Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice fought off an onslaught of critics to finish its opening weekend as the number one movie on the planet, bringing in $424.1 million worldwide.
WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS TO FOLLOW. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.
While the reaction from fanboys and fangirls has been a little less harsh than the critics, who may or may not be field soldiers in an elaborate Disney/Marvel conspiracy, the consensus is that Batman v Superman just isn’t that good. What could have and should have been the greatest superhero team up in cinema history the finished product is like a drunk uncle at Thanksgiving, an incoherent, over-stuffed mess.
Read an assortment of reviews and you’ll see there’s so much to criticize that no two are exactly the same in pinpointing where things went off the rails. It’s as if a flock of vultures found the motherlode of roadkill and each pecked off a unique three course meal of the movie’s flaws. However, none of them found their way to the biggest one which was hidden deep inside its DNA.
FINAL WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS START NOW.
Approximately 140 minutes after an opening scene in which Batman’s parents are killed yet again (a truly pointless moment except for establishing that Batman’s mom was named also Martha, a totes important detail), Superman meets a similar fate when he’s Han Solo’d by Doomsday.
Luckily for the fate of Metropolis and the world, Superman also managed to get in a kill shot on Doomsday by shanking it with a kryptonite tipped spear that Batman had constructed in hopes of using it to kill him during their tussle earlier that evening. (Good thing Supes named dropped his mom Martha just in time.)
With Doomsday eliminated and Batman and Wonder Woman still standing, the only villain that remained was its creator, the diabolical Lex Luthor, who surely had another surprise or two hiding up his evil sleeves, right?
Too bad the audience never gets to find out.
Instead of seeing Batman and Wonder Woman kick some more ass and bring Luthor to justice and build the suspense of Superman’s (temporary) fate, director Zack Snyder chose to wrap things up with a montage of two funerals (Superman’s and Clark’s) and Luthor doing a slow-mo perp walk and getting a haircut in his new prison cell. Oh sure, Batman ninja’d in to give him a little talking to but for all we know, Luthor was apprehended by a security guard as he tried to scoot away from the Kryptonian ship crash site/Doomsday Easy Bake Oven.
Or maybe we’re to assume that a billionaire who’s also one of the most brilliant and fiendish minds on Earth didn’t have the means to plot an escape after Lois Lane’s scathing report of his highly illegal activity went to press?
In all the ways Batman v Superman went wrong, the biggest mistake of all was treating one of the most iconic, marquee villains in comic book history as a footnote. That is a tremendous disrespect both to Luthor’s storied history and to an audience that deserved more. After putting up with Jesse Eisenberg’s manic ticks for the entire movie, the very least Snyder could have done is include a scene where Batman and Wonder Woman bro-down while going Midnight Express on Luthor for a round or two.
Not to stoke the DC v Marvel rivalry fire but consider The Avengers. It was a very similar set up. Loki was the villain and the Chitauri invaders were his tool to achieve his goal. Instead of one Doomsday, he had a thousand little ones and a few big ones. Once Ironman took them out by shoving a nuke up their wormhole, the Avengers assembled back at his penthouse and ended Loki’s little party in one of the most satisfying moments in the entire movie. Imagine instead that it cut directly to a shackled Loki about to get on the Bifrost expressway back to Asgard.
Would that make any sense?
That’d (almost) be more confusing than thinking about where the Avengers stashed him while they went for shawarma.
See, even Marvel’s masterpieces don’t always make sense either.