It's not the movie you wanted, but it's the movie you got
I haven't seen Batman V Superman yet. I don't know when I'm going to see it. But I know one thing for certain: You should stop hating on it.
I don't have to watch the movie to know what happened in it. I've heard enough people talk about it and voice their displeasure that I get the jist of all the complaints. And, as someone who has personally read the Superman comics since the early 1960s and followed that by reading the various encyclopedias of the early years of the comic, I have a better familiarity with the character than most people.
I find that the people throwing the most hate on this movie are the ones who didn't really read the comics. They saw a couple of things: the 1978 and 1981 Christopher Reeve films, the 1988 Michael Keeton Batman films, the 1990s TV cartoons, the Christopher Nolan films.
Based upon that background, this new film is not going to jibe with those.
Here's the problem: All of those film and TV projects I mentioned are all origin or near-origin projects. They all represent the key characters in the first few years after they presumably became "known" to the public. Batman V Superman represents an entirely different era.
In Batman V Superman, the characters have been publicly crime fighting for many years. With those years, they've had some successes, but there have been problems as well. Think of Batman and Superman in terms of Madonna. Madonna had huge publicity in the 1980s. She not only had big music hits, but her marriage to Sean Penn was plastered all over the media. While that publicity paid the bills, it forced her into seclusion as well. And, while Madonna is still alive today, she has absented herself from media attention. As a result, it's been years since her last hit record.
Madonna was just a singer and dancer -- now imagine if we discovered that she could fly and was impregnable. A Superman would find he had about a million times the problems that Madonna has. It doesn't take much to realize that guys like Batman and Superman would have a much different attitude on life after 20 years of a constant barrage of publicity. They would be different than you remember them.
Think of your own situation. Think back to 20 year ago. You'll have to admit you were really stupid back then. You might have been a supporter of Ross Perot or David Duke. Remember how you might have thought American Idol was entertaining? If you were the least bit innovative (and rich), you had a carphone. Things were different.
My complaint with all superhero movies was that they were always based on the character's origin stories. Take Spider-Man, for example. We never get more than two movies past the origin story until the series is rebooted. When they run out of ideas, the answer is to go back to the beginning. Superman's parent perish on the planet Krypton. Batman's parent perish in a Gotham alleyway. Spider-man's dad gives some sage advice, then dies.
It sounds like Batman V Superman might have been a break from that. The comic books, if you have been reading those, have moved on from the origin story, so it was time for the movie version to try to do the same. I'm tired of being reminded that Jor-El put his infant son in a rocketship, all swaddled in red and blue. Is there anyone who doesn't know how Superman got to Kansas?
Now, as I said in the beginning, I haven't seen the film. I'm not trying to argue about how other characters were portrayed, in particular Lex Luthor and Wonder Woman. I might have an entirely different take on that. But I've heard too many complaints about "Superman should be acting like this" or "Batman shouldn't be doing that." After 20 years of the drugery of crime-fighting, I might act in the very same way.
It's time to let these characters grow up and get beyond their origin stories. That's what it sounds like Batman V Superman was trying to do.
-- André Hinds ("Evermore") is the audio producer of the ElectricSistaHood podcast and writes weekly about comic books