Author Topic: Why Luthor Has To Be Annoying (and other defenses of Dawn of Justice)  (Read 1338 times)

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Offline JasonPratt

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I'm porting my remarks after finally seeing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, over to this new thread because of deep plot spoilers, so as not to drop those into the main discussion thread.

Consider this an opportunity to look away now.

But if you felt disappointed in Luthor, or if you've heard that the story is insanely trash (especially thanks to Luthor) and that's dulling your desire to try the movie anyway, maybe this will help.
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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Why Luthor Has To Be Annoying (and other defenses of Dawn of Justice)
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2016, 12:38:23 PM »
As I mentioned in the main discussion thread here at Grogheads (http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=13344.0), I went into the film with fairly low expectations, and was reasonably impressed by the film. Impressed enough that Iím going to defend it more than Iíve defended the two previous DC films from Christopher Nolan (who remains an executive producer on this as well as Man of Steel).

That doesnít mean I think Dawn of Justice has no problems. But it has fewer than I was expecting. I will never like the artistic choice to grim-dour (if not quite grimdark) everything up, but I can accept it better in this film as an artistic choice. I think it would have worked better if MoS hadnít had a similar tone, but whatever. The character motivations, even Luthorís (which Iíll discuss in boring detail soon!), were generally clear to me, and internally consistent, along with the storyline. The acting is somewhat all over the place, but within acceptable limits.

Let me start with a discussion of the one major plot problem that I canít entirely explain or explain away: Luthor framing Superman for a mass shooting of terrorists. Begin the examination, O imaginary internal Faqinterlocutor!

WHY THE BLEEPING BLEEP WOULD ANYONE, ANYWHERE, AT ANY TIME, THINK SUPERMAN OF ALL PEOPLE WOULD HAVE SHOT A BUNCH OF PEOPLE??!?

I strongly suspect this was supposed to be answered by the whole fancy-bullet chase, but the resolution got dropped out of the plot somehow. I mean, I can still explain it, sort of, within the expressed themes of the filmís story; but I continually expected someone to reveal that the bullets were designed to dissolve in flesh and blood leaving behind no trace! A lot was made about how uniquely unique the bullets were, with visual fanciness for the audience even, but no one ever explained what was supposed to be so special about them (other than their specialness pointing decisively to Luthortech.) The few bullets necessarily left behind from some spraying misses, would have been the weak link in the frame-up, and maybe the writers couldnít figure out why trained precise ultra-mercs would have been stupid enough to shoot a spray: well, things happen in combat, and Luthor wouldnít have understood that, but the mercs did their best with the instructions they had. A scene with them explaining this to the boss (who, as far as I recall, never interacts with them on screen, but who certainly interacts with them since thatís how Batman figures out the link), and another scene or two mentioning that the victims had been torn apart apparently without bullets, would have tied this up sufficiently well. I sort of doubt itíll be in the coming 3 hour Blu edit, though, since it would have been easy enough to include in the theatrical cut.

[Hindsight note: the Ultimate Edition explains it a different way; the bullets really were a mistake by Luthor, leading Lois to him, although he takes advantage of it. False witness and a lack of proper crime scene investigation plus a lot of quickly burned bodies explain why things look suspicious. The warlord's fate remains unexplained, but it's hard to believe he survived being pushed through two or three walls. Superman constantly acts as though he has killed no one throughout the film, so I'm sure we're supposed to believe he didn't kill the warlord either. Presumably he's one of the burned bodies.]

BUT WHY WOULD ANYONE CARE IF SUPERMAN WIPED SOME TERRORISTS?

Okay, this is reasonably explicable within the themes of the movie. People are blaming Superman for not following up sufficiently (in their opinion) on the consequences of his actions to help: the atrocity that followed in the surrounding villages when he showed up briefly to help a little and then left and didnít come back, is what the native woman at the Senate hearing is complaining about. Superman wasnít really responsible for that -- the various warlords retaliating and jockeying for the territory vacuum were responsible -- but he acted in a way that escalated the situation when he withdrew, and people suffered worse as a result. Thatís an impressively subtle parallel to complaints about US intervention in Iraq and other areas! People on each side of that dispute have some legitimate positions of concern.

OKAY, BUT THATíS ULTRA-SUBTLE! PEOPLE ARE ALSO EXPLICITLY UPSET THAT SUPERMAN APPARENTLY SHOT THOSE TERRORISTS!

Again, thatís partly an analogy for the United States acting unilaterally (a word that crops up several times in discussing this issue in the film) as the worldís super-power policeman. Who do we answer to? Only ourselves really, not even to the United Nations. What if we decide to start killing other people? Whoís going to stop us? Superman may be really that good, but the United States isnít. And a lot of the plot of the film runs on the well-grounded fear, from the long past-experience of all of human history, that no one stays good, or what we think is good weíve fatally misunderstood, or someone is actively pretending to be good. (This has some bearing on Luthorís side of the plot, too, as well as Batmanís.)

Not that itís a surprise to people that Superman kills: everyone knows he killed Zod. But killing a Kryptonian of (nominally) equal power is one thing; killing puny humans is far more directly threatening as a concept to fellow puny humans.

Worth noting: the only other two superheroes out in public currently, are Wonder Woman and Batman. Wonder Woman retired from the world of men after World War I, so many people probably donít remember her, but she probably fought and killed at that time which anyone who does remember her will recall. Batman meanwhile is entirely willing to shoot to kill, if he thinks he has to, although heíll spare crooksí lives if he can. The filmís theatrical cut isnít clear, because theyíre being plot-cagey about what happened before he retired, but I doubt his firepower in this film is a recent innovation. Although the branding is, which is taken by an indication by everyone, Superman and Alfred included, that Batman has gotten rougher since retiring. So maybe Iím wrong about that. But to whatever extent Iím right, the public already has some reason to be concerned about killer heroes.

[Hindsight note: the ultimate edition is a lot clearer that Batman has been branding 18 or dozens of criminals, evidently since Superman re-appeared, and that people are upset about this because by now Batman ought to know that doing this leads to a death sentence in jail. Which doesn't make sense inherently -- it ought to be a mark of respect that someone survived the Bat! -- but Luthor has been hiring thugs to kill people with the brand. More on this in my subsequent ultimate edition comments.]

Superman is so overwhelmingly powerful, though, and is so overtly/apparently trying to be good, that the fear heís too good to be true gets magnified by proportion. Bruce nails this feeling on the nose when talking with Alfred: Superman is so powerful that if there is even one percent chance of him turning against humanity, then for safetyís sake we ought to treat that chance as an absolute certainty. Which, notice, plays into Batmanís standard trope of victory being in the preparation. (But it also reflects part of the rationale of growing world unease about the power of the United States.)

So, to conclude this point: even if the bullets donít dissolve, and it looks like Superman shot people with bullets, as ridiculous as that sounds (and I agree someone should have complained about how ridiculous this sounds), even that crazy idea might be enough to tip social paranoia. Especially with the press trying to compete for attention -- which is surely a problem we ought to be able to relate to in the real world! Perry White doesnít spend the whole film being a cheapskate for ineffective comedy relief. Heís struggling to keep the Daily Planet solvent (especially after the disaster two years ago), and so even heís tempted to jump on the paranoia angle in order to get some share of attention so that his paper (ďno one reads papers anymoreĒ) can survive. And thatís what he does. Because part of the filmís solid thematic is that we canít trust anyone to be good all the time.

Add to this problem, that some people just go crazy out of grief, and donít act rationally.

THAT SOUNDS LIKE HOW YOUíRE GOING TO EXPLAIN WHY LUTHOR ACTS SO GOOFY!

Yep, and Iím getting to that, but Iím actually thinking of the legless Wayne Financial victim. (Whose name I sadly donít recall, sorry.) Who I donít think is anywhere near as crazy as Luthor, by the way. Heís just frustrated and depressed with his life, and understandably so. Luthor found a way to intercept his checks from Wayne, so he wasnít getting help -- Luthor explains this very briefly in one of this two rooftop exposition scenes, and so Luthor is also responsible for the magic marker shouts to Wayne on the mailed-back checks. But when people are emotionally and mentally wrecked, they donít make sound judgments, and that contributes to the overall problems.

And yes, that is very much a factor in Luthorís own behavior. Although there are hints, which Iíll talk about later, that someone is manipulating Luthor -- and Batman! -- and probably, more subtly, the worldís increasingly dangerous reactions to Superman generally. But weíll get to that.


UH HUH. ARE YOU GOING TO USE INSANITY TO EXPLAIN WHY WEíRE NOW SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE THAT PA KENT WANTED CLARK TO BECOME SUPERMAN? DESPITE A SUBSEQUENT SCENE WHERE JONATHAN REAFFIRMS, A LITTLE INSANELY, AS A GHOST, THAT HE DIDNíT WANT CLARK TO BE SUPERMAN FOR EXACTLY THE PROBLEMS CLARK IS NOW HAVING?

The short answer to that imaginary question is, no.

The longer answer is, no, I expect thatís the writers trying to write a miscommunication of topics by Clark and Lois, combined with some clumsiness in accomplishing that feat. Iíll have to watch it again to see for sure, but I think the intention is that Clark is supposed to be talking about Jor-El wanting him to be Superman, but it sounds like heís referring to Jonathan because of an apparent connection to him wandering the earth doing what his dad wanted (which was not openly being Superman), and Lois... man, I dunno, she got confused maybe? Itís admittedly a problem, but not a film-breaking one.

[Hindsight note: nope, it's still a problem in the ultimate cut, and maybe even slightly worse! There was no miscommunication between Lois and Clark on this; he wasn't talking about Jor-El at all, even though Jor not Jonathan is who pushed the "Superman" vocation.]


UH HUH. ARE YOU GOING TO USE INSANITY TO EXPLAIN BATMAN FINDING THE WHITE PORTUGUESE, USING A SIMPLE INTERNET SEARCH? AFTER HOWEVER MANY WEEKS OF SEARCHING FOR THE W-P?

This is indeed silly, and I have no defense in-film. I suspect the real reason is that the writers werenít the worldís greatest detective but still had to write him, in a way that they thought audiences could understand and relate to. In-film, I could charitably suppose that once the Kryptonite got involved, the Portuguese got wiped from standard searches, and Batman had previously found the W-P on an initial search but dismissed it as unrelated -- but then got enough information to try finding that W-P again, and did some serious hacking. And/or it was part of the information he hacked from Luthor, although Iíd have to watch the film again to check.

[Hindsight note: I haven't watched the relevant theatrical cut scene to be sure, but I think this was my mistake. Bruce indeed picks it up, first thing, from doing a search in the hacked Luthor files.]


UH HUH. OKAY FINE, USE INSANITY TO EXPLAIN LUTHORíS PLOT GOOFINESS. I DONíT CARE. I HATE WHINY BABY TRUST-FUND LUTHOR WHO SOUNDS LIKE HEíS AUDITIONING FOR THE JOKER OR WHATEVER, AND I WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVAAAARRRR ACCEPT HIM!
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 05:42:31 AM by JasonPratt »
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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Why Luthor Has To Be Annoying (and other defenses of Dawn of Justice)
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2016, 12:40:29 PM »
I went into the film fully prepared to hate their version of Lex Luthor -- not as a villain but as a hideously failed artistic choice and/or plot convenience.

I came out of the film still fully convinced that Clancy Brown is still objectively and demonstrably the best Lex Luthor ever -- but surprised to find I didnít actually have an artistic or plot problem with Luthor in BvS.

Why not? Let me count the ways.

0.) In an otherwise dour film, he kind of sparkles in a sour way. Heís the comic relief. Iím not using that to defend the character choices as such (thus number 0), but itís a factor for why I came to tolerate him and I wanted to acknowledge it. I also acknowledge that this is backhanded praise built on an annoying tonal choice for the film (and series so far) overall.

1.) This is Lex Luthorís son Alexander, not Lex. Iím not mentioning this as an excuse for him being so different from spec -- that would be a super weak excuse. ďOur Luthor Is Different! -- but we can do that because he isnít Lex Luthor, see? See?!Ē But since Senior!LL isnít in the movie, and Junior!LL is doing his plot duty, then Junior is (by tautology) in the place of Senior and so should be acting like Luthor instead of a spazzy, whiny, spoiled trust-fund baby. That isnít ďLuthorĒís function in a Superman story!

However, I acknowledge the distinction because this will play into in-film reasons why Junior acts like he does. At the same time, and on the other hand, I acknowledge that there was no reason why Lexís father couldnít have been whoever-canonical-Lexís father was (I forget), and the in-film reasons for his behavior would have been the same. I admit, the film writers are trying to beg for a pass from fans by not having this be the Ďrealí Lex Luthor.

Iíll pause here a minute to note that I wondered at first if the writers were going to go for a pre-New52 post-Crisis canon story, where an aging and somewhat out of shape Luthor, whose reputation in the city and the world has been fatally ruined by exposure from Superman and the Daily Planet, fakes his death and comes back as a younger clone pretending to be his own son Alexander (with a gorgeous mane of red hair). But this Luthor truly hates his father, while wishing he could love him, so that canít be the plot.

That however leads to:

2.) Luthor hates his father. Who used to hit him abusively, and maybe even molested him -- the other abuse is unspoken but horribly worse. This other abuse might turn out to have something to do with another factor in Luthor Jrís behavior, which Iíll get to soon, but it doesnít have to.

This factor, and the history he learned from his fatherís childhood, feeds into...

3.) Luthor feels powerless to protect himself, and wants power to do so. Itís possible that his previously dirt-poor father rode the young geniusí abilities into a technological powerhouse -- I donít recall the story suggesting this -- but even if he didnít, Luthor not only wanted and didnít get protection from an abused childhood, he heard from his father stories of being oppressed as a child in East Germany. Like Batman he learned that the world only makes sense when you force it to, and Luthor understands that knowledge ought to equal power, but because he doesnít have power equal to his knowledge that apparent contradiction gnaws at him. (This is spelled out during his broken award acceptance speech; also somewhat on the helipad with Lois.)

Related to his hatred for his father, and more directly related to his hatred for Superman...

4.) Luthor resents God for not protecting good people sufficiently from evil in the world. That would include not protecting his own father from the fascist and communist tyrants of Germany -- and by the way, note how the theme of heroes not saving everyone after all connects back up with critiques of United States policy, via our realpolitk choice not to force a third world war and so to let the Soviet Union abuse their Warsaw Pact satellites. But it also includes, more specifically, God not saving Junior from Seniorís abuses. Either God doesnít exist, or God is not all powerful, or God is not all good.

With Supermanís arrival, Luthor starts projecting this conflict onto the closest thing in current humanity to a visible God figure -- a theme the movie explicitly sets up at the beginning. He also combines this with fears that someone who ought to be good and protect him (like his father) will turn around and treacherously hurt him instead.

Normally someone with problems like this wouldnít seek to push Superman into being evil as a justification of the philosophical dichotomy (and this not being a RPF post, I wonít head off into what I regard as the best philosophical solution to the dilemma: a coherent theology of trinitarian theism), nor would they create a world-destroying monster to destroy Superman if Superman himself wonít become a world-destroying monster.

But then...

5.) Luthor is insane. At best heís a high-functioning autist (for want of a better term), whose brain works faster and more thoroughly than he can apply to the world around him -- which explains A LOT of his quirky, broken behavior. (When he segues from triangles and straight lines into muttering about circles to Lois on the helipad, I started wondering if the writers were referencing G. K. Chestertonís discussion of madmen and circles.) Sure, heíd never be able to manage a company like this, much less build one up; but his Dad did that, and he has minions to do all the normal work. Combined with the stress of abuse -- and maybe another stress I havenít gotten to yet -- heís dealing with his emotional and intellectual problems in a proportionately insane way. Like taunting a victim with a jar of his own pee. Or setting up a two year overly complicated plan that, he hopes, will end up with Superman and Batman fighting each other to the death, rather than joining forces with other super-powered people to protect the Earth from ďthe devils that come from the skyĒ.

Because in his final scenes (at least in the theatrical cut), Luthor signals vaguely to casual viewers, and more concretely to fans, that...

6.) Luthor knows Darkseid is coming, and is probably working for him. Or is at least being manipulated by him, but knows heís being manipulated and, insanely, canít bring himself to go to Superman for help.

It might seem weird that Darkseid, an ultra-powerful ass-kicker with large ass-kicking armies and powerful ass-kicking minions, might act so subtly. But thatís actually well within comic canon. This is a cosmic supervillain who hires a media blowhard to discredit superheroes! (And now that I recall this, I want to check for Glorious Godfried in the media pushback against Superman!)

And we know demonstrably that Darkseid is involved somehow, beyond Luthorís final hints, because Batmanís nightmare about a ruined future of a despotic Superman features obvious Parademons, Darkseidís mook stormtroopers. In hindsight, the persistent nuclear explosions on the horizon in that dream are probably supposed to be hellpits, or whatever those things on Darkseidís home planet are called, which tap into a planetís core to generate power. Plus there's a big Omega symbol on the ground, which references both Darkseid's signature long-range weapon, his Omega beams, and also Darkseid's search for the Anti-life equation. (Also, Warner Brothers is chasing Marvel Studios, who is leading to Thanos, Marvelís version of Darkseid. Of course DCís film division is going to compete directly with that.) Darkseid has routinely tried to kill or corrupt Superman over to joining him, so a nightmare future where that has happened is well within canon possibilities.

If Darkseid is psychically manipulating Luthor, he can be trying to do the same to Bruce Wayne, who from a story structure perspective represents the heads to Luthorís tails: he has the same basic emotional and intellectual problems, except with a beloved father who died trying to protect him. But also, and on the other hand, Batman feels like he has genuinely failed Gotham City, having retired after a hinted catastrophe (probably involving the destruction of Wayne Manor, and definitely involving Joker killing one of the Robins, presumably Dick Grayson by evidence of the blink-and-miss-it tombstone). He hasnít learned, or has forgotten, how to appreciate that his fight saves people who would otherwise have been victimized by crime, even though he canít stop crime itself.

So with his lifeís work ambivalently incomplete, and having a typically Batman sized ego, he sees opposing Superman, even if he dies doing so, as something he can decisively accomplish for the sake of the whole world. He goes too far in not merely preparing for an emergency, but for trying to stop Superman pre-emptively. But his nightmares drive him to that; and that combined with Luthorís little prods suggests Darkseid was preying on him, too.

His nightmares may also be partially caused by his future Justice League friends, including the Flash, trying to warn him to avoid the bad future. The Flashís cameo is the only one that serves some kind of purpose in the film, and itís apparently a dream warning as well as time travel. (Iíd have to watch again to check, but it looks like the Flashís warning was about making sure to save Martha Kent, not Lois.)


SO DARKSEID MADE THEM DO IT, HUH? IS THAT HOW YOUíRE GOING TO EXPLAIN WHY DOOMSDAY DOESNíT LOOK LIKE DOOMSDAY, TOO?

Yep.

HAH, DIDNíT THINK S--WAIT, WHAT??

Like many other fans, I was seriously confused why the film designers would make Doomsday look like a lumpy and kind of featureless Middle-Earth cave troll, instead of the iconic and easily recognizable Doomsday from practically every other version of the character everywhere. He only starts looking a little like Doomsday toward the end when spikes of bone start jutting out of him.

On the other hand, when he starts blasting heat vision a lot, and even immediately out of the gate, I thought, okay, Iíll grant that makes a lot of sense: even in the comics, Doomsday was eventually revealed to have been a perverse experiment by a mad Kryptonian scientist, and so he really ought to have the standard suite of Kryptonian powers on Earth. And when Luthor builds him, the shipís computer seems to be referencing that this happened before previously. But granting that, still, it would have been relatively easy for him to look like Doomsday.

It wasnít until I was driving home after the movie, wondering how the producers will go about visualizing Darkseid, that I realized: the producers were making Doomsday look like Darkseid! He looks a whole lot more like Darkseid than like ďDoomsdayĒ. And the new heat vision for Doomsday doesnít only suddenly make sense in context of him being Kryptonian in origin; they make sense in terms of Darkseidís famous eye-beam range attack, the Omega Beams!

Just as suddenly, what I thought was a weak throw at connecting to Doomsdayís comics origin, as a way of explaining why the ship would even know how to help Luthor make a Doomsday this quickly, lined up to what I now suspect will be a plot revelation. In standard canon, Darkseid has no special connection to Krypton as his origin; but the DCCU (DC Cinematic Universe) may be hinting that Darkseid was the result of this same experiment carried out previously and then forbidden.

It would also make some sense for Darkseid, in manipulating Luthor, to inspire him to make a new baby Darkseid; or for Luthor to do so independently once he studied Kryptonian history for something to do with Zodís body and found the connection. Perhaps coincidentally, itís after this that most of what Luthor hints about the coming of Darkseid happens.

Batman also understands, somewhat more vaguely thanks to his dreams, that Darkseid is coming, which the film very directly connects (via his final confrontation with Luthor, although that seems to be a psychic connection between them or Luthorís insanity) with Batman wanting Dianaís help in finding and building the Justice League: to fight against the coming threat of Darkseid, since Superman is now dead and canít do it. (Which we know, because of the final shot and because Man of Steel 2 is already being planned, wonít actually be a problem.)

So yeah. The film holds together, even in the rather insane parts (which Iíll admit most likely exist first and foremost because Snyder likes to plan and shoot florid dream sequences.) I was personally highly impressed, and Iím on board to see where the DCCU can go with this, and how effectively they can keep it up after the shaky start of Man of Steel.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 04:05:49 PM by JasonPratt »
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Offline JasonPratt

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Necrothread arise!

Somehow I missed Zach Snyder releasing a cut scene (to be found on the extended edition Blu eventually), where spec-op soldiers find Luthor still in the Kryptonian ship after the fight, and they don't realize he's communing with an alien hologram -- one which looks a lot like Steppenwolf.

Not too surprisingly, recent press set visits to the Justice League movie have revealed that Steppenwolf will be a villain. Though a little surprisingly, he's going to be the main villain!

Who is Steppy, and why is that both surprising and not surprising? Steppenwolf is Darkseid's uncle, and main general for his armies. While the "uncle" relationship may not be kept (he's very alien in the deleted scene), there is every probability his position as a (or the) chief 'dragon' for Darkseid will be kept.

His specific connection to the Kryptonian ship somehow, not only lends credence to Darkseid having been influencing Luthor (and Batman) throughout the film, possibly through his father; but also lends credence to the "Doomsday" creature being meant as a baby Darkseid clone, also thus lends weight to Darkseid being the experiment the ship's computer talks about that went wrong and must never be repeated. (Not his position in the comics at all, but simplifying things for the movie series makes sense.)

The set visits also revealed that the Atlanteans and the Amazons were both given high technology thanks to Motherboxes. These are not usually regarded as "Apokalyptic" technology, but rather from New Genesis. One of the MBoxes can be seen in the theatrical cut giving Cyborg his super-powers (in a horrifying scene) which fits recent continuity in the comics. So all three of those heroes, Cyborg, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman, will have direct ties to the New Genesis / Apokalypse struggle, and (nominally?) on the side of the good guys. How exactly this fits with Krypton so far, who knows? -- but a reasonable guess is that the "New Gods" will be, like Darkseid and his team, two of the successful Kryptonian colonies that Zod and company went looking for when they escaped.
FIRE IN THE GROGS TOO -- a four-player full team mp of GMT's Vietnam War boardgame Fire in the Lake, recreated in TTS.

The GROGPUBLIC OF ROME ongoing forum game thread

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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Watched the new Ultimate Edition yesterday (finally -- my shipment must have gotten in a wreck or something and was officially delayed, hope no one was seriously hurt  :'( ).

One of the more interesting bits was being able to pause in hi-def to read things like Clark's obituary and Luthor's arrest in the paper at the end. Most of Luthor's copy had nothing to do with his arrest and more to do with his side of the plot! -- among other tidbits, he's blamed for the horribly mutilated thugs that Batman Batmanned while rescuing Martha, and the text clarifies (along with a new bit of dialogue in the film itself) that Lex isn't Lex Junior. He really is Lex, and his dad is Lionel. So the filmmaker's defense about this being Lex Junior so he can be different, is bogus.

[Hindsight note: or rather, the copy-writer for that article was working from earlier draft notes. Watching the Ultimate edition a second time, makes it clear in dialogue that Lex's father was also named Lex.]

He does get to explicitly call himself insane at the end -- but Batman doesn't believe it, he thinks it's a plea bargain to get soft time, so he's having him sent to Arkham where he still has some "friends" there who are eager to greet Luthor. (That scene honestly doesn't make a lot of sense in its staging, as it's a flashback explaining why Bruce thinks the other superheroes will have to fight, so it shouldn't be a dream sequence, but it's presented like some kind of hallucination by Luthor. Unless the warden and guard were in league with Batman to open the doors for him; and they still just disappear into nowhere!)

There are a few more bits suggesting Kryptonian involvement with Atlantis and the Amazons, which helps explain Batman's stupid trailer-bait line about how he thought WW was with Superman: it can still only be a bit of an out-of-character joke, but Batman thinks she's a Kryptonian alien walking the earth from long ago.

The extra scenes in the movie (and maybe just a second viewing) reinforce that Luthor starts the film having already figured out who Bruce and Clark are, and probably knew who Batman was before Superman showed up since he starts his plan to push Batman v Superman almost immediately. The plot point that being branded with the Bat is a death sentence, which made less than no sense in the original movie, is explained as being murders by Luthor to make Batman look like he's intentionally sending crooks to their deaths (and the movie is clearer that there have been many of them in the past 18 months -- it's a new thing for Batman, but not a new thing started in the movie. This is sloppily written, though, because the cops finding the white slaver act as though they don't know Batman has been branding crooks for a while.) Why Luthor would even bother when Batman flagrantly kills criminals on a regular basis, albeit in war-like situations, I have no idea. It's worth noting however that since this has been going on for a while, Bruce must already know that branding crooks gets them killed in prison and yet he keeps doing it! -- which explains part of Alfred's "good men cruel" line. It also adds weight to Batman threatening to brand Luthor at the end -- and to his choice to punch the wall instead. (I'm not sure, not having checked yet, and having slept since I saw the original, how much the theatrical version emphasized the branding threat in that scene.)

Anyway, this in relation to Clark's investigation, makes it clearer why Superman is increasingly hostile to Batman: aside from trying to be good at his job, he's trying to look for a way to show (i.e. by taking down Batman) that he doesn't approve of killing criminals after all. (Except that he realizes Batman is trying to help, which is why he shows Batman "mercy" the first time they meet. Which really doesn't make sense; there's no way to get around the sloppy writing in parts of this movie.  :P )

Some other more minor thoughts:

* WW still looks too much like a waifish model (i.e. too much like Gal Gadot). Her acting is fine, everything about her is fine, I still like her theme song (and I could crush pretty easily on the lady who plays it on an electric cello!  :smitten: ), but she does not fill out that suit at all, and doesn't look like a statuesque butt kicker. Of course she's magic, but still.

* I got the distinct impression this time that Alfred's constant nannying about Bruce settling down someday and having kids, combined with flirting between Diana and Bruce, is meant to be setting up Diana for the woman who makes Bruce honest!! (I mean plotwise, not that Alfred is thinking of her specifically.) That would sure be a step or two beyond the casual flirtation in the DCAU Justice League series.

* Relatedly, I still think it's ridiculous that a guy raised with Kansas values would be just sleeping around with Lois without marrying her -- although it's more ridiculous that he can do this at all without special preparations to prevent a woman-of-kleenex situation -- and I don't recall if the original film featured Clark sending Lois an engagement ring by courier posthumously which has no clear explanation for its arrival at that time.

* Relatedly, I think the writers have steadily missed ripe opportunities to explain Kryptonian superpowers (even if still somehow magically endowed by the yellow sun) as gravity shifting effects, allowing them to make themselves more or less dense, allowing them to project anti-gravity fields, etc. This would (more) easily explain why Clark can be (ahem) tubbing Lois: he just turns off or dampens down his gravity/density powers, like he does for being able to see and hear so much.

* Relatedly, when I was watching the gestation of Doomsday I thought, crap, if Lois and Clark have a baby this is what is going to happen! While it might just be more sloppy writing, there isn't much way to read the forbidden experiment dialogue other than Kryptonian + human DNA = baby Darkseid. I noticed Lois clutching her chest this time after receiving the ring posthumously, which might be just emotion but (given the clumsiness in the movie) might be meant as something more telling, too.

* Major Carol Ferris has more screentime than I noticed originally, although she still isn't doing much more than being namechecked. It occurred to me that one way DC could move forward with the Green Lantern Corps movie (slated for 2020), would be for Ferris to be given the ring instead of Hal Jordan. This would be kind-of in line with her character, who in the comics has long gotten the equivalent of Lantern powers from one of the other color-power things in the universe; and would add more diversity to the League (which still doesn't have any women scheduled beyond Wonder Woman). It would also break off cleanly from the bad taste of the failed GL movie several years ago and its terrible writing and mischaracterization of Hal Jordan. A closely related possibility would be that US Marine Jon Stewart (a fan favorite, including from the beloved JL/JLU animated series, and a black man) would originally be chosen to introduce the "corps" aspect of the Green Lantern Corps, but that for whatever reason Ferris ends up joining the League with Star Sapphire powers, allowing the GL character per se to operate out in space while someone else in the franchise is helping protect Earth.

This is all spitballing, but Snyder and the producers and writers like Geoff Johns have got to be trying to set up things long-term already: it's hard to believe Ferris is just a cute cameo.

* Speaking of setup, with subtitles I can finally make out what the Flash is saying in his dream/time-travel sequence. He has gone back too far, and is too early, dangit! Apparently it isn't saving Martha that Batman had to do after all, Lois is still the key; I thought the script might be trying to be clever about this. Since the Flash went back too far, we'll no doubt be seeing this happen again later when it means something more than a confirmation of Rogue Threat Superman.

* I was a little surprised that Snyder didn't include some variation of his "too dark" scenes, evidently filmed, where Superman searches for Martha. The film just jumps forward 40ish minutes, with no explanation. Then again, even a toned-down version might leave open questions of how incompetent Superman would be not to find Martha at known Luthor-activity areas like the Gotham docks where she's being held without any lead shielding to block his search at all! But this was a major fan expectation about being included.

* I need to go back and watch again, but Alfred counts 24 thugs guarding Martha and I'd be surprised if Batman fights more than 10. They're all supposed to be on the "third floor", too, and he goes in on the second floor, so... were there dropped scenes where half go downstairs and get stealth wiped before Batman comes up through the floor??

* Notably, neither the Ultimate Blu nor the Theatrical Blu (which has the special features) include any deleted scenes.

* Jimmy Olsen, CIAgent, is still a sad waste, but any few more moments of him on screen are still great.

* Randomly, I think they dropped aging sportswriter Steve Lombard (a minor but long-recurring comics character, dating back at least as far as the 70s when Morgan Edge acquired the Planet as part of a more relevant media conglomerate), so that Clark would take his place! This makes a lot of no sense. Perry White in the Ultimate Edition has Clark trying to do sports reporting on Gotham's loss to Metropolis in football playoffs, despite Clark (in his obituary) being a two-time winner of a national or international journalism award, the first person in its history to do it twice in a row! Perry White isn't written well at all in this movie.  :buck2:

* Relatedly, Perry keeps worrying about keeping a newspaper afloat in an age when no one reads newspapers anymore. But the Planet hasn't been merely a newspaper in the comics since (as previously noted) the 70s; in fact, Clark has often had a canonical television news anchor role! Perry's whining about Clark's anachronistic attempts at doing good investigative journalism (re the Batman situation in Gotham) are themselves anachronistic. Admittedly, it was always difficult to swallow that he could be a major news anchor and keep up with a hectic broadcasting schedule while also doing Superman heroics, not even counting so many people seeing his face all the time and not recognizing he's Superman -- he can't be a schlubby genius actor this way, although Eliot Maggin did his best to reconcile the current continuity situation at the time with Reeves' iconic Kent portrayal in his two great novels, Last Son of Krypton and Miracle Monday. But then, Clark doesn't try to look or act schlubby at all in these films either, so he might as well be a news anchor.

* Changing topics a lot, the final cut makes it a little clearer why Superman and not Batman or Wonder Woman had to be the one to deliver the Kryptonite spear: Batman can't even get near Babyseiday with all the energy exploding out and the creature's vast speed and strength; he's barely able to dodge when trying to distract him! And WW's lasso gives the best chance of holding him in place so that he can't protect himself against the spear; ditto Batman gassing him with the last Kryptonite grenade so he can't zap Superman incoming. It still doesn't make sense that Superman has previously (including like 60 seconds earlier retrieving the spear) shown himself to be unable to even do normal human activities around it (he needs help from Lois getting out of a pool!) But some of that comes from the plan to go the full Doomsday/Superman funeral plot between now and Man of Steel 2.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 05:46:23 AM by JasonPratt »
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Offline JasonPratt

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* Forgot to add: Pa Kent's cameo still makes no sense, and possibly less sense than before. Clark is clearly shown being in a Mexican or Central American or South American mountain range -- he walks (walks???) past some Spanish-speaking natives (and... maybe a non-native interpreter) on the way up the pass. They think he's going there to die. Pa is piling rocks, as in the theatrical cut, around some bit of twisted metal. No explanation at all is still given for this, although Jonathan has an extra line wryly commenting about how Kent men live on the prairie but go up to the mountains when they get upset. But never once does anything Pa says explain why this was someplace Pa had gone when he once got upset; much less why it would be anywhere in the Andes or whatever. (The flood story, which is admittedly great and explains a lot of Pa's caution about Clark being a hero, doesn't explain this still.) I kind of suspect this was meant originally to be a scene featuring Jor-El and a scrap of the mothership or something. That said, I still got a lot of feels when Clark and Pa miss each other.  O:-)

* Relatedly, when Superman meets Lois in DC after the bombing, talking about how Superman never existed but was only the dream of a Kansas farmer, that still makes no sense. I originally thought Lois had misunderstood him to be talking about Jonathan when he really meant to be talking about Jor-El, because Pa Kent had always been shown to be deeply ambivalent about Clark acting openly, whereas Jor-El was the one who effectively created the "Superman" character. But no, on rewatching it, it's all Pa Kent in the dialogue of that scene on the balcony. This seems in hindsight like a rewriting seam, pointing to Jor-El being originally mentioned in that dialogue, and so Russell Crowe being the ghost hallucination or whatever on the mountain.
FIRE IN THE GROGS TOO -- a four-player full team mp of GMT's Vietnam War boardgame Fire in the Lake, recreated in TTS.

The GROGPUBLIC OF ROME ongoing forum game thread

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Why Luthor Has To Be Annoying (and other defenses of Dawn of Justice)
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2016, 07:07:18 AM »
I called even more problems than Jeremy did! (Although he cheats a bit in only considering the theatrical edition.)




And on the other side:



Which agrees with my points about Luthor. Really, his justifications couldn't have been more spelled out, and do hew reasonably close to classic Luthor jealousy of Superman. Whether his motivations and (sometimes insane) rationales are a weakness in themselves can be disputed, but HE DOES HAVE THEM! -- he almost never shuts up about them!
FIRE IN THE GROGS TOO -- a four-player full team mp of GMT's Vietnam War boardgame Fire in the Lake, recreated in TTS.

The GROGPUBLIC OF ROME ongoing forum game thread

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR

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Offline JasonPratt

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Undead baby Darkseid ARRIIISSEEE!!

I'm putting this small update here instead of on the Justice League thread, because it deals with my theory that Snyder (and his writers) intended the "Doomsday" troll of BvS to be equivalent to a baby Darkseid, which I talk a lot about upthread.

Was watching a video commenting on wtf happened with the Justice League production (linked below), and noticed that at one point after JL's release (and the building grassroot fan call for Snyder to release a Snyder cut of the film), Synder tweeted out, "Yes, the real Doomsday is still out there somewhere."

He could mean a closer-to-canon creature created by mad Kryptonian scientists, referenced in the BvS film itself by the ship's computer (albeit a little indirectly); but considering how much the baby Doomsday looked and acted like a baby Darkseid then I'm going to count it as weight toward my theory.


FIRE IN THE GROGS TOO -- a four-player full team mp of GMT's Vietnam War boardgame Fire in the Lake, recreated in TTS.

The GROGPUBLIC OF ROME ongoing forum game thread

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.