In Man of Steel, we learned the origin of Superman and the Man of Steel faced one of his toughest opponents, General Zod. Unlike earlier Superman films, Lois Lane is aware throughout that Clark Kent is Superman, based on the idea that, well what kind of Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter would she be if she couldn’t figure that out. The film ends with the death of General Zod and Clark Kent coming to work for the Daily Planet.
In Batman v. Superman, we get a much more complicated story line. The evil genius, Lex Luther, sets out to ruin Superman’s reputation and make Batman and Superman hate each other, so he can have the fun of pitting one against the other in a battle to the death. In order to blackmail Superman to engage in this battle, Luther kidnaps Superman’s mother and threatens to kill her in a very unpleasant manner if Superman refuses to cooperate. Lex Luther is aware that Batman is Bruce Wayne and Superman is Clark Kent because, well what kind of an evil genius would he be if he couldn’t figure that out. The storyline for this mammoth 150 minute or so film was so involved that critics and audiences pretty much panned the film. I was not one of them. I loved Batman v. Superman and found the drawn-out story to be a plus. Just as he had in the comics some 15 years prior, Superman is killed in the end by a Kryptonian monster called Doomsday. Although everyone complained that Batman v. Superman was overlong, I preferred the Ultimate Edition that was released on Blu-Ray, which added an additional 20 minutes. Why? Because the added footage answered many questions and cleared up many murky plot points that were obscured by the over-editing of the theatrical version. Rather than too long, I felt that the film would have been much better had it been released to theatres in the longer version.
While eagerly anticipating the sequel, we got to thrill to the origin story of Wonder Woman, Princess of the Amazons, in one of the best Super-Hero films ever made.
Which brings us to the newest installment – Justice League. Convinced that an Earth-threatening menace is about to destroy the planet, Batman and Wonder Woman - I love that she is NEVER referred to in any of the scripts as Wonder Woman, she is simply Diana – decide to assemble a League of Super Heroes, by persuading Aqua Man, Cyborg and The Flash to join their forces. That much everyone knows, so that is where I will leave it. Suffice it to say that, hoping to avoid critic-bashing reminiscent of B v. S, the studio heads dictated that Justice League would not exceed two hours. Several scenes shown in previews of Justice League were abbreviated or eliminated to meet the time restriction. I am hoping for another “ultimate edition” that will include all the deleted scenes. Why? Because as a fan of the source material, why wouldn’t I want more?
Speaking of fans of the source material, I would like to broach a subject that I have not seen addressed anywhere in reviews of films like this. I grew up in the 1960’s and was very much a fan of the DC Universe. Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aqua-Man and other heroes of the DC Comic Books were my favorites. My best friend was a Marvel Fan. We spent hours good-naturedly arguing over whether The Hulk was a match for Green Lantern or if Wolverine could beat The Flash. Although we were rival fans, there was never anything mean about it. However, ever since “Super-Hero Movies” have become the rage, I see Marvel Fans actively spoiling for the demise of DC movies and DC fans wishing for the failure of the latest Marvel film. Go to any Amazon webpage of any of these films, and you will find fans of the “other” comics trashing the latest release. I just don’t understand that. So many Marvel fans, for instance, gleefully posted reviews warning viewers to stay away from B v. S, while on any Marvel movie page, you will find a DC fan or two tearing that apart. Why can’t people simply let others have their preference? For me, I have seen many Marvel films that I have enjoyed, while looking forward to the next DC release. I am content to let Marvel fans have their due, why do so many of them have to trash my favorite heroes? As far as I’m concerned, good Super-Hero films are always welcome, no matter what their source, and I wish people would stop acting like children.