As a general rule of thumb, I prefer my movies to be entertainment as their primary function. That being said, I do enjoy entertainment that makes me reflect and think. This movie accomplished that. It was entertaining by and large and also caused one to think a bit.
We see the movie touch on and recognize issues in our world today, immigration, unchecked power, unilateral use of force, and more. It is worth the watch to see those things played out in a fantasy setting in order to perhaps examine them, or reexamine them, in your personal life. There are a couple of concepts here that I want to touch on though.
First there is the idea of unchecked power. Superman is a force to be reckoned with and acts on his own outside of any sort of authority. He unilaterally uses force when, and as, he sees fit. That is something to think about. Now it is superman and he is a good guy so it’s ok right? The thing about it is that if we are to have any sort of consistent moral standing, then the idea is what is at the core of a thing, and not who is exercising the idea. If using unilateral force is acceptable, who gets to decide when? A good question to ponder and one brought up, but not really answered, in the movie.
Second, there is the concept of man as opposed to God. No, Superman is not God, nor is he Christ, but it is fairly obvious that he is presented as some sort of messianic figure. Understanding that Superman is presented as a god like figure, then all human attempts to contain or restrain him are doomed to fail…except they are not really as the god is eventually killed by mortal man and his creation. Nietzsche would be proud. That is really what is being explored here I think.
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125
There is not enough space to try and get at all the the German philosopher is trying to get at here, but feel free to take a few minutes and dig into it, it is worth the time. At a very basic level though, is the question if god is dead, when then replaces him?
Third, there is our view of heroes. What is a hero? Is it superman who causes untold property damage and acts on his own as he sees fit? Maybe Batman who admits he is, and has always been, a criminal? Could it be wonder woman who quit for a hundred years or so because she did not like the way the world was? While entertaining and thought provoking, in many ways the movie did not involve a hero, rather it did involve a few people who did what was necessary when it was necessary. Then again, maybe that is precisely why they are heroes?
Some style notes. I did not like the way wonder woman was handled. The backstory felt very incomplete and I was hoping that we could have a female superhero who was not half dressed. To their credit, the firm makers made her costume fairly, by comic book standards, modest. To bad the dresses they introduce her in were not.
Lois showing up just in time to stop the fight between Batman and Superman felt forced and overly sentimental. Bat man suddenly stops because he finds out Superman’s mother’s name was Martha? Didn’t really work for me.
It was great to finally, after a full movie and about 2/3 of another one, to see superman act like superman in the final fight against doomsday.
I was not offended by Affleck as Batman. I was not thrilled with the level of gunfire and such employed by him however. I understand on one hand there is a move to try and make things grittier and more real. On the other hand, there is an alien super being and an amazon princess using a sword, shield and magic rope…give batman more toys and get rid of the guns. It works better that way.
All in all I enjoyed the movie and would suggest it to mature audiences. It is entertaining enough to sit through and also thought provoking enough to talk about after.