A friend of mine got advance Batman v Superman tickets, so even though it’s been getting pretty bad reviews, I saw it anyway. I went in with low expectations, and enjoyed myself, but it is definitely a movie that’s best to not think about too much. But if you want nitpicky spoilers, read on!
As is the case with almost every time there’s a new reboot of the Batman franchise, we get to see the same old Batman’s parents getting murdered origin story. At least this time it happens as part of the opening credits, sort of, so it gets out of the way quickly.
Fast forward to the present day, and we find out Bruce Wayne flew into Metropolis right when all that craziness during Man of Steel with those giant earthquake machine thingies was going down, and he drives a Jeep Renegade with a yellow safety flasher on it to downtown Metropolis just in time to see General Zod, or Superman, or we don’t really know, blow up the shiny new Wayne Enterprises office building in downtown Metropolis. People die. This guy from Halt and Catch Fire gets his legs crushed! This makes Bruce Wayne sad.
We later find out that the reason Bruce Wayne just happened to pop over to Metropolis, is that it is right across some bay from Gotham. Sure, I know these cities are totally fictional and never really have their exact locations established, but at the same time, I don’t think they’ve ever been next to each other before.
Many, many, many FCA vehicles are destroyed.
For some reason, in this version of the DC Comics universe, even though it takes place in the present day, professional photographers use film cameras, and bad guys take polaroids of their kidnapping victims.
Various plot things happen, and they sometimes make sense, but overall the plot feels more like the writers came up with a check list of things that need to happen, and then tried to figure out some kind of plot to connect them, than try to come up with a plot that is cool in and of itself. But let’s talk about that “plot”!
The movie starts off, in several different ways, wondering if Superman is too powerful. This US senator lady thinks Superman is too powerful, for many reasons, one of which is that Lois Lane had been on some assignment to interview this terrorist guy in Africa, but Jimmy Olsen, who is never mentioned by name, turns out to have a GPS locator device stashed inside his film camera, and is really a CIA agent, and then the terrorists shoot Jimmy Olsen in the head! I had no idea that was Jimmy Olsen until I read about it after seeing the movie. Then these mercenaries helping the terrorists start killing the terrorists, and Superman shows up to rescue Lois from this nonsense, and somehow even though all these people were shot by each other, everyone’s blaming the mess on Superman, because he was there.
Superman thinks Batman is out of control because Batman is branding criminals with Batarangs, and if a criminal goes to jail, for some reason the other criminals in jail kill anyone with “the mark of the bat.” Wouldn’t they be more like, “dude sorry Batman branded you”?
For various other reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with this Superman-Africa-terrorists nonsense, Batman decides that Superman is too powerful and needs to be stopped. Lex Luthor also thinks Superman is too powerful. Luthor has found a big hunk of kryptonite, and Batman realizes that Luthor is transporting the big hunk of kryptonite to Metropolis, and works on stealing it from him. Wonder Woman is also snooping around Luthor! We’ve got franchises to start here people! When Batman finds Luthor’s kryptonite and chases down the truck carrying it, while shooting and presumably killing lots of Luthor’s goons with the Batmobile’s guns, Superman shows up right in front of the Batmobile, Batman sl0-mo drifts the Batmobile into Superman, and this, of course wrecks the Batmobile.
Luthor tricks the guy from Halt and Catch Fire into blowing up the US Capitol while Superman was there for a Senate hearing about why Superman is always taking action on his own and not coordinating with the army. People get mad at Superman because they think maybe he had something to do with the bombing.
There’s a subplot about how Luthor has located other super people like Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman, and some cyborg guy who was created by the guy who invented Skynet in Terminator 2. Who’s that guy? I dunno. Actually, I did some looking and his name is Cyborg. The cyborg’s name is Cyborg. Real creative!
This is not the Flash who is in this movie. There is a totally different Flash in this movie, who only appears in one of several dream sequences that are supposed to set up the future Justice League movie, but have absolutely nothing to do with the plot of Batman v Superman. It’s like the writers said “hey Batman should fall asleep while the files he stole from Luthor are decrypting so we can put a trailer for the sequel in the middle of this movie!”
Lex Luthor’s grand plan to make Batman and Superman fight is to find kryptonite, sorta kinda let Batman steal kryptonite from him, kidnap Superman’s mom, kidnap Lois Lane, throw Lois Lane off a roof of a skyscraper to get Superman’s attention because he apparently knows where Lois is at all times and catches her, then show Superman polaroids of his mom, who I guess Superman can’t locate like he can locate Lois, and tell him the only way to get his mom back is to go kill Batman.
Superman flies off and says “I gotta convince Batman to help me!” but then when he flies across the bay that is apparently now all that separates Metropolis and Gotham and you can see there Bat-signal in Metropolis, he goes to talk to Batman, but doesn’t say anything to Batman about Luthor kidnapping his mom. Superman just says “we need to work together.” Batman doesn’t listen and they keep fighting each other.
Batman has a Bat-Iron Man suit, and kryptonite gas grenades, and has Superman on the ropes, but finally Superman yells out “HE’S GOING TO HURT MARTHA!” and Batman listens, because his mom’s name is Martha too! Dude, why didn’t you try earlier to just tell Batman that Luthor kidnapped your mom? Because as soon as Batman springs the first trap on Superman, Superman completely stops talking to Batman and just tries to beat him up.
In addition to making Superman go fight Batman by kidnapping Superman’s mom, Lex Luthor decides to create Doomsday, by getting some US government guy who might be a senator, we never really find out who this dude is, to willingly give him General Zod’s body, and access to the crashed Kryptonian ship chilling inside a tennis bubble in the middle of downtown Metropolis. Luthor uses a kryptonite scalpel to slice off General Zod’s fingerprints and wear them on his own finger tips, to get access to the Kryptonian ship’s computer, but it seems like the ship is pretty willing to recognize him and talk to him just fine, so why’d he need General Zod’s fingerprints? Because kryptonite scalpels are cool!
So Luthor plops General Zod’s body into this conveniently located regeneration chamber in the middle of the crashed Kryptonian ship, slices his own palm with a big knife like he’s some Klingon, drips blood on Zod’s face, and then the ship tells him “what you are trying to do is breaking a bunch of Kryptonian laws,” but Luthor says to the ship “do it anyway, ship!” and the ship goes about growing a handy dandy Doomsday.
How the hell does the ship know that if you plop dead General Zod in a regeneration chamber and drip some Lex Luthor blood on his face that means “hey ship, make me a Doomsday”? I don’t know.
I wonder how much Michael Shannon got paid to be a body on a table in a few scenes in this movie.
So after Batman and Superman fight then realize they shouldn’t be fighting, Superman goes after Luthor, and Batman tells Superman he’ll go save Superman’s mom, and Alfred tells Batman thru his earpiece, “I WAS LISTENING TO YOUR CONVERSATION, I ALREADY BAT-LOCATED SUPERMAN’S MOM” and Batman hops in the Bat-plane to go get Superman’s mom. Batman goes and fights Luthor’s goons holding Superman’s mom, and he shoots a lot of them with their own guns, which...isn’t Batman supposed to not like guns?
Batman saves Superman’s mom from the final goon who is pointing a flamethrower at her by shooting the goon’s flamethrower tank with a shotgun, and jumping on Ma Kent to protect her from the explosion since I guess the batsuit is fireproof? Then this dialogue happens:
“Don’t worry, I’m a friend of your son.”
“I figured, you know, with the cape.”
Superman flies Doomsday into space, and some general is all like DUDE MR. PRESIDENT WE CAN NUKE THE SHIT OUT OF THEM IN SPACE AND IT’LL BE FINE, and the secretary of defense is BUT YOU’LL NUKE SUPERMAN and they nuke both of them. Doomsday falls back to Earth onto this island in the bay, and the nuclear missile made him stronger so he starts growing spikes! But the nuke actually hurt Superman, maybe because he had been kryptonite gassed by Batman, and Superman sorta floats in space looking like zombie Michael Jackson in Thriller for a while, but then the sun’s rays de-zombify him.
Batman and Wonder Woman take turns fighting Doomsday while we wait for Superman to finish de-zombifying up in space and joins them, and we don’t really know what Wonder Woman’s powers are, but she’s pretty powerful, and at least 100 years old, and can hold her own with Doomsday somewhat. Which is more than I can say for Batman, he mostly uses grappling hooks to run away every time Doomsday is about to kick his ass bad.
To finally kill Doomsday, Superman goes and grabs this kryptonite spear that Batman had made to kill Superman, and flies it into Doomsday’s chest, but holding the spear weakens Superman, and Doomsday stabs Superman through the chest with one of his spikes, and now everyone’s sad, especially Lois, because Superman got in the bathtub with her with his clothes still on back in the beginning of the movie, and she’s going to really miss him doing that.
Ma Kent has a funeral for Clark back in Smallville, and then there’s a fancy funeral in DC with a 21 gun salute, and what must be an empty casket with a Superman logo on it, and nobody seems to be upset that Superman’s body is nowhere to be found. You’d think the government might be hitting up Batman and Wonder Woman saying “um, guys, we know you took Superman’s body, he’s totally an alien and we’re going to need you to give that back.” But nope, just some bagpipes playing Amazing Grace.
There’s no post-credits stinger, but the last shot of the movie, is of Superman’s real casket in the ground, with one handful of dirt on it that Lois dropped on it, and then that dirt starts to levitate ever so slightly before the screen cuts to black.
SUPERMAN’S NOT DEAD Y’ALL.
At least they’re waiting until the next movie to officially bring him back, not like Captain Kirk in Star Trek: Into Dumbness getting resurrected with magic Khan blood.
Wow, writing all that made me realize just how silly that movie was.
But like I said, it was actually kinda entertaining when I watched it, even though, upon reflection, it was dumb.
UPDATE: Vox has a somewhat more-thoughtful examination than mine of the problems with this movie. But for how stupid the plot is, I think they’re being a bit too thoughtful.