When I watch a movie, there are two of me in the same seat. There’s that regular movie-going guy who likes blood and boobs and things that explode, rarely stopping to deeply consider what he’s seeing. We call the kind of movies that guy likes POPCORN MOVIES. But there’s another fellow who accompanies him. This guy likes some of the same things as his friend, but he is a seeker and connoisseur of SERIOUS CINEMA. This guy doesn’t just want to see a movie, he wants it to change his life. Both guys have just left the theater after seeing BATMAN v SUPERMAN: The Dawn of Justice. CINEMA: That’s it. I’m done with superhero movies. POPCORN: Come on, dude. That was bad-ass. CINEMA: It was bad, yes . . . and I feel like an ass for being duped into seeing it. Bob Kane and Siegel & Shuster are coming back to wreak vengeance for this. POPCORN: Naw, man. This is one of those matchups we talked about from, like, age five. Like King Kong versus Godzilla. Freddy versus Jason. Stallone versus Schwarzenegger. CINEMA: All of which were equally unworthy once they finally happened. Maybe sometimes the incredible things we imagine should just stay right there in our minds. POPCORN: Shouldn’t we throw up the spoiler warning for everybody? CINEMA: I don’t even care. What the hell are we going to spoil anyway? Warning, folks: this is a movie, made by a corporate committee, about a psychotic billionaire and an alien Boy Scout bashing each other’s meager brains out in the rain. Make yourself feel smarter by staying home and watching SUPER FRIENDS. There’s a warning for you. POPCORN: Wow, dude. That’s some hate. CINEMA: No, not hate. Just frustration at this incomprehensible pile of dung that moviemakers have tricked us into walking through. POPCORN: But it has Wonder Woman. CINEMA: (grumble, grumble) POPCORN: Alright, don’t listen to him. Dude sat in a wet spot in the movie theater. So here’s what really went down. This is, like, your spoiler warning. The movie starts out with Batman, well, really with Bruce Wayne as a little kid – CINEMA: You really want to talk about it? Nothing like painfully recounting every excruciating moment of a prison-rape, but why not? I’ve already lost nearly three hours of my life to this movie anyway. As always, it opens with Bruce Wayne’s parents being gunned down in front of a movie theater. We’ve seen this numerous times already, but apparently Zack Snyder wanted to do it too. So we see Martha Wayne’s pearls falling in slow motion this time, after she’s shot in the face, or whatever – POPCORN: Different movie at the theater. CINEMA: What? POPCORN: This time it was EXCALIBUR, dude. Playing at the theater where they got shot. Usually it’s, like, THE MARK OF ZORRO. Except in BATMAN BEGINS – CINEMA: – where it was MEFISTOFELE at the opera. Sure, whatever. Then we cut to young Bruce falling into a cave, where, to absolutely no one’s surprise, he is swarmed by a massive gathering of bats. This time, however, he is magically lifted up from out of the cave, his arms stretched out in the Christ pose. This is the first sign of trouble, since anyone who suffered through MAN OF STEEL, Snyder’s previous attempt at Superman, knows that he’s already made Kal-el out to be Jesus. POPCORN: It was a dream, man. CINEMA: Well, I know it was a dream. Half the damn movie was a dream. It opens with a dream. Batman dreams about blood pouring out of his mother’s tomb. Superman dreams about Kevin Costner. I was dreaming that Warner Bros. had hired a better director. This movie was about the dream sequences like ROCKY IV was about the montages. POPCORN: “There’s no easy way out, there’s no short-cut home . . .” CINEMA: (sighs heavily) POPCORN: Then they do that Powerpuff Girl Thing – CINEMA: – the what? POPCORN: The Powerpuff Girl Thing. When some big fire-breathin’ beast starts bustin’ up Townsville. The girls show up and kick its ass, smashin’ it into buildings and poundin’ it into the ground. They get done and, like, the camera pulls back or whatever. Freakin’ everything is destroyed, and the Mayor’s like, “Gosh, Powerpuff Girls, thank you for savin’ the city.” CINEMA: Yeah, sure. So, from Bruce’s dream, we jump into a ground-level remake of the last half-hour of MAN OF STEEL, where Superman damn-near wipes out all of Metropolis in his attempt to save it from General Zod. Apparently, we’re going to call this the Powerpuff Girl Thing. This scene evokes the terror of 9/11, buildings crumbling amidst a rolling cloud of debris, which we basically see from an older Bruce Wayne’s perspective – POPCORN: Batfleck wasn’t half-bad. CINEMA: Yeah, I’ll give Ben Affleck this much, he wasn’t the thing that all the fanboys should’ve been worrying about. He inhabits the unfortunate roles of both Bruce Wayne and Batman much better than either Val Kilmer or George Clooney did. POPCORN: He looks all pissed off, but then he goes all charming too. CINEMA: Kevin Smith, longtime comic book fan and Affleck buddy, praised his friend’s performance but said the movie had no heart. He said that it was like the filmmakers had only read one comic ever – POPCORN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS? CINEMA: – where the two heroes duke it out, yeah. I would add that they had at least read the Wikipedia page on THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN. So there’s a bunch of destruction in Metropolis, including one of Bruce Wayne’s buildings. This is important, as only one superhero is allowed to destroy the city at a time, and apparently it’s Batman’s week. POPCORN: He gets to blow some stuff up with a tank later. CINEMA: Yeah, and he lures a humongous fire-breathing beast back to the city. So it’s all good. But, before all of that, Superman gets dragged into some kind of international military dispute in Africa, compliments of his favorite damsel-in-distress – POPCORN: “I’m not a lady, I’m a journalist.” CINEMA: Amy Adams, again, as Lois Lane. Squandering any talent she’s shown – POPCORN: She did get a gratuitous bathtub scene. CINEMA: – which was completely nonsensical! What kind of serious journalist examines a bullet while taking a bath? I’m not making this up. Maybe there was something in her contract, that if both male leads appeared sweaty and shirtless, she had to get in the tub. I don’t know. Whatever. So, these people die from bullet-wounds over in Africa, but somehow it means that Superman is responsible . . . POPCORN: Yeah, dude. I was kinda iffy on that one. CINEMA: I was iffy on the fact that, a mere eighteen months after he saves Metropolis from General Zod, there’s already this huge sculpture of Superman. Meanwhile, half of the world seems to hate him. It was like they needed both things to exist for the movie to work the way they wanted it to. They needed everyone to question his power and his motives, yet they had to have the sculpture so it could get vandalized and then destroyed . . . POPCORN: But it looked so cool in that trailer. CINEMA: Everything always looks cool in the trailer! POPCORN: Why don’t they hire the dudes that do the trailers to do the movies? CINEMA: Well, maybe you should be running Hollywood. It couldn’t possibly get any worse. You know, it would make sense that there’s a sculpture of Superman . . . since he’s little more than a damn statue in this movie to begin with. He’s there to represent some kind of big idea and pose messianically – POPCORN: Dude, is that even a word? CINEMA: – which all greatly benefits Henry Cavill’s acting, of course. Wooden son-of-a-bitch. POPCORN: Dang. Almost afraid to ask what you thought about Lex . . . CINEMA: Jesse Eisenberg, huh-HA. Fine enough in ZOMBIELAND. Possibly even good in SOCIAL NETWORK. But his Lex Luthor is a twitchy, spastic, and hyperactive mess of a human being with no clear motivation, outside of the fact that the filmmakers felt they needed him to set up the main conflict. Can you tell me why he hated Superman so much? POPCORN: Well, maybe, um . . . CINEMA: Come on, think fast. POPCORN: Uh, cuz he, um – CINEMA: Tick-tock, tick-tock. POPCORN: Cuz he’s Luthor, dude. He always hates Superman. CINEMA: Bwomp! Not the answer we’re looking for. But, if you’re only looking at this movie, then there really isn’t an answer to that question. Lex Luthor just hates Superman . . . because. He spends half the movie setting up this title match, kidnapping Martha Kent, and whipping up a huge monster in a pool of alien toilet water . . . because. POPCORN: Maybe Jesse Iceberg’s just playin’ the crazy angle. We’ve seen Luthor as a genius and as greedy before. Even seen him as Clark’s friend in SMALLVILLE. But we never seen him all psychotic, and, dude, that shit with the bomb – CINEMA: Sadly, that’s one of the few scenes that really works for me. There’s actually some tension built there. Holly Hunter’s senator looks at the glass in front of her, then at the man in the wheel chair, finally at the empty space where Luthor should be. It occurred to me that something was wrong at the same moment it occurred to her. And then – POPCORN: – and then you spilled popcorn on me. CINEMA: Yeah, I jumped when that thing exploded. I really wasn’t expecting that. But then I asked why the hell they couldn’t have put as much skill and precision into anything else. The movie was already two hours and thirty-six minutes long, so why not just add another damn minute and give us a reason why Luthor hated Superman so much? Or to explain why Batman falls for Luthor’s bull so easily when he already knows that the guy is bad news? POPCORN: Cuz he saw those files on the other super-people? CINEMA: You mean Luthor’s trailers for the Wonder Woman, Aqua-Man, Cyborg, and Flash movies, which are all contained within this two-and-a-half hour trailer for the Justice League movie that’s coming out next year? POPCORN: Uh . . . yeah. CINEMA: You might as well ask a pile of shit why it’s full of peanuts. POPCORN: Dude, ouch. CINEMA: When the big battle eventually gets underway, there are a few lines of banter. I’m sure it’s meant to be quite philosophical. Just before he starts swinging at Superman, Batman says something about life only making sense if you force it to. POPCORN: Love that line, dude. CINEMA: Well, that’s this movie for me. It only makes sense if you force it to. POPCORN: Dude, Superman never made any sense. I mean, the guy puts on glasses and suddenly nobody recognizes him? You just gotta let it go. CINEMA: That’s part of my problem with this movie. There are passing moments when we’re almost there – when the smoke has briefly cleared on the plot and the actors are all hitting their marks – and the whole damn thing is almost good. Almost, and then you start to think about something that just happened . . . POPCORN: That’s your problem, man. You’re not s’posed to think about movies like this. I mean, it’s not French. It’s not a documentary. It’s a big, let’s-blow-shit-up blockbuster with dudes in tights. Take another sip of your Coke and shrug that shit off. CINEMA: I can’t suspend my disbelief anymore. The effects are getting so good in these movies that they can do almost anything they want, but it’s like Senator Finch said – POPCORN: Everybody’s asking what he can do, but nobody’s asking what he should do? CINEMA: It’s become all about the spectacle, but very little about what’s really happening. With a few recent exceptions, mainly ANT-MAN and DEADPOOL, the stakes are ridiculously high in every superhero movie. Heroes are converging to save the planet, even the universe, from some kind of ultimate supersized threat. I mean, everything is just so damn huge. POPCORN: They’re superheroes, dude. What are they s’posed to do? Stop idiots from running for president? Use x-ray vision to scope out shoplifters? Spin the earth backwards to reverse gray hair? CINEMA: Maybe. At least that would be realistic. POPCORN: Alright, I’m gonna explain why I liked this. CINEMA: I’ll alert the press. POPCORN: Was it the best flick ever? No way, dude . . . that was COBRA. But we already seen Batman and Superman in all kinds of movies. They might look different. Like the Tim Burton version, or that one where they had really big nipples – CINEMA: Those awful Joel Schumacher movies – POPCORN: Yeah. But they’re all pretty much the same Batman and Superman. Some of those might be shitty in different ways than this one was shitty, but in all of them you know what these dudes are gonna do. This is the first one that kinda, like, makes you look at your heroes and go, HUH? CINEMA: . . . which, you’re telling me, is a good thing? POPCORN: Batman, dude. He’s an old bad-ass now, and he’s really not takin’ anybody’s shit anymore. That old no-kill rule, you can forget about that. Bad guys don’t worry about killin’ nobody. You see Robin’s old costume hangin’ up there. Looks like the Joker took him out. So here comes this Superdude over in Metropolis – CINEMA: Turning the city into rubble. POPCORN: Well, Batman can’t believe this dude could actually be good. But Superman, dude. He’s not really an alien anymore. He’s really just some guy from Kansas with a lotta powers. Dude ain’t no genius, like Batman. But he’s just tryin’ to do something good when this bat-dude comes at him. Gets him on the ground, too. Big-ass super alien, and all he can think to say when he’s about to get it – CINEMA: Save Martha. POPCORN: His mom, man. In his last breath, all the dude asks is that Batman save his mom. CINEMA: People laughed at that in some theaters . . . POPCORN: Cuz they aren’t sensitive sons-of-bitches like us, man. CINEMA: Yeah, sure. I’m still not buying it. But I won’t entirely give up on superheroes yet. POPCORN: Not yet, dude. CIVIL WAR’S comin’. That movie looks bad-ass. CINEMA: Yeah, the trailer is promising . . . POPCORN: What’d you think of Wonder Woman? CINEMA: Bad-ass. POPCORN: Yeah, bad-ass. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Shawn EH There was one great scene, I thought. After Superman and Doomsday are nuked in space. While Clark is floating there, all dessicated and old and crumbly, lifeless and inert seemingly. And then the sun rises over the curve of the planet, and bathes its chosen sun in its beautiful golden rays … and he heals, slowly but surely, back to fighting Apollonian Kryptonian strength. That was a solid visual sequence, no words or subtitles, that makes me wonder … maybe Snyder should only make silent films? Also, along with all the film’s other crimes, didn’t Lex send his number one assistant Mercy Graves to her death in the senate hearing? That’s cold, poor Tao Okamoto! John E. Meredith Felt like there were a few great scenes. It was the connective tissue between those scenes that kinda fell apart, like bad joints or something. Good pack of writers on this thing too, not sure what happened. I, too, wondered why Lex would send his poor assistant to her death. Cheaper than paying her salary, I guess. Shawn EH Well, it did share some qualities with Blade: Trinity I suppose.