Let me preface this by saying, everything said in this article is my opinion and my opinion alone. This is not a reflection of Geekphilia’s views nor any other writers here. My piece will contain profanities at times and spoilers; if you are squeamish about either, you should probably stop reading right about now. With that being said, allow me to explain to you critics, fans, fanboys/girls, average moviegoers, comic nerds, movie nerds, and general movie reviewers, why I feel you are misguided in your judgments of comic book movie adaptations.
An opinion is based on one’s personal thoughts and feelings about a subject and everyone is entitled to one. I have no problem with people’s opinions regarding most things because we are all human and most of us have fully functional brains with the capacity to comprehend what we see in front of us….most of us. When talking about the subject of movies, everyone has an opinion because movies effect every individual in its own way. Most theater-going experiences are unique to our own perspectives and outlooks on life. I could go on a whole diatribe about how the very first forms of acting came from different tribes around the world during rituals they performed based on their culture to tell a story about something they believed in or the lives of their ancestors but this is not Theatre 101 and I am not a professor.
The point is, your movie going experience is unique to you. I came to understand this at the age of 12 when I had my first job and was able to start going to movies without asking my mom for money to do so. The younger me would always love reading reviews in the paper before I went to a movie to know if it was any good. Imagine my surprise when I went to a movie that was reviewed as good and I hated it; needless to say, my criticisms on movies and critics opinions on movies began to evolve. This occurred because I began to realize that all movies are about perspective and the viewers understanding of what they are watching.
Batman v Superman! I loved it. Yes, I loved it unabashedly but that doesn’t mean I thought it was a great or even well put together movie. Are you thinking, “Wait…what? That doesn’t make any sense.” To that I would say, “Oh but it does my friend, let me explain.” First I have to ask how much anyone knows about the multiverses in DC and Marvel comics? If you are not familiar with the multiverse, the prevailing theory for both companies is there is a main Marvel Universe (Earth-616) and DC Universe (Earth One) and hundreds if not thousands of other universes spawning from them. In these different universes there are alternative versions of each superhero and supervillain. In some instances, a character who has powers or abilities in one universe may be normal in another universe. Stories and situations differ from universe to universe but the main universes remain intact; that’s because the main universes are the stories we read in comic form.
Let me put it this way, Deadpool breaks the 4th wall, why? Because Deadpool, through horrific sessions of torture had his mind fragmented and now he is able to sense that something about his universe is not real. He is aware of the multiverse within Marvel comics as well as DC but he is also aware that none of it is real because he knows that he is a fictional character and is being watched/read by us, the viewers. Which makes you wonder if we’re not just a comic or a movie/show being viewed by someone else; there’s a great existential conversation to be had here but I digress. This is why Deadpool is awesome. I’m really happy I wrote this and thanks for reading, Later days!
Wwwwaaaiiiiittttttt!!!! I’m sorry that’s not why I started writing this article, I got confused and went off on a tangent again, dammit! Ok where were we? Deadpool, Marvel and DC, ahhh yes, the multiverse. Both Marvel and DC have multiple universes within their story arcs which includes their cinematic universes. What does that mean? It means, although the cinematic characters we get are based on our favorite comic book characters, they aren’t the exact same as Earth 616 (Marvel) and Earth One (DC) characters because they inhabit different universes. That means there will be subtle differences to our favorite characters.
Now can someone explain to me why anyone who watched Batman v Superman could complain about Batman and Superman not being like the characters they grew up with, when technically they’re not? They are part of the multiverse and inhabiting their own universe entirely. For all the hardcore Batman fans, as explained in two previous Batman articles on this site, the original Batman was a murderer. This guy straight up destroyed motherf*#kers like granny’s apple pie on a warm Spring day. In Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, he also killed many villains and this version of Batman is more loosely based on Miller’s Batman so please save the “Batman doesn’t kill” rhetoric. Superman is also not the same Superman as the comics because in the Man Of Steel universe he is an outcast alien living in a world more closely related to our world. Imagine if you will, an alien with strength beyond our imagination, the ability to fly and heat/x-ray vision, living in our world. Does anyone really think people won’t be terrified? whether or not he saved people? I’m open minded and can accept a lot but I cannot accept the theory that humanity wouldn’t be divided on a super powered alien living among us. That is the world he lives in and because his sensibilities are human because he grew up with humans and had a great role model in Jonathan Kent, Superman is naturally torn over what to do. I can’t imagine anyone with that kind of power wouldn’t be, unless they were psychotic and just didn’t care.
On the subject of Alexander Luthor, I enjoyed Jesse Eisenberg as Alexander; again that’s Alexander Luthor not Lex Luthor. This is not the Lex Luthor we know because he has not matured into that person yet, just like Clark Kent has not completely become the Superman but is still learning. I hear consistant comparisons to him and Jim Carrey’s Riddler but when is the last time anyone has watched Batman Forever? He isn’t like the Riddler in that movie and if you don’t believe me, please watch it again.
Zack Snyder deserves credit for having the balls to make this movie the way he did which was complete comic book fan service. He took elements of The Dark Knight Returns, The Death Of Superman, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Flashpoint and A Death In The Family. In all honesty he probably bit off more than he could chew because this movie has some issues to say the least. One big issue was pacing, some scenes were too drawn out and didn’t lead anywhere important for the movie like the scenes where Bruce visited his parents grave. I don’t think these scenes did anything to explain Bruce’s catharsis and were ultimately unnecessary because the death of his employees in the beginning of the movie was enough of a reason for him to want to fight Superman.
Batman felt Superman should be held responsible or stopped altogether which is understandable after all he went through, especially the death of Robin. A topic Snyder should have elaborated a little more on rather than just showing the costume with the Joker’s words spray painted on it. Another gripe of mines was the scene where Batman was chasing down Luthor’s henchmen and Superman just shows up in the middle of the road and stops him, letting the bad guys get away. What the f*ck was that? It made no sense and was completely out of place because if Superman knew where Batman was then he would have had some kind of idea what he was up to. If that’s the case, why would he allow the bad guys to get away without further investigation? Lastly, the fight scene between the two was rendered unnecessary by Alexander’s kidnapping of Martha Kent. It just made Batman look like a d*ck, which wasn’t the case in The Dark Knight Returns and I feel Zack Snyder dropped the ball on that. He should have put the fight scene earlier in the movie but alas, he was trying to do too much.
All of those negatives aside, I still loved the movie because it was ambitious and introduced audiences to the other Justice League members. There are still elements of the story that need further explanation and I feel will be explained in the Justice League movie, a movie I am very excited to see. I went into this movie accepting that these characters will not be exactly like the characters in the comics or even previous film incarnations which made viewing the movie easier to accept because there were no expectations, just like every Marvel film I’ve watched.
If I were to pit every DC film against every Marvel film, none of them stand out to me head and shoulders above the rest except two; The Dark Knight and Captain America: Winter Soldier. The reason being because the movies were a crime thriller and spy thriller respectively. If you removed the superhero element from each movie they would still be great movies and well directed. The problem I have with audiences who watch movies based on comic book adaptations is they expect to see their favorite characters as the characters they remember. Yet, any comic book reader will tell you, comic books and characters have been retconned numerous times over the past five plus decades. Many of the characters you may have grown to love probably have different backstories, different powers or are non-existent now.
I understand the need to make a comparison but if we’re going to judge movies like these, we should judge them based on the type of movie it is; not because our favorite characters weren’t depicted the way we preferred. Under that notion, our critiques lose all of its meaning. Comic book film adaptations are not created to be just like the comics, they are made to be adaptations of fictional comic characters for a larger movie going audience; but that’s just my opinion.