLA with Clark, Green Arrow, Impulse (Bart Allen), Aquaman, and Cyborg – but deep down I felt like it was an off-brand version of the true JLA. Later on, Hawkman, Stargirl, Black Canary, and Martian Manhunter joined the league as well. Even though these characters were actually rightful Justice League members, I wanted my Batman and Wonder Woman.
In JLU, nearly every DC Comics hero is invited into the league, but the founding seven were the head honchos. The decision makers. When I would see the outlier heroes fill in or be spotlighted instead of the seven, I felt like something was missing or that I wasn’t getting the full story. With the exception of The Question, who really brings his A Game. None of the less, it is amazing to see The JLA in live-action form on Smallville. The current DC Comics television series like Arrow and The Flash are also great with their superhero collabs. I still have yet to invest some time in Supergirl and Gotham, but I’m sure they’re doing their share of DC Comics hero assemblies. The Flash just made his way over to Supergirl – a crossover to another series and network. How cool is that!
With all of this said, let’s talk about Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The actual purpose of this post. And yes, HUGE spoilers are ahead.
Batman…the Demon Knight?
One of the most exciting things for me about the film is that Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman finally meet on the big screen. Warner Bros had to reboot the whole Batman character (again) just to make this happen. Nolan’s Dark Knight franchise is just totally different from the path Zack Snyder is taking these characters and the DC Cinematic Universe. Although Nolan’s darker depiction of the DC Comics world really kicked into gear the tone for future films. His films are more grounded in realism, whereas Snyder doesn’t hold back with showing the super in superhero. Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne and The Bat Vigilante of Gotham is every bit of what I loved about the animated counterpart.
All the doubt and outrage about Affleck’s casting should be hushed down to a complete silence. I actually never doubted him as I am one of those people who actually loves the Daredevil film. We’re a rare group, apparently. Affleck is brooding as Batman and hell-bent on giving the bad guys their justice. He’s even charming as Bruce Wayne – when he’s not hung over. I am a little iffy on how hungover he is in the film and how vengeful he is towards his regular ol’ street foes. The gun wielding also kind of struck a nerve just like Superman’s last encounter with Zod in Man of Steel. My SEVEN YEAR OLD BROTHER was like…why the fudge does Batman have a gun?
Batman also seems stupidly blind by his rage and too unreasonable to understand who Superman is and what his beliefs are. He doesn’t even try to look beyond the media’s portrayal of Supe’s and all of the blasphemy about the destruction to the city as a modern God among men. As I watched the film, I really was like ‘Bruce, come on! Wake up and smell the coffee and put down the scotch!’ I realize that he’s been Batman for years, way before Clark came out as the Man of Steel, and he has seen his fair share of misfits and dangerous foes – like The Joker. But there’s just something off about how angry Bruce is at Superman. Bruce Wayne would have the means to arrange a meeting and just hear Superman out. They probably could have skipped the whole fight and became friends sooner rather than the inevitable later.
I also wanted to see more of the playboy high-roller Bruce Wayne that made his way through the hearts of even the strongest of ladies. Even Lois Lane. Maybe it’s because (and I am almost positive it is) this version of Bruce has been a vigilante for so long and he’s become more Batman than his normal self. He’s ticked off throughout majority of the film and when he finally does crack a smile or quips, it stays with you. Just like in JL.
I love how cocky he is when he meets Clark Kent for the first time. He throws it in Clark’s face that Metropolis worships Superman, an alien from another planet with the ability to take over the planet if he wanted to. So why so much hate on the Bat vigilante, Clark? In their conversation, Clark becomes less of a boy-scout and stiffens up more like Superman when he basically gets dissed by Bruce, who also turns off the charming act and his rage festers through as Batman.
It reminds me so much of when Clark and Bruce meet in Superman the animated series. I couldn’t tell here if they realized at that moment who each other really were. Well, Clark probably does due to his super hearing allowing him to overhear Alfred tipping Bruce off about what Lex is hiding. Then again, he may just think that Bruce is some sort of spy or federal agent. I like to think Clark is smarter than that, though. Even Jimmy Kimmel isn’t buying it.
Bruce in BvS is kind of how Smallville’s Clark becomes between seasons 7-10. His exterior is harder, colder, and his personality is drier than his younger self. He has seen too many bad guys and has had his heartbroken. His destiny gets in the way of him having a normal life. His best friend, Lex, officially turns evil and his father dies. It’s all enough to turn good men cruel as Alfred says in BvS.
By the way, I love this version of Alfred. He looks like he has so much swag. No, but seriously he seems to have more of a valued friendship with Bruce rather than just being his older guardian, butler, and confidant. He’s still the one that tries to talk sense into Batman.
Alfred is tech savvy and makes Bruce’s Batman gear. I do agree that he looks more like Commissioner Gordon here, but Jeremy Irons is fantastic as usual. He’s the cool Alfred for the new generation.
Superman…the Man in Question?
I actually really wanted to see more of Clark Kent. Yes, Superman deals with a lot of crap in this film as Lex frames him to be this God-like tyrant. Superman has this very solemn demeanor when he’s saving people and when the government and media blast his name and try to define who he is. He’s just too darn sad and offended.
On the other hand, Clark Kent had some fight in him, personality-wise. He’s happy with Lois and he pushes Perry White to shed light on Batman rather than settling to write about sports. When he’s Superman, he’s either pissed at his foes or he’s heartbroken to see that the people he’s saving and fighting for can so easily misunderstand who he is and his intentions. There’s no middle ground. I need to see that middle ground, where Clark and Superman meet.
We’re rushed into this story and we don’t really get a chance to see what happened to Clark after Man of Steel. How has he been dealing with his journey as Superman? He just figures out about his true identity and origins in Man of Steel and his first spat with the bad guys is less than graceful. In BvS, we hear a lot about how Bruce has been affected, but not how Clark is coping. He just shows up to save Lois here and there, saves civilians who worship him like a God, and gets slandered by the government. Then he runs away and I couldn’t help, but slap my knee in anger.
He eventually comes back home, but it bothered me how easily he would just up and leave – giving up on us, I mean, the civilians in the film. With such a big opinion on Batman, I feel like Clark’s perspective on Superman and his ambition should be spelled out for us. What type of hero do you want to be, Clark? Do you even consider yourself a hero? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
It’s also nice to see moments with Martha Kent when Clark feels like the world is against him. She reminds him that he doesn’t owe the world anything and he could just hang up the cape and live his life under the radar. There’s also a dream sequence where the deceased Jonathan Kent appears to Clark and gives him some sage advice. Though, I was too distracted by trying to figure out what was going on to pay enough attention to what he tells Clark.
What I love about Smallville is that we get the journey of Clark Kent with his parents and friends. We get to see him grow into the hero that he wants to be and make decisions about how separate his ‘human’ identity lifestyle should be from his hero one. Sure, it gets muddied and blended often times, but atleast we have the opportunity to see Clark chose a path rather than just having him thrown into one. The Kents really play a huge part in guiding him.
There’s just so much Bruce Wayne in BvS, that I feel like Clark Kent gets the short end of the stick. We get Bruce’s motivations, even if his origins and history as Batman is more unknown apart from the tidbits that we get in dream sequences and him mentioning his dealing with clowns. Plus, there’s the graffitied Robin costume hanging up and his parents’ graves that act as sore reminders that he has lost those close to him.
We need to know what’s going on in Clark’s head. As the future leader of the Justice League, I want to see that leadership role taken seriously. He needs to be the one to keep his conrads focused and motivated to do good for Earth and the intergalactic space. To work with various governments (especially The United States) and to personally form a connection to Earth that grounds them to avoid the team becoming an isolated powerhouse. Those that could flip the switch and start chaos. That were the aliases come in. Or, their assumed true identities.
Lois Lane…the Key?
What makes the Justice League human enough to fit in and appreciate the human race? For Clark, it’s his connection with his adopted family and Lois Lane.
We get a feel for their relationship in BvS, and how Clark and Lois have have fallen madly in love with each other. Clark is there for Lois when she’s a damsel and when she’s being reckless. I was scratching my head to understand how and when they became so close to the point that they live together and Clark has a ring for Lois by the end of the film. This is that missing time after Man of Steel where Clark makes some big decisions and we aren’t given the opportunity to see them before we get BvS. Sure, it’s lovely to see that Clark and Lois have taken their relationship to the next step, but for Superman to rush in to save her neck even in the most dangerous of situations where he risks his own reputation – I want to see the first date and the whole decision to move in together! I need substance.
In Smallville (though the whole Lois and Clark relationship gets rushed around season 8 after Lana Lang leaves) we get to see Lois falling for Clark after all the time she lived with him and The Kents. They annoyed each other and Clark found Lois to be reckless and a little over the top. Lois found Clark to be too much of a boy-scout. Little did they know that they were opposites destined to attract.
I want to see Lois and Clark get on each others’ nerves and pick and prod at each other before realizing how perfect they are for one another. Sure, I absolutely love how sexy Clark/Superman looks when he’s with Lois, but at times it’s a little too mushy – making Lois look a little needy. I love Amy Adams, but she makes me want to smack Lois at times. I feel the same about Erica Durance’s Lois in Smallville during seasons 8 – 10. To me, Lois should be headstrong and not too much dependent on her super hunky man. But to eat my words, I love when Superman sweeps her off of her feet.
Do We Need a Superman?
As for his reputation, Superman is really in a bad place with the media and government. All of the mass destruction from Man of Steel divided the people into two factions: those that believe in Superman and those that distrust him. Some people clearly see that he tried to save the planet from Zod and his Kryptonian followers, but some see only the destruction caused by the battle. Bruce is one of those people and so is a good portion of the government. Senator Finch tries to find justified sense in all of the chaos.
She believes that power corrupts individuals (Lex Luthor is a prime example) and wants to exercise her strong belief in democracy. She invites Superman to defend his actions before the people who judge him. Finch believes in fairness and doesn’t want to jump to the conclusion that Superman is too powerful to be trusted. Lex Luthor tries to manipulate her, but she doesn’t sip the tea he is serving. Literally.
The hearing doesn’t go well and Lex sets Superman up to appear a part of a conspiracy that leads the entire Senate building and those in it (including Senator Finch) in crumbles. Superman is obviously left standing looking hella heartbroken that again he’s going to be blamed for another catastrophe. I honestly feel for Superman in this moment. He’s obviously going to be the last man standing simply due to what he is. Him standing there in the middle of it all makes others believe that he had something to do with the explosion or that he caused the explosion. All he wanted to do was air out the truth, which could have saved Bruce a lot of time and effort planning his battle with the Man of Steel and allowed the people all over the world to know that Superman means well. He’s genuinely a good guy. Roll the credits! Skip to Justice League!
The situation reminds me so much of JL when the league is criticized for having too much power. Sure, the government (creating Project Cadmus) is right to be wary of such a large number of super-powered beings. They could, if they wanted to, take over the planet. Case in point, The Justice Lords.
They dubbed themselves divine beings, with the power, audacity, and authority to have control over the world. The thing is, the Justice League are the good guys. They constantly prove themselves when they save the world from evil and destruction. However, even Batman begins to recognize that forming an unlimited league accrues too much power and humans wouldn’t be able to do much if the team decided to go rogue. Superman and the rest of the core seven reach out to the government and form an alliance. But who says the government isn’t corrupt?
Look at Amanda Waller. She and Batman both believe that The Justice League are far too powerful, but their different tactics to keep things under control make them butt heads on many occasions. I can’t wait to see Viola Davis’s portrayal of Waller in Suicide Squad.
I’ve always been torn on Waller’s beliefs and motivations. On one hand, she wants to keep super-powered beings from taking over the world, but on the other hand, she uses corrupt methods to do so. Creating a team of super-villains to do good just lends itself to allowing them more access an opportunity to do more evil. And her definition of ‘good’ is relative. She gives the government too much power. It’s like a lose-lose situation. No one side should have more power than the other nor have all of the power. Like Senator Finch says, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
I do have to admit that Amanda Waller is an amazing character and her dialogue on JL really makes me think critically about government and power and philosophically about what a government is. Waller is a bold woman with strong beliefs. She acts on them without a lick of fear from those physically more power than she is. And that really says something, because she can kick some butt.
Sometimes Waller’s associations are more corrupt than the superheroes that she comes head to head with. Lex Luthor, for example. Now, Lex Luthor is my favorite villain in DC Comics. He’s intelligent, cunning, obsessive, rich, and good old-fashioned evil. His motivations vary, but they are usually along the lines of him wanting to take over the world and have control over super-beings or metahumans to do his own evil bidding.
In JLU, he’s the most enduring villain. Ever. He plants seeds to give himself power in the government for access to totally classified research and documentation of metahuman and super-human existence. He even runs and gets elected to the presidency in an alternative reality. This really sends Superman off the deep end.
His obsession with power and knowledge is also referenced in Smallville, where Lex’s character is probably the most well-written version that I’ve ever seen or read. Here, he becomes so obsessed with Clark’s and metahumans (re: meteor freaks) abilities that he spirals into a cold-hearted killer and unforgiving foe. We get to see his journey into the nemesis of Superman as he gets sick and tired of all of the lies and deceit from Clark and those around him. He takes matters into his own hands and answers his own questions.
When he succumbs to his darkness, it’s a beautiful thing to watch. Michael Rosenbaum totally nails Lex Luthor and you can’t help but root for the bad guy. Clark tries to cover up so much and in return, Lex becomes outraged with how naive Clark thinks he is. There’s often humor in Lex’s reproach to Clark, other essential characters, and the many scientists and researchers he often has doing his dirty work.
You can’t help but laugh as Lex one-ups everyone. There’s a very Shakespearian and poetic relationship between him and Clark, as he initially just wants Clark to trust and love him like a brother. His own father doesn’t show much approval or affection towards him, so he seeks out love and acceptance from the Kents. Of course, they never trust him enough to let him all in. Jonathan, especially.
As much as I can go on about Smallville andBruce Timm’s animated version of Lex Luthor, I have to talk about Snyder’sversion, played by Jesse Eisenberg.
I’ll start by saying that yes, he made me laugh, but I absolutely did not take him seriously as Lex Luthor. His mumbling about gods, demons, and power came off as unhinged and annoyingly snarky. Basically, he was his TheSocial Network Mark Zuckerberg character in a Zack Snyder world. Actually, he was just Jesse Eisenberg in a Zack Snyder world. And that wig! It would be more tolerable if the wig was acknowledged as a wig on Lex’s bald head. But to pretend that it was Lex’s actual hair just makes the character appear more ridiculous and clownish.
I want to see someone with a more authoritative and strong demeanor play Lex Luthor. I can throw out a ton of actors’ names like Ralph Fiennes, Michael Fassbender (who’s busy playing Magneto in the Marvel/Fox cinematic universe), Thomas Jane, Julian McMahon, Luke Evans, Mark Strong, hell even Michael Rosenbaum could reprise the role and take it to new heights on the big screen. But no, we get Jesse Eisenberg. It would be nice to have someone stand toe to toe with Superman and Batman in stature and strike the fear in those around him. Jesse Eisenberg is more annoying than anything else. I had a hard time trying to figure out what he was saying (or why he was saying it) and what his motivations are besides the fact that he’s Lex Luthor, so he has to be the bad guy.
Here’s what Zack Snyder said about his version of Lex in Entertainment Weekly –
“He’s not any of the Lexes that you’ve seen, that’s for sure, other than him being a captain of industry and one person to the world and another person to himself. And bald, of course. Our Lex is disarming and he’s not fake. He says what he believes and he says what’s on his mind. If you can unravel the string and decipher what he means, it’s all there.”
Since this is a revamped live-action Lex Luthor apart from the Smallville and Superman Returns Lex (played by Kevin Spacey who is acceptable as the old fashioned Lex Luthor), I imagined that he would be a closer version to his animated counterpart. Proving to be undoubtedly evil, funny, strong-willed, and even kind of dashing – in that bad boy sort of way. These previous versions of Lex were just as adamant about their desire to be in control, and we didn’t have to solve a ton of riddles to figure that out.
When he kidnaps Lois in the film, I wanted her to throw a punch or shove him. I’m 100% sure that he couldn’t take her. He would probably frail on the ground. She just calls him “psychotic” and he feels like he has just been complimented. When Superman shows up, I just shook my head in disbelief that he didn’t just throw Lex off of the building (onto something that wouldn’t actually kill him during landing) or quickly and easily knock him unconscious. But no, the little twerp spews out his dangerous plan and runs the show.
Now, what would I do to have seen Superman and Lex actually go at it. That would have been more satisfying than seeing Batman and Supes fight. The battle suit that Batman has could just as easily have been the green kryptonite suit that Lex builds in the animated universe.
Wonder Wonder…Is She With You?
We finally get to see Wonder Woman on the big screen…with Superman and Batman! It’s really a huge milestone and something that DC Comics fans have been waiting for since forever. I mentioned how much of a pleasure it is to see the Justice League in live-action, but to finally see Wonder Woman in a live-action film is something that I really cannot put into words. Sure, there were a ton of expectations. From what you’ve read so far, you can tell that I put a lot of faith and respect in the Bruce Timm animated versions of these characters. So yeah, I was looking forward to seeing that type of Wonder Woman in BvS.
The animated versions of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are self-assured and forthright. In BvS, they seem to be holding back or second guessing or slightly less confident in themselves (with Bruce Wayne / Batman as an exception). Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is confident (cocky) and she definitely kicks butt, but her Diana is more blah than the version in JL. She kind of just appears and disappears and takes her time getting to the Doomsday (and I’ll get to him momentarily) fight. Of course, she shows up just in time before Batman becomes a shish kabob.
I want to see more of Diana Prince and what she is up to throughout the film – other than just going to lavish parties, riding in jets, and chilling in her hotel room checking email. There’s also something a little off about Gal Gadot’s acting. Don’t get me wrong, she does an amazing job, but she seems a little detached. I get that the character is this Amazonian warrior princess, but Gadot’s ‘dead eyes’ made me feel like she wasn’t really Diana / Wonder Woman, but just an actress doing what she thought the character would do. Saying the lines. Going through the motions. Maybe we’ll get more from her in the Wonder Woman solo film. I’m excited to see Diana’s origins story and I’m rooting and ‘waiting for Gadot’ to show more expression in her damn eyes.
I would also like to add, once again, that it was fantastic to see Wonder Woman on the big screen. However, I feel like when she finally shows up to the battle, the CGI becomes a little over the top-top and I couldn’t really enjoy the fact that Wonder Woman was freaking battling Doomsday on the big screen. I do love that Snyder allowed Diana and Bruce to flirt like in the animated series.
There’s a great chemistry between Batman and Wonder Woman in JL. It’s along the lines of yeah, Bruce is a ninja, but Diana is something of a god and she falls for this brooding guy that dresses like a bat.
Then, she always seems to be the one to save him when he falls short to hang in there with his super-powered conrads. We even see this in BvS where Batman kind of hangs out while Wonder Woman and Superman fight off Doomsday. When Doomsday targets him, his best strategy is to run away as fast as he can. I think this is where some of the humor seeps in.
Wonder Woman kind of just shows up dressed in her warrior gear and Batman and Superman have to ask each other if she’s with either of them. Now, this confuses me, because I can understand Superman’s confusion as he hadn’t interacted with her before this point, but Bruce has and has seen her photo from the early 1900s in Lex’s metahuman files. Why was he asking who she was with? Maybe he just thinks all of the super-powered folks must roll together. He is just now on good terms to work with Superman. For all he knows, Clark and Diana could have been working together this whole time. He doesn’t know either of their origins.
I won’t even talk about the actual battle between Batman and Superman, because I was wincing the whole time watching it. It was just ridiculous (and predictable) and the reason Batman lets up is even more ridiculous.
The Rest of the League
And speaking of metahuman files, my favorite part of the whole film is seeing The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman make their cameos. Even though the setup is a little bizarre: Bruce shares the files via email to Diana. I think that Snyder could have structured the appearances in a less clunky and more believable fashion. And why the hell did Lex have the ‘cinematic logos’ on the files? Is he making the films? I feel like the clips were honestly just rough footage from the upcoming Justice League film. But nonetheless, I am pleased that their existence is included in BvS. The DC Comics super-powered team is actually happening on the big screen and I can’t stop smiling about it.
I’m excited to see what the group accomplishes together and how they layout roots for other members to join in the future. I want to see similar versions of the JL animated characters portrayed in live-action.
Smallville set the tone for ambition along with the current DC Comics live-action series. We got to meet, Aquaman, Impulse (The Flash), Cyborg , and The Green Arrow. I really want to see what can be done with these characters in the cinematic universe. There was so much expectation for Ben Affleck’s Batman and I really feel like Snyder can really make this Batman stick. Now, here’s to hope that Suicide Squad’s The Joker will be above amazing to counter Batman. Jared Leto has big shoes to fill after Heath Ledger’s stunning portrayal of the character. His Joker is big enough to last a lifetime. Pretty excited to see Harley Quinn on the big screen too.
Doom and Doomsday
While we’re talking about DC Comics villains, Doomsday is the big foe that comes in to deliver well, doom. Can I just say that I wasn’t surprised nor was I amazed to see this character. The trailers and promos actually made me numb during majority of the film. I knew pretty much everything that was going to happen – well the major plot points. I knew Wonder Woman was coming (she would have been a huge surprise if Warner Bros would have kept her appearance under wraps), I knew that Doomsday would show up and be created by Lex Luthor (I’ll get to this in a bit), and I knew that Superman and Batman would stop fighting and work together in the end to stop Doomsday. ALL of this was in the trailers.
The trailers took a lot of the fun out of the film for me. Sure, I had the choice to watch them or not, but I look to trailers to be made aware of upcoming films not to have them spoiled. And every time I watch a trailer, I smack myself for falling for it. For being lured in and having majority of the film spelled out. I’m really going to take this to heart and avoid any other trailers for Suicide Squad, Captain America: Civil War, and X-Men: Apocalypse. I may actually avoid movie trailers and promos entirely. I can almost bank on how much more satisfying the moving-going experience will be for me.
What I am glad that wasn’t in the film is Superman’s fate at the end of the film. It could have been executed more gracefully, but it still came as something of a surprise. Though, I read comics so it wasn’t that surprising to the point that I jumped out of my seat screaming. I just nodded in approval that it was depicted in this cinematic universe. I can’t wait to see how Justice League takes off from here. Seeing Diana and Bruce at Clark’s funeral was great, but not that believable considering Bruce campaigns to take out Superman throughout majority of the film. Diana still hadn’t shared an actual conversation with Clark. So, how? It’s mostly because Snyder is just setting up Justice League and the audience needs to see that oh, they’re an actual team and believe in each other. They’re friends.
Bruce’s line about not letting Clark down is the nail in the coffin. I literally looked around the theater to see if anyone else was in as much disbelief as I was. It took all my might to not blurt out…WHAT? The whole patriotic funeral for Superman was enough to make me want to walk out of the theater. Wasn’t the government at odds with Superman and now he’s being honored at his funeral? We never actually got to see Superman and the government officials come to some sort of mutual understanding. Maybe in Man of Steel with the military, but not in BvS. We just get a montage of Superman saving folks in the early part of the film. Cry me a river.
And Clark leaves a ring for Lois? Again, I still want to see where their relationship develops into that level of commitment. Who’s name is on the lease at that apartment they’re living in? Then, there’s the very last scene…inevitable. No surprise. Superman might as well have punched through the coffin. I had to stifle my anger and try to hold on to the love I have for DC Comics and these characters. But, they were pushing it.
Just to clarify, I’m not mentioning all of this to support that I hated the film, because I honestly didn’t hate it. I was just not surprised and I was too distracted by plot-holes and unanswered questions. Was the film beautifully shot? You bet. Zack Snyder has a way with his camerawork and an eye for special effects. I loved seeing Superman’s flight and Wonder Woman moved like art.
I just had too many expectations for the film. It isn’t exactly a sequel to Man of Steel nor is it an origins story for the new Batman. It is kind of something to just tie us over between Man of Steel and Justice League. Snyder lays out the groundwork, but things were hard to decipher at points and motivations were unclear (Lex) while others were formed under false pretenses (Batman).
Why did we need Batman and Superman to be at odds? The film could have been about several future Justice League members (Batman and Wonder Woman) called together to support or defend Superman and allow his side to be aired after the chaos of Man of Steel. They could reflect on their own origins using anecdotes (flashbacks) of how they accepted their abilities to be able to save the world. A stronger Lex could have easily been the foe (with him obsessed with Zod) or a better drawn out creation of Doomsday and his rage on the city (and world) could have been the tie to have them all work together.
Bruce interacting more with Clark and the both of them meeting Diana then strategizing to stop Lex from gaining too much power within the government as he’s inspired by Zod – would have made much more sense, plot wise. Then, the Flash could zoom in from the future to warn them about Darkseid. Something that is actually great in BvS, is Bruce’s dream sequence of a Darkseid infested society with Superman clearly gone bad.
The Flash warning Bruce about [a rogue/dark] Superman and Lois being the key [to Superman regaining his humanity] is one of my favorite scenes in the film. I was only annoyed that these sequences were dreams and how Bruce just shrugs them off. Does he always have nightmares? Maybe they’re a result of seeing his parents killed right in front of him? Was The Flash’s warning not a dream, but something else?
Also, let me backtrack. I still have yet to see a satisfying version of a live-action Doomsday. I really wish that he could talk as that would make him more menacing. Also, wasn’t he just Zod, but deformed? Did Zod still have his memories? And how the fudge did Lex have such an easy access to Kryptonian tech and science? Seriously, if Clark could sense when Lois is near a fate close to death in her many hostage and reckless situations – how come he couldn’t sense when his planet’s tech is being used? Why the fudge hadn’t he known about it still being in the hands of the government after the whole Zod showdown? Shouldn’t he have been on a mission to keep Zod’s body and that ship away from prying human hands?
If Superman was to ever exercise a stance against the government, it should be to guard anything and everything Kryptonian from humans. He killed Zod, so wouldn’t he have had some sort of Kryptonian burial for him after how bad he felt when he snapped his neck?
Where was Jor-El’s corporeal memory to warn Clark about what could be created from Zod with the tech and science on the ship? Actually, what kind of tech and science was on that ship to even allow Lex to use his own blood to create a deformed Kryptonian beast as a weapon of destruction? I just have so many questions.
And honestly, Doomsday was more frightening in the animated series. The CGI in BvS just made him off to be another fake thing in the movie. Not believable and not effective. The Abomination in The Incredible Hulk was more exciting and scary. All Doomsday did was blow stuff up. The heated eyes didn’t phase me and his quick exit was just as much unsatisfying. Doomsday is a big and important foe in the DC Comics universe. He should have been shot up into space or weakened and locked up in a heavily armed and secured government facility with the ability to come back in future films. This would make him more incredible and more frightening. It’s basically what JL the animated series does and it works.
I really am excited for The Justice League live-action film, and I seriously hope that it answers a lot of questions and has far better writing and execution of events and plot. If Darkseid is the main foe, he should be larger than life. I also want to see Granny Goodness make an appearance too with her eerily manly voice that always creeps me the heck out. Since Superman is for sure coming back to life, his fight with Darkseid needs to be epic, again like in JLU. Superman gives an incredible speech during their battle. It’s absolutely epic.
So, my final verdict is that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (such a bloated title, by the way) is a great way to tie us die-hard fans over until Justice League premieres. The long wait and excessive promotion of the film created huge expectations, especially with what we know is possible with superhero assembly films like The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and X-Men. There was just so much material that could have been used from JLU, a series that I feel is an exceptional depiction of some of the best storylines in DC Comics.
Again, I realize that Zack Snyder and Warner Bros have their plans to recreate or reimagine these characters and their stories. Maybe we need a Kevin Feige type figure to step in, or maybe WB has everything under control. I just hope that they aren’t too concerned with catching up with Marvel and Fox and in the process delivering a bloated mess rather than a careful planned out DC Comics cinematic universe. We’ll see. The film didn’t turn me away, so I will be looking forward to what’s to come.
Critic Rebecca Cusey from The Federalist describes the film perfectly –
Too competent to be universally panned, too disjointed to be universally praised, too anticipated to be a new revelation, too beloved in subject to be easily dismissed, the film will be one people either passionately love or passionately hate.
Despite critics overall panning of the film, it continues to flourish and be successful according to the the numbers at the box-office.
Plus, if I had to give only one reason to stick around, it would be to see Ezra Miller as The Flash.
P.S. Though it was under unfortunate circumstances, I loved seeing Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the film. Glad to see him and Zack Snyder collabing again. He is amazing in The Watchmen.
Smallville is my favorite show. Hands down, without question. Many come close, but nothing competes with the memories spent watching this show (several times). I love Superman. He honestly gives me this [un]realistic hope that this world isn’t totally screwed up and doomed to destroy itself. There are actual writers out there who have created the ultimate hero. He believes in truth and justice. He fights for our safety. He’s from a world beyond ours, sent to correct our wrongs. He’s courageous and charismatic. He’s strong, but not a macho jerk – too difficult to connect with. He doesn’t let us get pushed around by bullies – including the government (#ARGUS #Checkmate #Cadmus). He’s some guy, to say the least. Plus, his cover is a journalist. Out of all things. He likes to be in the know and have a voice within this world that he’s saving on a reg. Did I mention that he’s easy on the eyes, too?
Ok, ok. Let’s talk Smallville.
I started watching Smallville during it’s fourth season. Flipping through the channels, I caught the episode, Devoted (on The WB), and I was hooked. Like I said, I love Superman and comics in general so automatically I was baited into being a fan of this show. To jump in on this episode was quite the experience. I had no idea who most of the characters were – but it was set in high school. From my previous posts, you know how much I love high school / teen dramas. Then, there was this guy with super strength saving his friends from being pummeled to death by jocks affected by a super gatorade-esque drink spiked with love potion from cheerleaders – WHAT!? Then, I realized the super strong guy’s name was Clark. Clark Kent. And one of the girls’ name was Lois.
Hold the phone. As in Superman ‘Clark and Lois’?? Let me just read up on the show… It’s called SMALLVILLE. Surely enough this was a show about the teen life of Superman and his journey to becoming Superman. I hurried up and found out what channels were airing the first few seasons and never looked back! Thanks ABC Family.
The show is what got me into my other favorite sci-fi dramas including Charmed, Buffy, Angel, Roswell, Supernatural, Heroes, and Firefly. The list certainly goes on. More than just a high school drama, the show was an interesting interpretation on the story that I thought I already I knew. A funny thing about my experience with this show is that I couldn’t exactly binge watch it like I can do now a days (except for ABC Family’s marathons). I watched a few episodes out of order, because I had to catch it when it was being syndicated on ABC Family. The first episode I watched after Devoted was Zero, from season one. I was also watching season four as it aired on The WB (0:26). Basically, I was all over the place with this show and when I finally circled back to the pilot episode – I wouldn’t let anything or anyone disturb me from catching on to every name, every Superman reference, every romantic moment between Clark and Lana, because I was trying to figure out what had happened with those two while watching the current fourth season. Because you know, Lois was there.
Then, after experiencing (watching) the rocky relationship between Clark and Lana during the three seasons, Lois’s entrance to the show was a breathe of fresh air. I mean, I love Clark and Lana’s drama and romance, but after a few seasons of Clark’s lies and Lana’s demands – Lois’s quirkiness and kick-ass attitude coupled with Clark’s awkwardness was amazing to watch.
Now that I have watched the entire series (several times over) and own all of the seasons on DVD – I am pretty much something of an expert on all things Smallville. Here are some of the things that I absolutely love about the show, along with things that annoy me as well. There were a few things that I thought I was entitled to seeing on the show and at times (later seasons) the show didn’t live up to my expectations in terms of character interpretations and connections to the comics (and the animated Superman and Justice League series). I mean it’s my favorite show, and I am not shy to talk about some of the crap that I had to put up with while watching it as the writers were really testing me in the later seasons. So, here we go…
My first impression of Clark was: Wow, he’s pretty. Seriously, Tom Welling is absolutely beautiful and back in 2001, he played the heck out of the high school freshman Clark Kent. From the comics, I expected the stereotypical terribly awkward and clumsy kind of a guy (even though Clark was faking it to mask his totally poised nature). And sure, Tom did ‘justice’ to Clark’s awkward and clumsy nature (see what I did there), but the stereotypical high school (outsider) was NOT an impression that Tom could even try to fake. I mean, the guy looked like a modern day prince charming. Gorgeous.
His eyes alone could pierce right through you (even without the heat vision)! Now, enough with my semi-objectifying of Tom Welling. His portrayal of how lonely Clark was and how strongly he just wanted to fit in and be a normal teenager in high school was believable, especially scenes where he would tower over everyone as they moved out and about their lives without him.
Due to his burgeoning super powers, early on in the series he had to miss out on being a part of sports (football), being totally honest about this whereabouts (when he was saving people), and dating. He actually only wanted to date one girl in particular, Lana Lang, but she wore a meteor rock (kryptonite) necklace – so she literally made Clark weak to his knees when she was around him. But, he couldn’t take his eyes off of her and I loved seeing their longing stares.
Other than his love for Lana, Clark had to deal with obeying his father’s wishes (Jonathan Kent) to just blend in and try his best not to get caught using his powers, while at the same time accepting that he is different from everyone else.
A lot to put on a teenager’s shoulders, huh? Since Clark had the superhero mentality from the beginning, he couldn’t just sit and watch when danger loomed over his town. He was always at the right place at the wrong time or the wrong place at the right time – depending on how you look at it. So when the time came for questions to be asked, Clark had to lie about his whereabouts or his connection to anything beyond the normal. Most of the time he tried to prove his innocence to his best friend (soon-to-be-arch-nenemis)…
Some of the best scenes in Smallville come from Clark trying to convince Lex that he’s totally a normal teen and the fact that he was always at the scene of something out of the normal happening was totally a coincidence. I got to give it to Lex, he does try his best to believe Clark in the beginning and just wants a normal friendship. Clark was like the brother that he didn’t get the chance to have (re: Julian and all of the other bros/siblings (Tess) that popped up later on). He even protects Clark on a number occasions when his money could do the talking.
But, Lex always had something dark inside of him and I think all of the lies and deceit (coming from his end too) just caught up with him and blurred the lines between good and evil. His distrust of Clark after he knew for sure that Clark was lying to his face (Lex’s got resources, so it was only a matter of time when he could buy the truth) ate away at his soul and he couldn’t and wouldn’t take it any more. The same with Clark. Season five’s Mortalallowed both Clark and Lex to punch it out on an even playing field when Clark became mortal.
Clark knew that Lex was losing his soul (figuratively and literally) and there would be times when he knew Lex was definitely lying to his face. All of the back and forth – I’m your best friend – I would never lie to you – You can trust me – pretty much crumbled their friendship and Clark made it his mission to catch Lex in his wrong doings and Lex wanted to reveal Clark’s true powers (and take advantage of them).
There’s a perfect example in season four’s Transference. How could Clark explain this situation? Other than the fact that his body was possessed by the evil Lionel Luthor and Lionel was using Clark’s powers against Lex…
Of course, when Clark approached Lex again (having returned to his own body), Lex was prepared for some answers. Like right now!
Clark always had to play dumb and convince Lex to believe some story of how he “wasn’t himself” and that the strength was “adrenaline”or something. Slap to the forehead! Really? That wasn’t the only time this type of situation and even crazier situations have happened to prove that Clark and Lex’s relationship would be the stuff of legends. I think Lex’s final descent into darkness came in season four’s Onyx, when Lex is literally split into his two selves – good and evil.
Face / Off, I mean Transference
Season four’s Transference is one of my favorite episodes as it reminds me of one of one of my favorite films, Face / Off, starring John Travolta and Nicholas Cage. Basically, good guy’s identity is held hostage by his nemesis via face swapping. Hmm, I wonder if the writers knew what they were doing here. In any case, it’s a great episode, especially the prison fight scene with Jimmy Eat World’s Pain playing as the soundtrack. But look, am I wrong…
Chloe, The Wall of Weird, and Meteor Freaks
Back at Smallville High School, home of the Smallville Crows…Clark has this genius and adorable bestie named Chloe Sullivan. Chloe was one of the names I didn’t recognized when I first watched Devoted, so I didn’t catch on quick enough that I was watching a show about Superman. Chloe is a character made up specifically for the show as a “Lois Lane proto-type.” She’s the editor and chief at The Torch (high school paper) and the pioneer of the Wall of Weird.
She’s collected clippings and articles about the paranormal and ‘weirdness’ in Smallville after the first meteor shower (Clark’s plight to Earth from the planet Krypton). A mere notebook couldn’t contain all of the strange and questionable happenings, so she used a wall. Of course, she showed the wall to Clark to impress him, but little did she know that Clark is the sole reason that her wall even exists. The wall jumpstarts Clark’s mission to help those that he affected by coming to Earth and allowing people to be transformed by the infected meteors and thus becoming monsters of themselves and wreaking havoc in Smallville. Thanks, Chloe.
The infected persons are dubbed ‘Meteor Freaks’ (basically meta-humans or mutants). The kryptonite-laced meteor fragments from the meteor shower somehow mixed into their system during some extraordinary event, like getting caught in frozen water littered with kryptonite meteor rocks for an extended period of time (Ice Man-type freak), or having a flock of insects attack you after crashing your car full of kryptonite infected insects (Bug Boy-type freak). After the freaks set their sights on destroying those who’ve wronged them while they were relatively normal teens – Clark comes in to save the day! With a little help from his friends…
Chloe (along with Pete Ross [who annoys me, so I’m not going to bother writing about him]) is unknowingly and knowingly Clark’s sidekick – filling him in on the freaks and giving him a head start on how to stop them from causing more damage. Once again, thanks Chloe. But of course, Clark has to lie about how and why he can even go toe to toe with the freaks to stop them.
Before long, it’s revealed that Chloe is in love with Clark (how could she not be) and just being his sidekick and best friend was not always enough. Clark did love Chloe (how could he not), albeit only as a friend.
Their bond grows deeper after she finds out that she was right all along about Clark being extraordinary. All of the lies and dumb excuses start to make sense and Clark can just tell Chloe that he’s going to save the day and she’s like, ‘I got your back’ and gladly embraces her sidekick status! THANKS. CHLOE.
I mentioned earlier that the early seasons of Smallville centered around Clark’s love for Lana Lang. And I admit, I rooted for them until I realized that Lois Lane would soon be gracing Smallville with her presence and SHE was Clark’s soulmate. But I was torn (still am) by which girl is rightfully Clark’s true love. I sometimes argue that Chloe is Clark’s true love by her wit and heroism from the earlier seasons – before the writers turned her into some sort of ‘computer wiz’ and living ‘brainiac’ in the later seasons. Seriously, after she leaves The Daily Planet, she loses her Chloe-ness that I grew to love over the years. I mean, she rightfully deserved to be at the Daily Planet and that’s more than I can say for Lois Lane (later on).
But Lois’s first few seasons (seasons four – five and some of six) were when I loved her the most. She was strong and quippy. Most of all, she ticked Clark off. Before Lois, Clark tried his best to get along with everyone and was always Mr. Likable until Lois came around to shake things up. There was actually someone to annoy Clark and to get him into ‘normal’ trouble with his folks like in season four’s Gone.
Lois drove Clark crazy…in an adorable way. The more she spoke up for herself and got herself into hot water, the more Clark had to step in and be HER sidekick. I think he liked that about her.
However, in later seasons, Lois becomes this whiney damsel, pining after The Blur (Clark’s first attempt of a Superhero name). I got so sick of her meeting in the telephone booth, calling after this mysterious shadow vigilante. I honestly think, their relationship was rushed into a romantic one anyway. Especially since the writers kind of weakened her character after she already dated two other superheroes in previous seasons (Aquaman and Green Arrow). I struggled taking her and Clark seriously. I never saw the romantic-chemistry between the two of them like I saw between Clark and Lana.
I feel like the writers were shoving Lois and Clark down our throats after Lana left the show. The earlier seasons took the time to show Clark falling in love with Lana, and she with him. Clark put Lana through so much crap, because she knew that he loved her and she let him pull her in. But he wasn’t honest with her and all of the lies pushed her away. The fact that she loved him made her forgive him on many occasions and Clark constantly had to try his best to be the best for her while at the same time keeping his responsibilities in check. His true identity could put her in more trouble than he already had by being close to him (re: season three’s Exile). When he did hurt her, it took him time to forgive himself to be close with her again. He had to push her away to keep her safe, but Lana didn’t understand that.
Even at some of Clark’s most vulnerable moments like in season five’s Reckoning, when Jonathan Kent dies. Lana tried to hold on to the threads of her love for Clark, even though he was hardening up and closing himself off. If she knew what he was really going through (Clark going back in time to save her from dying and instead Jonathan’s life is switched for hers), she probably wouldn’t have been so hard on him about the faults in their relationships.
Which is why Lana started to tick me off in later seasons. She treated Clark like he was this horrible person (mainly because he sometimes had to be to keep her safe) who lied and willingly hurt her feelings. I hated the both of them for treating each other terribly (especially Lana marrying Lex in season six’s Promise). I think Clark could have just told her the truth though instead of stringing her along all of those years. She found out eventually, though, and it’s excellent. But, being honest from the start would have saved them both a lot of heartache. However, Reckoning was a gift of an episode where Clark actually told Lana everything and proposed to her.
Their blissfulness led them down a dangerous path, though, as Lana (now knowing Clark’s secret) became a target to Lex’s crazed demand to be in on the truth as well…resulting in Lana dying. Clark (not having that) changes the past and this time around he doesn’t tell her the truth, thus further pushing Lana away, losing her anyway. She’s now the reason Jonathan is gone, Clark unintentionally weighing her life over his own father’s. The episode is beautiful though, especially the ending soundtracked with Peter Gabriel’s I Grieve. The episode is what I had been waiting to see happen between Clark and Lana FOR YEARS, but I also got to see how (why) Lana knowing Clark’s secret was a dangerous idea.
No matter how much in love Clark was with Lana, I don’t think Clark trusted her enough to be strong enough to handle whatever bad could happen to her if she knew his secret. At least, not in the beginning. It could be that he loved her too much to burden her with the task of keeping his secret. Though she found out eventually and we see how well that worked out (Clark ends up with Lois). All of their ups and downs made a relationship worth watching on television, though.
When the Comics Invade Smallville
I think Smallville finally became Superman’s story, when more other DC superheroes and villains made their way to town. Season four introduced a few comic characters like Myxlplyx in Jinx, Bart Allen (“Impulse” / The Flash) inRun, and of course Lois Lane in Crusade. Also, Clark (as Kal-El) actually flies in this episode and it’s amazing!
Season five introduces fan favorites like Brainiac (played by Buffy alum James Masters), Aquaman, and Cyborg. I think season six is where the series and comics smash-collide in a great way. Green Arrow becomes a re-occurring character, later to become a series regular, played by Justin Hartley.
His presence pushes Clark to finally see that he can’t do this whole saving the world thing alone and needs a little help from others like him – superheroes. You gotta love season six’s Justice. Seeing so many of DC’s finest in live action was something Smallville fans (DC fans in general) had been waiting on for a long time. Can you imagine how stoked I am for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad next year?
We get a full view of Martian Manhunter in season six’s Phantom (he’s introduced in season six’s Static). Season seven introduces Kara Kent (Supergirl) who’s a series regular that season. Clark basically gets to train her to get used to her abilities just as he had to do in earlier seasons. He became something of a big brother figure. His relationship with Kara was strong, because he had to protect her from those willing to exploit her (cough, Lex) and teach her about the importance of having a secret identity. The thing was, Kara wasn’t raised by humans and she didn’t like to think of her powers as a secret or burden. Well, until she meets Jimmy Olsen (introduced in season six). Then, she wants to be a relatively normal girl. Overall, Kara and Clark’s relationship on the show is a great nod to the comics.
In the case of other characters like Davis Bloome, Tess Mercer, and ‘Major’ Zod – I could have lived without on the show. Surely they tried to fill the void of the villain / anti-hero after Lex Luthor left in season seven. I mean, maybe if they had more time to develop and they started their origins in earlier seasons, I would have taken them more seriously. But honestly, after seeing Lex from season one to his last episode (not including his return in season ten’s series finale) and him developing as the villain, any other bad guy was just filler. Tess Mercer was forced on us and I grew annoyed by how she was supposedly bad, but also good. What made Lex’s villain status so amazing was his chemistry with Clark. Something the later villains lacked.
Characters like Hawkman, Black Canary, and Dr. Fate’s time on the show was just so rushed and I didn’t care about their characters other than the fact they were from the comics. That’s what pains me the most about the series – rushed storylines and empty-important characters. Yeah, sure it’s great to see the Justice League coming into fruition, but what about filling out the characters more? Major props to the costume department though. At least the characters looked great!
Anyway, I love the show and I’m sure that if I watch the series again (for the hundredth time), I’ll spot even more things that I love and hate about it. I grew with the show as a teen and now that I am an adult, my perspective of certain characters could possibly change. Maybe. In any case, I hold the show dear and there’s so much more that I could say about it. I mean season eight through ten deserve their own blog (Post-Lex Smallville). Then there’s my love/hate view of what the series did with The Daily Planet and how Lois and Clark somehow became journalists without finishing college. Or even, community college. Then I could rant about Chloe’s character evolution.
Plus, there’s all of the actors that started on Smallville and went into their own series or starred in other DC related films: Jensen Ackles (Supernatural), Adam Brody (The OC), Amy Adams (Man of Steel), Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries), and Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries). Then, there’s appearance from Brian Austin Green and Tori Spelling (Beverly Hills, 90210), Christopher Reeve (Superman), Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman series), Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher (Lois & Clark), Carrie Fisher (Star Wars), and so on! Also, Smallville set the tone for new DC comic-centric shows on The CW like Arrow, The Flash, and even Gotham (on Fox). So much to discuss, and maybe I’ll do a part two. Maybe. Watch the series if you have enough time for ten seasons!
‘Til Next Time.
P.S. I do not own any of the photos (or videos) and I do not claim any credit for any of their edits. 🙂