Watch The Animated Movie Instead
Main Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg
Director: Zack Snyder
Major Spoilers for Batman v. Superman, because no one should have to sit through the actual movie
Lex Luthor: “Black and Blue. Fight Night. The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world: God versus Man; Day versus Night; Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham!”
Fans waited decades to see a movie like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The stalwart paragon Superman and the vengeful vigilante Batman uniting to fight Lex Luthor in a big budget blockbuster. Then DC kicked things up to eleven by including Wonder Woman, Doomsday, and setting up the Justice League! Batman v. Superman was poised to be Marvel’s bane.
And then they fucked it up.
A potentially amazing movie was bogged down by too many plot lines, villains who make He-Man’s Skeletor seem subtle, and laser-like focus on sequels. How did this happen? Where did it all go wrong? Why did it all go wrong? Let’s find out.
Batman: [to Superman] “I bet your parents taught you that you mean something, that you’re here for a reason. My parents taught me a different lesson, dying in the gutter for no reason at all… They taught me the world only makes sense if you force it to.”
A great line. It’s a shame that the writers reused it from the story and direct-to-DVD movie The Dark Knight Returns.
Batman and Superman fighting is old hat in the comics, but it had never been done in a theatrical movie before. That’s what fans wanted to see.
Their fight doesn’t disappoint. Superman’s powers are on full display as he effortlessly bats Batman around. Batman is on the defensive until he uses Kryptonite grenades containing Scarecrow’s Fear Gas.
This concoction weakens Superman enough for Batman to fight him with moves ripped straight from the Batman: Arkham videogame series. The fight devolves into a punch-for-punch brawl.
Martha, Martha, Martha!
Superman: [hardly breathing] “You’re letting them kill Martha…”
Batman: “What does that mean? Why did you say that name?”
Superman: “Find him… save Martha…”
Batman: “Why did you say that name? Martha? Why did you say that name? WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME!?”
Lois Lane: [enters running] It’s his mother’s name! It’s his mother’s name.
Let’s get the elephant out of the room. The fight ends with Batman brandishing a Kryptonite spear and preparing to kill a wounded Superman. Believing he’s about to die, Superman begs Batman to save Martha Kent from Lex Luthor.
Bats doesn’t know about Mrs. Kent being kidnapped and flashes back to his mother, also named Martha, dying. He goes berserk until Lois explains who Superman’s Martha is. Their mothers sharing a name somehow causes Batman to drop all his reasons for hating Superman and work with the guy he beat half to death. I wasn’t born with enough middle fingers to make my opinion on this clear enough.
Loony Tunes Luthor
Lex Luthor: “Do you know the oldest lie in America, Senator? Can I call you June?”
Senator Finch: “You can call me whatever you like. Take a bucket of piss and call it Granny’s Peach Tea; take a weapon of assassination and call it deterrence. You won’t fool a fly or me. I’m not gonna drink it.”
Jesse Eisenberg plays Lex Luthor in Batman v. Superman, but seems to believe he’s playing the Joker. Lex is portrayed as a hyper psychopath who, for some ineffable reason us mere mortals can’t hope to understand, is given access to General Zod’s ship.
He spends the movie killing innocents, creating monsters, and sending bottles of “Granny’s Peach Tea” to a grossed out senator. Even after he’s defeated, Luthor still screws things up by revealing Earth’s existence to an alien conqueror called Steppenwolf. I think I’ve made my feelings about him clear.
Unite the Seven (next movie)
The Flash: “Bruce! Listen to me now! It’s Lois! Lois Lane! She’s the key! Am I too soon? I’m too soon! You were right about him! You’ve always been right about him! Fear him! Find us, Bruce! You have to find us!”
In the months leading up to Batman v. Superman, DC released several promotional stills for Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash. They were emblazoned with one slogan, “Unite the Seven”. They only appear in a glorified cameo.
There is a scene where Wonder Woman looks at computer files she stole from Luthor. She spends the rest of the scene watching teaser trailers for the next few movies. I’m not exaggerating.
The Flash actually does cameo in a scene. Batman wakes up from a nightmare about a world-conquering Superman. The time-traveling Flash appears in the Batcave and raves that Batman was right and Superman must be stopped. And then Batman wakes up.
I’m unsure if the dream is Batman remembering The Flash’s warning or if Flash somehow time traveled into Bats’ dream. It’s unexplained and seems to come out of nowhere, especially if you aren’t aware that The Flash can time travel. And ultimately, no one cares.
If This Be Doomsday!
Lex Luthor: “An ancient Kryptonian deformity; blood of my blood, born to destroy you!… Your Doomsday.”
Did you think Lex Luthor was the only villain in this movie? Sadly, he ain’t. Batman v. Superman decides to cram Doomsday and the well respected story The Death of Superman into the film’s last twenty minutes.
Lex Luthor delves too deep into General Zod’s ship and discovers forbidden Kryptonian technology. He steals Zod’s corpse from the military and resurrects it as a monster. Luthor rants and raves about how this devil, this Doomsday, will kill Superman, who Luthor condemns as a false god. Yeah, Zack Snyder’s movies get really preachy, really fast.
Doomsday goes berserk and can only be stopped by DC’s Trinity of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Superman finally manages to kill Doomsday by piercing its heart with the Kryptonite spear Bat-Judas made. Super-Jesus gets stabbed in the side by Doomsday for his trouble and dies. This is followed by ten minutes of every funeral cliche known to humans.
I nearly stood and booed the first time I saw this heavy-handed bullshit in theaters. That is how horrible this movie’s ending is.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is not a bad movie. It’s not even a Godawful piece of crap that deserves all four of its Razzies. It is a betrayal. This movie betrayed every comic fan who wanted to see Batman and Superman finally cross over in a blockbuster movie. This movie took two of pop culture’s greatest heroes and turned them into grimdark mockeries.
In 1997, DC had Batman and the Joker appear in a three-part episode of Superman: The Animated Series. Batman and Superman may have bickered and fought, but they eventually learned to work together to save the day. This trilogy was later marketed as The Batman/Superman Movie: World’s Finest. It lacked Batman v. Superman’s $300 million budget and Oscar winning actors, but is a superior movie because it understood the characters and their fans. Batman v. Superman couldn’t even beat a cartoon. That’s just sad.
Jared Bounacos has written for Movie Rewind since 2017.