Batman v Superman: A Punctilious Review

Sweet! A superhero movie! How unique!

Sweet! A superhero movie! How unique!

OKLAHOMA CITY – I finally watched Batman v Superman. At this point, I’m tired of superhero movies and wish they would stop coming for at least a couple of years. Like, I don’t even want to hear about one for awhile. Sure, I loved the Sam Raimi Spiderman movies, the first two Christian Bale Batman movies, and the first Ironman. Oh, and the first couple of X-Men movies were good, too.

But honestly, 15+ superhero movies in the last decade (quick math – that’s over one per year) is a bit much, and I want to be completely shut of them. I want to see neither ads nor previews, listen to no discussions, and, most importantly, watch no films. I, as a single-person-movie-market, am thoroughly saturated.

Of course, I know there is no end in sight and that trying to get a multi-BILLION dollar genre put to bed is like trying to grasp the wind. Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

At this point, thou might be wondering, “Why did Grant even watch this if he’s so sick of superhero flicks LOL?” I’ll tell you why – it’s because my friend Lauren basically guilted me into seeing it. Or, as she puts is, she asked me to suffer through it so that she doesn’t have to. You know what? I’m willing to do that for my faithful readers. I’m willing to take one on the chin and give a good report from the front lines.

In the end, this isn’t about me – it’s about the Laurens of the world. It’s about the people who are too busy to screen every flick. It’s about hard-working people like the baker, gas station attendant, and milk carrier. This is for the cobbler, seamstress and ploughboy. This is for the yeoman. This is for the girl who builds internationally famous game-themed rooms. So, Lauren – thank you for reminding me of why I do this. This one’s for you.

And now, without further ado, here are my thoughts on Batman v Superman.

First, everyone hates it yada yada yada. Iwis, it is better than Man of Steel. If anyone liked Man of Steel, he should like Batman v Superman. It isn’t really good, but it is fun, and it is about comparable to the average superhero movie today. If you can’t get enough superhero movies, I highly recommend it.

Second, the score was really enjoyable. It has lots of good, vintage Hans Zimmer elements like thundering drums, exciting themes and good orchestration. Very solid. Oh, and there’s some other guy given scoring credits with a DJ name. I don’t know what he did vs what Hans Zimmer did, so meseems it’s possible that some of the credit is due him. BTW – I just looked it up: Junkie XL is the guy’s name, and he’s Dutch! Keitof! Begroetingen, felicitaties, genade zij u en vrede mijn goede kameraad!

Third, the CGI isn’t as unbearable as I thought it would be. In my predictions for the movie, I figured I would hate all the CGI. I will admit I was wrong. I guess it just melds well with everything, and in my book, CGI that doesn’t especially stand out is good CGI.

Fourth, continuing with analyzing my predictions, I was right that I wouldn’t like Henry Cavill or Amy Adams. However, Adams wasn’t as abominable as she was in Man of Steel, mostly because she isn’t on screen as often. Thank heavens for small mercies. As for poor Cavill, I’m not sure what to think. He seems like he should be a good Superman, but he just isn’t. He’s too stiff. But, Cavill isn’t the only one to blame; the character is also written poorly, so that’s on writers.

The writers…..let’s see…checking……….Chris Terrio and David Goyer!! Yeah okay, it’s also on those guys.I guess I should also say that Zack Snyder is to blame, but that seems to go without saying. Why does he get hired for these things? Because the movie industry is dumb, Grant. That’s why. (NOTE: that isn’t the response I predicted I would give myself.)

Fifth, speaking of the writing, the writing is bad overall. For one, many plot and character elements are stated bluntly rather than subtly. Secondly, the plot moves fast and covers so much ground so quickly that key elements feel rushed and forced. Unfortunately, I can’t think of a single example right now in Batman v Superman, so that’s lame. But, this movie seems to have those kinds of things in spades. I think that’s why I’ve heard people claim to like certain TV shows rather than movies – characters and plotlines can be developed more fully over a TV season than in one two-hour sitting.

Sixth, speaking of the writing once more, I had to roll my eyes at the inclusion in the script of a philosophically flimsy argument. It happened in a particularly dull rant by Lex Luthor about how he wants to do something bad and how he doesn’t like Superman. In that rant, he says:See, what we call God depends upon our tribe, Clark Joe, ’cause God is tribal; God takes sides! No man in the sky intervened when I was a boy to deliver me from daddy’s fist and abominations. I figured out way back if God is all-powerful, He cannot be all good. And if He is all good, then He cannot be all-powerful. And neither can you be. 

The excerpt “I figured out way back if God is all-powerful, He cannot be all good. And if He is all good, then He cannot be all-powerful” is a quick statement related to the problem of evil (or the problem of suffering as it is sometimes called). The idea, more fully, is that if God were all-powerful AND all good then no evil or suffering would occur because he would want to stop it out of being “all good,” and he would be able to stop if out of being “all-powerful.” But, since evil and suffering do occur, God might still be all-powerful OR all good, but he cannot be both.

Basically, the argument says that the existence of evil and an all-powerful, all good God is logically impossible akin to having a round triangle or married bachelor. Thus, this would rule out the Christian and Jewish God existing since Christians and Jews hold that God is all good AND all-powerful.

This discussion refers to what philosopher William Lane Craig calls the logical form of the problem of evil. Ultimately, as Craig (and many other contemporary philosophers) has pointed out, this form of the problem of suffering has been found wanting largely because it doesn’t appropriately account for the fact that it is possible that God has morally sufficient reasons for allowing suffering to happen.

For a more in-depth look at the modern philosophical answer to the problem of suffering and evil, check out this series of podcasts or this article. Also interesting is this podcast dealing specifically with natural evils (eg. earthquakes, tornados, tsunamis etc).

Now, I have to admit that I don’t quite remember the entire context of this argument, so I am going to stop short of saying that the movie propounds this argument. I simply want to draw attention to the argument and point out that it doesn’t go through. Why do I want to do this? Because I hear it in many anti-God speeches/rants/debates and sense that nobody has ever told these people that the argument doesn’t go through. Whether a person believes in God or not, I think any sincere seeker of truth would agree that if an argument is false, is ought to be discarded. So let’s all agree to discard this one.

BTW – I love that this argument is found on the lips of Lex Luthor. He’s maniacal, diabolical, AND philosophically unsound!!

Seventh, finally, I must say something about Batman and Wonder Woman. They’re both good.

So there you have it – my thoughts on Batman v Superman. My final verdict is this: I don’t think it’s a good movie, but it is better than Man of Steel, so if you liked that, you probably will like this. Of course, this review is based on my opinion as a adult; if you are looking for something fun to see with a son or daughter, he or she will probably enjoy it. Mind the parental ratings – some of the content might scare little ones.

Grant Stevens is a writer, musician, home salesman, and language learner. He’s studying, literally, like a billion languages right now and is on the cusp of mastering all of them. While not doing that, he enjoys listening to the crisp, clean, precise thoughts of William Lane Craig at reasonablefaith.org.

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