Maybe “Batman v Superman” Isn’t a Bad Movie: Maybe People Are Just Angry

For a journalist, Clark Kent sure spends a lot of his time not writing. Double that for Lois Lane, who goes to interview a war criminal and doesn’t bother bringing any kind of recording device except a film camera—which is easily destroyed, because it’s, you know, film that shouldn’t be exposed to light. That probably bothers me most of all—you’re going to interview someone and you only brought a notebook? What year is it? 1938? People don’t write as fast as other people talk—and only some people are even able to type as fast. Shorthand is fine, but isn’t it better to be able to review exactly what people have said after the fact?

[SPOILERS AFTER THE CUT]

Or would having even a sound recording of what actually happened while she was on her story throw a huge plot hole into the court hearings part of “Batman v Superman”?

It doesn’t matter much to me in the long run: Maybe there’s no moment where Lois or Clark are sitting at their computers typing while watching the news (couldn’t Clark have been working on his sports article or Batman article while PBS played on in the background?) as an overall statement about writing in general. Chris Terrio presented a subpar script, so it could very well be the case.

If I’m going to be honest, “Batman v Superman” wasn’t as terrible a movie as the flack it’s getting suggests it is. For the most part, the acting is fine—but you can only do so much as an actor if the director is bad or if the script is worse.

For me, at least, the issue is that it’s frustrating. That sense of frustration over things like good actors having to make do with bad writing and a DC tendency to drag out movies for too long while still, somehow, managing to try to cram too much in it as well as disappointment with the story direction is what made me leave the theater really angry.

DC and Warner Brothers tried to do what Marvel and Disney have been building towards for years—except they don’t seem to realize that you can’t create the same emotional bonds between an audience and your hero in the course of almost three hours that you’d get if you had spent almost a decade trying to do the same thing. Captain America is probably going to die in “Civil War.” It’s expected, even if it’s not welcome, and audience members are probably going to feel hurt by the loss. We’ve spent a few years with Steve Rogers and we don’t like seeing bad things happen to him.

We had “Man of Steel” (which was another Bad Movie) and most of “Dawn of Justice” to meet and know Superman, and to be honest? With the kind of writing that we were given, that really wasn’t enough. I’m frustrated that I didn’t cry about Superman dying because there’s a part of me that knows I was supposed to. We’re supposed to be emotionally devastated when Superman is killed. We tell writers, we know you’re going to hold our emotions hostage when you do this, so do it well.

And instead?

It’s not climactic. It’s not world-ending (even if the fake people in the movie seem to act like it). We know that this early in the cinematic universe, he’s probably coming back. (Not that there’s a promise that Captain America won’t, but at this point, we don’t necessarily need him.)

Why shouldn’t we as audience members as Hollywood for better writing? Why shouldn’t we ask them to actually care about what they’re putting on screens, rather than trying to one-up another studio? People are going to go to see these superhero movies because they want to be entertained, and because a lot of them actually care about those characters. It’s frustrating to be asked to believe that Bruce Wayne is so majorly affected by Superman’s death when up until maybe 15 minutes before it happens, he had been spending the entire movie trying to figure out a way to probably kill him. It’s frustrating to be asked to be upset when Superman dies because, for one thing, Henry Cavill falls a little flat (let’s be real, they’re big boots to fill), but for another, the writing doesn’t do a whole lot to endear him to us in the first place.

Also, that “No one can stay good forever” line? He’s Superman. He’s supposed to stay good even when nobody else can. He’s created with the best of Kryptonian DNA—he’s not just a Superman to humans, but should be to other Kryptonians, too. He’s Superman: Even when things are at their worst, he’s supposed to give us hope. Isn’t that what “Man of Steel” said about the crest on his chest in the first place?

If the characters were other people, if DC hadn’t been trying to make this movie Too Big for its own skin, if someone else had written it, maybe this could have been an okay movie. It might have been passable. But when you work people up for something, don’t expect them to be mad when you don’t deliver.

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Author: jillboger

Part time writer. Editor-in-Chief for the Bridge volume 13, former EIC for The Odyssey at BSU. My glasses protect my secret identity.

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