Batman v Superman is 153 minutes of a grown man whacking two dolls together
I haven’t been a full-time film critic since 2011, and in my free time these days I mostly watch Canadian home remodelling shows and listen to audiobooks for 12-year-old girls, so maybe I’m just out of the loop. Did we stop making movies with characters and plots? Has the movie-going public lost their taste for story arcs wherein characters who have earned our investment do interesting, new things that make sense? Has the definition of “movie” changed from “motion picture story that a human wrote on purpose” to “700 only tangentially related 12-second grey and red vignettes”? Because I’ve just come from Batman v Superman, which isn’t a film in any sense that I’m familiar with, but rather 153 minutes of a grown man whacking two dolls together, with character profiles ranging from “depressed statue” to “depressed explosion”.
We open with Bruce Wayne’s parents dying, AGAIN (oh, do Bruce’s parents die? I hadn’t heard) – several minutes of slow-motion gun porn that could have been used to give Bruce, or anyone in this film, an actual personality, but nah. Bruce runs away from his parents’ funeral and immediately falls in a hole where he is lifted up in the air by a tornado of frenzied, disgusting bats. Then he gets rabies and dies. I wish. (Hey, can somebody please get Bruce some therapy? I’m not sure where “hanging out with Alfred in a basement for 30 years” falls on the spectrum of self-care, but it can’t be good.)
What actually happens is that Ben Affleck wakes up, panting, and the bat-nado was all a dream! – a device that will happen nine million more times in this movie. At one point, Affleck wakes up from a dream and realises it was all a dream, and then wakes up from a dream again, because that dream was all a dream too. Batman v Superman, unfortunately, is not a dream. It is really happening to you.
Cut to downtown Gotham City, which is apparently just across “the bay” from Metropolis (oh, OK), and is currently being completely douched by the climactic action scene of Man of Steel, B v S’s predecessor. In perhaps the movie’s only interesting conceit, we get to see what Superman’s epic battle with General Zod (or any superheroics on a world-saving scale) would look like to a random human being on the ground: carnage, destruction, death, fire, chaos, rubble and the lamentations of parentless children. Super!
As Affleck watches from the street, one of the flying Kryptonians’ naughty laser eyes shears the Wayne Enterprises skyscraper right in half, killing all of his beloved corporate employees instantly. Ugh, Affleck hates that Super guy now! He is going to figure out a way to versus him to death, for sure!
Cut to an island somewhere. An old white dude finds some kryptonite. He is never mentioned again. Watch Batman V superman