Now that all the smoke has cleared and everyone has had their opinion posted all over the Internet I wanted to give my major observation about Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. I’ll admit that I have mixed feelings about the film (I’m hoping the director’s cut will fix some of these), but I am still interested in where Warner Brother’s takes the DC film universe. My major feeling when walking out the theater was, “This is DC’s Iron Man 2”. What do I mean by that? Keep reading to find out.
-Too Much World Building-
While recent Marvel films have found the proper balance to strike between telling the title character’s story while planting the seeds for the future of the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that has never been the case. The majority of the MCU’s Phase One solo films suffered from this, but especially Iron Man 2. While we have a majority of plots that center around Tony Stark (we’ll get those in a moment) there was the issue of the Avengers set-up. Around the mid-point of the film Nick Fury (last scene at the very end of the previous Iron Man) approaches him talking about getting him back in shape for what’s ahead. He also mentions an issue in New Mexico while revealing Natasha is in fact an agent. This isn’t all of it. Toward the end Fury returns to tell Stark he’ll now be consulting for S.H.I.E.L.D. Behind them is a wall covered with easter eggs. Similar problems befell Batman V. Superman with Wonder Woman, the “Knightmare” scene, and videos of other Justice League members. Both of these films suffered from worrying about the future instead of focusing on the present.
-Too Many Storylines Surrounding the Core-
Iron Man 2 had a lot of plot threads that weren’t even connected to the Avengers. Whether it be Tony’s arc reactor poisoning him, the senate hearings pressuring him to turn his tech over to the government, his relationship with Pepper, and Colonel Rhodes caught between his friend and his duty to the country. That’s a lot of plot to take in a single film and of course some of this came out half-baked. With Batman V. Superman we have just as many, if not a few more plots. Wayne becoming a more jaded person, Superman is taking part in a congressional hearing in the wake of Man of Steel’s ending, these two character’s distrust of each other, Lois and Clark’s relationship, and Batman tracking a Russian arms-dealer’s movement. All of this bogged down each film muddying what the central plot truly was. If both films had just removed a couple ideas and had sharper focus it would’ve been for the better.
-Two Villains are Not Better Than One-
Marvel hasn’t had the most stellar track record in regards to the antagonists in their films. Aside from Loki they’ve been two dimensional at best. Some of the worst offenders were Ivan Vanko and Justin Hammer. While both hated Stark for their own personal reasons, I did not feel like either of them had strong motivations. Now can anyone explain to me Lex’s motivations for hating Superman? All I can gather is that he despises intergalactic illegal aliens. And when it comes to Doomsday it’s even worse. While in the comics Doomsday is the product of a scientist sending a humanoid creature out into Krypton’s harsh environment to die and be cloned over and over. This continued for decades until he was impervious to almost anything and traumatized beyond recognition. Pretty screwed up, but in the film he is the product of Lex putting Zod’s corpse along with his own blood into a pod on a Kryptonian ship. There is zero motivation for his anger aside from being a blend of two psychopath’s DNA. In both scenarios neither villains were all that strong in the story and could’ve been cut down to a single foe.
So what can we take away from all of this? If you’re going to build a shared universe in film there needs to be a balance struck between a solo character’s story and the overarching story of the entire series. While Marvel stumbled a bit they managed to find their footing and have been doing gangbusters since. I truly hope Warner Brothers and DC can do the same. As usual, what are your thoughts? Did you think people were too harsh on Batman V. Superman or Iron Man 2? Are you excited for Justice League or Avengers: Infinity Wars? Or are you just silently hoping Dredd 2 and Hellboy 3 finally get made?