I just finished watching Batman v Superman and I have to say, although it was bad (very, very bad) it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Which isn’t exactly a high bar.
Needless to say, the plot had some gaping holes that left many questions that were left unanswered, mainly because the film appears to have been cobbled together from equal parts The Dark Knight by Frank Miller and Zack Snyder’s version of a superhero snuff film. Be prepared: this list is nitpicky:
1: What was up with Martha Wayne’s Necklace? I mean seriously, that necklace defied physics. Somehow her pearl necklace (which incidentally weren’t even real pearls, I know: I just bought my wife some which she never wears) managed to jump in the air and get stuck behind Joe Chill’s gun. Which made for a great scene but really defied the physics of how necklaces work.
2: Where was the exit wound? Maybe this was to keep it PG-13, but I didn’t exactly see an exit wound, or even any blood, during the roughly 2 minute long slow motion sequence as her body hit the floor. It was a dark theatre so maybe I’m being pedantic but this leads me to my next question:
3: Why did we need Batman’s origin retold to us? I get that this is a different Batman than Christopher Nolan’s trilogy (believe me, I was constantly aware of that during the theatre) but it’s the same studio (Warner Brothers). But Batman Begins was only 10 years ago. Snyder knew the audience was familiar enough with Batman to not have to introduce too much of the character but he felt he needed to spend 5 whole minutes killing Thomas and Martha Wayne, mostly to set up the fact that Batman has messed up dreams, which leads me to:
4: What’s up with Batman’s dreams? Batman goes through a series of very chaotic, almost psychotic dreams. The fact that these dreams don’t make sense, and don’t relate in any way to his characterization in the comic books, is beside the point here. Are these dreams meant to explain away Batman’s later behavior? You know, where he tries to kill superman for no good reason?
5: Do Kryptonians destroy planets with the power of Dubstep? I know, this list is nitpicky but Snyder brought Man of Steel into the mix so…
6: Did Bruce REALLY need to tell his underlying to evacuate the building? I mean the Dubstep Smasher was maybe a block away, are you telling me that Bruce Wayne hires people who are completely incapable of thinking for themselves in such an obvious fight or flight situation?
7: Did Zack Snyder not get that everyone who even survived that building collapse will be dead of cancer in a year? This is really nitpicky, but seriously, you can’t breathe in that type of particulate matter and not at least do some serious long-term damage to your lungs.
8: Where exactly is Nairomi? This is nitpicky I know, and Marvel did it too (Wakanda) but did they really need to invent a nation? At least Wakanda has its own unique internal politics.
9: Why did the CIA cameraman use film? This is really esoteric but nobody, especially a journalist for a metropolitan newspaper, uses film. It’s just a weird plot device that could easily have been fixed with a digital camera. There are more issues with the Nairomi scene but those relate to things later on in the film so for now let’s stick a pin in Nairomi. That is, if it existed on a map.
10: When did Lois and Clark’s romance start? At the end of Man of Steel there’s no romance at all. Lois knows Clark is Superman but there’s no real romance to speak of, unless you count the brief bit overlooking Zod’s corpse. But at the start of Batman v Superman they have moved in together. This isn’t exactly a plot hole per se… I just felt cheated on the fact that we didn’t see the romance develop.
11: Why exactly doesn’t Lois know if it’s possible for Clark/Superman to love her and still be him? Setting aside the fact that this is a nonsense line, it doesn’t make sense based off of every bit of evidence we’ve seen so far. Superman rushed over to Nairomi (apparently one of his super powers is to find places that don’t exist) and saved Lois (in a pretty awesome scene by the way). He obviously loves her. And he obviously is him. This is just bad dialogue.
12: Is all that Lois needs are some roses to make things better? Seriously Lois’s moment of doubt is immediately invalidated by Clark giving her a rose and standing in the bathtub and they’re all better. But what Lois was apparently going through was some deep, serious stuff that needs to be talked over. The entire scene is both useless and contradictory.
13: Does the Gotham city cop not know who Batman is? This is actually taken from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns comic, which has already (partly) been turned into a better movie in the form of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, not to mention the fantastic animated adaptation that was released from DC Animation. In the comic, and in Nolan’s film, a rookie cop is partnered with a veteran. Batman shows up for the first time in a decade and the veteran has to tell the rookie to cool his heels and let Batman do his work. In this scene the rookie cop (or maybe just a jittery one) sees the baterange stuck in the wall, hears Batman fighting upstairs and still rushes in and shoots at Batman. But the movie makes it clear that Batman isn’t coming out of retirement. In fact, the other cop remarks “He’s branding them now.” Which leads me to…
14: Why are criminals in prison killing people with Bat Brands? Batman is really stepping up his marketing game here. But why would prisoners kill people who are branded? Do they think they’re Bat Narcs? I mean… It doesn’t really make sense.
15: Why is there so little Jeremy Irons? He’s generally amazing but he is literally the best on-screen Alfred I’ve ever seen. I liked Michael Caine and he had the benefit of being in 3 good Batman films but Jeremy Irons nailed it.
16: What is the psychology behind Lex Luthor? I seriously can’t get a read off of him. And it’s not like I don’t get psychology: that’s actually my day job. But Lex Luthor seems to be a sort of mix of The Joker and Mark Zuckerberg. Whatever Snyder’s inspiration for Luthor it wasn’t anything close to any comic book origin. There’s so much to talk about Luthor later so I’m going to leave Luthor for now.
17: How does Lex know Clark Kent? It’s established that Clark is new to the “Let them eat cake” beat, so presumably Luthor wouldn’t know who Clark is? Either Luthor has already met Clark and it was never established or Luthor knows who Clark is and Clark doesn’t find that in any way odd. But Luthor is taking a very special interest in making sure Bruce meets Clark…
18: Did Superman actually figure out Bruce is Batman at Alex’s party? He probably did (the film takes care to show Clark listening in on Alfred’s conversation with Bruce) yet the film also shows Superman being distracted by a structure fire just as Bruce is about to grab his spy box. Later on Superman refers to Batman as Bruce so I suppose we are left to believe he figured things out at the party. That or he used his X-Ray vision.
19: What’s up with the Knightmare? So I get what Zack Snyder is doing. For the uninitiated, Parademons are warriors that hail from a planet called Apokolips, whose ruler is a New God named Darkseid. Essentially the DC version of Thanos, except that Thanos is a rip off of Darkseid. This scene pretty much let’s every comic book fan know who the big bad of the Justice league film is going to be. Which I for one think would be great, he’s a great villain, except that Zack Snyder is going to be directing the film and he doesn’t exactly have a good track record. He’s essentially 0/2 at this point. But my question is, is this a vision of a possible future, and if so since when does Bruce Wayne get to have precognitive powers? And if not, then how exactly does Bruce Wayne know what a parademon is in order to dream of it?
20: Who exactly is Batman supposed to take? Superman says that “she” was “his world” and Batman took “her from” him. Now of course we are all led to believe that this is Lois, and it’s supposed to be some sort of foreshadowing of what’s to come, presumably in this movie. But maybe not, after all we do have the flash traveling back in time telling Batman that he needs to find Lois, and that she is the key, before remarking that he came too soon and then disappearing. So if it is Lois that Superman is talking about, how exactly would Batman take her from him? Does he kill her? Why would he do that? Does he cause her to die somehow? Also, it kind of seemed like Superman was on the side of the parademons, meaning that he’s possibly working for Darkseid. Like I said, this dream doesn’t make any sense, but it makes even less sense if you actually read the comics that the movie is based on.
21: Why doesn’t Bruce listen to Alfred? Alfred is the voice of logic and reason in this film. As Bruce slips slowly into the deep end Alfred does his best to pull him back. Which is actually what Alfred does in many of the comics and, if I’m being honest, Jeremy Irons is the best on-screen Alfred I’ve ever seen. He’s so underutilized in this film that it’s a crime, and I can only hope that he will have more of a presence in the solo Batman films that are to come. But the question still remains: why doesn’t Bruce ever listen to Alfred? Because, let’s be frank here, Bruce’s theory that if there’s even a 1% chance that Superman will turn evil he has to assume that it’s a certainty is just bad logic. I mean literally, it’s a logical fallacy. And Alfred tells him as much time and time again and yet Bruce won’t listen. Which actually isn’t out of character, it’s fairly reminiscence of many storylines in the Batman comic books, but Batman has never been quite this unhinged.
22: Does Batman not realize that he’s straight up icing people or does he not care? Look, let’s be clear here. One of the many, many flaws with Man of Steel was the fact that Superman killed Zod. It was the antithesis of everything that Superman stands for, and in the comics when Superman faced off with Zod in an almost identical scenario, instead of killing him Superman banished both of them to the Phantom Zone. But I’ve already written about that, so let’s talk about Batman and his cold-blooded murder. There are people in cars that are literally being blown up. Multiple cars, multiple explosions, even if they survived the car crashes no one survives being engulfed in fire. By the way, I’m a former EMT and I’ve been to lots of car crashes and I can tell you that cars almost never blow up. Besides the fact, Batman is intentionally putting people into situations where they cannot survive. It may not be cold-blooded murder, but people are dying because of what Batman is doing. I guess this is what the DC Cinematic Universe is going to be with Snyder at the helm: every character is going to be a murderer. That’s fine for Wonder Woman and Aquaman, because well they straight up kill people in their comics. But Batman and Superman in particular have at least one rule they share: they do not kill (despite what Zack Snyder thinks).
23: Why exactly would Lexcorp develop a new metal for bullets? This isn’t exactly a plot hole per se. But the thing is, the slug that lead Lois to Lexcorp is made out of some new metal. Because reasons. I mean they were using the bullets to shoot people. People who weren’t even wearing armor. Lead works fine for that, and it’s cheap.
24: What’s up with Granny’s Peach Tea? Maybe I missed something, and I’m not about to give Zach Snyder anymore of my money to re watch it, but what was up with the tea at Senator Whoseits desk? Was that tipping her off that something was wrong? I have to admit I was about three-quarters of a shot flask deep at this point so I probably missed something.
25: Did Capitol Police miss a wheelchair sized bomb? I mean, Lex Luthor is a genius and all so maybe he found a way to hide a bomb from the Capitol Police…
26: Did Superman turn off his super senses? Yes I know this is mostly answered, and it’s part of the problem of having an overpowered hero, but I have to think that in any other situations Superman would have figured out that there was a bomb in that wheelchair. Also, Lex Luthor is kind of a dick isn’t he? Number one he killed Mercy, a great character from the Superman animated series that was later introduced into the comics, which was totally unnecessary. Also that line “to let you stand for something” is just too soon man, too soon.
27: So in this universe did Lex Luthor come up with the logos for Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman? Why are there logos on the Lexcorp file? Seriously this is going to be a huge continuity error later on, although probably no one else is going to care about it besides me because I’m a nitpicker.
28: What exactly is Lex’s endgame here? Okay I’m a smart guy, but I have some serious problems understanding at least the internal logic of Lex Luthor’s thinking. We’re supposed to believe that Lex Luthor is somehow manipulating Batman, into hating Superman, despite any actual single scene in the film that establishes this. Why exactly is this? Couldn’t it be a coincidence that Batman begins to fear Superman and Lex just uses it for his own benefit? Well, it’s possible, except keep in mind that Lex did kidnap both Lois Lane and Martha Kent on the very evening that Batman had decided to light his signal and challenge Superman, and that his Doomsday monster is about ready to hop out of the cloning tank, or whatever, at that time. Speaking of, did Luthor even need to kidnap Martha Kent? Superman and Batman were already preparing to fight; Superman told Batman not to show up in public again. And Batman did exactly that, so we can assume that Superman would have risen to the challenge. (Yes, I know, the Senate Bombing made Superman doubt himself and hide from the world, which makes even less sense for Luthor to orchestrate it in the first place). Did Superman really need the extra motivation from Lex Luthor? But also, if Lex was building Doomsday in order to kill Superman, why did he even need Superman and Batman to fight? Lastly, how exactly was Luthor going to stop Doomsday if he succeeded in killing Superman? He had no kryptonite left so…
29: Why bother kidnapping Martha Kent? I mean he could’ve just kidnapped Lois, or done nothing and let Superman and Batman fight on their own. Or just have released Doomsday and let Doomsday kill Superman. In fact, the entire fight between Superman and Batman was a literal farce as far as the plot of the film is concerned. It served no purpose and would have happened anyway if Lex had stopped messing with things.
30: If we’re going to have Frank Miller write the script why not have the original motivation for the Batman v Superman fight from The Dark Knight Returns? The Dark Knight returns is about the second last good thing Frank Miller wrote on Batman. Let’s be clear, I love Frank Miller’s early work but in the last decade or so he has pretty much gone off the deep end. But TDKR is a masterpiece, and it clearly inspired the fight between Batman and Superman. The two have fought in the comics about 15 times, just based on my informal survey. Most of the time it’s because somebody is mind controlling or manipulating Superman. Which, as a side note, generally speaking when Superman is being manipulated into fighting Batman, Batman wins. When superman is being mind controlled, Superman wins. But the fight between Batman and Superman at the end of TDKR had meaning, it had a motion, and we both cared about the fates of these characters. As a brief recap, the government is embarrassed by Batman’s activity: he won’t stay quiet and play along. Superman, who is essentially a tool for the government to use as it will, is sent to stop Batman. They decide to duke it out in Gotham, and everybody, from Robin to Superman to the government thinks that Superman will win. Because, let’s face it, Batman is cool and all but he is, you know, a man. In fact during the fight Superman pleads with Bruce to surrender, telling him that if Superman doesn’t stop Batman the government will just send somebody else to do it. And of course Batman responds with, “Really? Tell me, who do they send after you?” Superman is pleading with Batman, as a friend, to stop this, to surrender. Because Superman doesn’t want to have to kill Batman. But he has to: those are his orders (there’s some political stuff that makes this actually makes sense). And no one, especially the reader, expects Batman to win. And then Batman releases his final weapon: kryptonite gas. Up until this point Superman has been pummeling Batman, all the while going easy on him. But the kryptonite gas weakens Superman enough so that Batman can land a few punches. After that Batman gives a speech, the gist of which is that Batman is not going to kill Superman, even though he could. Batman just wanted Superman to be weakened to the point where he actually could die so that Superman would remember that Batman was the only one to actually beat him. There’s much more to the story than just that, so you definitely should read TDKR. But the point of this long tirade that I’m writing is that the Frank Miller’s version of the Superman v Batman fight had meaning, it had emotion, it had a purpose. What Zack Snyder did is basically steal the kryptonite gas idea, use it in his own nonsensical plot involving the two of them fighting for literally no single reason that makes sense. If you’re gonna rip off Frank Miller then at least rip him off right. Why not have Batman return after maybe a decade of being silent, and have the government get riled up about Batman. Why not have them send Superman over to stop Batman, and then have Batman teach Superman a lesson about, frankly, not being such a dick? And then, you know, whatever, Doomsday and shit.
31: Is having a mom with the same name as Batman’s all it takes to stop his murderous rage? Batman was literally seconds away from killing Superman. Because that’s the kind of guy Batman is apparently. And then he hears that he and Superman had mothers who share the same first name and that makes him realize that he had gone off the deep end? What about the whole “we have to take it as a certainty” line?
32: Again, is Batman a murderer in this film? Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but I’m pretty sure I saw Batman straight up shoot a few people in the scene where he goes to rescue Martha Kent. We’re not talking the manslaughter seen earlier in the film, this looks like straight up murder.
33: Why doesn’t Doomsday have a penis? I mean, I know why. It’s a PG-13 movie. But I mean, couldn’t they just have put some pants on the guy or something? His crotch looks weird.
34: What exactly did Batman think he could do against Doomsday? I get the point of bringing him back to the docks with the Batplane, but after that Batman should’ve let Superman and Wonder Woman take the lead. Batman should’ve been looking for the kryptonite spear and in the process rescuing Lois. I know, having superman rescue Lois added a much needed dose of emotion to the scene, but it was really kind of pathetic watching Batman basically run from Doomsday for about three straight minutes.
35: If Wonder Woman used her shield to block Doomsday’s super heat vision, why weren’t her unarmored legs burnt? This basically has to do with the ridiculousness of Wonder Woman costume. Because let’s be honest, although her torso is armored nothing else is. Sure, she has some magic bracers, and depending on which comic book origin Snyder is taking her from she’s basically invulnerable, but if she was using the shield to protect herself from Doomsday’s eye blast, why weren’t her legs burned up?
36: Why isn’t Superman being dead a win/win for Batman? Batman was operating under the impression that if there was even a 1% chance that Superman turned evil he had to take it as a certainty. Meaning that, by his own internal logic, even if he thought Superman was a nice guy, Superman still needs to die. Which is exactly what happened, so why isn’t Batman happy about Superman having died? I know the answer, because Zack Snyder had to end the film with Batman not being a total dick, and it’s one of the main problems with the characterization of Batman, the fact that his motivation has no internal logic.
37: If Luthor knows about Darkseid, why did he orchestrate Superman’s death? Let’s be clear here, Lex Luthor knew that Darkseid was coming. Lex Luthor presumably knows the Darkseid is at least as powerful as Superman. Lex Luthor also presumably knows that Darkseid is one evil son of a bitch. And Lex also certainly knows that Superman is not evil, and would in fact to do everything he could to defend the earth from Darkseid. You know, the place that Lex Luthor lives. So why exactly, if Lex Luthor clearly knew that Darkseid was out there, did he orchestrate Superman’s death? Because this makes absolutely no sense; Darkseid is going to come and invade the planet in which Lex Luthor lives. This leaves only two options, that Lex Luthor is a psychopath on the level of the Joker, and literally does not care whether he or the rest of the human race lives or dies, or Lex Luthor is working for Darkseid. Which, would not necessarily be out of character for Lex Luthor, at least some versions of Lex Luthor, but there’s absolutely no indication of this in the film. And to be frank, if I didn’t know who Darkseid was then that theory of Lex Luthor possibly working for the next big bad wouldn’t even have occurred to me. So the question remains: is Lex Luthor crazy, or is he working for Darkseid? And only the people who actually know who Darkseid is are able to figure it out.