Massive, ginormous, hulking SPOILERS lie below. Do not read the following post if you want to keep 'Batman v Superman' untainted before viewing.
I'm fresh back from seeing [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870) in 3D, and emotions are running high. This is a polarizing movie — take four or five of your friends and prepare for an entire spectrum of responses, ranging from love to hardcore hate to sheer disbelief. One event that occurs later on in the movie, though, will get the same reaction out of every single member of the audience.
Before you read on, be aware that the night is dark (literally, every scene in this movie takes place in the pitch black) and full of spoilers. Ready? Okay.
Yes, they really went there...
It takes a filmmaker with extreme balls to make a movie titled Batman v Superman and then kill off one of its two leading men — especially when you consider that this movie is technically a Superman sequel. The Man of Steel is dead. Long live the Bat.
But before we talk more about Superman, let's talk about that other big shocker: the fact that Lex Luthor manipulates a man with no legs into attending a public hearing addressing the danger posed by Superman, and then uses him as a human bomb to blow up the Capitol, murdering hundreds — including Senator Finch (Holly Hunter) and his own personal assistant, Mercy Graves (Tao Okamoto) — in the process.
Any belief anybody had after seeing the trailers that Lex Luthor existed not as the "real" villain of this movie, or as comic relief, was blown away (pardon the pun) in that utterly breathtaking sequence. This incarnation of Luthor is as evil as any villain ever put to screen in a comic book movie, more ruthless and responsible for more bloodshed than even Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight.
To throw that curveball 75 minutes into the movie was a bold move, but also a smart decision from screenwriters Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer — it created the illusion of the film having spent its one big twist quota. And so when Superman died in the final act, I wasn't waiting for something major, leaving me with a sense of genuine shock.
Superman's death is massively significant for the DCEU for various reasons, not least of all that it establishes this universe as a pitch-black realm in which no hero is safe. This is not the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are no guarantees. The stakes feel infinitely higher.
The tinge of tragedy that surrounds the circumstances of Superman's demise — he'd already come back from what felt like death in orbit with Doomsday, and he effectively sacrificed his own life by taking the fight to Doomsday with the Kryptonite spear — also redeemed a character who in the eyes of some had been less than interesting in his previous screen adventure.
I went into Batman v Superman with major anticipation for Batman and Wonder Woman but little for the Man of Steel, but left with the feeling that Superman had made his mark on DC cinematic history in a way that he never could have if he'd lived. That's what makes Snyder's decision to kill his hero such a smart one.
I'm still processing this movie. A second viewing is required to make sense of everything. What I do know is that everybody must see it, even if the odds offer no guarantee that you will love it. It's an experience, and I feel certain that there will never be another movie in my lifetime quite like Batman v Superman.
But I want to know...