The Dawn of Justice was not great.

In short, if you are a person that doesn’t care about…

  • story holes,
  • frustrating character choices and personalities,
  • irritating dialog,
  • uninteresting dialog,
  • lame plot devices,
  • disconnected story points,
  • drawn out scenes,
  • throwing away lore,
  • and/or you just happen to enjoy watching cities be destroyed because Michael Bay has taken a toll on your sensibilities…

this movie is for you.

If you do care about the above, get ready for frustration.

I am going to do my best to not just summarize the movie, as a challenge. This movie stands on its own, terrible in its own right. Be aware that from this point forward there are definitely going to be “plot” spoilers, so if you care… blah blah blah.

Don’t read any further if you are worried.

Okay, disclaimers are done. Let’s get down to brass tacks.

General

In my brief stint in screenwriting I learned one thing above all else – It is the job of a writer to entertain. Ignore Lore, reality, and everything else on the quest for a great story. I also learned that a great script and a great director and great actors make a great movie, but a shitty script with great everything else means the best you can hope for is tripe.

This was clearly not a great script; they did what they could to get good to great actors; it doesn’t seem like they got a great director and they definitely dropped the ball looking for a great story.

As usual, when I walk out of a movie I find my handful of grievances, but this movie is irritating me almost as much as Prometheus has, in that it doesn’t quite make sense. My wife and I joke occasionally about oversimplification – Meat + Dough + Oven = lovely sandwiches. This movie is what I imagine would happen if people overly simplified any marvel movie – Action + Talking + Superheroes = Moneys – and it is dreadful to watch them continue to ruin characters that so many have grown to know and love.

Batman’s Origin Story, again

Admittedly, new comers need to know about the origins of the characters in these movies. Oh wait, no they don’t. If you don’t know who Batman is and you are over the age of 0, you are either not interested in superheroes – a possibility – or you are not interested in great cinema. The Dark Knight trilogy was dark, brooding, deep and thoughtful, and even if you don’t appreciate what Christian Bale or Nolan did with the franchise you have to recognize that they were at the very least great films. They changed the scene entirely. They resurrected Batman, the Joker and the entire DC universe out of the smoldering ashes of what was 1990s superhero worship into a more interesting and thoughtful story. The least you can say about this series was that it was transformative.
But it was most certainly watched. This is continuing to be the batman that most people seem to want to talk about when talking about the DC world. People have experienced it, in massive numbers, and we know the story of batman.

Okay, cool, so why the fuck do we need to be told about it again? Who cares about your slightly different vision of things? Batman is this character because Bats scared the fuck out of him and he embraced it, causing him to not fear anything ever again. Sounds like the last 40 times we have read/watched this story play out we caught that bit, surely we can make a couple assumptions about it going forward, no?

As someone who really enjoys reading stories from beginning to end, I value lore & history of characters, so when I see stories being retold I raise an eyebrow. Here we go learning about Batman’s bat orgy and we follow that up with… Bruce jumping off of a helicopter to go speeding through Metropolis or Gotham, not sure which, to get to his building as superman is killing everyone. From one extreme to another. As a character that happens to also be a superhero and deals with death – by not doing it – on a regular basis, you would think that Bruce would have some understanding of the complexities of dealing with baddies. Bruce has had his share of destruction, even in the movies, and here he is looking at his city being destroyed and making his mind up about the usefulness of Superman because he nearly let one little girl die, while the rest of the city is laying in ruins.

All of this to explain the origins of Batman’s hatred for Superman.

Two origins in one. Neither are justified or necessary. Fuck this noise.

Shitty Motives

The movie hinges on two major conflicts, first Batman and Superman have to punch each other in the face, then they are expected to go and punch another dude in the face. The first hour and twenty or so minutes of the three hours is spent building up Batman’s anger towards Superman. As noted a moment ago, it is related to the loss of life during the rampage of Zod and the reverence he seems to have garnered from the public, which we will come back to in a bit.

Get it straight, Batman wants to kill Superman because people think of him as a god and because a lot of people died during the rampage.

Okay, sounds totally legit.

  1. How do we end with Batman about to kill Superman? Kryptonite spear!
  2. How do we end with Batman with a Kryptonite spear? He makes it out of a lump of Kryptonite!
  3. Where does he get a lump of Kryptonite? uhm… how about Lex finds it and Batman steals it?
  4. Where does he get the lump? Well, how about the Indian ocean?
  5. What does he do to get close enough to Superman to use the spear? idk man, how about Kryptonite dust grenades? He can throw them at an unknowing superman and inhale the dust! How about that?

Go ahead and watch the film, you will come to the conclusion they likely built out the first two hours of the movie in reverse, asking the same questions I just did. This contrived set of circumstances is so meticulous its silly.

All of this work just to build a spear and not quite kill Superman? What could possibly hold the grand daddy of grudges back from killing Jesus?

No one noticed their mothers had the same name until now.

Don’t lie you didn’t either.

Let me paint the scene:

Batman has spent the last 30 minutes standing in the rain waiting for Superman to come. Superman comes, lands exactly where Batman wanted him to land and steps right into two traps. Superman then tells Batman to chill out and pushes him. Now they fight, sorta. Batman is pulling himself around by his graplers and Superman is being toyed with. After a minute or two of this silliness Batman hits him with a grenade and superman decides to take a healthy whiff of Kryptonite.

Batman pounces, punching again and again and again. and as Superman regains his composure Batman hits him again with a grenade. This seemingly intelligent inventor has at least two of these grenades and decides that a dude that is literally able to levitate and is indestructible only needs a single grenade sized dose of Kryptonite dust.

Okay, whatever, they are at it again punching faces and then Bruce pulls out his spear, comes over and is standing over Superman, about to plunge it into his chest when Superman says… Martha. This single utterance is all it takes to get across to Batman that he should stop acting dumb.

Explain this shit.

Batman has gone through all of this trouble only to find out that their mothers names are the same and he backs down. This version of Batman that has given up one of his core principles – not killing – for favor of the opposite. This version of Batman that has invested all this time and energy building this crazy spear doesn’t want to commit to the one time he is going to be able to use it.

No, instead he drops it and runs off to save Superman’s mom.

Story Holes

Lois Lane plays a dumb-ass in this movie.

Superman and Batman have a huge knock down drag out fight, one that leaves Batman the clear victor, and she watches as this spear is about to be plunged into Superman’s chest.

My wife, she would likely decide to dispose of this item of such cruelty and rudeness. She would likely pick it up, maybe place it into the trunk of her car and likely even drive off to some desolate wasteland of a car grave yard to watch a smasher do its thing.

Lois decides to pick it up and put it into a well a few yards away.

Superman didn’t need to die.

Sure, point to the parallels to Jesus. he is here to absolve us and save us from ourselves, sure. He could very easily have given his SPEAR to the warrior goddess that is Wonder Woman and let her go handle business while he gets some sun and gets his shit together.

No, he picks up the spear and plunges it into the chest of doomsday himself.

The epitome of sexism, never trust a woman to do a man’s job.

Violence

I think it is pretty well commonly accepted that Man of Steel was mind numbing. The violence there was on a level that was so over the top and overwhelming that most everyone that speaks about the movie walks out apathetic to the violence. Watch Apocalypse Now and you can see how directors have gotten around human gore and violence. Watch Deadpool and you will see what gore and violence can look like. Both are prime examples of what can be done with violence to emphasize a message.

MoS numbed us, and this movie takes it to the next level. only minutes apart we have characters insisting areas are un-populated followed by doomsday nuking huge swaths of their city.

Anyone who is aware of batman has to accept that he has gone to great lengths to not kill:

By 1940’s Batman #4, in a story by co-creators Bill Finger and Bob Kane — which is about as definitive as you can get — Batman reminds Robin that “we never kill with weapons of any kind.”

Read More: Ask Chris (About Batman) #54: Why Doesn’t Batman Kill? | http://comicsalliance.com/batman-kills/?trackback=tsmclip

It is also commonplace to argue that Superman is also against killing, as he refrains from doing so as well.

Clearly these movies take place in a different, more brooding and dark, universe. Our heroes are now crazy mash em in the face and slaughter the whole lot of em types. Spend a portion of this movie watching Batman shoot, stab and throw anyone within reach as far as is possible. There is so much destruction that its hard to even argue that no one is hurt. This movie puts the last one to shame. It was another overwhelming mess.

Closing

There are about a dozen things wrong with this movie. Many of them are irritating and others are trivialities. The most difficult aspect of this is trying to keep from ranting too much. The movie is not great. It is not even good. I recommend you wait until this hits Netflix before investing any time on it.

It is slow to go, slower to deliver and once it gets going things are moving so fast you barely even catch the intro for Cyborg, Aquaman or Flash and if you can name 30 other DC characters that are popular or interesting (not that Aquaman necessarily qualifies) I’ll buy you a beer.

Bleght. so done with this bullshit rebooting and brooding fetish from Hollywood! Lets do something interesting! PLEASE!?

Or don’t, I’ll keep on complaining about it either way.

  • Naum

    You give them too much credit for coming up with the fight seen. If you’ve seen Batman Returns part 2 you’ll see that most of the fight scene and even dialog are similar. The only thing they came up with was the kryptonite spear. And Superman did have to die against doomsday otherwise they don’t give him any justice as the one that actually killed superman…not saying I like the way the movie did it. I agree that the plot and the whole Martha thing we’re rediculous

    • Bob

      Actually, considering all of the Jesus symbolism and inspiration driving the Superman character, they didn’t even come up with that. The spear was lifted too.