Tuesday, August 2, 2016

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Batman v Superman Scenes 51-53

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Martha's abduction, Batman and the bat signal, and Lois's abduction from Batman v Superman.

  • Martha Kent and Nancy Grace
  • Batman's meticulous fight preparation
  • The batsignal as an instigation for Superman
  • Batman as Lex's Knight
  • "Every time we say goodbye" song connection
  • Everything coming up Lex
Thanks to Alessandro Maniscalco

Suicide Squad Reviews

Man of Steel Answers, Suicide Squadcast, DCU_Club subreddit

<Transcript of the episode>
Welcome, fans of the Justice League Universe. My name is Sam. In this podcast, Alessandro Maniscalco and I share our analysis of the Warner Brothers movies that are part of the Justice League Universe.

Although reviews are coming out today for Suicide Squad, we are going to focus on a few more quick scenes in Batman v Superman. But before we do that, I do just need to say that, thus far, Suicide Squad is pulling in decidedly MIXED reviews, not overwhelmingly negative reviews. Don’t let people try to spin it as a huge negative reception from critics just because it isn’t a positive slam dunk. Right now on Metacritic, the average is right around the middle of the spectrum and there are actually mostly mixed reviews, and then there are more positive reviews than negative reviews. So straight-up negative reviews are actually the least common of the three categories.

Anyway, you can read some more of my reactions to the reviews on my blog, http://comicandscreen.blogspot.com/2016/08/processing-suicide-squad-reviews.html, but the important thing will be to see the movie so that we can decide for ourselves what we think about it.

And in the meantime, we have the brilliant work in Batman v Superman to continue analyzing. Here we’re going to cover four scenes that are prior to Lex’s helipad scene. Scene 51 is Martha Kent’s abduction. Scene 52 is Batman preparing the space for his fight with Superman, and Scene 53 is Lois’s abduction.

So let’s go through these quickly. In Scene 51, Martha is finishing up her shift at Ralli’s Diner. The diner location is actually the Hygrade Deli in Detroit, Michigan. On the TV, again the media represented as a main character like Zack Snyder said, we see Nancy Grace playing herself and doing what she does best -- implying the worst about people based on limited evidence. She refers to Superman using air quotes, on the screen it asks “Superman involved?” because the media can’t be accused of libel if there’s a question mark, and Nancy suggests that Superman is guilty in some fashion because why else would he disappear. So again, we see people debating about and judging Superman, even though he did nothing wrong at the Capitol.

Martha is seeing this, and it’s her son they’re talking about, so it must be painful to watch. Then, with this on her mind, Martha exits and is picked up by Lex’s men. In terms of chronology, we can assume that this is somewhere in between Clark on the mountaintop and Batman igniting the bat signal, but we don’t have to assume that it’s the exact same night that Batman turns on the signal. If it is the same night, Martha’s abduction could be fairly early and she could be flown back to Metropolis by the middle of the night. And the Batman-Superman fight, the Martha rescue, and the Doomsday fight could all be during the late night hours. It could also be that Superman is gone for a few days and Martha is actually abducted the night before.

Note that Superman is gone, so Lex had probably been waiting for Superman to be out of the picture to give his order to kidnap Martha. Then, either that same night or the following night, he has Lois picked up as well, as we’ll see in a second. Also, Alessandro noticed that Martha never really had a chance for a solid scream, so even if Superman’s hearing did reach that far, which is doubtful given his powerset in the movie universe, there was really nothing for him to hear.

Scene 52: Batsignal (1:25:50)

Next, we see Batman in the rundown yet grandiose setting that will be the location of his fight with Superman. That fight will start on the roof but eventually move down into the depths of the building. Batman seems to anticipate these events in the fight as he walks across the great hall and plants his Kryptonite spear in the floor. This is the insertion of the sword into the stone, which we’ll pick up on later with analogies to King Arthur.

Comic book fans will really appreciate the foresight and preparation of Batman, because these are hallmarks of his character and it is also a nod to some of his past fights with Superman in the comics, especially The Dark Knight Returns fight, of course.

Batman goes to the rooftop and he turns on the bat signal. This of course immediately makes us think back to Superman’s warning to Batman in Scene 35 when he said, “Next time they shine your light in the sky, don’t go to it. The bat is dead. Bury it.” As we can see, Bruce is not willing to accept the death of the Batman side of himself, just as he’s not able yet to accept his parent’s death and his own feelings of failure. Those issues have led him to this point where he is initiating a fight with Superman.

Aside from all that, though, this is just some great visual work from Zack Snyder and Larry Fong. The rain, of course, sets the mood having swept in from Washington DC, and it will later move to Metropolis and the Doomsday fight, as well.

The ironic thing here in Scene 52 is that Batman thinks this is his set-up, where he’s two steps ahead of Superman. But we pull out to see Lex watching on from the helipad in Metropolis, and Lex sees that things are playing out just how he wanted. It is actually Lex who is playing Batman. Lex says, “The knight is here.” This is a great line with a triple meaning -- the night as in this dark moment, and literally night outside, but also the knight as in Batman, the dark knight, and third, the knight as in the chess piece. Just as Keefe was Lex’s pawn, we can now see that Bruce is Lex’s Knight -- they’re all his chess pieces that he’s moving into position.

Scene 53: Lois’s abduction (1:26:40)

And finally we have Scene 53, with Lois taking the subway home after work and going down an escalator. An ominous man steps onto the escalator behind her, just out of focus. In front, there is another man buffing the floor.

The music playing in the subway system is Everytime we say goodbye I die a little, by Cole Porter. We should remember this song so that we recognize it when Knyazev quotes it to Martha in the warehouse. And it’s a fitting song here, because Lois and indeed the world are separated from Superman, and the song is about how the happiness of being together can be reflect in pain while separated, and that through separation, we can realize how much we love and appreciate the other.

Lois, with her journalistic instincts and fearlessness, recognizes Knyazev and comes up to talk to him instead of just walking on. This is where the memorable face of Cullen Mulvey that we mentioned way back in the African scene really pays off. He turns around and we know immediately who he is. In the Extended Cut, there’s a bit more footage here of Lois’s abduction, and if I remember correctly, they put her into a van that is marked “Terrio Janitorial.” This is a pretty funny reference to Chris Terrio, the co-writer of the film.

So now we are ready for Lex’s big helipad scene and that scene has been set up brilliantly because he had the Capitol bombing, which was a truly evil yet effective triumph for him, and now he has collected all the pieces for himself. He has Martha and Lois and he has positioned Batman right where he wants him to be. I am just so impressed by Lex as the villain in this movie. We also know that he has something cooking with Zod’s body, so he really just seems capable of anything at this point and everything seems to be stacked in his favor. It’s hard to see how our heroes are going to be able to come out on top.

No comments:

Post a Comment