Batman V Superman gets Cautious Thumbs Up
I approached the film Batman V Superman with a pretty open mind. Some of the critics I normally rely on gave it harsh reviews (as I’m sure you’ve become well aware), but others had been optimistic, so I really had no idea what to expect. Fortunately, when it was all said and done I left the theater feeling like I got my money’s worth. My husband and I agreed that there were a few moments that could have either been omitted or been made more seamless with the plot, but we also came to the conclusion that the format of this movie played out like a novel. The plot moved forward piece by piece, in small chapters, right up to the end. Being that we are writers we really enjoyed this style of movie pacing and didn’t mind that it was a slow build to the climactic ending. There was one short scene that really threw me off since I am not as deep into the comic book lore as my husband, but being a longtime Batman and Wonder Woman fan I understood what was going on for the most part.
However, this will no doubt come across as a confusing movie for those with little to no comic book background. The movie does a decent amount of setting up for future movies, which I think is one of the biggest reasons that people will give it a negative review. However, reason number 2 (if not 1) is most definitely the plot holes that one must suspend their disbelief over! My approach to overlooking them was the same approach I had for overlooking the music that seemed to be on a loop. It had a cartoon feel to it. I love cartoons, and this movie had the feeling of being a live action children’s cartoon, where the stories are made up and the plot holes don’t matter. 😛
And while this movie is very much about two dudes being pitted against one another by a third dude, Wonder Woman flippin’ STOLE THE SHOW during any scene she was in. I am so excited for her standalone film coming out next year! In fact, when Wonder Woman appeared in full get up the entire theater burst into applause (the only time they did so during the film).
Here’s how Batman V Superman stood up to the HerStoryArc Scale of Inclusivity:
- Not offensive to women 0/1 points
- Features a woman as the main protagonist and/or supporting character 2/2 points
- Passes the Bechdel Test 0/3 points
- Artistic and/or entertaining 3/4 points
- Above and beyond general media 1/5 points
- Total points = 6/15 or 40%
Caution: Spoilers Ahead!
Yup, unfortunately it did not pass the Bechdel test and it also did have a few moments that I found offensive. The most egregious offense was the character Mercy who is Lex Luthor’s stereotypical attractive assistant (or something) that speaks maybe three times, and seems to be on screen simply for us to look at her. After some online research I found that she is based on a comic book character Mercy Graves, who is supposed to be Lex Luthor’s bodyguard and assistant. Unfortunately, we don’t get any bodyguard vibes from her in this movie, and indeed Lex is willing to sacrifice her with apparent ease. I want to make it clear I have nothing against who they cast as the actress for this character, just how the director and writers chose to incorporate her into the story.
Offense number two is the bathtub scene with Lois Lane. I LOATHE when writers and directors find an excuse to have female nudity in a film that is not in any way relevant to the story. The scene could have shot any number of ways that would have been infinitely better in my opinion. And seriously, if I was Lois I would have been annoyed at Clark for ruining my nice bath and getting the bathroom soaking wet.
Offense number three is for the THREE times Lois has to be rescued by Superman. Enough said.
Despite these flaws, we do get to enjoy three women characters who are intrinsic to the story and to how the film concludes.
I felt each of these three women had great screen time and held their own; whether it’s Senator Finch verbally sparring with Lex Luthor, Diana Prince putting Bruce Wayne in his place, or Lois Lane pursuing the mystery of the bullet. And my goodness are Lois and Clark just ridiculously sappy, but in a good way. They are perfect for each other.
Batman V Superman doesn’t get full points for being entertaining due to some of the things I’ve already mentioned, and it simply can’t earn many points for going above and beyond its peers in terms of telling a woman’s story, but it does at least get full points for featuring several women supporting characters.
BTW, Wonder Woman’s guitar riff theme song is my ringtone now.