Without doubt, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice is the most Gothic comic book film since Alex Proyas’ The Crow with Brandon Lee. However, Batman V. Superman (B vs. S) is something very different than The Crow. The Crow was intended to be just one film (with future films almost destroying the incredible work they’d done in that original) whereas B vs. S is designed to be the second film in the DC Universe and open the way to a ton of new films.
In the process of doing that, Zach Snyder has released a beautiful movie that is almost as lean as it possibly can be, while still covering all that it needs to. Some would say it’s too lean and feels choppy or that the script was uneven, but, for me, I find that it works quite well (and will probably work even better when the three hour version comes out on BluRay this fall).
However, with that said, let’s be clear.
You need to have some specialized knowledge about a few things before you see this movie, because, the truth is, Zach Snyder has again created a film that is very faithful to a series of comics, but it is so faithful that the more casual fan (or critic) could get lost (since he doesn’t have the time to explain all the “what has come before” elements to what he’s doing).
With that said, I decided to create a two part article. The first is for BEFORE you see Batman V. Superman: what you need to know.
Part 1: What you Need to Know Before Watching
- You need to be very familiar with the events of Man of Steel. You should’ve watched it at least once, but hopefully twice before watching B vs. S. (No joke. You can drop into almost any Marvel film without seeing the predecessor and catch up. You can NOT do so on B vs. S.)
- Realize this Batman is based on the Frank Miller Batman from the Dark Knight Returns—-a brutal outlaw who may not kill, but will likely shatter your psyche through the terror he inflicts; a truly damaged creature people often believe to be a demon.
- Realize that Superman (and all Kryptonians) are weak to a small handful of things, amongst them is not just Kryptonite, but also MAGIC.
- Realize that Wonder Woman is a demi-god (as in, Zeus knocked up her mom, the queen of the Amazons), so she’s a super-powerful, near-immortal being like Hercules. She was trained for battle by Aries, the God of War, and wields MAGICAL talismans forged into a shield, a sword, and an unbreakable rope lasso. Her heritage and magic mean that she’s one of the few people that can go toe to toe with a Krytonian. (And she doesn’t have an invisible jet.)
- Realize that Lex Luthor—despite being Superman’s most consistent foe and always having Machiavellian schemes inside of schemes in play—has been bland and unmemorable in the comics. Jesse Eisenberg’s damaged reimagining of him not only creates a character that is much more memorable, but also seems to be a reflection of another famous villain. (More on that in the next article.)
- The DC universe does not just exist within a single dimension, but, rather, it is a universe that spans multiple dimensions which can impact one another in the right settings. (More on that in the next article.)
- Zach Snyder and his writers have a pretty good handle on human psychology. As someone who’s a psych nerd, I can confirm that most of the behaviors (and responses) showcased in this film are pretty much on the money. (There are a few sequences that are cut a little short, but not before the key psychological elements were set up and grounded. More on that in the next article.)
Additionally, there are some pretty cool previews of what’s to come if you happen to have read the right runs of comics before seeing the film. However, telling you which of these runs they are would have spoilers for the film, so I’ll hold off for the next article for that.
With that said, I’ll shut up and let you run out and see the film. After you’ve seen it, we’ll talk about things that a lot of my friends had questions about. (Again, this next article is full of spoilers, so don’t read it unless you don’t care about spoilers or unless you’ve already seen the movie.)
After You Watch B vs. S: