Why I’ll never stop talking about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
By Armann Latif
With the imminent release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, I thought it would be fun to revisit his 2016 movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. But before that, let me provide some context, just so you know where I am coming from.
My earliest memories regarding media of any kind are of me and my cousin, in my grandfather’s house, watching Toonami on Cartoon Network. One of the things that was frequently aired (along-side stellar shows like Megas XLR and Samurai Jack) was Bruce Timm’s Justice League Unlimited. The outside world was cold (because it was winter) and scary (because it was Pakistan) but we would be warm and safe watching cartoons. The house would be filled with aunts and uncles and family friends, and for a kid, securely tucked into my little ‘kid world’, these times were perfect times. Clearly, when it comes to superheroes and superhero movies, I have a bias. Perhaps my obsessive defence of BvS: Dawn of Justice is, in some way, a frantic attempt to save the parts of my childhood that still seem incorruptible.
Or maybe I defend it just because it is awesome. The film is an incredible iteration of the larger than life and deeply complex archetypal deities of the DC extended universe (DCEU). The attention to detail by Snyder and his team is godly and heart felt; they have absorbed these characters, allowed them to marinate in their imaginations, and birthed onto the screen nothing short of a cosmic renaissance of DCEU magic. The story took its time and introduced us to a world in which gods walked among us. It elegantly handled the truly chaotic and gritty nature of our reality and explored how moral goodness could exist alongside, very real and undeniably human, evil. Perhaps the characterizations fail to wholly line up with those that have come before, but this movie engages in the exploration of superhero mythology in a way that does not take away from the mythology itself. We see an older Batman; broken down and lost. We see a Bruce Wayne terrified and warped by the existential crisis that comes with the realization of a Superman. We are introduced to Diana Prince, a Wonder Woman that possesses both the grace of royalty and the furiosity of a warrior. We see a Man of Steel confused by mankind’s tendency to implode, sacrifice himself, satisfied in our species value by virtue of our ability to love. Superman isn’t just a symbol of hope; Superman is the personification of hope in humankind. The movie is a testimony to the undeniable, intrinsic value of love and loving, as well as its intimate connection to moral goodness. I guess I like Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice because when I watch it, I feel as optimistic about the world as I did when I was a little boy in Pakistan.
On top of that, the characters look slick. The costumes and props for this movie make me tingle with excitement, I even own the Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice: Tech Manual. That is not an attempt to brag, if anything it is just a testament to how utterly un-dateable I am. It feels strange to be a 21-year-old not only writing, but passionately writing, an article on a superhero movie. But for the moment at least, I am content in my views. Will this article come and haunt me later this week? Yes, probably. Will I write another, equally over-dramatic article about something else no one really cares about? Yes, probably; and I look forward to it.