I’d like to start this article off by saying I enjoyed BVS. In spite of its shortcomings, BVS is a film for the true comic book fan. It takes traditional time honored characters and forces viewers to see them in a different light. It shows you their flaws, regardless of how ugly they may be. The way that Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are portrayed in this film, makes them relatable, more human. The symbolic meanings in this film run deep. It challenges the audience to see the Superhero film Genre as something more than just the typical formula of rock em’ sock em’ the good guys always do what’s right. One of the major elements of BVS is the personal struggle of Bruce Wayne. In this film, we find Bruce/Batman a troubled hero hardened by loss and the ugliness of the world around him. Plagued with nightmares and lacking hope, he has lost his way. Towards the close of the film we see that he may have found a glimmer of hope as a result the film’s greatest tragedy (Spoiler, Superman dies).
BVS is a film created with layers of meaning. In order to share some of them, I have to reveal a few spoilers.
The first layer that I discovered in this film is redemption and closure. Bruce was profoundly trouble by the loss of his mother Martha Wayne. I believe he found a sense of redemption and closure by rescuing Superman’s mother, Martha Kent. This action triggers a rebirth for Bruce/ Batman. I strongly believe we will see a more optimistic Batman in the future films to come. I think Batman will honor Superman’s legacy by showing mercy and being a hero by the book (I think his days of killing villains are behind him).
Another layer in this film is Lex Luther’s decent in unredeemable villainy. When Luther blows up his assistant Mercy along with everyone else at the Congressional hearing for Superman, it signifies the transformation of this character. It indicates his loss of humanity, and that Lex will no longer show mercy in his mission to destroy the heroes or anyone else that displeases him.
Along with the above mentioned layers of meaning, I believe that another overall theme to this film is broken children that grow into adulthood without managing to be repaired. The death of Bruce Wayne’s parents is the primary reason why he’s obsessed with being Batman. The violent loss of his parents stunted his psychological and emotional growth. The same could be said for Lex, as a victim of childhood abuse at the hands of his father. That abuse stunted his growth and prevented him from showing compassion towards others.
Clark/Superman is just the opposite. His optimistic sheltered upbringing has stunted him as well. It has made him ill equipped to deal with the fear and hate projected towards him by the public that he battles so hard to keep safe. The aftermath of the previous film, Man of Steel, has taken a toll on the hero. In BVS, he appears to be a shell of his former self. He seems detached and distant at times with the only anchors keeping him grounded to reality are his love for Lois Lane, his mother, and the unyielding need to do what’s right and honor his father’s memory.
In closing, I urge everyone that has seen this film to look past the sloppy storytelling and at times, iffy character dialogue, and discover the seeds that are being planted for the future DCEU. I am a Marvel fan at heart, but I believe that if the DCEU is allowed to flourish and grow, we will all reap the benefits. It will create true competition and raise the bar even further in terms of live action comic book projects. Comic book films and TV shows have come a long way and the element of competition, can only force the creators to do better. I give this film a solid B.