I loved this movie, because I thought it explored several of the key challenges and ideas in superhero ethics and morality. It borrows heavily from concepts and imagery discussed in The Dark Knight Returns (the comic book), and I loved the connection it established between Bruce and Clark.
Having said that, I thought it was overstuffed with plotlines – there’s so much going on that it becomes a confusing, muddled mess of a story. Which is a shame, because each plotline individually is useful and interesting, but I usually like to enjoy my appetizers and desserts as separate elements from the main course, not all poured into a bowl together.
Turn back now if you don’t want to be spoiled!
I think introducing Doomsday this early was a massive mistake. It totally ruined the potency of that enemy. Even using Zod to create Bizarro would have been too much, too soon. Lex should have used something else, something technological, perhaps laced with kryptonite. He should have taken Zod’s body and hid it, leaving it to future movies to figure out what’s going on. Build up a storyline here, like the Infinity Gems.
I think the introduction of Wonder Woman was incredibly forced. She’s just shoehorned in with essentially no character development at all.
I think the death of Superman was a mistake – again, leave that for future movies. Let the ongoing debate about the implications of his power continue to be explored, instead of tied up in a neat bow of self-sacrifice, which frankly doesn’t really work. If people think he’s a threat, killing a monster who was born minutes earlier will not make them trust him more.
I think the movie fumbles on the loss of Clark’s secret identity. Lois and Martha are in mortal peril at every moment from this day forward, which sucks for them, sucks for the storyline and generally doesn’t help with this movie. It was sloppy and annoying.
I think adding a dead Robin was a waste of everyone’s time.
One of the most epic elements of The Dark Knight is the way you realized in the end that The Joker has been playing the town like a fiddle the entire time. Every step has a purpose, every action leads him closer and closer to his end-goal – revealing to The Batman that the city of Gotham is not worth saving. Lex should have been just as clever, just as devious in manipulating Batman and Superman into fighting, instead of the hamfisted “kill him or else” bullshit. It was beneath his legacy of brilliant evil, beneath Jessie’s acting ability and just generally shitting storytelling. Ultimately what I get from this situation is that Zach Snyder, while quite talented, is not as clever as Christopher Nolan.
Ok, enough bitching. Here’s what I liked
- I agree completely that Superman’s existence on Earth brings lots of trouble. It is a worthwhile debate whether the planet is better off without him or not.
- I also agree completely that putting yourself in a position where you “just have to trust him” is not an answer. You need to have a contingency plan. Both Lex and Bruce have the right idea here.
- I like how the powered armor and the desiccated post-nuke Superman are imagery borrowed from The Dark Knight Returns.
- I like the idea that Lex is trying to manipulate the world into hating Superman. That should have been explored more.
- I like that Bruce’s frustration with/ire towards Superman was deeply personal. It should also have been explored more.
- I like the epitaph – “if you would see his monument, look around you”. Very nice. It should have been the formal inscription, not a spray painted tag
In another post, I will write up my own concept of a script which borrows from this one, but holds together more nicely.