Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ★★★★★

"Men are still good"

Perception is a key component in everyday life. How we perceive others and how they perceive us in turn dictates how we are treated within society. This might be due to differences within personalities or what pertinent information we have provided to. It’s the classic terrorist vs freedom fighter debate. No matter what you think of groups like the IRA, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, that are widely regarded as terrorist groups, there will be some who consider them to be freedom fighters. Point being that no matter how one person views you, it will not always line up with how other people may view you. This method of thinking is one that is built into us naturally and is influenced highly by how we were brought up and how we like to present ourselves as people. All of this is a key component within Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, with it most clearly being defined within Bruce’s arc and Clark’s/ Superman’s funerals.

The first we see of adult Bruce is helicoptering into Metropolis during Zod’s attack in Man of Steel. Giving us a different perspective, a human perspective, on the level of destruction that the attack caused on the city is essential in making us understand where Bruce is coming from with his motivations. What we once saw as Superman trying to save earth from being destroyed by Zod and his soldiers we now seen as an alien life form wreaking havoc on a city. An alien that is destroying his businesses, killing his friends and employees. But it’s his own past reflected in a little, now orphaned, girl that pushes Bruce over the edge. He looks up at the sky, contempt in his eyes, to see two aliens hurtling towards another building, remnants of a destroyed satellite hurtling along with them. From this point, Bruce has made up his mind. He has perceived Superman as a threat to humanity, and for that he must be stopped. It isn’t until Bruce is about to kill his adversary, at which point Superman utters the now infamous line "save Martha", until Bruce stops seeing him as an alien threat, and sees him as someone who has been deeply humanised by his time on earth. It’s in this moment that Superman stops being Superman to Bruce and becomes Clark.

The funeral scenes however focus on how Superman/ Clark was perceived on a larger basis. The juxtaposition of the intimacy of Clark’s funeral to the grandiose nature of Superman’s funeral, one that high ranking soldiers get, perfectly visualises how differently the two sides of Clark were perceived by people. That perfectly conveys the difference between how people view the man and the legend. Clark was viewed as a man, as a simple human, someone who was loved by many people, and will be missed very, very dearly. Superman however, no one knew how to treat. He was an entity above humanity, so they gave him the funeral of a soldier. Cannons, bagpipes, jet planes, the American flag over his coffin, the exact opposite of Clark's funeral. This carries over into how the scenes are shot also. The standard Snyder bombast is lacking from Clark's funeral. It's restrained, nothing is flashy, it's all shot in calm wide shots or intimate character shots. Superman's funeral however, that's standard Snyder. Slow motion, epic feeling pans, something befitting of someone like Superman.

Batman v Superman is a masterpiece, there should be no contention there. It tackles subjects that not many other blockbuster films would dare tackle, and it far surpasses those that do. It'll be a while until we get a comic book film like this again. Then again, Logan, let's see what you've got.

Alex liked these reviews