Friday, February 3, 2017


Welcome to the newest installment of CINEMA CLASH, where two of our writers will battle to the death (not really) in defense of their position, one for and one against, of a particular film.  Today, Khizer and Jonathan will be debating the pros and cons of the DCEU's second, and most divisive film...BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE. Enjoy!!

But before we get started, here is the official synopsis and trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice:

Eighteen months after the destructive battle in Metropolis, Superman has become a controversial figure. Billionaire Bruce Wayne, who has covertly operated in Gotham City as the vigilante Batman for nearly two decades, blames Superman for the mass casualties that resulted from his fight with General Zod.

Now, on to the battle!


Khizer (For):

I am a DC Comics fan. I’ve read Superman and Batman comics, I’ve played the Batman games, and I’ve seen most of the movies and TV shows. However, more than that I’m a filmmaker and when I watched Batman v Superman I really felt like most of the hate that the film receives is unjust. This film is a complex and interesting story about how we as humans would react if we were to have amongst us someone as powerful as a god. 

Most people complain about how Superman was not like the comics or that Batman kills. To those people I say one reason comics can get stale is because we keep doing the same thing over and over again. I think some of the greatest comic book stories take the traditional storyline and add a twist to it. In this story Zack Snyder took the characters we love and made them a little bit different. Batman believes he’s a criminal and doesn’t believe in his original cause to not kill. Superman got into the suit a little too early and still doesn’t understand Humans well. Thus having no solid reason to stay being Superman and help save the world. 

The other complaint I hear is that the editing felt weird or there were too many stories going on. I actually don’t think people fully understand what they are talking about here. Every story ties together, and more so the editing of the story is in the same vein as Eye In The Sky, where multiple people are doing things but in the larger scale they are all tied together to one big plot. 

The truth is, Batman v Superman isn’t your traditional super hero story. It’s not told in a straight forward method and thus threw people off, however the greatest films in cinema history did the same thing. I’m not saying it’s one of the best in cinema history but it is a great film.

Jonathan (Against):

In classical Greek mythology, we encounter the story of Icarus. Icarus, the son of master craftsman Daedalus, was imprisoned with his father on an island. In order to escape, the two men constructed a set of wings from feathers and wax. The two soared into the sky, reaching high for their freedom. Icarus was a daring young man, driven almost insane by his desire to escape the island’s entrapment. Closer and closer he flew to the sun, ignoring the warnings of his worried father. The sun’s rays melted the wax that held together his wings and Icarus plunged into the sea below him, drowning a stone throw's distance away from shore.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a cinematic representation of the downfall of Icarus. Detailed problems exist within the three-hour runtime of BvS, including glaring instances of shoddy editing, weak special effects, and cringe-worthy dialogue. Plot holes run amuk, tearing asunder an already porous plot. However, at the heart of its failure, BvS falls prey to its own ego. This is a movie that tries to overload five years’ worth of cinematic universe-building into a single movie and call it a cohesive “plot.” This is a movie that introduces to you four separate villain conflicts, each supposedly punching you in the face with their glory, but all simply melting away beneath the glaring heat of examination. There is no flow to this movie. There is no pacing. There is only the cocky fingerprints of Warner Bros. executives who thought they could pull off a half-assed movie based on the public’s positive feelings toward superheroes, comic book movies, and Batman.

Batman v Superman fails under the weight of its own excess.



When you say things like “There is no flow in this movie" or “There is no pacing”, I start to realize that you didn’t really watch the movie, rather just sat down and tried to find out how many things you would dislike. Every movie needs to have pace and flow to exist, if there is no flow or pace the movie simply doesn’t exist. While I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with you about all of the editing with the theatrical cut, the ultimate cut has no editing problems. The story flows fine, the plot and character motivations are a lot easier to understand. Also there is only one villain, Lex Luthor. Every other character that is villainous is an extension of him. They all act directly or indirectly for him. Also, a few cameo scenes isn’t five years of cinematic world building, it’s their equivalent to the after credits scene. The movie might have some scenes that aren’t universally loved, but it also has scenes that were incredible and never seen before, like the Trinity fighting together, Batman taking on the Luther thugs in the warehouse, or Batman truly being terrifying. 

The truth is, many people look at this film and forget all the good that it has, and it has a lot of it. While I would argue less if the ultimate cut didn’t exist, the fact is that it does. The ultimate cut doesn’t have most of the problems being complaining about.


I feel like, when discussing Batman v Superman, we encounter the same problem again and again. Critics treat defenders as if they are blind and defenders treat critics as if they simply don’t understand. That is definitely not the case here. I understand the stylistic choices that Snyder and Co. made in shaping Batman and Superman as subversions of comic book tropes. In fact, I even appreciate the creativity that went into making Superman a weaker figure and Batman a darker-than-dark Knight. However, here is the filmmaking truth that so often gets lost in the mess.

Creative does not equal good.
Different does not equal groundbreaking.
Against-type does not equal worthy change.

I understand why people might like this movie for stylistic reasons or for personal enjoyment reasons. Film and taste are subjective things. However, for me, Batman v Superman failed miserably at developing characters in a meaningful, compelling way. I’m happy that, for you, Khizer, it worked. However, it didn’t fail for me out of ignorance.

Furthermore, the Ultimate Cut defense is flawed on multiple different levels. First, a movie can be and should be judged on the level that it was released. Huge amounts of people turned out to see Batman v Superman in theaters. These moviegoers did not see the Ultimate Edition. They saw the version that Snyder, Warner Bros., and Co. signed off on and declared good enough for public consumption. If a better version of the movie existed, then the fact that the majority of viewers never got to see that better version is irresponsible. Relying on a Blu-Ray release to clean up after your weak filmmaking is not good filmmaking. That is a marketing ploy wrapped up in a self-defeating attitude that damns the DCEU at every turn.

Even the Ultimate Cut, itself, if we accept it as the only Batman v Superman worth discussing, simply falls apart. Wonder Woman still discovers the Justice League through an email with pre-made graphics magically appearing in some barely explained way. In a movie dedicated to establishing a Cinematic Universe on the backs of cameos, that is inexcusable. We’re still subjected to Luthor Jr’s grand speeches and Granny’s Peach Tea. The entire plot of the movie is still convoluted past the point of suspension of disbelief, overwrought to the level of insult. And, even after watching video after video defending “Martha” and reading people defend it ad nauseum, I can still state with confidence that it is one of the worst thought out plot devices I have ever seen in a comic book movie. Batman v Superman (even in its Ultimate Cut) is still the same movie, even with thirty minutes of padding that only served to accentuate its extant problems for me and so many other viewers. It is still a bad movie, no matter how many cutting-room-floor scenes are thrown at it post-mortem.



When I say things like the film was untraditional, I don’t mean to say you didn’t like it out of ignorance. Rather that films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, Godzilla (1954), and even Psycho (1960) were all films that are untraditional and received mixed or negative reviews upon release.  During the current time of that films release those films weren’t liked all that well, at least not as much as they are now. 

To your ultimate cut point I would say when people talk about Blade Runner, which is considered to most as one of the greatest science fiction films, they all talk about the ultimate cut. No one mentions the theatrical cut or the second cut or the third cut. They talk about the final cut. That is because that’s the best version of the film. In the long run, people won’t talk about Batman v Superman’s theatrical edition. Also I would argue saying that most people have seen the ultimate edition with the fact that domestic Blu-ray and DVD sales total up to about 67 million dollars. That’s a lot of the audience. I would say that is not counting the countless people pirating it or waiting for it on VOD. I think it’s fair to say that most of the audience is going to or has already watched the ultimate edition. A lot of people have also recognized it as the much superior film, so far as to saying the ultimate edition changed the entire movie. 

I’m not going to sit and argue that the email scene was the best way to achieve the cameos. However, in the genre of superhero films, many have done it worse like Iron Man 2 and Avengers: Age of Ultron just to name a couple and those are still considered to be fresh films. To the "Martha" point, it’s where most critics and fans are divided. It’s fine that it didn’t work for you, but I saw it as Bruce realizing that he became the type of criminal he vowed to fight against. It was pretty clear to me and a lot of people who saw it the same way. A lot of people also dislike Luthor and I can see that, but I grew up loving Shakespeare and to me he felt like a villain from a Shakespearean play. His monologues on the roof top make up for any shortcomings that may have taken place earlier. The granny’s peach tea was a way to show the government who really has the power. It was a really well edited and paced scene that no one saw coming. 

Generally speaking for every negative in the film there are at least two things that are positive. The cinematography by Larry Fong is breathtaking, each frame is beautifully lit and crafted. The score is one of the best of the year, with each theme being unique yet as a whole blending together. The action sequences are visceral with each hit really hitting you as the audience member to the core. The film is very thought provoking and yet entertaining at the same time.


Everyone hopes that their work of art will be remembered better than it is experienced in the present. Maybe the production team members behind Gods of Egypt are all crossing their fingers hoping that their movie will one day be the next Shining or Psycho. That is simply unrealistic since, unfortunately, those situations of history remembering a movie better than it was first received are very much so the exceptions to the rule. It doesn’t matter, especially in the midst of a cinematic universe, if a movie will be remembered as better twenty years down the road. What matters to the state of the DCEU is how it is received now and Batman v Superman, despite its cultish following from hardcore DCEU fans, was widely rejected by critics and fans alike as subpar.

However, in all your arguments, you seem to be banking on the future vindicating Batman v Superman. Why is that? Why do you feel the need to defend a major Hollywood blockbuster on the backs of this generation’s grandkids maybe liking it better? Perhaps because you know that barring the fanboy effect, Batman v Superman has been dubbed disappointing and all eyes are pointed forward and away from it when the future of the DCEU is brought up. You can appeal to the power of internet piracy all you want to try to save your argument, but I would much rather point the finger at Warner Bros. and demand better movies than accept mediocrity that must be shored up by excess footage.

And, in the end, you proved that once again, DCEU defenders fall back on the old standby of “just say Marvel sucks too” when their arguments begin to wither underneath the eye of scrutiny.

I’ll quickly address finer points of debate: Shakespeare villains did not shove candies into the mouths of side characters, piss in a jar is a gag from an Adam Sandler film not a serious commentary on power and politics, I have never called my mother by her first name (and would most likely not do so when my life were in danger), the cinematography in BvS could be beautiful underneath all the over-processed grit-overload, and the score? Okay, I’ll give you that. That score was badass. I would expect that from Junkie XL and Hans Zimmer.

Here’s the thing, Khizer. I’m a Snyder defender. 300 and Watchmen are all in my Top 50 of all time (with Sucker Punch just inside my Top 75). I love his style. I love his over-the-top effects and melodramatic way of approaching story. On top of that, I believe in the characters of Batman and Superman. I want them to succeed. However, I am not going to lock myself into a mentality of hypotheticals and crystal-ball spells in order to defend a movie that, in and of itself, failed to accomplish anything except for dividing the comic book fan community even further. I want a world where Zack Snyder makes a good superhero movie again. We don’t have that world. Instead, we have a world of studio meddling, over-stuffed blockbusters, and subpar movies that, for some reason, people defend instead of pushing for better.



Overall, BvS is no perfect film, you can sit and nitpick it, you’re even able to do that with Citizen Kane. However it has some things that I would consider to be incredible. From score, to cinematography and its ability to build atmosphere, to the action sequences which were not only probably the best of the year but some of the best in the genre. 

BvS gained a cult following, and the reason is because a lot of people see the movie to be great, we’re not talking about WB and what movie they released. We’re talking about, at the end of the day, what movie we have and that’s the ultimate cut. The ultimate is well edited, the story is paced better, the characters are fleshed out, while keeping the incredible cinematography, the masterful score, and intense action. 

I’m not reaching, I genuinely believe these things. I didn’t love every second of BvS but there was a lot more good than bad. This film in my opinion is powerful with its political ideas and how it took characters that we love and puts them in our world to make a statement, that maybe we don’t deserve them. BvS is no masterpiece, but it is however a great film.


I remember vividly the first time I saw Batman v Superman. I went into it with high expectations and hopes. The idea of seeing two of my favorite superheroes collide made my little nerdy heart soar. Then, I sat and endured a haphazardly thrown together two-and-a-half hours of dimly-lit effects and over-acted dialogue. Batman v Superman is a mess, with too many plotlines shoved into too little time, leaving you with dream sequences and flashbacks that really only make sense to people already familiar with comic book lore. Fan service should never come at the expense of creating a movie that makes sense. Film is subjective. People can like what they want to like. But, in the end, for me, there are far too many unforgivable sins in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to award it anything but a firmly Rotten rating.


This was tough.  As someone who thoroughly enjoyed Batman v Superman, I knew going in that I would have to put my feelings about the film aside and judge this based on how gave the better argument.  And at times, that was not an easy task.  But I looked at all the facts, all the opinions, and made a decision.

Both of these competitors gave it their all, laying everything on the line, and I commend that.  It was a hard fought match, but, just like the Highlander, there can be only one!  And that one is...JONATHAN YOUNGBLOOD.

It pains me to say that, as, like I said, I'm a big fan of the film, but Jonathan's overall argument was more solid.  Khizer gave some great point, many of which seemed to come straight out of my own head, but when it came to his own conveying an opinion and refuting the other person's, it was Jonathan that did the better job, ever so slightly.

This was a tight match for me and an exceptionally well fought one.  Both Khizer and Jonathan should be proud of their arguments, and just how well thought out and polite they both were.  This was a fight for the ages and I'm sure it will continue in the film sphere for years to come.

So, what did you all think of this epic clash?  Which side did you fall on?  Did you agree or disagree with the final decision?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and if you have a suggestion for a film to clash, or would like to participate, please feel free to message us.

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