Superheroes Round 20: Can We Do The Wonder Woman Movie Yet?
I watched Batman v. Superman because I was on a plane, and I was bored, and I had heard Wonder Woman was in it. (She was.)
Unfortunately, much like the Man of Steel film to which this was a sequel, it was overly dark and gritty. I was basically watching for Wonder Woman and (for most of the film) Lex Luthor.
The whole movie was, unfortunately, driven by a combination of that trope with the Idiot Ball. Geez louise, the characters must be juggling at least a half-dozen of these. They were everywhere.
When the fundamental plot is “Batman and Superman each fear that the other guy is bad and dangerous,” that’s not good. Especially when Batman’s been showing signs of going off the rails (branding criminals he catches), so Superman’s worries at least have some justification. Oh, and Superman may have flattened part of a city during a world-threatening event that killed lots of people, so Batman has reason to worry, too.
And instead of talking about their intentions like adults, they proceed to posture at each other. Said posturing is enhanced and enabled by Lex Luthor, whose big plan is to get them busy fighting each other so that Batman can off Superman and Luthor can… well… um…
Lex Luthor’s End Game
Actually, it’s not fully clear what Luthor is going for. He starts out in a promising way — complaining about how knowledge has not brought him power, and manipulating two men who might oppose his bid for it into fighting with each other. That’s a good start.
But then… he creates a Kryptonian abomination out of the deceased Zod that’s dangerous even to Superman and which could blow whatever city it lands in to pieces. How does this benefit Luthor? He doesn’t control the monster by any means shown in the show, which makes Monster Zombie Zod a walking disaster that could, potentially, destroy everything that Luthor owns. The monster also appears to not have any ability to respond to orders or any personal attachment to Luthor, and just attacks Superman because that’s what it does. Apparently.
How does this get Luthor the power that he craves? Why does he not, say, splice some Kryptonian DNA into his own person? Or better control the monster, to ensure that his own assets are not damaged? If it does successfully kill Superman, what’s the plan for putting the monster down and picking up all the nice new construction and defense contracts that are sure to arise?
I love the initial manipulations and scheming on the part of Luthor, but there’s no follow through. Worse, he seems insane at the end, ranting about some impending doom. (I’m assuming it’s Darkseid.)
That’s… not what I imagine a proper Luthor doing. He should be lawyered up, and happily planning to take a plea deal… and imply that if it’s a good one, he’ll spill the beans about the incoming threat. Or taunt Batman about how they’re going to have to let him out soon enough because they’ll need Luthor’s help. Or… at least something more sophisticated than “ding ding ding.”
Writing For Superman
Superman is, admittedly, a tricky character to write. He’s loaded up on so many different superpowers that you really have to amp up the villain to get somebody who can trade punches with him without getting instantly crushed.
It’s tough to come up with a believable opponent, and at some point, nobody wants to see yet another super-slugfest.
So, don’t do it. Create problems that can’t be solved with brute force. The movie almost gets there, with Lex Luthor using Superman’s own ethics against him, and threatening his family, but drops the ball when it introduces the Kryptonian abomination.
I would be completely happy with a superhero movie where the climactic scene is not, in fact, a gigantic fight scene. How about a nice detective thriller sort of deal, with Superman and Batman doing some investigations that don’t involve terrible torture scenes and some sort of climactic rescue or revelation?
Long story short: I’m glad I didn’t pay money to see this, and I’m still waiting for Wonder Woman to finally come out.