EAKER VS. EAKER VS. BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN (2016)

Alfred: How can a movie with the two biggest male kahunas in comic book history go wrong? Easily, if it’s made by Hack Snyder. The best thing that can be said about Batman vs. Superman (2016) is that it’s not quite as wretched as Man of Steel (2013).

Still from Batman Vs. Superman (2016)Predictably, upon receiving news that actor Ben Affleck had been cast in the role of the Dark Knight, comic book fans took their protest to social media. Actually, the actor has little to work with here, and, for some reason, uses ‘s “mouthful of rocks” voice when wearing the Bat armor. Thus, through Snyder’s apathetic direction, Affleck is rendered a beefcake yet again, unable to make the role his own. The writers (David Goyer and Chris Terrio) certainly did not give Affleck the humorous, burnout nuances that he perfected in his performance as TV Superman George Reeves in Hollywoodland (2006). With Good Will Hunting (1997), Gone, Baby Gone (2007), The Town (2010), and Argo (2012), Affleck has certainly proved to be a better writer and director than Snyder or his team, which may give DC Comics fanboys a glimmer of hope for his upcoming solo Batman project. One would think fans would have been more worried about Snyder and prepared for the predictable worst since he has never made even a remotely good film. What Snyder had delivered in BvS amounts to a disarrayed, styled “Passion Of The Batman.” As for the handling of Superman: that is a Snyder slider that can only be craved by people who hate the character.

One has to ask what the suits of Warner Brothers and DC were thinking when they handed Snyder a 250 million dollar budget and carte blanche? Are executives unable to tell the difference between a good film and a bad film? Between a visionary craftsman (, , Sam Raimi , Joss Whedon, ) and a hack (Snyder)?  And, if not, then why are they in the business of producing movies? Imagine if these same execs ran a restaurant, without concern over the quality of the  food? In any other industry, such bad decision-making would result in a lot of suits rightfully being fired and Snyder’s career being put to a merciful end.

Undoubtedly, fans will flock to Batman vs. Superman, regardless. The fanatics and Snyder himself will scream that bad reviews are part of a Marvel conspiracy. Or, maybe those artsy fartsy critics are being paid off by the Illuminati, cuz you know “they’re not fans” and “they hate all superhero movies,” despite the fact that quite a few of the DC/Marvel movies (X-Men, Iron ManDark Night, Avengers) have been widely praised by those same sadistic critics.  Of course, the disciples of fictional super guys will live in denial, like Donald Trump worshipers throwing a blanket over all evidences of their deity’s imbecility, and the proof of their validation will naturally be box office receipts because “the people” have spoken. Never mind that timid, undemanding audiences also made a hit out of live action Scooby Doo movies. Snyder may indeed be the director that an increasingly dumbed-down audience deserves. What we are inundated with here is an endless 150 minutes of two pulpy, biblical/mythical heroes, dressed in tights, smashing their heads through walls. Worse even is the excessively long build up in which nothing happens. It’s certainly not used to give any meat to the characters, except for the angst-ridden “here we go again” Batman origin story.

In Superman II (1980), gave us a vulnerable Clark Kent. ‘s Bruce Wayne had many issues as Batman. In the Sam Raimi Spiderman films, much attention was paid to Peter Parker’s girlfriend problems, trouble paying the rent, and jerk of a boss.  .’s charmingly hedonistic Tony Stark made us care about the guy in the armor, not the suit itself. However, Snyder isn’t interested in either Kent or Wayne. They are two-dimensional characters who give us no reason to care about their alter-egos.

Only the most sluggish director could waste the likes of Jeremy Irons, Laurence Fishburne, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, or Holly Hunter. Jesse Eisenberg should probably get the Golden Raspberry award for worst actor of 2016 for his numbingly bad portrayal of Lex Luthor. If all this isn’t enough, the dialogue is so clichéd, hackneyed, adolescent, and groan-inducing that it makes one wonder if ‘s ghost possessed the script, because I think it actually has more zingers than Glen or Glenda:

“Civil liberties are being trampled on. Good people are living in fear.”

“Next time they shine your light on the sky, don’t go to it. The bat is dead. Bury it. Consider this mercy.”

“Tell me. Do you bleed? ” [Superman flies off]. “You will!” [The only thing missing is a crash of thunder as an exclamation point].

“It’s time you learned what it means to be a man.”

“You’re not brave. Men are brave. You can’t feel their pain.”

“This means something. It’s all some people have. It’s all that gives them hope.”

“Be their hero. Be their angel, be their monument, be anything they need you to be or nothing at all.”

“There is an alien among us. We’re not alone.”

“No one stays good in this world.”

”The bell cannot be unrung.”

“Books are knowledge and knowledge is power.”

“This is your doomsday.”

“Stealing’s not polite.”

“The night is here.”

“I’ve fought monsters.”

“There was a time above, a time before. There were perfect things,  but things fall… things on earth. And what falls is fallen. In the dream, it took me to the light. ”

Actually, it’s far worse than anything Ed could ever do, because we damn well know that our favorite angora-clad director (or even Cecil B. for that matter) would have at least milked some fun out of such nonsense. Not Snyder. No, he is saddled with so much bland, adolescent machismo that, comparatively, appears like a barrel of fun and a man with depth, which is no easy task . There are a couple of good lines in BvS, delivered by Irons and Lane, but the execrable score, by Hans Zimmer (another hack who has ‘specialized’ in Biblical melodramas) and Junkie XL (!), make most of the dialogue inaudible—which is hardly a bad thing.

BvS is a blatant setup as precursor to the upcoming “Justice League” movie, so much so that it feels like an epic trailer to another movie, which I sure as hell do not want to see.

Much praise has been heaped upon Gail Gadot’s bit as Wonder Woman, and she certainly steals the limelight from those dull, bulging boys in leotards, but her take is too brief to gauge.

Warner Brothers/DC threatened and warned critics not to post early reviews, giving the excuse of “avoiding spoilers.” That is spin doctoring in the making, children. The executives knew the film was awful, but they don’t care. The goal is to have a big opening that will make their investment back. Everything after that is pure icing. Rather than looking at or even hiring the teams responsible for the various successful DC TV series, they continue on with Snyder, who is directing the next two Justice League movies (with Terrio again scripting).

Of course, the film’s defenders are going to take that pretentious tactic of labeling the film’s critics as being pretentious. No one expects or wants high art out of a superhero movie, but BvS commits the ultimate sin. It’s dull, dreary, and muddled. I would say it is tailor made for a future MST3K, but at least we can laugh ourselves awake through those monstrosities.

Aja: “This is funny: Last night I finished the write-up on Batman vs. Superman and today I just read on Facebook that comic book fans have started a petition to fire Zack Snyder from directing any future DC movies. I think he’s a hack too, but that’s some serious shit from those boys.”–Alfred Eaker, Personal Communication, March 30, 2016.

With justifiable reticence, I slid into the movie theater seat with one happy thought: pretzel with cheese. Nom. As the opening montage unfolded, the cast lineup was almost stellar. Almost. Jeremy Irons! Holly Hunter! Diane Lane! Laurence Fishburne! Amy Adams! Jesse Eisenberg! Of course, they could compensate for Ben Affleck cast as a superhero. After Hollywoodland, Ben proved he could play the-actor-playing Superman well enough, but the opening scramble of stories and plot threads never wove into a coherent tapestry. Thus, it was confusing when Affleck showed up as a version of Batman. I did not read any previews online, and I do not generally keep up with casting news, ever, unless it directly pertains to my cultural purview. So yes, that one I own. However, 366heads, once again I’m left wondering what in the heck I did to make you all hate us. WHY, oh WHY? Not but 4 minutes past the opening, I said to Alfred that, in the very least, you kind readers should give me $12.00. At least I could get back the money, as my time is forever now gone.

The film has just passed $500 million at the global box office mark, and I’m still confused how that could happen. In kindergarten, we were taught to protect our friends and do the right thing. Doing the right thing in this case would be ensuring no friend would waste money, time, and attention from films like Batman vs. Superman. Before any one of you writes a mean and unnecessary personal slight, I would like to state for the record the comic camps from which I’m spawned: I like X-Men (the Bryan Singer films most), and I like Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. Leave me out altogether of the whole DC vs. Marvel debate, not interested.

’s understandable U-turn from supporting the film while it was in production seems like a conference attendee wanting to run from herpes picked up on that Vegas trip for work. Smith seems quite kind in tossing kudos to Snyder for his visual artistry and bitches mainly about how undeveloped the characters are. As a Smith follower since the 1990s, 48 hours post-viewing I agree with his observation: there was no discernible plot. And, if Kevin Smith calls a film “dark,” that essentially means get out the IV drip of Prozac, because it is blacker than onyx.

Batman as a seedy, complex guy would have been fine, if the character was developed so we understood or believed the complexity. Instead, viewers get a turn into the noir side without ever breaking through to the why. Ben Affleck started out so funny and intelligent-sounding. However, in this film even the veteran, beloved actors cannot help him feel believable, ever. The costume designers do get a gold star for creativity, especially in the presentation of a bat-mask with a frowning, angry face—a cross between cool and juvenile, but mostly cool. Maybe it wasn’t Affleck as an actor; maybe he was symptomatic of the project’s underlying malady.

Superman—wow—that was—forgettable. Christopher Reeves is rolling over in his grave. Amy Adams brought her usual empathetic and authentically appearing good girl charm to the film, yet her chemistry with her super stud was a super dud. It was a cinematic Titanic, and not the James Cameron version.

The “Heart of the Ocean” lost in this flick was most keenly felt in the utter fail of not just Superman and his pack, but also the villains. Now You See Me (2013) was my introduction to Jesse Eisenberg, where he deftly personified a neurotic narcissist-magician whiz-kid. In BvS, the only person that could have been more miscast in his role would have been Betty White. But, Betty’s a badass, and probably could have made it work. Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor was manic, annoying, and not so much evil as unbelievable. Eisenenberg’s skills with fast-talking and quick barbs fell into an abyss of sensory overload.

Holly Hunter, dang girl, nailed it!

Jeremy Irons—what happened here—JEREMY IRONS—his cool detached British vibe provided a few under the breath chuckles but his Alfred was underdone to a marked degree. The chemistry between Irons and Affleck never heated up. It’s easy to feel embarrassed for Irons, as he probably had to fly First Class to Hollywood. Irons probably could have played a convincing Lex Luthor, though. Did all the vet actors read the script—or—did their agents read it and keep it from them, lest they be blamed for collusion with this colossal flop? Embracing uncertainty, we can call it a 50/50 probability. Statistically, however, it seems most prudent to pay attention to how many sequels are made before something is overdone to the point of no resuscitation, lest it becomes the cinematic version of Menudo.

What was the deal with all of the news anchors making guest/cameo appearances? Anderson Cooper, this is for you, YOU HAVE FAILED US, GOOD SIR, and for what, Coop? It’s not like you need the money. This whole hot mess made me give away my beloved pretzel and cheese snack, as glee was slowly and painfully sucked right out of my moviegoing experience. Instead, I was antsy to leave. Once Holly Hunter was blown to smithereens, I mentally and emotionally checked out. Elvis could not have left the building faster than me.

Still from Batman vs. Superman (2016)I leave the balking and coddling about the other aspects for “real” film critics, like Alfred. Instead, I turn the lens toward the archetypal. What does it say about our culture, globally and locally, that The People will spend $500 million on this and that we don’t have nationalized healthcare? What if all the ways the life force that this film has had behind it were to be utilized in a pro-social way? What was it that we all just watched? And how did that make us feel? Art reflects the time and place, yet this is an abstraction of what is possible with film. Attention is the new currency, the new economy. What is it that this film wanted us to give our attention to? Because  we largely ignore important archetypal experiences in western culture, we are forced to watch it play out in the shadow unless made a conscious part of artistic expression. Here, we see elements of the Byronic hero, the hero’s journey, and emerging feminism. Yet, nothing about this film was complex, just complicated. Nothing here required thought or wonder. A stapled together, duct-taped movie that is a placeholder for the upcoming Justice League? God help us.

10 thoughts on “EAKER VS. EAKER VS. BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN (2016)”

  1. I have little doubt the movie is as terrible as you say, but this clot of self-satisfied, purple prose doesn’t make me want to avoid the movie as much as steer clear of any more of your reviews.

  2. Apparently, this is the Batman/Superman/Superhero film that the fanboys and boneheads desire, judging from the vitriol when anyone makes any sort of observation about the movie’s shortcomings.

  3. I always enjoy the Eaker vs. Eaker diversions :) But yes, you may have been duped this time Aja :D

    I am so glad I don’t have to sit through this movie. My girlfriend has a thing for superhero movies but has absolutely zero interest in this one. It feels to me these movies nowadays are unabashedly coming straight from the assembly line, with sequels being planned before the draft of the first movie is written. And since they all recoup no matter their quality I guess we’re just gonna have to deal with it until there is not one morsel left for Hollywood to expand into 1 and a half hour dress-up.

  4. I kind of stopped caring about superheroes since all the Avengers ended up with their own movies, but after reading those 1 liners above me I’m actually looking forward to enjoying the movie ironically. “Books are knowledge and knowledge is power.” wtf lol.

    1. what’s so complicated ryan? it’s a rather simple, straightforward and relevant point and here you are bitching about it? that’s weird. would you prefer nonsensical lines a la david lynch’s rabbits?

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  6. all of you morons have zero sense of good filmmaking, it seems like you all need either ridiculously nonsensical pretense or mind-numbing gunk of the marvel cinematic universe. how shameful that you guys, supposedly enjoying weird movies, dont know how to appreciate batman v superman. trust me when i say, it is beyond you.

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