I’m a DC. Unapologetically. I also have many MANY Marvel comics. Wolverine, Daredevil & The Punisher were particular favorites when I was a kid. I used to sketch them in the margins of my school notes. When each of their movies came out in the early 00s, it was a thing where I was excited but unsure if I was enjoying the actual movies, or if it was just that I was seeing the characters on the big screen. (Until the recent Netflix Daredevil season 2, Dolph Lungren reigned as my favorite Punisher)
Batman, however, has always been my benchmark. When a new hero is introduced – either in movies or television – whether I enjoy it depends on one question: Is the character anywhere near as awesome at Batman?
What I’m getting at is simple. I will NEVER EVER EVER admit that Batman v Superman wasn’t a GREAT and highly ambitious movie. I started thinking about this again earlier in the week when I was scrounging around YouTube for some kind of new content about BvS. “But it’s been over a year!”, you might say. And yes, that’s true. March 24, 2017 was the 1 year anniversary. So I was looking for a “year later” revisiting of the film. Nothing. There wasn’t anything. I decided to watch hours of other people rambling on 8 month old videos about why it was a good movie. Mostly, proponents of the thing seem to say it went over peoples’ heads; that it was too smart for the average moviegoer. That’s a bunch of crap. Seriously.
I would instead argue about its ambitiousness. In other posts about BvS, I’ve talked myself through what I love about it: Incredible Batman/Bruce Wayne portrayal, powerful themes, paralleles with the real world, social context of these (very old) heros in the modern and cynical world. Some big changes were made. Namely, Superman isn’t the hopeful guy he has been and Batman similarly acts very out of character by killing.
It may be that these were bad choices; that we SHOULD have gotten the usual origin stories building to a team-up. Here’s the thing: Marvel already did that. If people weren’t loving how DC went about introducing their Cinematic Universe, would they really have been satisfied with a retread of the same old thing? That would have been safer, for certain. But we JUST saw the whole Batman story in the Dark Knight Trilogy and it was time for something different.
After 25 years of the same old thing in Batman movies, I was impressed with the choice to make Bruce older, more weary and without hope. This way, establishing him as the character we all know required some kind of arc. And know who traditionally brings hope? That’s right… SUPERMAN!!
I’ll be the first person in line to discuss the “Martha” scene as clunky at best. But, as many people have discussed in those videos on YouTube, it really wasn’t that their mothers share the same name. It was that Batman realized he had become the murderer in the alley that he swore to protect people from. THAT’S what happened in the “Martha” moment. He realized that about himself, in addition to realizing Superman wasn’t the alien threat he feared. Yes, he can still grow to become the Injustice Superman from the Knightmare scene. But heros don’t kill people because of what they *might* do in the future. Rather, they inspire others to become the best possible versions of themselves.
Im not sure where I’m going. I’ve just been thinking about this stuff and realizing about myself that I’m awfully biased about BvS. I LOVE it. More than any of the Marvel movies. Because it’s better? Not really. Because it’s my favorite comic character (Batman, done really well and in a new way) being dropped headfirst into a new Cinematic Universe and having a real (and again, NEW) arc that shows how far he had fallen and what has to happen for him to rise again; to be hopeful and continue the grueling battle against those who would use fear to prey on everyday people.
Im as excited as anyone for Avengers 3, Thor 3 and Guardians 2. I see Guardians next Thursday night and if it’s good, you can bet I’ll write something. None of the Marvel movies have inspired me though. Not like BvS did and continues to do.
Thanks for reading. Check back for updates and thoughts. I can be found on YouTube at BatMadd and on Twitter @DylanMadd