Monday, March 28, 2016

Say what you will about Batman v Superman. Wonder Woman's entrance was the best of any character since Darth Maul lit up a double-bladed lightsaber.

Warning: there may be some spoilers in this post.

Last week I saw Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and I'm actually going to say that I loved it despite the fact that all the critical reviews were terrible. I think my passion for it has to do with the way Zach Snyder films/portrays superhero action. Disclaimer: I love to watch really powerful heroes and villains slug it out on screen. It's fun, and Zach Snyder uses odd camera angles (to put the viewer in the action) and the clever use of computer graphics makes it look like the punches and sword swings really have a lot of power to them (as opposed to the silly wire work present in CBS's Supergirl). Also, Wonder Woman's entrance (when she saved the Batman from Doomsday's face beam of death by blocking it with her magical bracers) was the best entrance since Darth Maul was introduced to audiences in The Phantom Menace.

And yes! for Batman v Superman embracing Kingdom Come Wonder Woman. In that comic book (drawn by Alex Ross) Wonder Woman has the sword of Hephaestus (because it's magical it can actually cut Superman) and wings (along with her normal gear). Plus kudos to Zach Snyder for really capturing how powerful Wonder Woman's magic lasso is, i.e., it's unbreakable. And her having Doomsday in it was nothing less than spectacular.

This is a pretty common pose for Darkseid. He sits around
thinking about how he's going to destroy all his enemies.
I wonder who they'll get to play him or if they'll just totally
go all computer graphics on him with a voice over.
Another thing that I loved about the movie was that it is the first time that a movie starring either Batman or Superman went "big" and decided to embrace the DC universe at large. I'm excited at the prospect of the Justice League now, fighting hand-in-hand against Darkseid (who was foreshadowed to be on his way in the "dream sequence" when Bruce Wayne saw a post-apocalyptic desert emblazoned with the Omega symbol).

Darkseid is basically DC's version of Galactus or Thanos. He's a merciless dictator from a world named Apokolips, and is the leader of a group of evil gods. Darkseid is on a quest for the Anti-Life Equation, which can rob all sentient beings of free will. Additionally, the winged creatures you see in the vision that Batman has are called "parademons" and they're Darkseid's minions.

This picture by George Perez was the
source of many a nerdgasm back in the day.
Darkseid is a great bad guy to use because he's so powerful. Let's face it, when you have heroes with the kind of strengths that Wonder Woman, Superman, and the Flash bring to the table, you've got to have bad guys that can handle all of that. One of my favorite stories from comic book history was actually a crossover of DC and Marvel where the Justice League and the Avengers went up against Darkseid (yeah he's that powerful). In one scene, Superman ended up using Captain America's shield and Thor's Hammer. At the time, that was an epic nerdgasm. Seriously.

I admire comic book world building, and I think I understand it in this way: first you build this really powerful character. Next, you go about finding ways for that character to be challenged in the universe in which it lives. It's actually basic and simple but leads to a lot of interesting things when (as a writer) you start answering questions. For example, you might ask: how did so and so get his powers? And the answer essentially leads to world-building.

In some ways, I do the same thing in my writing by starting out with a character that I personally find compelling (and who has interesting powers) and then set about building a universe for that character to inhabit. Before long, stories emerge and voila: world-building 101. For you writers out there, do you have any tips on world-building that you'd care to share in the comics? Did any of you out there actually like Batman v. Superman? I know most people gave it bad reviews even if it did manage to demolish the box office this weekend. But who knows, comic book movies never have been strong on critical review.


  1. I'm not sure what movie most of the critics saw. Like you, I really enjoyed it. Yes, it had flaws, but I was captivated until the end. And Wonder Woman's entrance was spectacular.
    There are now six movies in the works, all stemming from this one. And the way it kicked butt at the box office this weekend - almost half a billion world wide - we will get all six of those movies.

  2. I'll probably watch it this afternoon. I'm curious how much it will drop next weekend.

  3. I didn't see it, and I probably won't in theaters. Seriously, my next big planned movie trip is Captain America in May. But, the existence of Wonder Woman in this film does place it on my "Do Watch It At Some Point" list.

    Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. You guys love super heores so much OF COURSE you're going to like it. I also had some others tell me they thought it was good. So there you go. :)

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  6. I haven't seen it yet but I'm aware of the terrible reviews. I was curious what your opinion would be.

  7. I heard all about the negative reviews, but every blogger I've read who's seen it has loved it. Interesting.

  8. Interesting how critics weren't nuts about this flick but audiences love it--clearly the makers knew what they were doing.

    I'm not much into comic heroes but I do want to see this Wonder Woman because it sounds as if the makers did a great job of reinventing her: they ditched her silly old costume for a much better new one and they cast an actress who may be on the slim side (at least according to a few critics) but who was in the Israeli army for two years so she must be tough and strong.

  9. I haven't seen the terrible reviews. My female friends (not that gender matters, but those are the ones who've mentioned it) all say it's fantastic. I want to go now after your review!

  10. The problem was how the movie was set up. I get why people enjoyed it but a felt a lot of it was over bloated and convoluted. Also Nolan's Batman trilogy went well with critics and Marvel often can get really good superhero reviews. I think Suicide Squad can turn the review crowd around for DC. Plus the huge second week drop proves that if B v S did not open everywhere at once, they would have been in huge trouble box office wise. Great visuals but no that story line was just everywhere like someone tripping with a bucket of legos. And don't get me started on cartoon Lex Jr.