Let's talk about is a series of features on The Collector where we discuss a particular film, TV, comic or book in detail with someone who is unfamilar with the material.
Warning: this article contains spoilers for Batman V Superman.
So Batman V Superman. Two of the greatest superheroes of all time battling it out. Brains vs braun. Sounds like an amazing concept for a film.
Well, yes. That does sound like a good film. It's not quite the one we've got though.
Well, Batman V Superman not only deals with two of the greatest superheroes of all time, but it also introduces an entire Justice League's worth of characters while also introducing Lex Luthor; managing a conspiracy subplot for Lois Lane and creating a big bad who can destroy some more of those lovely buildings Zack Synder loves to rip apart.
How does Batman get introduced?
With a fresh reboot of the Batman and meeting him later on in life you would think that we'd get a brand new angle for meeting the character.
Ah great, if I see Bruce Wayne's parents get murdered in an alley again I'll go mad.
Hmm, yeah. Erm. So, Bruce Wayne's parents get murdered. Just like in every other film.
Well it's always good to have a recap... I guess. So how does Batman first find out about Superman?
So this bit is actually quite clever. You see, Bruce Wayne was in Metropolis when Man of Steel took place. He was on the ground watching the building destruction happening and he witnesses a lot of people getting killed, including his own employees at Wayne Financial. At this point, I understood why Batman needed to fight Superman.
Right, so that explains Batman's motive.
Yeah, exactly. Except no. For some reason that's not enough for audiences to believe that Batman needs to take out Superman for killing hundreds of innocents, so instead Batman has a series of dream sequences/premonitions and in one of them (known as the Knightmare sequence) it appears our entire world has pretty much destroyed and Batman is left fighting Superman's army and flying(!) minions.
And then he wakes up from the dream and there's this portal open at his desk.
Yeah, a portal where this guy is telling Batman that Lois Lane is the key.
What? Who's the guy?
It's the Flash. I think. I mean, as a comic book geek and knowing where the movies are headed we can summise it's the Flash. We've never met him before and he's not wearing his usual helmet so I'm not sure. But he was dressed in red, so I think so. I don't know how someone who hasn't read up on their DC superheroes would know this though.
So what impact does the man in the portal have on the rest of the film? Is Lois Lane the key?
No, instead this storyline strand is never mentioned again.
So the rest of the Justice League feature in the film too?
Kind of. In the worst way possible. Wonder Woman AKA Diana Prince is in the film throughout and introduced in costume in the third phase, but the rest of the Justice League are only featured when Wonder Woman sits at her computer and watches the trailers for the other DC characters'.
Wonder Woman sits at a computer to watch trailers of other DC properties?
I wish I was joking.
We get a glimpse at what each hero can do via a short video. What's most concerning is even in 1 minute of screen time they couldn't find anything interesting for Aquaman to do. Doesn't bode well for a full film.
Ok, so let's get back to the film's title. Batman V Superman. The big fight, the main reason we are here. So I know why Batman is angry at Superman. Why is Superman angry at Batman?
So Superman doesn't think Batman is doing a great job as a vigilante.
Superman, the guy who destroyed umpteen buildings in Man of Steel and who knows how many people thinks Batman, who has a no kill policy, isn't doing a very good job?
Yes. And no. Batman kills now. With guns.
Batman uses guns?
Yeah, he admits to Alfred early on that he's been a criminal all along. And so during his screen time he racks up a number of kills, often involving using a gun from one of the criminals he's beating up.
Not only that, but Batman also brands his enemies with the bat symbol so when they end up in jail they are inevitably killed by the other inmates.
I see why Superman is pissed
Yeah, except this isn't the reason Superman fights Batman. Superman fights Batman because of Lex Luthor.
Ah yes, Lex Luthor. From what I saw in the trailer, Jesse Eisenberg looked like he was going to give a standout performance. Does he?
From the reactions I've seen from different people, Jesse's performance seems to be a bit like marmite. Some people love it, some people hate it. It seems like Lex Luthor has become more like The Joker. There's a lot more chaos and madness to Lex this time round. He's also learned Superman's identity.
He has? How?
I don't know. Maybe he can read minds?
Why does Lex hate Superman?
It turns out Lex has done quite well out of Superman destroying all those buildings with his construction company. But he's not feeling that powerful, and he wants to either destroy or control the God that is Superman.
So how does Lex convince Superman to fight Batman?
So Lex pushes Lois Lane off of a tall building, which Superman "feels" with his super sensitive hearing. And so comes flying to her rescue.
Ok, got it
And then Lex tells Superman that his kidnapped his Mom, Martha Kent, and that the only way he can save his Mom is by killing Batman.
Did Superman not "feel" Martha get kidnapped?
No. Maybe it only works with Lois as he is in a relationship with her. Maybe it's cos they are extra close.
He's not close to his Mom? Who bought him up?
I guess not. It's not explained. Maybe it's because Martha Kent was out of his hearing range. But that doesn't make sense either as Superman rescues Lois from Africa at the start of the film.
Okay... Why does Lex want Batman dead?
I think it's because he wants Superman dead and he knows Batman has stolen his supply of Kryptonite which gives Bats the advantage. But I don't know. It's not explained.
So Batman is Lex's answer to killing Superman
Yes and no. He is. But Lex also has a backup plan.
How is Batman going to kill Superman
He's made a spear out of hte Kryptonite he's stolen. Not bullets for his gun, but a spear so he can kill him like a vampire.
Once Batman and Superman stop fighting Lois Lane (who has no idea what the spear or Kryptonite is) throws it in to a deep pool of water.
So it's gone forever
Not forever. Lois later realises that we still need the spear so she dives in to the water to retrieve it. I'm not sure how she realises this as she's no idea that it's useful.
What's Lex's backup plan then?
Lex is also creating Doomsday using Krypton technology found in General Zod's space craft currently residing in a facility in Metropolis. So he has a backup.
Ah, Doomsday. I remember that spoiler from the trailer. Presumably that's why Batman and Superman stop fighting each other?
No. Batman and Superman stop fighting each other because their Moms have the same first name.
Their Moms have the same first name?
And that stops the fight?
Right, so Batman forgives Superman for killing all those innocents and Superman forgives Batman for being the bad vigilante because their Moms have the same name?
That's... one way of resolving it I guess.
Yep. We wait roughly two thirds of the movie runtime for Batman and Superman to start fighting and when they do that's the resolution. Batman and Superman fight for only 15 or so minutes.
Wait, two thirds of the movie runtime? What happens before that?
Oh you know... A lot of chopping and changing of scenes in very rapid succession. Switching from one character to another to another to another to another with some Batman dream sequences thrown in for good measure.
Ok, so where does Doomsday fit in to all this. And Wonder Woman?
Well, when Batman saves Superman's Mom with the line "I'm friends with your son" straight after smashing Superman in the head repeatedly for 15 minutes, Superman confronts Lex Luthor and Lex unleashes Doomsday on the World.
Lex controls Doomsday?
No, Lex has no control over Doomsday. It's not really clear why he thought unleashing a beast of Krypton on the Earth was a good idea. Possibly to smash some more buildings for his company to re-build.
Is Doomsday an awesome DC villain?
If you're a fan of bad CG, sure. Somehow he looks worse than he did in the trailer. But we do get a glimpse of the three heroes working together at last. Trinity.
Wonder Woman fights?
Yes. She shines when she's on screen. And she has a cool soundtrack too. The three of them take on Doomsday in an abandoned part of Gotham.
So less chance of people being in the buildings?
Yes, less innocent casulaties this time around. And it's also pointed out that it's after 5pm so no-one is at the office district too. No people were harmed in the making of this movie.
How did they travel from Metropolis to Gotham?
Oh, it turns out Gotham is just across the river from Metropolis. Convenient.
Yeah, if you stand on top of a tall building in Metropolis you can actually see the Bat Symbol lit up over Gotham.
That seems pretty close.
Well, it saves everyone a flight. It means our heroes can spend all their energy on defeating Doomsday.
And then they all live happily ever after?
Nope. Not wanting to go in to massive spoilers here, but the movie ends with Lex and Batman having separate premonitions about 'bad things coming' with Batman telling Wonder Woman she better go form the Justice League as he has a hunch that things are going to get rough.
A hunch. Okay. So what happens now?
There's a whole host of DC Universe movies planned going forward. How many of them make it depends on box office takings, but Wonder Woman is almost complete so I would expect that to stick to schedule. Batman and the Justice League film also look like certainties. The others, we'll just have to wait and see.
The only way is up?
Hopefully! I'm actually excited about a Wonder Woman film now. It has the potential to be good. And Suicide Squad should be a laugh too. It feels like they will succeed as they don't have the weight of carrying an entire extended universe on their back to deal with.
It's quite a challenge, introducing all the characters.
It is, and you could argue in a film about Batman fighting Superman it really didn't need anyone else. It was a simple concept made complicated by the need to catch up to Marvel and get a piece of the superhero universe pie.
We've seen from Terminator Genisys and even Age of Ultron that it's much better to focus on the current film than try to shoehorn in lots of pieces of an Extended Universe.
Right. For me, the DC Universe needs to take a step back. Reduce the scale of the universe, the scale of the battles. Arguably the best bit of Batman V Superman was when Batman was rescuing Martha Kent and he was taking out bad guys in a single room.
So, should I see the film?
If you keep your expectations low and don't mind not understanding the characters' motives, then sure. But Zack Synder has already said that the home release will contain 30 minutes of cut footage so maybe that will include some of the answers - so maybe wait for that?
Would that not make the film 3 hours long?
Yes. It would. Like I say, it tries to do way too much. Batman and Superman were enough star power to sell the film without all this extra stuff.
Thanks for the info, I still want to see it
Batman V Superman is out in cinemas now. Enjoy.