Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice
By Jessica Seese
In my last movie review I reviewed “Man of Steel.” This week I will be writing a review of the follow-up film, “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Like Superman, Batman is a comic book character from the DC universe. Orphaned at an early age, he grew up to be a billionaire, inheriting family money. Bruce Wayne defends Gotham City at night from villains such as: The Joker and Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Penguin, and The Riddler, to name a few. Personally, Batman is not my favorite because I find his villains too dark. Batman had had many comic books, movies and television shows. In time, he also partners with Robin.
“Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice” opens with the funeral of Bruce Wayne’s parents. He was a witness to their mugging, and he is reliving this memory. Then, we see where “Man of Steel” is a part of this timeline. During Superman and General Zod’s battle, Bruce Wayne is there, evacuating his building/business. He drives recklessly through the rubble and then, proceeds on foot. He also finds a little girl trapped in the rubble, whose parents may have perished in a collapsed building.
Eighteen months passed, and the wreckage from the kryptonian ship is salvaged off the coast of an island in the Indian Ocean. Lois Lane is back to her hard-hitting, globetrotting ways, as she interviews a general in Nairobi, Africa. The photojournalist traveling with her is murdered, and then other gun fire ensues. Superman appears to save Lois. People want Superman to be held responsible for his actions.
Lois and Clark clearly have a romantic relationship now. He brought her food and flowers for dinner. Clark reassures Lois that he loves her.
The authorities (cops) have found an old house filled with foreign young women. They find that the perpetrator of these crimes has been branded with the bat symbol on Batman’s chest. Bruce Wayne is trying to track who may want to bring a “dirty bomb in to Gotham.”
Lexcorp has a piece of the rock that will weaken kryptonians. Lex Luther wants to weaponize the material to protect humanity from the “kindness of monsters.” His father grew up in East Berlin (implied under communist rule)
The crime wave is not of interest to Perry, the editor of the Daily Planet. The senator makes a visit, the import license is blocked. Lois has asked for time to go to Washington.
Bruce Wayne had a nightmare and we woke to get a drink. Perhaps his life is spiraling in a darker way. He lacks a family, other than his butler. Alexander “Lex” Luther invites Bruce Wayne to a charity gala. His appearance is well documented for the library of the Metropolis by the press. Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent are introduced at the gala in Metropolis.
Various public figures discuss the “Superman Question.” The senator is convinced to give Superman a trial. Clark Kent’s mission to write about the “Bat” jeopardizes his career.
It is clear at this point in time that meta-humans, those with supernatural abilities, are finding their place in the human world. They all have alter egos and masked identities, so that they can try and separate their personal lives with the crime that they fight. This film also introduces us to Wonder Woman.
Alfred knows that Krytonian Material is on the boat the White Portuguese. “20 years in Gotham, Alfred, you know what promises people made/keep. How many people are good, how many people stayed that way.” comments Bruce Wayne. He was a cynicism of the honesty of the people, particularly the high rollers like himself, of Gotham. He has witnessed violence, corruption and all manner of illicit behavior in his home city of Gotham.
“In a democracy, good is a conversation.” People are always surrounded by violence as we live in a volatile, hostile world. But there is always hope that good will prevails. As we all should be, Superman is called to be held accountable for our actions, and be given the opportunity to speak on our own behalf.
Superman arrives at the court house amidst protest. Honestly, that scene is always a little hard for me to watch because my characters are like my friends. And seeing the hate the crowd gives Superman makes me sad.
Chaos erupts as a capital explodes, due to a bomb placed there by Lex Luther. In retaliation, Luther Corps is vandalized by Batman. Superman begins to doubt his purpose. “That farmer’s dream is all some people have, it gives them hope.” Superman feels that while the symbol of hope many have existed on his planet, he acknowledges krypton does not exist anymore.
Lex Luther accesses the kryptonian archives, using General Zod’s fingerprints. Belgium, November 1918, Bruce Wayne views an old photograph of Wonder Woman. Doomsday is created as a combination of Alexander Luther’s blood and general Zod’s corpse. Superman retreats to the snowy mountains, perhaps in the Arctic (as in Man of Steel). He has a conversation with Jonathan Kent, his deceased father.
Martha Kent gave Jonathan faith that there is still good in the world. This premise, while naïve to some, is hopeful to me. Bruce reflects on his family’s legacy as hunters. Martha Kent is kidnapped out of the diner where she works. Lois Lane is also kidnapped; she is taken to Lex Luther.
Lex Luther is clearly highly intelligent, yet mentally disturbed. He sees evil and absolute virtues are problems. Lex Luther wants to pit Superman vs. Batman against one another, using Martha Kent as collateral. Lex Luther wants to control the situation because, as a child, he did not have control of the situation when his father would hit him. Abuse is highly cyclical, because the abused can sometimes view this state as the norm; but, it does not have to carry on to the next generation. With intervention and therapy and finding a supportive community, healing from abuse is a possibility. In reality Lex Luther was isolated in his pain, and he only went on to create more hurt/violence.
Batman uses weapons with Kryptonite to weaken Superman. He also beats him up. I do not condone violence, but I do accept that fighting is the primary means of conflict resolution in actions/superhero films.
Batman has Superman weakened, and is ready to move in for the kill when Superman pleads with him to save Martha. Lois arrives, and they realize they both have mothers named Martha. Batman promises Superman that Martha will not die tonight.
If Batman and Superman will become friends/allies seems highly unlikely. But they will work together in this endeavor. When Batman rescues Martha, she figures he is one of her son’s friends due to the cape. This is the dry humor that seems typical of the D.C films.
Doomsday is unleashed, and he and Superman fight in outer space. When Doomsday is attacked, it is like it absorbs the power, and becomes stronger. Batman realizes that he can use the kryptonite sphere in an attempt to kill Doomsday. Superman is re-energized by the power of the Sun’s rays.
Wonder Woman comes to their aide. Together the three of them stand against Doomsday. In the midst of the fight, Superman hears Lois as she is trapped underwater. Superman retrieves the Kryptonite weapon.
Lois begs Clark not to continue to fight, as she knows he could be killed. To defend his world, and the woman he loves, Superman delivers his final blow. As Doomsday lies fallen; so too does Superman. A solemn moment ensues between Batman, Wonder Woman, and Lois, who is understandably distraught over the death of her love. In this moment, no words are needed.
Lex Luther is incarcerated. Clark Kent’s body is buried in a private ceremony in Kansas. Martha presents Lois with a package that contains an engagement ring. A ceremony takes place for Superman as well. He is buried as a hero, with full honors.
Wonder Woman and Bruce Wayne attend Clark’s funeral. He admonishes her to help him find the others like them. Men are still good. We can rebuild, do better. We have to. People mourn Superman’s death. Batman enters Luther’s cell, Luther gives a cryptic message about bells. Lex’s assets are seized.
At Clark’s grave, the dust looks to not settle fully, passably hinting at Superman’s return, and the formation of the Justice League? (We know that Wonder Woman has her own movie as of June of 2017)