Forgive me for being demanding, but when you put two superheroes in a film – one being the near indestructible Superman and the other being tech-savvy, ahead-of-his-time Batman – planet saving should be an easier job.
I mean, the X-men and Avengers managed mostly okay. Not so in the latest from DC Comics.
The film pits Batman against Superman – which is fine, it’s a battle that piqued the curiosity of thousands of fans and sold all the tickets. However, while the two are engaged in a series of one-upping action sequences, villain Lex Luthor is able to exploit their hostility to mastermind a plan of mass wreckage. That should make them feel pretty dumb, except that they show more evidence of brawn than brain through most of the film.
No wonder the city is a mess… just like the film. Batman vs Superman not only reduced the beloved superheroes to caricature but is also full of plot holes that fans find difficult to forgive.
Here are five pressing questions the film should’ve been able to answer, but didn’t.
1. Do Batman and Superman have any good reason to hate each other?
Plot spoiler: We’re told Batman hates Superman because he “brought the fight to us”, as in all the aliens that followed him to Earth and destroyed almost all of Metropolis in Man of Steel. Superman hates Batman because he suspects he’s up to no good. We’re never sure why; his editor at Daily Planetthinks he’s a non-issue. Oh well. Commence the battle!
Really, these are not good reasons for superheroes who are essentially on the same side to hate each other.
In my estimation, Batman and Superman basically don’t like not being the only hero in town. Each thinks the other doesn’t do a good enough job of saving the city/country/planet. So they forget their primary duty of saving the city/country/planet and try to thwart each other’s attempts to do just that. It’s really just male aggression on overdrive.
(Spoilers) First case in point: Superman forces Batman’s detour during his chase of the Kryptonite-carrying vehicle, which allows Lex Luthor to get a hold of it. (Sure, Batman also had anti-Superman weaponry, not world peace, in mind, but it’s less disastrous than how Lex would have used the Kryptonite.) Second case in point: Batman gives Superman a sound thrashing (after exposing him to some of the same Kryptonite he had to steal from Lex later) and refuses to give ear to the imminent danger to Superman’s mother and everyone else (in the larger scheme of things).
And what does it take for the boys to cool down? Superman’s revelation that he and Batman’s mother have the same name. What?!
So, it could have taken one stiff conversation ages ago for those two to settle their differences and fight the bad guys together, but no. Not before the boys had a rough-and-tumble in somebody’s abandoned backyard (what is that random building anyway?). Ugh.
2. Why did Superman say ‘Martha’ in the first place?
Plot spoiler: In the above battle scene, Batman is moments away from taking Superman’s life when Superman utters ‘Save Martha’, referring to his mother whose death Lex Luthor has ordered if Superman fails to produce Batman’s head to him. Batman has an instant change of heart and really does go save Martha.
But seriously, who calls their mom by their first name? And couldn’t Superman just say ‘Save my mother’? It would have the same thawing effect on Batman, who knows all too well how trying the loss of a parent can be.
3. Why didn’t Superman save his own mom?
Plot spoiler: So Superman and Batman are quick to reconcile and Batman goes to save Superman’s mom while Superman goes to confront Lex Luthor.
Given that a) Superman doesn’t have to take the stairs, b) can pretty much flit in and out of places and c) has zero qualms about leaving gaping holes in buildings, I don’t understand why he didn’t just save his own mother. It would take him all of… five minutes, tops, to burst in, grab his mom, fly out while a volley of bullets bounce off his steel bod. And he could then join Batman at Lex’s new lair to show him, ‘Look, we’re a team now!’.
But Batman is sent to rescue mom, which takes a lot of bullet dodging, flame dodging and surviving an explosion. What a waste of ammo.
4. Why can’t Superman have more… finesse?
Sure, his missions come with the element of urgency, but does he really have to cause so much of a mess?
We don’t see Clark Kent ripping open doors and throwing over tables to swat a fly in the office of the Daily Planet, so why does he have to such a dangerous, life-endangering klutz when he’s donning the red cape?
It’s not just buildings he’s destroying, he’s costing people’s lives. Does he really think the building he left crumbling won’t crush at least half a dozen people. No wonder Batman can’t stand him.
5. Why is Batman’s mask just plain dumb?
This bears repeating: Batman’s mask is just plain dumb. As a disguise, it needs to be pointed at and made fun of. For it fails to cover up Bruce Wayne’s (as in Ben Affleck’s) super-distinctive butt-chin. How does no one guess that Wayne is Batman is beyond me.
Also, it catches fire.. a lot. At the end of every other action scene, one tiny piece of the mask is in the process of slowly melting. If he can make a super-solid Batmobile, why can’t the mask be made of stronger stuff?