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Media Essays: Franchise Retrospective: Man of Steel and BvS

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Written by The Wandering Fox

Okay everyone, this is gonna be an interesting thing as a blog topic to give you. This is about the Snyderverse, or more particularly, the easy DCEU entries centred. I think I ought to get something out of the way, this doesn’t mean I’m a Snyder hater, because as Big Mama said from The Fox and the Hound “Time has a way of changing things”.

With the time which has gone by, my taste in films has changed and I’m not as excited for comic movies as I once did, then there was a recent interview Zack Snyder did which left me to think it over of my thoughts on Man of Steel and BvS. If you’re wondering what it was Zack said, he basically defended his choice of having Batman kill. I will say yes, Batman has killed onscreen before, but I think with Affleck it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. For the reasons why it’s because in the growing excitement for BvS, they said Batfleck was going to be comic accurate, which makes sense if you’re doing a cinematic universe, you think this means Batman will not kill in this universe. Only he did kill. The other problem is this then leaves you wondering why Batman would kill yet leave the Joker to live to kill more innocents.

Zack has tried to justify it and with respect, I don’t think he explained it well.

Here's some of his quotes.

“Batman can’t kill is canon,” Snyder explains. “And I’m like, ‘Okay, the first thing I wanna do when you say that [laughs] is I wanna see what happens.’ And they go, ‘Well don’t put him in a situation where he has to kill someone!'”

“I’m like, ‘Well you’re protecting your god in a weird way, right? You’re making your god irrelevant if he can’t be in that situation. He has to now deal with that. If he does do that what does that mean? What does it tell you? But does he stand up to it? Can he survive that?'” says Snyder. “Right? As a god, as your god, can Batman survive that?”

I’ll just say the problem is Zack is you didn’t really explore this or with Superman killing Zod. For the fan response they have said it could be a interesting story in which you explore the hero grappling with their no kill rule and think if killing is the right thing to do. Yet we didn’t and we still have fans question “Well if he thinks his no kill rule isn’t working then why doesn’t he kill Joker or other Gotham criminals?”. We didn’t get to see this, and I don’t think the Martha scene truly covers that in the slightest.

I think Henry Cavill did say he wanted to explore Superman’s mindset following him killing Zod, which could’ve made for an interesting story though sadly that was thrown through the window so DC could catch up with Marvel.

Still, Zack’s comments did leave me thinking over my views on the DCEU, specifically Man of Steel and BvS, though I have to stress I still like Man of Steel though BvS less so now.

So, here’s my retrospective thoughts on Man of Steel and BvS.

Man of Steel

I will say Man of Steel was my first Superman movie, I watched it to get myself prepared for BvS. I will say I did like it, but I understand why there was others who felt this wasn’t a true Superman movie. I felt it worked as a Superman on his first day and had to make a tough choice in killing Zod to save all of humanity, though I do question some of the writing choices like Pa Kent saying “Maybe” once Clark asked him should he have just let the kids on the bus die, Pa Kent’s death and Metropolis not being evacuated as the Black Zero descended on it.

I still like most of the actors, but I feel some of them were underused like Lara’s actress, having seen her as Vanessa in Daredevil I wish she had her own consciousness key to talk with Clark, Kevin Costner I think deserved better as Pa Kent and his death could’ve been better instead of it with Clark leaving him to die. I understand the intent by it but in hindsight it doesn’t make sense for someone like Superman.

The fight scenes though good still have this odd look with the camera, and I do think the fight in Smallville could’ve been less destructive, especially Superman flying Zod through that factory, maybe contain it more to the fields or just closer to the Kent farm?

I feel still Cavil was the right guy to play the Superman character, in moments with Lois or Martha with him being kindly in conversation, or him flying over the planet is one of his greatest moments as the character as well as the interrogation scene with Swanwick. Zod is brilliantly portrayed by Michael Shannon, his haminess combined well with this figure of power and determination. I think in hindsight Amy Adams could’ve been better as Lois though I think I slim that down to the writing for Lois lacks the toughness which blends well with her kind heart.

I think what leaves me frustrated with MoS is how despite its flaws it could’ve been the foundation to tell stories to help examine those flaws to make something great out of them, like yeah, Superman is devastated at killing Zod, have him make it clear he will never do that again, you want him to earn humanity’s trust then have that explored in a sequel with him either helping folks with their cats in trees, helping those in a car crash, you want Lex Luthor to be a villain? Then cast a older actor to play him.

Yeah, I’m saying it, Jesse Eisenberg was miscast as Lex Luthor. Which brings me to BvS.

Batman v Superman

I think with the years having gone by BvS hasn’t aged well for me. There's bits I still like, like Affleck, Gadot and Irons as Batman, Wonder Woman and Alfred, the character of Holly Hunter’s could’ve made for a great character if she stayed in the DCEU, I like the Knightmare scene in isolation with how the utter dread the music brings just screams Darkseid is here with the scenery just utterly scary with the Parademons everywhere, the way Bruce and Clark meet is a cool idea, and Clark trying to find some support in his loved ones with him trying to win over everyone is a interesting idea which could’ve been done in a better movie.

Thing is, this movie, despite the extended cut, just serves as a big “You don’t make a movie like this”, either in the cinematic universe sense or in a movie sense.

You don’t do The Death of Superman as the straight up sequel to Man of Steel, you don’t tie in so many threads of a larger universe like this, you don’t do The Dark Knight Returns as your Batman introduction, you don’t do Superman Earth One Lex Luthor as your Lex Luthor, you don’t have Batman easily fall for Lex’s manipulations.

With Lex Luthor I feel he was based on Earth One Lex Luthor who had a full lot of hair, was more eccentric. Thing is if you’re building a cinematic universe you want to try to stay as true to the characters as you can, hence you kinda imagine Lex to be older, bald and physically fit. Yeah, Nicholas Hoult is still young but he at least has the build and can deliver a cruel face. Jesse, he just didn’t have anything to him which screamed Lex Luthor, or at least the Lex Luthor we’re use to in DC.

This brings us to Batman. I do like Affleck as him, even more in the Snyder Cut of JL which does show his somewhat lighter side which hints at the Batman he use to be. However, they debuted him wrong. I get what the creatives were trying to do with showing a older Batman who has seen lots of tragedy in his life and questions if his rules are working, but this should be after a few phases in the DCEU. Him being paranoid of Superman is a iffy thing given he did witness his employees being killed in Zod’s rampage and comforted the girl who’s mum and dad died, but if they wanted to truly show Bruce’s distrust for Superman he should’ve tried investigating him, meet him and understand him, and maybe not think Superman killed everyone in Capital.

BvS doesn’t help with its narrative in trying to say humanity is divided over Superman. You need more than a montage of him being seen as a god or others questioning whether he is good or evil, but have us see some folks happily hugging him, all chummy of him. The majority of the film features the negative outlook on him with little positives. I feel as well Lois was reduced to just being the love interest yet a plot device as well, for though its sweet we see her doing investigating, it would’ve been better if we saw Batman doing this while she’s doing it.

From here we know of the DCEU’s history.

There you go, my retrospective. Though what do you think? Do comment below your thoughts, I’m Wandering Fox, you enjoy yourselves.

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2 komentarai

Well, in hindsight they didn't hold up as well as we thought. While the DCEU has brougth a few gems I think they tried to jump a bit too much on the Marvel Cinematic universe bandwagon. A lot of franchises tried to make a 'movieverse'.


Yeah, trying to be the next big thing without doing it properly isn't a good thing.

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