We’re just not done talking about this movie! Three of the Psycho Drive-In All-Stars had a few more things to say – both good and bad – about the most talked about film of the year so far! So settle back, pour a drink, and relax as Dave Hearn, Adam Barraclough, and Lexi Wolfe have a spoilery-as-fuck discussion about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice! Dave: Let’s start. I gave BvS 2.5 out of 5 and I’ll more than likely buy it when it’s out on blu-ray. I didn’t love it but definitely didn’t hate it. Adam: I was entertained but I found many of the big choices baffling. I’d call it a fascinating train wreck. I’m coming in around 2 of 5 stars. Dave: Parts of that movie were definitely a hot mess and I certainly believe that they tried to cram way too much into a small space leaving little room for actual character development. That said I am a little shocked at the amount of loathing that this movie is garnering from the audience. I keep seeing the same complaints “where’s the humor? where’s the fun? why is it so dark?” As I see it the biggest complaint about Batman v Superman is that it’s not a Marvel movie. Adam: I too am a little shocked by all the vehement pissing and moaning. I could name a dozen worse superhero films that weren’t lambasted as thoroughly. Yes, I think Batman v Superman limbo-ed under the raised bar of expectations set by Nolan’s Batman trilogy but it’s not like it’s Green Lantern awful. Would it have been nice to have three films focused on individual characters leading up to the big team up? Sure, and I agree that character building was absolutely lacking here. But this isn’t Marvel circa 2008 introducing Iron Man, Thor and Captain America to an audience that has heard the names but probably knows little else about them. Batman is arguably the most well-known and popular superhero in the world and Superman and Wonder Woman aren’t far behind. Dave: I don’t mind the mystery and do believe we are waaaay past needing origins for these characters (although seeing Batman’s origin as a title sequence was really cool) but it would have been interesting for Supes and Bats to have more than one exchange that wasn’t punch oriented. Yeah, three stand-alone films before JLA would have made more sense. Frankly, a Batman Superman team up that was a little smaller in scale would have been preferable. A movie that would take the characters through an adversary/friendship arc would have been great! Lexi: That is definitely something to be said about Beevs; it seems like every interaction in this is confrontational, or otherwise vast and important. Not that important things don’t need to be done and said, but this movie seems to be terrified to just take a breather and give the audience a second to relax. Maybe that could be considered to be favoritism towards Marvel’s style, but I don’t really see it that way. It doesn’t need to be a family-friendly action-comedy, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could see the characters develop based on the way they act and react while at rest? I feel like that would have given them a few more much-needed layers. While I’m here, I’d give this movie 2/5 as well. It was a bit of a letdown, to be honest — I went in expecting moments of jaw-dropping amazement and moments (potentially long stretches) of cringey awfulness. It delivered on the latter, and unfortunately disappointed in the former. It seems like the highest this movie was willing to reach was “pretty good.” Nevertheless, I can’t pretend to give this movie any less than two stars — while it was by no means perfect or even genuinely enjoyable throughout, it’s miles ahead of The Room and doesn’t deserve to be compared to movies like Catwoman, Camel Spiders, or Mazes and Monsters. Adam: Agreed on all counts, but I will say that my jaw dropped plenty of times. Not necessarily at the grand majesty of it all either. I’m talking about the half-dozen “what the fuck?!?” moments throughout. Are we getting spoilery as fuck with this thing? Because I’d like to. Lexi: Totes. Adam: Sooooo, the dream sequences. Were we seeing a future timeline Flash coming back to warn Bruce Wayne/Batman about an alternate future in which Superman is the militarized wing of a fascist government? Did we see Bruce/Bats taking on the dystopian nightmare fascist army only to be brought down by Supes-inspired dronebots? And were these things supposed to be glimpses of an alternate future pushing Batman towards killing Superman, a figment of his paranoid mind, or some plot by Lex to influence his mind and reach the tipping point? Lexi: Last I checked, “imparting visions of the future via dreams” isn’t and has never been a part of Flash’s power-set, Speed Force be damned. Then again, something tells me that the people who wrote this movie won’t have been too greatly deterred by minor details like that. I’ve been wondering about this very question all day, and I’m absolutely baffled by it. If it’s supposed to be a vision of the future, then it doesn’t have much choice but to be a vision of the future from a movie that we won’t see for like eight fucking years. So if it’s that, it’s one of the most useless and frustrating (though admittedly, cool) scenes of all time. If it was a dream sequence and actually had no bearing on anything, then it manages to beat out the uselessness of the previous scenario, officially taking the crown of “most useless scene ever included in the final cut of a film.” Adam: That’s the crux of it. Is it frustrating or useless? Does it have bearing or is it just insane set-dressing? Clearly, Snyder is in absolute love with The Dark Knight Returns. This Batman is almost wholly plucked from its pages. And some of those dream sequences felt like that’s the movie he actually wanted to make! I also feel like he very desperately wanted to use the Joker, and the studio or DC said “No Zack. Too soon. And we’ve got this whole Suicide Squad plan to fuck that character up already.” So he just wrote his version of Lex to have some very Joker-like qualities. This Lex Luthor was much more of a nemesis to Batman than to Superman. The manic psychotic qualities came from out of nowhere. Dave: …I liked Mazes and Monsters…. Lexi: LIAR!! Dave: From the Rona Jaffe book? Tom Hanks? Yeah! Flash appearing in Batman’s dream was a direct pull from the original Crisis and I squeed a bit. I agree with you both, it’s useful AND frustrating. In 8 years, we’ll see the series as a whole and I believe we’ll get payoff. Does it put too fine a point on it if I say I have faith in a series that deals with Gods? Lexi: Well it’s certainly on the nose. OR IS IT? That reminds me, I’m still a bit torn on how I feel about the religious overtones set in this. I knew they would be there, I knew they might be ham-fisted, and sometimes they were fine (like the political sequences during the beginning that were completely swept under the rug when Lex blew them all up). But it seemed like whenever they tried to give Eisenlex his “humanist” angle and have him trying to bring God to his knees, it felt… kind of forced. Then again, that could have just been because Eisenlex was an absolute nightmare to watch in whatever he said and did. He could read me The Princess Bride and I’d still cringe. Dave: I wouldn’t say that the political sequences were swept under the rug as much as concluded. They blew up. Then it’s like the next day. Lexi: Whaaa? Since when does blowing up politicians do anything besides severely worsen political problems very, very quickly? I was expecting an all-out war against Superman and it was never really dealt with, and the next day he was a hero and got a hero’s funeral. Dave: Next movie or JLA I think when Darkseid comes, the world will already be “at war” with the JLA but I’m just guessing. You have a real point and I hope there are tremendous ramifications. I got my wish at the beginning of the movie when all the destruction from Man of Steel became the catalyst for everything that followed. And he freaking died. That was the entire point of Doomsday and why we all hated that trailer. Without prior knowledge, I think it might have worked. Still wish it had been Bizarro. Lexi: YES YES. I’ve been wanting Bizarro since like the beginning of ever. And, I want Kevin Durand to play him. Is it too early in the review to talk about how much Doomsday sucked in every single way? Or should we save that? Dave: Right now and good freaking call on Durand! Lexi: <bows> Thank you sir. If we’d had Durand as Bizarro and Billy Zane as Luthor we could have had a so much different and better film, in my humble opinion. Instead of Arcade and the cave troll from Lord of the Rings, that is. Or, I suppose Doomsday’s “birth” more closely resembled an uruk-hai. Was there some kind of bet that they couldn’t fit a big pile of Lord of the Rings rip-offs into the same character? Dave: He could have worn a pointy hat? Lexi: Maybe some hairy feet. Dave: If we’re talking about what could have been done differently, I would have put money down that Bruce was going to force Supes to kill him. I thought it would be suicide by superhero. Then Superman would refuse and earn Bat’s respect. That didn’t happen. We got Superman throwing someone else through a building – right off the bat – then calling his own mom, “Martha.” Lexi: WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAAAAME. Dave: And Batman straight up killed some guys. Adam: Batman kind of killed A LOT of guys. There was a point where it felt like his whole take on Man of Steel’s collateral damage was maybe a little bit hypocritical, but I guess he was killing BAD guys, and that’s the distinction that I know Zack Snyder would make were we interviewing him right now. How did you all feel about this version of Batman? Lexi: I actually have a lot to say about this version of Batman, but I’ll try to keep it brief for the moment. I liked him, a lot. I didn’t think he was perfect by any means, but he was great, and undoubtedly the best combination of actor and design we’ve ever been graced with in a live-action incarnation of the character. Like the Batmans before him, though, he unfortunately only appears to encompass a facet or two of Batman, rather than the entirety of the character the way we see him in the comics and cartoons. Like Keaton’s Batman was the incarnation of a “dark” Batman, how Bale’s Batman showcased the concept of the bat as a symbol of fear, and how the Clooney/Kilmer versions of Batman showed us all how much Batman can be fucking horrible, Affleck’s Batman has two major facets that he expresses — the Criminal, and the Maniac. While I think it would be nice to see a Batman who could be the Criminal, the Maniac, the Detective, the Inventor, the Hero, the Child, the Father, and the Symbol… I’m willing to settle for the first two if we get to see a bit more to him later on. Dave: Batman as “The Father” would be an extremely welcome addition to his cinematic presence. “Batman Forever” side-stepped the issue by giving Bruce a partner instead of a ward but I believe fatherhood is central to the character. He’s been a Dad since 1940. Showcasing the empty Robin suit covered in Joker graffiti was a terrific choice and has been central to the Batman mythos since 1986. In the upcoming Batfleck film, I hope we see a grieving Batdad. Lexi: 100% agreed. Dave: As for Affleck’s performance, I loved him! I wish they had given him a more logical arc but he did very well with what he had. I have a question for you both: what was the biggest misstep in this movie? Adam: I have two answers. Lex was probably the film’s largest problem for me. We never saw him as capable, we never saw his strength. Just his psychosis (again, Joker-esque for me). What was it that he was actually good at? Where was his genius? He came off as an entitled brat who inherited his fortune and decided to spend it chasing superhumans. Which leads me to item two. The reveal of other (future) JLA members was as cheaply done as it was disappointing. This felt like a complete afterthought, shoehorned in to allow for the post-colon “Dawn of Justice” bit of the title. I can just see whomever made this decision rubbing his hands together deliriously, saying “The fans are gonna LOVE this!” but honestly it couldn’t have been less exciting. Lexi: I actually didn’t have quite as much of an issue with the League reveals as I thought I would. It was ham-fisted, yeah, but I kinda judged the reveals on an individual basis — thinking Cyborg and Aquaman (blue eyes!!) looked awesome, thinking Flash looked like a fucking train wreck, and overall not really liking this characterization of Wonder Woman whatsoever.. As for Dave’s question, the weakest thing in this was, yeah, definitely Lex. I groaned each time he was on screen and there is just not enough bad stuff to say about Eisenberg and his performance in this film. I liken him far more to the X-Men’s Arcade than Lex Luthor or even, as most people say, any kind of Joker. You have to be menacing to resemble the Joker and Eisenlex didn’t have a single shred of menace… just awkward, annoying cringe. His motivations were total fucking rubbish, all of his plans were nonsense, and his characterization left me constantly grinding my teeth throughout the movie. Also, fuck kryptonite. Dave: Lex was a mess. There is so much amazing background material on Lex to mine from that it’s nearly incomprehensible that Eisenlex (great name, Lexi) was the direction they chose. I kept expecting the “true” Lex to appear, whether it would be Eisenlex dropping the facade, or his father to step out of the shadows. That was the biggest problem for me, BvS just refused to dig any deeper than topsoil, each character has a singular purpose and they never strayed from that path. Batman had an arc, sort of. He went from “Superman-bad to Superman-good” but that was as far as they were willing to go with him. Superman decided to die for our sins. Wonder Woman was too much of a mystery to count. Nobody changed in this movie. No one was multi-layered. Extremely weak script balanced by stunning visuals with a hollow center. So, what was your favorite part? Adam: I really liked that it provided context and consequence for the devastation we saw in Man of Steel. I feel like that was definitely the smartest thing this movie did. I also think what Snyder has done well, and differently than any other director who has approached massively-powered super beings, is to give us a ground-level perspective. What would this look like if I were walking through the streets of Metropolis? We get that here. We see the scope of the damage, and it’s not all tracking shots following the action, close-up shots of straining faces or too-wide shots of cascading energy waves. There’s some of that in the mix, but then we get these beautiful distance shots of Superman and Zod careening through skyscrapers or Doomsday smashing Supes across several miles of city block. Unfortunately, in the big showdown at the end, there’s also a lot of side/scrolling fight footage that looks like it was pulled straight from a video game. But that’s this film, a total mixed bag. I can’t begrudge anyone enjoying it though; there is a lot to be said for just finally getting these characters on screen together. And as a fan, even when not handled as well as I would have liked, I can’t deny the joy in that. Dave: A theatrical Doomsday fight. Yeah, it was great! That trailer, though. It’s impossible to separate the build up to BvS from the movie itself. It’s just too fresh. People turned quick, didn’t they? Almost as bad as Fantastic 4 (for the record, I really enjoyed the first 2 acts of F4 – the 3rd act stunk on ice) but there are some defenders. Adam: I think, much like BvS, there are some good things buried in F4. It’s easy to criticize both of these films for their attempts at gravitas as we’re in a bit of a Renaissance of superhero film, but either of them released 10 years ago wouldn’t have felt like the massive failures they are claimed to be. We’ve just come to expect so much. I wonder if it doesn’t cut the other way as well. What would an Edgar Wright-helmed Ant-Man have looked like? At what cost comes the “MCU flavor”? We talk a lot about superhero film fatigue these days and I wonder if we aren’t better off swinging for the fences and taking some chances. Lexi: I’m always a proponent of not playing things safe. Movies, especially superhero movies, need some heart and spirit in them in order to identify them. It made Guardians of the Galaxy work, it made Iron Man work, it made Deadpool work, and to an extent, I think it was also what got the Dark Knight Trilogy off of its feet — a series which, in retrospect, wasn’t as good as we all made it out to be at the time. Passion vs. Homogenization is a constant struggle in what we’re being fed from Hollywood, and BvS seems to be a very awkward, adolescent mixture of the two, which explains its “swingyness.” As for my favorite part of the film, I actually have two moments that will both seem very trivial, but meant a lot to me when I saw them. The first was at the very beginning, where Clark comes home to Lois in the bathtub and mentions that he’d been planning to surprise her with dinner. Seeing Cavill in the glasses, looking like Clark Kent, acting like Clark Kent (for fucking once), and saying something that could have come straight off the pages of the comics, made me squeal with delight. It was exactly the kind of glimpse into the characters that I wanted to see… and sadly, a kind of interaction that would never be approached after that single scene. I just remember thinking “Fuck yes, this is Superman! We’re finally seeing Superman!” Dave: Absolutely! Snyder managed to give Clark and Lois a “meet-cute”! Lexi: The second was similar — just a single moment, of Batman standing in front of the batcomputer, his back to the camera, his suit on but his cowl off, and just looking… goddamn perfect. Once again, a beautiful moment washed over me of “This is Batman. This is what Batman should look like.” These two tiny moments were the greatest spikes of joy that Beevs had to offer me over its 2+ hour runtime. Dave: Do you think it’s reasonable, as a fan, to feel responsible for BvS in some way? I do. Been watching DC for a very, very long time and been around when they seemed to get it right ALL the time… until the last 5 years or so when it all fell apart. Lexi: <cough> The New 52. <cough> Dave: Yes! I have enjoyed some of it. Snyder’s Batman has been excellent! Some of Justice League. Morrison’s Superman was amazing! But it doesn’t get better than Waid’s Birthright or Morrison’s All-Star Superman. Even Busiek’s Secret Identity (read it now). Of all the possible Supermen to choose from… it’s an awkward time for these movies to exist. Anyway, I feel like I’ve been watching DC’s mythology fall apart for a long time. BvS is yet another tangent that feels “off.” Lexi: Fuck, that hits close to home. Stings. Stings deep. Deep in my inside-parts. I yearn for the days of 52 and Secret Six, the days when everything felt right and even though the continuity was muddy, everything was right where I wanted it. To be clear, you mean Scott Snyder, right? The much better Snyder? Admittedly, I did find his Batman run to be a bit overrated, but it was a lot crisper than what Zack gave us. Dave: Yep, Scott Snyder. Morrison’s Black Glove; that would make a great Batman flick. 52. The last time creators had some control at DC. Right after that, DiDio took a hatchet to the place. I so miss Secret Six! Gritty done right. The ending was perfect! God, the Ragdoll. Please, please, just chuck money at Gail Simone and leave her alone! Lexi: If I had the money, I so would. Maybe a few small suggestions. But mostly just let her do her thing. She’s the comic writer we deserve, but tragically, not usually the one we get. Something I want to talk about is Wonder Woman. A lot of people seemed to think she was the absolute bee’s knees and a savior of BvS, some people were more neutral on her or disliked her accent. I, personally, thought she was an all-around awful representation of the character. What do you guys think? Dave: I loved the smile when Doomsday knocked her back. I’m having a hard time judging her. The accent didn’t really bother me, I suppose, again, it’s difficult for me to judge on the brief time we spent with her in the film. The action worked well. What would rather? Gal Gadot was fine but I still would have preferred someone… umm… more athletic? I hate to get into a physical appearance debate… but in a visual medium… man, none of this sounds very good. Lexi: It wasn’t really her physicality that bothered me. It wasn’t perfect, but what annoyed me was just her characterization. This vision of Diana of Themyscira as this socialite Captain America rip-off really didn’t do it for me. I wanted to see a warrior, an immortal demigod whose mere steps echoed with presence and Gal Gadot gave us this mysterious, cunning, spy-type character that could have been cool if it had been someone besides Wonder Woman. Dave: I get that and can’t really argue. Still looking forward to her solo movie. Patty Jenkins is directing. Loved Monster. I’m sure it will be by the numbers, tent pole movie and all. Using gods and mythology as thematic devices works beautifully for DC. Diana is the embodiment of the old gods, Lex is Prometheus, Superman is monotheology in comic book form, Batman is… us? Rational skepticism? There’s the coming apocalypse. Yeah, now that I think about it, the religious aspect is pretty heavy-handed. L: Did Adam die? D: I hope not but dibs on his stuff. L: Aw man, at least give me a crack at his DVD’s or somethin’. D: Alright, but I get all the hardback books. L: Deal. Dave: Any final thoughts on BvS before we head to Adam’s funeral? Wait! I want to complain about one more thing: Flash appearing to Batman in one of the million dream sequences. If you are a DC comics fan, you recognized the callback to Crisis on Infinite Earths back in 1985 but who else could possible get the reference?? And what’s the point of including a Flash cameo when he’s wearing armor that completely obscures his identity to the general public? Lexi: And yet is nonetheless so very obviously Flash. Honestly I’ve gotten to the point where I’m not sure how to rationalize a lot of the decisions made in BvS. While we’re including one last gripe, though: Lois fucking Lane. The boring, unlikeable, omniscient, ubiquitous fucking drag that is the constant presence of Lois Lane. While she wasn’t actively awful enough to warrant a “worst thing in the movie” like Eisenlex and Uruksday, she was a never-ending thread of mild annoyance for me. Dave: Yet still far better than Kate Bosworth. 🙂 Also, I reeeeeally hope that Lex Luthor Sr. comes back from the dead and it’s Clancy Brown with a shaved head. Last thing. I’ve heard that they’re hiring Geoff Johns to assist with scripting duties for Justice League and while that may be a step in the right direction, a better choice would be Mark Waid. Throw money at that man and let him do the work. Lexi: Max Landis has expressed interest in working on the movies too, not that he was ever invited to. I’d sure as fuck be behind it though. Something tells me that we’re never going to see a decent Lex Luthor at this point though. We’ll have better luck hoping for him to just vanish and never be seen again — fingers crossed that Darkseid doesn’t suck. Dave: At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if they cast Tilda Swinton as Darkseid. Lexi: That… would… well, fuck. That’d probably be better than whatever they’ll come up with. I’m still rooting for Kiera Knightley as Cable. Dave: people would lose… their… minds! I’m down with it. 🙂 Well, I think I’m done. As I see it, BvS was visually entertaining and I admire the fact that it was willing to take a few risks but it is overshadowed by lousy storytelling, confusing choices and lots of missed opportunities. Lexi, your last thoughts? Lexi: Overall, I wasn’t really impressed. The movie managed to annoy me more than it did impress me, and I also managed to set my expectations for the action a little too high. It did look nice, and held my interest, but this is probably the worst superhero film since Iron Man 3. Here’s hoping that the solo Batman and Wonder Woman films come out with a bit more substance. Dave: I was equal parts entertained and disappointed. The franchise isn’t destroyed for me but I don’t carry the same excitement for the remaining films. Wonder Woman is next and it it fails…? It could still work, I suppose. Being a fan of DC movies is like being a fan of the Cleveland Browns; you know they aren’t going to win but there’s always that slim chance that it could finally be their year and they could take it all. Lexi: When that day comes, then the DC fangirl within me shall burst free at long last. I pray for that day. New 52 Adam: Hey! I’m not dead! I’ve just been rebooted! My continuity keeps getting so fucked up that they have to shut me down and relaunch me every couple of years, sorry it happened in the midst of our discussion. (By the way, where the hell is all my stuff?) Joking aside, I think DC has shown that it isn’t afraid to reinvent itself, for better or worse, if things get too convoluted or (ahem) sales fall off. If the Wonder Woman film doesn’t hit, I imagine they will fall back on what works, which is Batman. As much as BvS was a sequel to Man of Steel, it is foremost a Batman film. DC has yet to prove to us that it can present its other characters in a convincing manner that satisfies critics, fans and the general public. Here’s hoping Wonder Woman does the trick. And if not, at least we’ll always have Batman. Dave: While it’s good to have Adam around, I think I preferred his older stuff. Thanks, both of you, let’s do this again! Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related 2 Responses Shawn EH April 14, 2016 You know, there is still a Secret Six coming out, written by Gail. Even stars Catman! Log in to Reply June April 14, 2016 This is amazing! I laughed so hard. 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