‘Batman v. Superman’ is definitely not for kids, or even some adults

Reviews of the new 'Batman v. Superman' movie have been mostly split. Except for all these negative ones.
Mar 26, 2016

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  • "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" is every comic book fan's dream. Finally, after all these years, moviegoers get to see the two superhero giants clash in a battle to the death on the big screen.

  • Unfortunately, children may have to miss out.

  • The new film, that debuted Thursday night with a $27.7 million opening (the seventh-biggest midnight opening of all time), according to Forbes, tells the story of, well, how Batman and Superman finally fight. The film shows Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) and Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) struggle to accept the other hero's place in the world, leading to an inevitable clash between the two titans, as well as a final confrontation (with the help of Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot) against the villainous Doomsday.

  • The movie's opening numbers were high and the projected weekend earnings look good. Reviewers have mostly praised the film's cinematography, saying it's unmatched by any other superhero film. And while reviewers remain mostly split about the movie overall, others have mentioned that the movie is a really fun ride and isn't meant to be an overall masterpiece. So, in a way for some superhero fans, it works.

  • But some reviewers have pointed out some fatal flaws with the film, specifically that it has so much mature and adult content that it is unsafe for families and children.

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  • For example, CNET's Richard Trenholm wrote that the film "isn't the superhero movie your kids deserve." The film's director Zack Synder creates a grim and dark superhero world, one that is a "very grown-up vision" of the DC Comics universe. Not only is it loud, complicated and long, but the film also doesn't give children any sense of hope, or a movie that they can look back on in the future in a positive light.

  • Movies with superhero characters often define how a generation views that character for the future, Trenholm wrote. People who grew up with the comics would see Superman and Batman in a much different way than kids of today would see the characters based on this most recent movie, in which Superman and Batman are both dark, gritty and adult.

  • So "if the dark vision of 'Dawn of Justice' creates the definitive version of Superman and Batman for this generation's kids, I feel sorry for them," Trenholm wrote. "My friend asked me if he could take his 6-year-old to see it. Nope. No way. The endless philosophical chat, the unremitting doom-laden score and the brutal, graphic violence will surely inspire more sleepless nights than daydreams that a man can fly."

  • In fact, Trenholm said Superman is not the "beacon of hope" that we're all accustomed to. He's shown as a troubled god in the movie, one that's almost like a "more evil Prince Charming than kindly benefactor."

  • The same can be said for Batman. Most comic book readers and moviegoers know the moral code behind Batman, specifically that he doesn't kill. That's not the case with this Batman.

  • "He drives round in a tank, pancaking and barbecuing cars full of henchmen, spraying bullets all over the shop, casually sending grenades and knives back the way they came," Trenholm wrote.

  • But it's more than just issues with the characters. The movie is packed with profane language, including violence that "just becomes brutal" and a "very sexual scene" at the start, according to Trevor Norkey of MoviePilot.

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  • The film also has an anti-religious message, Norkey wrote. In the film, Superman is billed as a god and Batman is heralded as a representation of humanity.

  • So, being that this is the case, one of the film's antagonists Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) continually trounces on religion.

  • "Some of the characters, especially Lex Luthor, give off a very anti-religion theme throughout. They do this by consistently referring to Superman as 'God' and referring to Doomsday as 'the devil,'" Norkey wrote. "Luthor goes on and on about how humanity needs to overcome and kill God, even if it means siding with the devil. No matter what religion you follow, this is not really a good theme you want to put in your child's head at an early age."

  • It's not too surprising that "Batman v. Superman" doesn't fit with the family friendly model. After all, the other recent comic book film "Deadpool" wasn't for families, either. As I wrote for Deseret News National, that film was packed with raunchy comedy and graphic violence. And, like "Batman v. Superman," the film received negative reviews from some media critics because it didn't resonate with family friendly audiences, who enjoy comic book movies.

  • "We're a little bit unapologetic in how raunchy it is because you shouldn't bring your 6-year-old to see this movie. Unless you're a very irresponsible parent," Paul Wernick, one of the film's producers, told Time magazine.

  • Of course, your child should know the darker versions of Batman and Superman seen in "Batman v. Superman" aren't the only ones that have existed. In fact, there are a number of versions of the characters that have shared positive messages. Here's a look at 10 positive moments from Superman and Batman we've seen throughout popular culture history.

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  • That time Batman saved Superman

  • In one of the animated Batman series, the Dark Knight actually saves Superman when the Man of Steel is held up by Doomsday.

  • That time Batman saved Jim Gordon

  • As Jim Gordon walks precariously on thin ice, which is supposed to break and kill him, Batman returns and saves his friend by taking out some thugs and letting the city know he's returned.

  • ... and John Blake

  • Batman didn't just save Gordon in "The Dark Knight Rises." Here's an early instance in the film when Batman saves the day for his friend John Blake.

  • That time Batman saved Aquaman

  • During the "Justice League" animated series, Aquaman finds himself incapacitated and close to death due to lack of water, but Batman arrives and saves the day.

  • That time Batman saved Selina Kyle

  • In "Batman Returns," one of the Tim Burton Batman films, Batman rescues his love Selina Kyle in a rather tricky yet clever way.

  • Superman saves a plane full of people

  • Yeah. Superman didn't always cause havoc like he does in "Batman v. Superman." He actually once saved an entire plane.

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  • ... and a train

  • Oh no! The train's going to run off the tracks.

  • Enter Superman.

  • Superman saves his own love

  • Like Batman did with Kyle, Superman also saved the love of his life, Lois Lane, in a rather clever way.

  • Superman saves Metropolis

  • In this 2006 film version of Superman, the hero returns to Metropolis and saves everyone who lives there in a rather miraculous move.

  • Superman saves John Henry Irons Steel

  • So some steel workers find themselves under attack, until Superman comes along and rescues them all.

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Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

Website: https://twitter.com/HerbScribner

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