Batman v Superman

Batman v Superman wasn’t terrible, but it’s such a shame that so many golden opportunies were missed. It was a splattering of scenes with half-baked explanations to connect the dots between the scenes. We need stronger reasons for our heroes to be fighting than them just not being willing to talk to each other. Here’s how BvS could have been better:

Bad: weak reasons for Superman v Batman fight, lack of internal conflict.

They built up the courtroom scene pretty well as a way to blame Superman, but then immediately threw it away as news crews reported it was a suicide bomb. How do the taunting notes to Bruce even make sense here? Superman so quickly falling into the “kill Batman” plan is not very Superman. He can do whatever he wants, what makes him interesting is that he constantly has to limit himself because he has a moral compass to keep him in check. Making him so easily decide to trade Batman for Martha betrays the strength of Superman’s character and him being more than just muscle.

Better: Lex should build up much more animosity towards Superman, Superman shouldn’t simply decide to fight Batman.

Lex frames Superman for multiple attrocities and does major character assassination. Everyone thinks Superman is out of control and they’re scared. Someone needs to stop him. This fuels Batman’s rage (no need for the silly taunting checks which don’t even really make sense) and he begins his kryptonite battle plan. Superman struggles with his inability to save those that Lex is killing, everyone hating him, whether or not it’s all worth it. Should he just leave the humans be?

The courtroom scene happens and everyone thinks Superman killed everyone. Batman engages Superman at this point. They fight with crowds watching, news crews circling them in helicopters. Batman furiously attacks, Superman defends, trying to convince Batman he’s innocent. The crowds cheer on Batman, they hate Superman. Batman triggers a trap and shoots some kryptonite towards Superman, but there’s some collateral damage. Superman doesn’t sidestep the incoming kryptonite and instead saves the people put in harm’s way by Batman. The kryptonite pierces Superman’s lower abdomen and he drops to his knees. We see angry humans all around and watching on TV - they chant for Superman’s death. Batman lifts Superman by his neck, ready to stab him with the kryptonite spear with rage in his eyes as his gaze pans to the group Superman just saved. This group looks on with sadness knowing they would be dead had it not been for Superman. Batman hesitates, his grip loosens and Superman quickly repels himself away and vanishes into the sky. Lex is furious Batman didn’t finish the job.

Superman goes into isolation as he heals and decides that maybe he should just leave the humans be. Lex works on Doomsday, knowing that Superman is still out there. Batman starts hacking into LexCorp as he starts to suspect Lex is not what he seems. Perhaps some opportunity for corporate Wayne Enterprises vs LexCorp stuff here. Maybe have WW partner with Bruce here for her own motives, but then they both discover each other’s secret identities. Bruce tries to convince WW to help him take down Lex, but she decides to go back in hiding. Batman breaks into LexCorp (this fight scene replaces the saving Martha one), but he’s ultimately too late. Doomsday wakes up, almost kills Batman but WW had a change of heart and hops in and saves him. Much destruction, yadda yadda, Superman sees/hears and decides he can’t not help and joins the fight…

Bad: Doomsday fight was an unintelligent slugfest.

Our heroes haven’t worked together before and aren’t used to teaming with others, but they’re smart and should quickly adapt, although perhaps not perfectly. In the movie, this fight was basically just Batman running away, and Superman getting thrown around. Wonder Woman was mostly awesome, but they didn’t work together all that well or fight very intelligently.

Better: a preview of Justice League teamwork during Doomsday fight.

Have all the heroes struggle against Doomsday. They can barely touch him and he’s causing lots of death all around him. The heroes go into death prevention mode and try to save as many people as possible. Batman is using all his toys to try to distract Doomsday, WW and Superman are trying to slow him down as much as possible while also swooping up people and sending them to safety. They land some blows, but Doomsday doesn’t seem to be slowing down while they are gradually being beaten to death. Doomsday eye beams at a family running to safety but WW throws her shield to intercept it, leaving her vulnerable. Superman flies under a collapsing building and holds it up as Doomsday rushes towards him. Wonder Woman lassos one fist preventing a blow, but Doomsday pummels Superman with other as Batman is trying to evacuate the building. Superman holds but coughs up blood.

Batman yells out that the kryptonite spear is the only way to stop him. Superman and WW are barely holding their own together against Doomsday, but Batman can’t get to the spear quick enough. Superman tells WW to get the spear since he can’t for obvious reasons. There’s a brief hesitation from WW since she knows Superman is outmatched alone, but then a silent acknowledgement that this is their best shot. She flies off as Superman engages Doomsday one on one. He fights valiantly but is obviously losing. Doomsday smashes Superman into the ground, and turns to Batman who’s been rescuing other humans. With his full attention, Batman is eventually pinned and about to be killed when Superman rushes back into the fight and absorbs the killing blow. He latches onto Doomsday’s back trying to restrain him as WW returns with the spear. Doomsday starts to eye beam and it’s the end of MoS over again, but this time a disabled Batman is about to be in the beam’s path. WW has no clean shot, but Superman commands her to attack. She throws the spear and Superman twists, positioning Doomsday in the spear’s path. It pierces both of them, and Doomsday and Superman collapse…

Awkward Turtle 1

I’ve decided to start a series of “Awkward Turtle” posts where I discuss moments in time where young Oliver was perhaps not the really cool dude you all know today.

I recalled this particular memory in the shower this morning, somewhat randomly. When I was in middle school, I was fairly snappy in math class and would generally be the first to finish any assignments in class. Middle schoolers are the meanest, and like many others, I was looking for a way to fit in. I accepted the role of “nerdy little asian kid” and went with it. I was a decent school boy, so fitting this profile was something I could succeed at.

One day, a girl in class finished her assignment first and turned it in. Acting on impulse, perhaps worried of losing my adolescent identity, I blurted out “wow, you finished before me?!” I was immediately met with silence from the class and realized I had made an ass of myself. This is when I was given a lesson in smart not equating to likable.

Now, I chuckle at young Oliver since he deserved it and you get this first awkward turtle story.