I haven’t seen Dawn of Justice. I have a wife who doesn’t give a shit about it, and a daughter too young for me to take her to see it, so my best hope is that maybe I can tell them I have to work late one night and sneak away to go see it before it’s gone from theaters in three weeks. But I haven’t even seen Deadpool yet, and frankly I’d rather spend money on that. But apparently I’m legally obligated to offer my thoughts on anything related to Superman in pop-culture, so here we go!
Dawn of Justice is a movie. It is undoubtedly a series of still images shown on a screen that creates the illusion of moving images due to the phi phenomenon. There is the possibility that the whole movie and marketing effort might be some manner of mass, collective confabulation akin to the Mandela Effect, but those odds are vanishingly remote. I can state with relative certainty that I can go down to my local theater, purchase a ticket, and watch this movie while ruminating how back in my day a matinee showing was only $4.50.
The premise of Dawn of Justice seems pretty straight forward. Warner Brothers, in a desperate gamble to prevent Marvel Studios from pushing their shit in even further, has cobbled together its own shared cinematic universe that is bound to confuse and alienate viewers, because it’s kind of maybe sort of the same continuity as their TV offerings, only completely not. I think? It’s difficult to tell.
Nick Dunne, cleared of suspicion in the disappearance of his psychotic and manipulative wife, has become insanely rich. He rightly views the near complete destruction of Metropolis wrought by capriciou god-like alien beings during the events of the climax of Man of Steel as something of a bad thing. So he reads Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and decides to emulate that approach to taking down Superman, and thus Batman is born. Or something.
Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg has grown some ridiculous hair, presumably because he’s upset that he’s so frequently mistaken for Michael Cena and Andy Samberg. He does his best to ruin the whole movie with his hammy antics, but also plans to ruin Batman and Superman’s day with some scheme to clone or resurrect the villain of Man of Steel and give them a common foe to team up against, probably somewhere around the midpoint of the second act (which, given that this is a Zack Synder movie, is approximately ninety minutes into the film). Then Gisele Yashar shows up in some sort of cosplay as Sophia from Soul Calibur and turns the tides of battle.
Everything that happens after that point has largely been kept from public view, but we can infer a few plot points likely to happen from their action figure tie-ins, which are renown for their fidelity to events actually depicted in a movie:
- Khal Drogo shows up at some point in the third act just before the climax, probably because the plot involves Zuckerberg having some sort of Captain Planet villain-esque plot to pollute the oceans or something. Judging by the action figures, at some point during the movie he gets some sort of wardrobe change and gets ridiculously inked.
- Holy shit, he’s only a few months older than I am. What have I been doing with my life?
- There is an Epic Battle, for which Superman dons some armor and gets a fucking battle ax. There is surely no way that my expectations can be failed on this one!
- Realizing that The Dark Knight Returns is pretty good, Nick Dunne makes the mistake of reading The Dark Knight Strikes Again, and gets the notion that kryptonite boxing gloves are anything other than ridiculous and stupid.
- Cyborg is in this, for some reason? Probably doesn’t even become a cyborg until the resolution when they all decide to form a team to set up future movies after being grievously injured in the final action sequence. Stop trying to make Cyborg happen, WB. No one cares about Cyborg. His name isn’t even a proper noun, it’s just what he is. It’s like naming Batman “Masked Vigilante.”
- Flash is in there, somewhere, doing something. Only it’s a different Flash than everyone knows. I mean, it’s still Barry Allen, but a different Barry Allen than the popular one that’s currently the live action face of the character. Because right out of the gate they fucked up this whole “shared universe” thing. I mean, Marvel’s TV shows don’t necessarily mesh with the movies particularly well, but they at least try.
- Lex Luthor puts on a green robot suit at some point because he’s Lex fucking Luthor and that’s what he does.
In the end, you may like it. Or you may be disappointed. You may possibly be mugged in the parking log of the theater. But either way, someone will have gotten your $12. Unless you pirate it, but then you are actively impairing the livelihoods of the people who put this thing together, and are thus history’s greatest monster.
The only winning move is not to play.