Pop Culture Corner: Why Batman V Superman Worked

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By Nolan P. Smith

Staff Reporter

The time has come, and I can now say I have seen one of the most highly anticipated comic book inspired films of all time. With Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, DC Entertainment placed the weight of the world on their cinematic shoulders on a film that would serve as a catalyst to their silver screen future. With rumors running rampant and negative reviews flooding in, did the titanic action flick leap tall buildings in a single bound, or was DC’s dreams cut short like a walk down Crime Alley?

Warning: Spoiler below.

I can say, as a lifelong comic book fan- this film is the hope in the darkness. This film is the hero in the shadows. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is the film I was hoping it would be, and then some. But why does it work? Let’s dissect exactly what made this film soar:

-Batman: For me, the debut of a new cinematic Batman was the biggest aspect of the film. We have seen the caped crusader in quite a few incarnations on the big screen already, from fantastic (Michael Keaton, Christian Bale) to forgettable (Val Kilmer, George Clooney). With Affleck, I feel that we got the most comic book accurate version of the character yet. Using his mind more than sheer strength, this is Batman being the “great detective” that he should be. I didn’t know what to expect from Affleck, but his performance has me awaiting a solo Batman film, hopefully sooner than later. This definitely felt like it was more of a Batman film than a Superman flick, which is perfectly fine with me. The dark, brooding nature of the film fits right into the lore of Batman.

-Wonder Woman: The Amazon Princess made her big screen debut with this film, and what a debut it is. Gal Gadot completely owns the persona of Diana Prince/ Wonder Woman. Her presence, both as a warrior and a diplomat, screams strength and nobility, exactly what one of the big three in the DC Universe should be. The solo Wonder Woman film is already in production, so this was a very smart move on DC’s part to have her be such a integral part of this film.

-The Fight: With a movie called Batman V Superman, we had better have one heck of a fight, and did we ever. We got a knock down, drag out fight been Batman and Superman, one that hit hard at every turn thanks to what was at stake for each combatant: for Superman, it was his mom’s life, and for Batman, it was literally the fate of the world if he didn’t stop this alien threat of the man of steel. The battle with the anti-Superman armor Batman (yes, that is the name of the armor in the classic comic book story, The Dark Knight Returns) and Superman was everything I hoped it would be, with nods to Frank Miller’s classic take on the tussle of titans.

-Lex Luthor: I will admit; I have been very vocal on the casting of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. I wanted a more serious threat of a man for Luthor, like Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, not the skinny guy from Zombieland. However, I thought Eisenberg’s take on Lex was fantastic. An eccentric billionaire that is too smart to even get the proper words out of his mouth, Lex’s take on the world, and on Superman, was so well done, that he is well on his way to becoming the Man of Steel’s greatest foe.

-The Justice League: This was one of my main concerns going into the film- to cram too much into one film and to take away from the overall plot of the film. Yet, the way they did it worked perfectly in my opinion. The quick sequences showing the Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg fit well into the film and did so in a way that set up the coming together of the Justice League for future films, but didn’t dwell so much on it with Batman V Superman.

I enjoyed this film immensely- as a lifelong fan of these characters, Batman V Superman is a dream come true. To see the big three of the DC Comics universe come together, it was something fans have wanted for decades. This film is the springboard for DC’s future films moving forward, and what a bar it has set.

Nolan Smith is a longtime reporter with High Desert Daily, covering everything from the opening of a new comic book shop to a series on the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. A long time resident of the Victor Valley, Smith in well connected in the community, formerly being a board member for the Adelanto Chamber of Commerce. He is also the Editor and Co-Founder of Pastrami Nation- a pop culture news site filled with news, reviews and podcasts on various aspects of pop culture, including comic books, video games, films, anime, manga, cosplay and more. You can visit Pastrami Nation at www.pastramination.com.

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