I saw “Batman vs Superman: Dawn for Justice” for the second time today. It was on Netflix and while I didn’t enjoy it much when I saw it the first time (when it was released in the theaters) I thought I’d give it a go anyways. Good decision coz I absolutely loved it!
The first time when I saw it I found the movie pointless. Why were Batman and Superman fighting? Why was Batman so angry about things. Why was Lex bent on creating misunderstandings between them. Why was everything so intentionally dark and gloomy. So many things I didn’t like!
This second time however, I saw the movie in a different light. There’s a drama to it, a certain “theater”… like in a play or even like Zack Snyder’s own “300”. When I saw this movie the first time I still had the Christopher Nolan Batman in my head and so I wanted a grounded movie. I didn’t want “cinema” I just wanted a character driven Batman and Superman movie. But that’s not what “Batman vs Superman” is about and I am surprised I missed the whole point in the first viewing!
Or maybe I have changed since that viewing. I know for instance many audiobooks I enjoyed (or not) the first time around sometimes being out the opposite reaction in me on a second hearing. Maybe this ones like that. Maybe this time I was more open and attuned to the iconography in this movie.
“Batman vs Superman” is in the difficult position of being an in between movie. We have no backstory for Bruce Wayne short of the intro sequence and all we know is that he has been doing this for a long time, that he has already faced the Joker, that Robin is probably dead… this is not the grounded or older Batman of the Chris Nolan trilogy but a pessimist and angry Batman. Into this comes Superman and the all context of him being a God. The theme here is not about Superman being an alien (as in “Man of Steel”), rather it’s about him being a God, a savior for mankind. And that’s where the whole question of is he really a God, or a Devil hiding behind the mask of a God, or even of whether he is a False God (i.e. one that can bleed, a reference to the Persian King and the scene from “300”) comes in. I missed all of this the first time. The references to the False God, the painting in Lex’s office, a lot of Greek references, the amazing scenes such as the one in Mexico on the Day of the Dead or even when Superman is dead and everyone’s holding his body… this movie is all about the scenes, the “cinema” itself than just characters or a story… it’s Greek drama on the big screen with larger than life characters. God vs Man after all!
Back to what I was saying: this is an inbetween movie. It’s a part of the overall arc that would have been but now wouldn’t happen (because it’s canceled). There’s Darksied, there’s a the evil Superman, there’s all that stuff which would have come out if the studio would have just stuck with it… and then when we watch “Batman vs Superman”‘in the entirety of that storyline it would make a lot more sense too. That’s not going to happen unfortunately and even the “Justice League” movie has a different tone from what I remember… our loss! Cheers to Zack Snyder though for creating this one. It’s worth every scene!