Welcome to Part three, where I continue my discussion of Man of Steel and begin talking about Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
In Part two, we explore the movies that came right before the Man of Steel, as well as some of the failed attempts to kick off the Cinematic universe. We also begin discussing Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.
Marvel and it’s related characters are copyright © Marvel Entertainment
DC and it’s related characters are © Warner Brothers.
So, after giving it a lot of thought, I have decided to jump into the world of video blogging.
The video blogs will not be straight up reviews. Instead they will be more analysis. I will be using them to explore things going on in the industry of film, as well as look at popular film series and explore them.
The first video for the Tripping Through Gateways blog turned into a series. I did not realize as I was writing it just how long it was going to be. So I broke it down into seven parts. Part one actually explores the landscape preceding Man of Steel. This is the only video in the series to deal extensively with the Marvel Movies in any form of contrast, and it mainly for the purpose of exploring DC and Warner Brother’s progress with their shared film universe.
However, as I state in the video, this is not about Marvel vs DC. This is not a proclamation on who is better. I enjoy the characters from both Marvel and DC. And I want to see DC have real success. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Matter Eater Lad deserve that much.
Shazam! art by Doc Shaner
New Gods art by Jack Kirby
Ultimates art by Bryan Hitch
Marvel and it’s related characters are copyright © Marvel Entertainment
DC and it’s related characters are © Warner Brothers.
The Nazi’s are on the march across Europe. In the French city of Dunkirk, the Allies have been beaten back. The British and the French are trying to get out before they are overtaken by the Nazi armies.
The British are waiting for ships to arrive and bring the troops home. But they are facing regular air barrages from the Germans.
The Allies recruit boats from local small boat captains. They go on their way to try and retrieve the soldiers, and at the same time, a small group of British pilots try and provide the boats cover.
The film starts with breaking down the story into three parts. Earth (where the soldiers wait), sea (following a boat on it’s way to Dunkirk), and air (following three pilots). When you see the immense number of soldiers waiting for rescue, it becomes clear why Nolan made this choice. On the ground, we follow Tommy and Gibson, two very young soldiers. They are trying to get on a ship, and end up getting bumped to the front of the line when they risk their lives carrying a wounded soldier on a stretcher to a medical boat. But the soldiers face a horror as German planes bomb the ship and they can only watch as a ship full of wounded men sink into the sea.
We also get to see the concerns of the top officers who are trying to get their soldiers out. While they are making every effort, they are given some instructions that trouble them. Specifically, they are told to leave the French soldiers behind.
The sea focuses on a small vessel driven by Mr. Lawrence, Peter and George. Early on, they pick up the only survivor of another ship that has been sunk. This soldier (Cillian Murphy in a role credited only as “Shivering Soldier”) is terrified when he finds out they are going to Dunkirk. We never see exactly what he has witnessed, but he is adamant they return to Britain.
Air is focused on pilots Farrier and Collins. They are two of three planes trying to shoot down as many Germans as they can and save as many soldiers as possible.
On it’s face, Dunkirk seems like an odd choice of World War 2 Events, Most World War 2 films seek to focus on the great victories, especially against great odds. And, certainly, there is an aspect of that here. But Dunkirk was a moment in which the Allies faced a defeat and had gone into retreat.
However, it is clear to see why the British see this as such an important moment of their history. This is about finding hope and unity in moments of great defeat. It does not shy away from the cruelty of war, even though it is never as graphic as say, Saving Private Ryan. Nolan looks at the demons of war, but also sees where humanity can shine. We see men, both soldier and citizen uniting to survive. To get back alive and rebuild.
Nolan’s use of audio, both in sound and the music, are in top form here. The intensity is constantly building as music blends with the sounds of ships and planes. Much of Dunkirk was actually filmed on the beach of Dunkirk, adding to the reality and weight of the film.
Nolan has created a powerful epic that looks at the destruction, both physical and emotional, war will do…and sees where humanity can triumph in the face of that adversity. And he manages this looking at a moment when the good guys were facing a resounding defeat.
It was becoming clear that Nolan was planning to form a trilogy. The Dark Knight ended with Batman on the run, taking the blame for Harvey Dent’s death. It suggested Batman would be hiding in the shadows in his fight against crime. There were no real casting controversies this time. Generally, people seemed okay with announcements of Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway.
After the Dark Knight, people seemed to trust the team making these films. So there was much anticipation when the Dark Knight Rises arrived four years later.
And right from the start? The film kicks off with a nice little plane hijacking by the villain Bane. This Bane appears to be a pretty brilliant criminal and Occupy Terrorist. And yet? The terrific setup from the Dark Knight is not used at all. The film picks up eight years later with Bruce Wayne having retired Batman. The police did their job, so Bruce retired the persona shortly after the events of the Dark Knight. Apparently, no weird bad guys appeared after the Joker. Wayne is in rough shape, physically speaking. The years as Batman took a real toll. He catches Selina Kyle busting into his safe during a party, Kyle is a morally ambiguous character. She is a thief of course, but she is not entirely without conscience.
Commissioner Gordon is deemed a hero, but this is eating away at him…and he keeps a letter on himself at all times confessing what really happened to Harvey Dent. This certainly could have been a real damning situation. Admittedly, I felt it would have been better to bring Two Face back as the central villain, out to humiliate and expose (and destroy) Gordon and the Batman.
Bane starts to wreak havoc on Gotham’s social and financial districts. Forcing Batman out of retirement and into a confrontation, Bane breaks Batman’s back and tosses him in hole. Ultimately Bruce Wayne must climb to the top to get free. The film is a bit on the nose.
It turns out that Bane is teamed up with another villain, who is revealed to have ties from the first film. And their plan just makes no sense. They trap the entire police force underground and plan to blow up a bomb.
What makes the Dark Knight Rises so disappointing as a followup is that it is incredibly sloppy in it’s storytelling. How and why things occur are not fully thought out. The film is full of exciting sequences…but they don’t bring the film together. The film is heavily focused on being a “last Bruce Wayne” story for the Nolan version. But the villains activities don’t really have a satisfying connecting moment. There is, technically, an “Ah HA!” moment. But it still leaves a lot of Bane’s overly elaborate scheming kind of pointless.
As a follow up to the Dark Knight (and Batman Begins) this is a well cast movie full of plot-holes to the point of Swiss Cheese. Catwoman is a fun character, and Hathaway’s performance is great, without drawing on earlier film versions. Freeman, Cain and Oldman are great in their roles, vital to the enjoyment of this film. As a fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, he is always welcome, and his tenacious cop Blake (in spite of a “groaner” of a name reveal at the end) is likable…he is also pretty obvious the out of they wanted to make a fourth film without Bale, as the Bale Batman seems to have run it’s course. That Bat Voice starts to grate on a viewer, especially after three movies.
I wish Nolan’s series could have ended on a higher note, but that was not meant to be. We have a movie with some fine performances, some good action scenes and a rather hard to buy into massive plan by villains even taking into account this is a movie about a guy dressed as a bat.
The recasting of Rachel Dawes with Maggie Gyllenhaal might have been the biggest casting controversy if not for the announcement of Heath Ledger as the Joker. Oh, the internet exploded. And then the movie came out and made a lot of people eat crow. The late Heath Ledger gave one of the best takes on the Joker. An anarchist who just wants to watch the world burn, The Joker starts out appearing like he is trying to take over the mob, only for them to be shocked as he proves he does not care about their goals at all.
The Dark Knight improves on the action scenes, showing how much Nolan learned. The story is mostly quite strong. They introduce the heroic Harvey Dent, a new DA with no fear of the mob…causing Bruce Wayne to question if Batman will be necessary any more. Of course, Dent is doomed to be twisted into a brutal caricature of justice.
The Dark Knight is full of twists and turns, as well as challenging questions in regards to spying and information gathering. How far do you go to stop someone? Admittedly, the film tries to have it both ways, allowing Batman to go to far, but for it to be a one time deal.
The film also struggles a bit with exactly what it wants to do with Two Face…and it really squanders an opportunity that could have played into the next film. While the Joker story line seems so carefully plotted, the Two Face story line just feels rushed. But in the end, the overall film ties together nicely.
As noted, Ledger’s Joker borders on brilliant. The performance is downright unnerving, helped by musical queues that make it feel all the more disturbing. The returning cast are all excellent, and Gyllenhaal holds her own (as pretty much the only woman of consequence in the film) with heavyweights like Oldman, Freeman and Caine.
Nolan has shown Great vision for Batman, and only improved on Batman Begins. It is an intense and exhilarating ride of a film.
It took until 2005 for Batman to return to the big screen. From the start, we knew this was going to be a more serious take on the character than the previous films. They were starting over and taking their inspiration from Batman: Year One. Warner Brothers brought in Christopher Nolan (director of Following and Memento) to craft a Batman for the modern movie age. They started to announce their cast and people started to get excited. Christian Bale. Gary Oldman. Liam Neeson. Literally the most controversial casting choice was Katie Holmes…and that was more after the film was released.
Batman Begins is a refreshing take on the character. It followed closely the stories such as Year One. And instead of going with villains we had already seen, they opted for two that had not been used in film before. Ra’s Al Ghul was a longstanding comic book Bat Nemesis who ruled over the elite league of assassins.
Young Bruce Wayne struggles to come to terms with the death of his parents at the hands of low level thug Joe Chill. He plots to kill Chill, but is convinced by Rachel Dawes (Holmes) to not give into the revenge. So Bruce drops off the grid and wanders the planet getting into scrapes and apparently lots of prisons…until he meet Ducard, the mysterious emissary to Ra’s Al Ghul. After training with the league of assassins, Bruce discovers that the League has plans to erase Gotham off the map, believing it is beyond saving.
When Bruce returns to Gotham, he decides that he needs to use his training to combat the decay of the mob and other criminal activity. The film also focuses on Detective Jim Gordon and his attempts to deal with corruption inside and outside his force. As Batman, Bruce Wayne realizes he has an ally. Of course, the League of Assassins has no intention of giving up their plan.
Nolan was not known for being an action film director prior to this, and it shows. Sometimes things are to tightly framed making the action hard to follow. There are great action sequences, but there are times where they are not as easy to follow.
The story is not hard to follow, and unlike previous Batman films, the multiple villains does not ruin the pacing. And how the villains are tied together makes sense. Nolan and his time understand how to intertwine the elements of a tale.
The film is also nearly perfectly cast. Bale sells the notion of a man with a singular purpose. Michael Caine’s Alfred is a new and unique take on the character in film and television. He is a bit rougher and has a military background. You can see he was hired as much for his strength as his support. He can be tough, wise and gentle when it is called for.
And then there is Gary Oldman’s Detective Gordon. He is struggling to try and keep things together, but not out of incompetence, but simply because Gotham is falling apart and the seems, and at times, he seems alone in trying to stem the tide. It is great to see the movies finally elevate his presence. He is a far more important to the Bat Mythos than Burton or Schumacher ever seemed to realize.
As Ducard, Neeson brings an self righteous arrogance that sees him in a role of dangerous judge and jury. Lucius Fox is played by Morgan Freeman in one of those Freeman roles where he is wise and underestimated. Cillian Murphy’s psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Crane is creepy, even before he dons his Scarecrow mask. Holmes is the weakest link. It is not that she is terrible, but she is out of her depth with the rest of the cast.
Gotham is no longer a hyper stylized city with crazy architecture. Instead, it is a rundown city, with a recognizable look that could be the streets of a large metropolis. It is very effective.
Batman Begin’s is a solid start to a new series of films. It is the path I wish Bryan Singer had followed with Superman. We are introduced to an exciting world with much potential (as hinted in the final moments of the film).
No, really. Smith recently commented on Batman v Superman. He had the following to say:
“The movie I felt like didn’t really have a heart. It was certainly f—–’ humorless, there was nothing funny going on in that world whatsoever.”
And you know what? He is right.*
I get what Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan were trying to do. They were trying to make this major hard edged epic film. They were trying to make something that “transcended” popcorn and super-hero movies. When asked why there was no post credit scene in Man of Steel like Marvel does, Nolan scoffed and stated that real films do not do that. He walked it back a bit, but I suspect he meant it when he said it. And of course, Snyder can be endlessly quoted about the epic tone and nature he is trying to create for the DC Movie universe. That tone is big, full of grim consequence (though it is dishonest to pretend Marvel’s world lacks consequences, as the films are often having results that impact other films as well as their various television shows). This, of course makes it rather hilarious that Warner Brothers defended the critical reaction to the film by claiming it is just fun.
While I tried to remain spoiler free in my review? This is not going to avoid them. At. All. If you want to see the movie (or Man of Steel for that matter) yet, and do not want anything-including the end of the film-ruined? Stop reading.
Man of Steel was pretty problematic in how it set up Superman. First there was the whole troubling Johnathan Kent stuff. Johnathan had some genuinely great moments of fatherly kindness. When Clark asks if he can just keep pretending to be Johnathan and Martha’s son, and Johnathan responds with “You are my son.” That is a perfect moment. Yet, just moments before, Pa Kent suggests that maybe Clark should have let his fellow students die in a bus crash, rather than risk exposure. Rather than be saved by Clark, Johnathan lets himself be engulfed by a tornado. Clark could have saved him and they could have explained it to the towns folk in Smallville as…well, an amazing story of survival.
Clark does not appear in costume to the world until after Zod arrives. You might not think it matters, but trust me, it creates a problem for Batman v Superman. It would have helped the story immensely if Superman had some heroics before Zod arrived. It would build Superman up in the eyes of the public.
In Batman v Superman, we are first introduced to Bruce Wayne during the Superman and Zod fight. And this is, in fact a great scene. Wayne is shown as aggressively, passionately devoted to protecting his employees. He helps a man pinned by a beam, he saves a child from falling debris. This does set up an understandable distrust of Superman and Superman’s power. But when we meet his alter Batman…well, Batman has hit hard times. Batman has become bitter and vicious, now branding criminals with his batarangs. He is mired in bitterness and anger. Batman is kind of at odds with Bruce Wayne. Bruce is a man we see saving people. Batman is a guy brutalizing people and marking them for death.
This is not necessarily an entirely invalid presentation of the character. A lot of critics note how he shows little regard for killing people. And this is true, but the idea that he is to busy trying to fend off a whole lot of guys who are trying to kill him is pretty fair. It is kind of like asking why a soldier shot a bunch of guys shooting at him. Batman actually is mostly a fighter. And the scene where he saves Martha Kent? Awesome. When he tells Martha “I’m a friend of your son’s”? That is something I wanted to see in a movie featuring Batman and Superman.
But I digress, the problem with introducing us to this Batman as the entry into the new DC Cinematic Universe? We get hints of a backstory that implies Batman has been through hell and lost a whole lot. And yet, we are never introduced to the hero that Batman was, which would open doors to juxtapose with the hero he is now. It has no weight to simply hint that he has “gone through hell”. We needed to know Batman for this to resonate.
It is similar with Superman. We get brief shots of him coming in to save people in disasters. But we have not known Superman as Superman long enough for the questions about his “godhood” to come into play. And his alien nature is more heavily focused, how distant he is. Clark seems to have little humanity of his own, with Lois practically his sole tether to humanity. Although Snyder suggested killing Zod was to show why Superman abhors killing, one of our first acts of Superman in the present is to save Lois from a warlord by slamming into him at full speed pushing him through multiple walls, an act that most certainly would have killed the man. This was a terrific opportunity for the filmmakers to be creative in saving Lois from the guy in a non-lethal way, but they opted to have him casually take the guy out. So, killing Zod did not cause Superman to take preserving life all that seriously.But that is not what the scene is for. It is set to show Superman being setup as dangerous.
By giving us very little Superman time as hero? It pulls the rug from the potential emotion and ethical questions being posed. These are big questions, but we do not see enough of Superman as heroic savior to truly sell the hero worship that some people are supposedly rebelling against. We know there is distrust because the film makes a point of telling us there is. Superman does not seem to enjoy helping people in this universe. He seems to almost do it begrudgingly. He always looks so serious in the moments we see him saving anyone. Superman barely cracks a smile. There should be a juxtaposition between Superman and Batman in attitude. Superman should be questioning the methods of Batman. In an early John Byrne comic, there was a story where Batman and Superman first meet. In the comic, Batman forces Superman to help him by suggesting that he planted a bomb on an innocent person in the city. Superman is bothered by this…until he discovers that the innocent person was Batman himself. It was a really good moment in establishing their overall nobility and where they were ultimately on the same side. Superman is the beaming hope, Batman is the hero needed to deal with the darkness in life.
And yet, Man of Steel and Batman v Superman give us a Superman who is every bit as grim as Batman. One of the things that might have helped is if, in Superman and Batman’s first meeting, Superman had been less the authoritarian and more friendly guy trying to reason with Batman. Superman trying to reach out, being rebuffed by Batman would encourage Superman to be frustrated, as he cannot get through to Batman. Batman, of course, so distrustful that he has no time for what he misinterprets as a false piety.
Also, it would have been better, story-wise, for Superman to bristle at the God talk. He should have refuted that point, but whenever anyone calls him a God? He seems totally indifferent.
But there is nothing really separating Superman and Batman besides powers. Both are angry. Both are insolent and self centered. In fact, Batman (the greatest detective) and Clark Kent (the great investigative journalist) both are easily manipulated by Lex Luthor. Both are easily goaded into fighting. Superman at least has a decent reason, Luthor is threatening to kill his mom. Batman is sent off the edge by a package that pokes at his personal pain (the loss of his parents). He does not question it, he just assumes that it is time to take Superman out. Frankly, the inciting incident makes no damn sense. Luther sends in a guy to testify against Superman and the guy is basically a powerful bomb. This would appear like an assassination attempt on Superman, not like Superman acting as terrorist. But in Batman’s mind the right thing to do is not to try and determine who blew up the court room killing a countless number of people…it is, “Superman must be stopped.” This is a messy story point at best. It makes no damn sense for Batman to fall for this at worst.
Luthor is more than a bit of a mess. They were clearly trying to re-invent him as a new character we have never seen before…but it never comes together…he is to much the petty child, bitter and oblivious. They try and give him lines that make him sound like he has motivation, but the truth is? It all feels hollow. One bit of inspiration would have helped the character was to really invest him with a sense of nobility. A belief that he was really doing this to protect people from alien threats. That he distrusts aliens and therefor distrusts Superman. And that is not effectively done here. Eisenberg’s jittery performance leaves him feeling a lot less ominous. And he stoops to kidnapping and willing to kill Martha Kent (in a pretty clear nod to the Killing Joke, but substituting Martha Kent for Barbara Gordon and Lex for the Joker). It just makes Luthor seem cheap. I am not saying Luthor would not kidnap Martha. I am saying a strong Lex Luthor would not allow the kidnapping to be traced to him.
In my second viewing of the film, I found myself frustrated with Perry White. On the one hand, Fishburne has a lot of fun with the role. His reactions when he cannot find Clark Kent is some of the few times you get to laugh. But at the same time, Perry White being absolutely uninterested in hard news seems…wrong.
Honestly, there was no need to have flashbacks to Martha and Thomas Wayne being killed. That was so hammered into us in previous films and television…and nobody has found a way to make it feel like a necessary sequence.
Please understand, I wanted to totally be wrong about this movie. I wanted to believe maybe they cracked the code. And for a few moments at the beginning (aside from the unnecessary showing of the Waynes getting killed)? I thought we were on our way there. People have actually suggested the lack of humor is a good thing. It is taking the themes seriously. Except, humor is not only something we turn to in good times. In fact, we often turn to humor in tragic times.
As I have said, I do not think the film was an absolute disaster. I think the 29% Rotten Tomatoes rating is a bit overdoing it. And I do not have quite the hate for Snyder that some do. The visuals are nice. There are shots that, yes, inspire excitement. Cool shots of Superman and Batman…and Wonder Woman? She is great. She comes out of this unscathed. Part of that is the film barely develops her. But she is cool in the big fight with Doomsday.
Some critics, such as Kyle Smith of the New York Post claims that Batman v Superman is to smart for Marvel fans. Except, I am a Batman fan. I am a Superman fan. I am a Wonder Woman fan. I like these characters. But attempting to suggest that this film is just to heady for folks because it deals with big themes? Well, that ignores that it does not deal with the big themes very well. And Marvel films are constantly addressing the end results of what their heroes do. The attack in New York (from Avengers) was addressed in other Marvel Films and TV shows. The heroes constantly question what they have done. Age of Ultron was all about how far is to far to protect the world. Civil War is all about how people are afraid…the results of heroes running around without supervision. And we have seen Tony and Steve enough that we know those characters. We have gotten to know them. There is emotional punch to seeing them in conflict.
And in the end, that is what Frustrates me here. We have a Superman who does not really consider earth his home until the last moments of the film-right before he dies at Doomsday’s hands. And this Superman? We have barely known him as an audience. And we have known this Batman even less. If WB had been building up to this over the course of several films? Do you realize what a gut punch this movie might have been? We had Man of Steel and he is killed one movie later because Zack Snyder wanted him out of the way to allow Batman to build the Justice League. And it all feels far too calculated, there is no power to the beats of the film. If Ben Affleck’s Batman was one we were connected to prior to this film? It might have been very powerful. The film skates over this by giving fans iconic imagery to fall back on. Those great moments are not great because the film earns them, but rather the film cheats by expecting the audience to fill in the blanks with an excited reaction to “Scenes We Always Wanted to see!”
I wish that Batman v Superman was smarter than the Marvel movies. I wish it was as epic in it’s storytelling as it is in it’s visual representations of famous comic book panels and covers. I wanted the movie to be great. It thrilled me when early reports were that this was an awesome film, not anything like we feared. But when you can say “It is not as terrible as people say, but it was not that great” and it is a defense? Well, that is how folks defend a movie like God’s Not Dead. My first viewing of the film, I told someone that Marvel has nothing to fear at this point. My second viewing did not really change that.
I want WB to start making movies at least as Strong as the Avengers or Captain America: the Winter Soldier. This movie is not it. Maybe the extended cut Blu-ray will change my mind a bit…but I am not holding my breath at this point.
*Since I started writing this? Smith saw the film a second time and basically said he found the film’s heart…it was in the audience. And I am sorry…No. That is a terrible defense. The audience should not have to bring the heart to the film.
Preface: This is a review I wrote two years ago. I have, however, edited it a bit.
And lo, there was much controversy and arguing. So it was I saw finally got around to seeing the tale Man of Steel. Zak Snyder, David Goyer and Christopher’s grimmer take on the Superman mythos.
In a lot of ways, this is a response to the toughly reviewed Superman Returns. One of the cries was “more action” and boy do we get it.
First, the good. I think Henry Cavill did a solid job as Superman. The film spends it’s time focusing on a Superman who is not working for the Daily Planet, but rather Clark Kent roaming the planet and saving people. It is borrowing an idea from Mark Waid’s terrific Birthright…and while not quite as nicely executed, it makes sense to use it as a reference.
The film opens on Krypton, one like we have not seen in previous film or television adaptions. I am pleased to see they opted to break free of the influence of Donner for this film. It is a Krypton that has evolved to genetic engineering, something scientist Jor-El seeks to set his son free of. This happens in the midst of a military coup by General Zod (Michael Shannon). He and his followers are sent to the Phantom Zone, shortly before the destruction of Krypton.
Amy Adams is a tough and fearless Lois Lane who is on the trail of the mysterious hero. I liked her quite a bit in the role. She was aggressive and dedicated to finding her story. I also felt Zod and Faora were solid characters. As Superman’s parents, Russell Crowe, Ayelet Zurer, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are all quite strong. Lara’s role is short, but she is strong and full of courage. Crowe is mainly there for exposition, but he makes it work.
The visual effects were great, seeing Superman use his powers was exhilarating. I truly had fun watching him use his powers.
The tougher stuff…while I liked Costner, I had the same problem with Man of Steel as I did with Smallville. Pa Kent is obsessed with “keeping the secret” which extends to “let people die”. This is troubling on a lot of levels. The action in the film is relentless, giving little time to catch our breath. The characters are also given little space to grow, so we get familiar, but new sketches, rather than full blown character moments. And the destruction becomes numbing…it is just to much.
In addition, Superman never appears as Superman until after Zod arrives. Clark runs around saving people, but once he dons the costume, he saves one person directly, otherwise he is busy fighting Zod and his army. You might ask why this matters…but if we had Clark appearing in Costume before Zod arrives, saving people and stopping crime, that establishes him.
We as the audience have every reason to see Superman as the good guy. We get it, we have seen Clark use his powers to help people. But in the world of the film? The citizens of the world have no reason to trust Superman over Zod. Donner’s original Superman film had a great sequence of Superman doing all sorts of heroics. And it allowed us to see the city of Metropolis becoming excited about Superman. We have seen from the teasers that in Batman vs Superman they plan to explore the motif of hero worship. And this could have set that up.
The other problem was, this feels like Nolan filtered through Snyder. I like Nolan, I liked his take on Batman…but his Batman was grounded in a fairly real world idea. There was no room for a Superman or Wonder Woman in the Nolan Bat Universe. I also liked Watchmen by Snyder. But between the two, they created a Superman world of darkness and paranoia. Even the color schemes are digitally washed out and bleak. This is still slightly better than Stalker Superman.
In the end, I still enjoyed this more than Superman Returns. It is imperfect, but not salvageable for the continuation of Superman.