Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
What if an alien in the future stumbled upon Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once-proud culture and try to understand what human lives were like before their planet was destroyed. I’m your host, Garyx Wormuloid.
This week’s film:
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Stars: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot
Director: Zack Snyder
Production Co: RatPac-Dune Entertainment, DC Entertainment, Atlas Entertainment, Cruel and Unusual Films
Written by: Ben Steiner
Directed by: Jared Bauer
Analysis by: Kevin Winzer and Jared Bauer
Starring: Mark Schroeder (https://twitter.com/mark_schroeder)
Edited by: Ryan Hailey (http://www.ryanhaileydotcom.com)
Original Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Opening Animation by: Danny Rapaport
Produced by: Jacob S. Salamon
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s Hidden Meaning – Earthling Cinema
Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, directed by Zack Snyder, who was famously assassinated by a horde of fans at ComicCon. The film follows a bunch of people with secret identities where everyone pretty much knows everyone else’s secret identities and it doesn’t seem to matter. Where every scene is either incredibly loud or incredibly quiet. Where, when all else fails, just have Ben Affleck stare ahead gravely. The “plot” goes a little something like this: Superman fights too big, so now the drooling masses doesn’t like him anymore. Pretty much the same plot as The Incredibles. Also, Batman is jealous of Superman for not having to wear a sweaty mask all the time. Lex Luthor finds a big emerald, which is basically Superman’s kryptonite. He goes to some random Kentucky senator — who is the only government representative in America apparently — and asks her to pass a law that will allow him to weaponize the emerald, but little does he know that’s forbidden in the Earth constitution.
Fortunately, it doesn’t say anything about private citizens taking dead bodies and experimenting on them for personal reasons. Meanwhile, Batman is just out here dreamin’ up a storm. One of his dreams is about him wearing a jacket over his batsuit. What type of shit is that? They have a big meeting to dish about Superman, but then Lex bombs the meeting, which if you think about it is just his quirky way of contributing his two cents. Or whatever bombs cost. Superman gets embarrassed and goes into hiding. Pretty much the same plot as Superman Returns. Batman builds an Iron Man suit, then steals Lex’s emerald and duct tapes it to a stick. Rather than spend time coming up with a better idea, Lex kidnaps Superman’s mom. He then reveals that he was the one who turned Batman and Superman against each other. Pretty much the same plot as Captain America: Civil War. He tells Superman he has to kill Batman or else. He doesn’t actually do that with his finger, but the point still stands. Batman and Superman fight for like two minutes in a generic-looking warehouse, which is really all you could ever want from a movie whose entire marketing campaign was predicated on their rivalry.
Then they instantaneously decide to strike up a bromance because they both have moms. Well, except one of them. Next, Lex unleashes some monster he created, I don’t know. Will the fighting never cease? Wonder Woman watches it on Pay-Per View for a while, then eventually decides to go help out. Superman stabs the monster with the emerald spear instead of asking one of his friends who wouldn’t be severely weakened by the spear to do it. Almost as if he had a death wish. In jail, Lex goes for the chrome dome look. Pretty much the same plot as X-Men: Apocalypse. They throw two funerals for Superman, and Batman and Wonder Woman discuss whether or not they should join the Avengers.
Like many other Zack Snyder films, Batman vs. Superman explores the dynamic between men and the perceived gods who walk amongst them. What can I say, the guy has a thing for computer generated muscles. Humans were reassured by the notion of a benevolent savior, and in times of adversity or selfishness, often appealed to God for help. But in the film, the concept of the divine is no longer an abstract idea; it’s embodied in Superman. Ab-stract, more like ab-tastic! Because of his abs, I mean. Though for most Earthlings, having abs WAS an abstract idea. Hey-o! Ordinary humans, particularly those in power, are uncomfortable with the threat a godlike being poses to the fabric of society, even though that fabric’s got a six billion thread count. Since Superman is impervious to punishment, he is essentially above the law.
Even Batman, no stranger to operating outside of the justice system, is uncomfortable with Superman enjoying this level of autonomy. How can he trust a guy without butler? Due to Superman’s near omnipotence, his defection to the dark side of the force would cost innumerable human lives, so Batman decides he must stop it… by taking innumerable human lives. Batman’s logic is akin to an existential risk calculus, a political philosophy employed on Earth in response to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, or nukie-dukes. When the consequence of an event is global annihilation, even a small probability of its occurrence is unacceptable, which is to say, bad. And that’s just math, kids. You wanna be a batman when you grow up? Stay in school. Another element at play is childhood abandonment, specifically that of rich white dudes. Both Batman and Lex are orphans whose “daddy issues” cause them to distrust the idea of God, the ultimate father figure and also the ultimate bad boy. If there is a God, he failed to protect Bruce and Lex from the tragedies of their youths, or chose not to because he was out with his drinking buddies. Thus, they want to undermine the idea that Superman is purely good and all-powerful by utilizing humanity’s weapon of choice for killing gods.
At the end of the film, however, Superman’s benevolence is affirmed when he unnecessarily sacrifices his life to save mankind. The final image of dirt levitating on Superman’s coffin suggests that he may resurrect just as Jesus did, proving once and for all that virtually nothing could stop this from being profitable franchise. For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid. Goodbye.