Hello sportsfans, and welcome to our newest review sub-section, <re-view-sit> (like “revisit”) no? It’s a working title. We’ll see how it goes.
You might remember the last time we tackled BVS, this was the end result
“Part I: The Generic Review
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, is the latest schlock-buster beat em up comic book super hero movie from visual director Zack Snyder, and a direct followup to 2013’s Man of Steel. It’s a disjointed mess that suffers from studio intervention, multiple cuts- my guess the extended ended up being much more coherent than the theatrical much like Snyder’s 2009 film of the same predicament, Watchmen.
“Justice” or “Bvs” as it has been playfully marketed, is loud, it’s dark, it’s sprawling. It meanders quite often despite a POUNDING score and a nearly three hour punishing run-time. “Visual director” says it best, as the entire “Experience” is much like living a very loud, often-times pretty “video game”. The writing leaves more to be desired, and the plot, if it actually had one is all over the place. The actors portraying the characters do the best with what they were given, and are able to cross the finish line to the reveal that this has all been more “Set up” and “universe building” for an as of yet unseen foe.
If a loud visual experience sounds like a good Friday night, seeing “Justice” in IMAX might just be worth it, though I’d hold out for the director’s extended cut dvd.
I’ll give the theatrical cut of “BVS” a C-.
C-, pretty in line with the critics. Not anything I should get death threats over right? Let’s move on.”
And if you’re reading that above casual review carefully, and have seen the Ultimate Edition, I’m assuming you’re thoroughly clenched or at the very least holding onto butts in your possession.
Batman V Superman: The Ultimate Edition- Casual Reviewsit:
The first time around that I said it was another stupid-fun beat-em-up from visual director Zack Snyder. It’s still incredibly disjointed and terribly paced, but the biggest missing pieces of continuity were removed for a very simple and very R-rated stupid American reason. Like Friday the 13th part VII before it, say what you will about either movie on an opinion basis, but it’s clear to me both fell to the MPAA’s blade.
It’s still loud, dark, and sprawling, and the music hasn’t been improved any. While the plot is still paper thin, confusing, and at times downright terrible, it can be argued that this version of the experience offers a coherent (or at least MORE coherent) plot. Does the Ultimate Edition make the cut?
Initially, it bumps a C- to a solid B… however, the extended scenes within the context of the universe actually do WAY more to harm both the characters of Batman and Superman. We can also see why the entirety of the “bullet plot” was removed short of the opening scene (which also should have been removed in the theatrical). While this serves narrative purpose in some places, it pads out the run-time and compounds the confusion in others, bringing the adjusted final generic score down to a B-
The bottom line is by now people either love or hate the tone and direction of the DCEU. If you are on the “fan” side, this is the version for you. B-
Last time, we broke precedent after precedent in a glorious drunken pissed off Rick Blaine fashion
^ and mine
And while there’s really sadly not much of anything to add to my “what if it was a Jason Todd story” section, there is some yet to be said on the “Ultimate” edition…
Batman V Superman: The Ultimate Edition Reviewsit:
Sadly my “fandom” wasn’t redeemed and brought back, as the only good thing in current comics is the pre flashpoint John Byrne Superman. Thankfully, since the time of the initial review, they’ve killed off the New 52 inspiration for the Cav-El Supes.
I called the box office “bleeding”, and boy did it, with a record setting 69.3% box office drop starting the freefall that began in week two. Sure, it held the top spot THREE weeks in a row, and sure, it grossed a big $330m domestic with $873m world-wide …and I say “so?”
It did less than Iron Man 2 numbers, and couldn’t even touch the billion that stand-alone Nolan batman movies did …each, let alone Dark Knight’s unheard of then 3rd place $533m DOMESTIC. You made a 30-150m profit Warner Bros… off of Ultimate Edition dvd sales. You should be so fucking proud.
What most people might not remember however, is that after staving off a week five 10 Cloverfield, a week two Allegiant, a week fourteen Force Awakens, and a week three Zootopia, BVS ran virtually unopposed for five weeks… it was dethroned by Melissa McCarthy’s the Boss in week three, when that movie only made 30m. So, if anyone at WB is happy about those numbers, when a bright and colorful World’s Finest movie, marketed to children and grandma running unopposed on leftover Deadpool and Force Awakens momentum could have crushed ONE BILLION domestic, and THREE BILLION world-wide, they are point simple “insane”.
The MPAA has an unwritten rule… actually it’s quite written, explicitly and everywhere, but unless you make movies, or obsessively follow the making of movies, casual audiences might not be aware of said rule.
As absolutely everything was better in the 80s, PG, and R-rated movies were no exception. Remember, we didn’t “have” PG-13 until the one-two punch of Gremlins and Temple of Doom, so the odds of seeing someone die horribly or a topless gorgeous woman in what today would be called a “kid’s movie” wasn’t rare at all. As for the R-rated 80s flicks, they were what today we would call a “Hard-R”
Around the time as the PMRC going after Twisted Sister the MPAA started writing the by-laws that would cripple horror movies 30 years into the future. Fuck you, post 1990s PG-13! Fuck you hard!
Thus the Rule of B’s was born . “What is the rule of B’s?” I’m glad you asked!
According to the MPAA any of the following will 100% of the time automatically make your movie an R-rating:
and most shockingly:
Now hold the phone… you might say… [if like me you are over 30, raised on 1950s sitcoms, and know what in the fuck a “phone” was.] “I call bullshit on bullets and blood, we see those all the time?”
or do we? Do we…really?
What you’re likely thinking of is this horrific shit:
What you might have been confusing it with (and the MPAA/modern studios hopes that you do] is this:
What we are dealing with here, my children is called a “squib”. Blood squibs originated in foreign films and Spaghetti Westerns throughout the 60s and 70s. The 70s Grindhouse exploitation films set the gore industry on fire and squibs, body horror, creature effects, and gore maestros settled into the niche of late 70s and 80s action and of course horror. They were life-like and depending on the budget, produced some of the most visually terrifying and real-looking carnage ever shown in film. They were deemed “too real” after the events of Temple of Doom and relegated to strictly R-rated movies before being all but phased out by the CGI layering of “blood”.
With “blood” we’ve all but covered “brutality”, and I really don’t need to go into specifics on how we go to great lengths to hide today’s children from “boobs” and “bush”. “Bullets” however…
As a flag-waving, sometimes gun-toting, card-carrying NRA member, 2nd Amendment loving Boyscout with multiple firearm and munitions merit badges, you can see this is a sore subject for me… it’s also the reason this shit exists:
This entire discussion on the Rule of B’s is the primary reason a factually and sadly historically inaccurate meme like the one above even exists… well, the Rule of B’s and John motherfucking Rambo.
The gun in the above meme is a SEMI-AUTOMATIC AR-15 (and no, the AR doesn’t stand for “assault rifle”, it stands for Arma-lite Rifle, aka the manufacturer)
this gun however, is a fully automatic military grade near infinite ammo M-60 “machine gun” stolen from a fucking National Guard truck.
The key word in the above was “rounds”, or “bullets” as we don’t EVER see them in a PG-13 movie. Short of changing mags, we don’t really see them in most R-rated movies that aren’t Die Hard as it takes away the momentum from the action. It’s for this reason that the ONLY time we see them, is when it is called for to restart momentum to the action… and while I’d love to go to Die Hard and McClane constantly ending up with two 9mm rounds, the following shot from Terminator 2 is much more important to this review…sit.
In the Hitchcock and pre Hitchcock days, the lesson was learned all the way back to the printed page, “Don’t show them the Shark until the Third Act, or … at all if you can get away with it.” The idea of the unknown and more importantly the unseen was the real horrifying thing. Modern day PG-13 is no slouch to this and makes a “killing” off implied violence. Just take Heath Ledger’s iconic “magic trick” scene; a moment that made audiences grimace and scream, or clap and cheer, but resonated throughout theaters across July 2008 the world over. What really happened in that shot?
And more importantly, have you ever seen the end result of this shot from Zombi… or Zombie 2 if you want to be a dick about it?
I’ll spare you the visuals, as not everyone is as keen on Fulci as I am, but we see in graphic and horrifying detail the lovely and voluptuous Olga Karlatos's Mrs. Paola Menard is SLOWLY dragged into the jagged point of the broken door, as her eye in even more graphic and horrifying detail is impaled gushing blood and all kinds of fluids, as she slowly is pulled further on the “blade” screaming and crying (mostly blood at this point) and then finally is released from her torment…as she’s also torn apart by zombies. It’s the kind of shot I literally HAD to put a disclaimer warning for, as it’s one of the three goriest in film history that I can think of (and believe you me, we’ve seen all three!) the kind of shot that would make people scream at or possibly even throw up (some people can’t take it) definitely cover their own eyes and turn away from, and yet no one talks about it, knows about it, or anything.
Now let’s take what is essentially that “same” shot from Dark Knight we discussed above. What REALLY happens?
Heath says “Anyone wanna see a magic trick?” In a quick-cut action sequence, he grabs an approaching henchmen, slams his face/eye down over a pencil and we cut away before it punctures his eye. In the next shot, we see Heath say “Ta-da” and discard the now implied as dead body. There is no blood, and nothing really, yet it packs as much implied and intended initial tension as the one in Zombi did. “Tell, don’t show”.
In 1981 Japan launched a “kid’s show” called King Beast GoLion. In this show, characters were brutalized, raped, tortured, got naked, banged each other, etc. This might not mean a single fucking thing to you, until I tell you that in 1984 it was cut to ribbons, poorly dubbed, and kickstarted the American anime boom when it debuted here as Voltron: Defender of the Universe. Voltron was definitely a trendsetter, though probably not the first. I don’t even remember when G-Force was…not important. In addition to glossing over OBVIOUS rewrites telling you that a given character didn’t die horribly, it was the first major kid’s show to depict glorious murder by making the bad guys “aliens or robots”, the only things American children are allowed to see die horribly. By the time the resurgence of the PG-13 Action boom hit in the mid Aughts, studios figured out that they could show secret agents and superheroes alike killing hundreds if not thousands of people so long as they never showed the bullets, or the blood… and if it’s a Marvel movie, just make everyone a robot for good measure.
Rambo’s ridiculous gun had inspired generations of 80s R-rated action heroes and they knew that the ever increasing war on the Second Amendment would keep audiences from even second guessing the fire rate or mag capacity of the magic “machine guns”.
If you like me, unfortunately had to suffer through Purge: Election Year, you might remember this terrible and akin to BVS bullet plot, bullet plot-point. But, it’s revealed in that film that the bullet itself is not a “bullet”, but a tracking device. Whereas the thing Lois is holding? That’s a bullet. And that… is the entire reason it was taken out of the movie/given an R-rating. That’s it.
Now, let’s talk about the Death of Superman. At the end of my review the first time around, having given up on movies, comics, the review itself, life and the human condition really, I threw in a very small bit about it. Here we are months later. I am composed, have collected my thoughts, and can safely inform everyone what a:
I don’t really need to say anything further on Lois Line (not a typo… for the love of God go see Arrival, or the Fighter. Amy Adams IS a good actress…just not in this movie) but I need to set the record straight on Doomsday, as months later, none of it sits right, none of it makes sense, and this shit… is what’s next
The players were established. We knew who the good guy was, who his girlfriend was, where his mom worked, etc. We’d get a scene of him saying something like “and so with the day saved, and my paper on it’s way to the editor… I can run out for milk!” then we get the classic nefarious freefall pan downward to the “unknown depths” or my favorite, we see our new villain, just a shadow, and an action box would say something like “MEANWHILE” or “WHO IS THIS NEW MASKED VILLAIN!?!”
If you’ve seen BVS and haven’t read the comics, read only the new 52 (you poor, injured soul) or have read ONLY the Death of Superman (be it just Superman #75 or the “graphic novel” as a whole) and also seen the movie, I’ll walk you through the basics.
As Max Landis said in his video:
Doomsday was essentially just a DC ripoff of the Hulk…but he was also the epitome of a classic wrestling Big Man/Monster Heel.
In BVS, [not] Doomsday is created …somehow… by [not] Lex Luthor, and immediately sent against the Trinity, a DCEU faction people on the internet keep trying to tell me is a real thing in the comics, when I know full well, it never was, and this was business as usual
Do you know why Goku was always late or missing in the DBZ fights? To sustain the plot, pacing, tension, and drama. It was also like classic wrestling storylines. With the exception of Frieza which dragged on for fucking ever and had weird ass pacing, when Goku finally shows up to a fight, he wins in about ten mins or less. Just look at literally every single DBZ movie that Goku is alive for.
Instead, they let undercard, mid card, and number one contenders have a go at the big bad monster foe… at which time, Goku shows up Hogan style, points, hulks up, big boots, leg drops, and gets the win.
As Max Landis explained, Doomsday first appears in fucking glorious fashion. I loved it so much, I put it into my own comic in a manner of speaking.
Superman is off doing day-in-day-out Superman shit, and Doomsday emerges killing a deer. Oh fuck, now we know he’s evil.
Doomsday then takes on the epitome of mid-card, the 1990s JL…I-ish and decimates them. The important thing is who is on this team that does have super powers, and how easily he destroys them. Every single one of these people; Guy Gardner, Fire, Booster Gold, Bloodwynd, and of course Maxima, are as powerful as Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, and New 52 Superman (so likely Henry Cav-El superman)
Oh, and he does it with one hand behind his back.
Superman shows up postering for the crowd/his team, and doesn’t fight fo-realsies, as at this point in time, he only ever has TWICE before. He’s scared shitless to fight with even a fraction of his power and holds back on purpose.
Doomsday then sees a billboard for Metropolis and following a hilarious earlier commercial for wrestling that was definitely NOT royalty free Hulk Hogan in NOT War-Games 92
Having built up with smaller and smaller amounts of panels in the month long leadup to Superman #75
we finally hit the book where every single page was a full page splash panel until the inevitable fold-out.
So the movie not only still sucks, this version made it all the worse for someone who is a Pre-Crisis comics purist. It immediately earned a 0.1/10 and was expelled from my collection. Remember Jena Malone as Batgirl? Me either, but at least she didn’t rape a corpse in this one, and they didn’t ruin Dan Amboyer/Hal Jordan…yet.