You have to wonder why security is such a big issue in comics. Why is the fantasy of fighting crime seen as much more appropriate a past time for superheroes then lending your super powers in other ways? Imagine if Superman singlehandedly built an MRT system in Cebu (free us from stress, O Steely one!)? Or if Batman used his amazing brain to invent a power generator that took oxygen molecules from the air to make sustainable energy (saved from climate disaster!)? Why are comic books mostly about fighting crime and rarely look at other issues of global importance? (An exceptional mention needs to be made for Professor X who spends most of his time and abilities teaching kids, good on you, baldy!) Part of the comic obsession with security probably comes from children’s need for protection; the other probably just comes from a macho culture that teaches boys that violence is cool, and the more violence culture shows the better.

You could describe Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as centering about conflict views of how to keep people safe. At the start of the film, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) is pissed off about Superman (Henry Cavill) pummeling General Zod into buildings and inadvertently causing death and destruction. In the film, the conflict is really a religious one, about the iffy sense of protection a belief in gods inspires. Superman here represents God, with so much power but so little regard (according to Batman) for the humans he supposedly loves and cares for. Batman then takes on the human route of protection. He looks to science, technology and skill to serve mankind by protecting it from what he believes is its greatest threat, blind to the real threat that humanity makes against itself in the form of Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg). I won’t describe how the conflict is resolved as (1) it would spoil things and (2) it is really quite dumb. Zack Snyder, more working out of plots properly please!


You can probably see that I admire a lot of the ideas that director Snyder plays with, but I do find that Zack is mostly a boring film maker who does not know how to either develop plot very well (so many holes) or form likeable characters. Because things don’t make sense and characters don’t really matter, this makes the eventual beautiful action sequences fairly meaningless. Perhaps it can work if you already know who these characters are. Of course, practically everyone does; these are towering figures in pop culture. Many will finally be happy to see Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) magnificent in her introductory fight scene as the great Amazon. Those who are familiar with the comics will, for example, not need an explanation of what Bruce Wayne’s dream sequence of a dictator Superman is about (although why a dream sequence? That is just what Snyder does).

Superman and Batman are different kinds of heroes, and not just in their god/man dichotomy. They actually present different parts of the American dream; Superman represents the immigrant experience, the alien who finds a home in the Land of the Free and upholds its values, while Batman is the cowboy, the vigilante that brings order to a Wild West of outlaws where government has failed. I find it hard not to read these personalities into our elections. But remember, comic books were for kids originally, with a simplistic view of good and evil where good always triumphs, written to assuage the fears of care-needing children. When you cast your vote, ask yourself if you have swallowed a comic book story about a wise cracking anti-hero that can solve all our problems at the end of a barrel or a batarang, and perhaps reconsider how you want our story to go. Plug the holes with research, fill in the gaps by reading, know the future by studying what was important in the past, and you’ll be doing a lot better than Zack Snyder did with this story.

Stefan Garcia
Zerothreetwo’s resident movie buff extraordinaire. Sober reflections on movies and today’s culture. Stay tuned for a new movie review almost every Friday.

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