Face Off: Batman v. Superman vs. Suicide Squad

Welcome back to Face-Off, ladies and gentleman, Joblo’s exclusive feature that gets you as close as you can to legal cockfighting. Last week saw the duel between two of sci-fi’s greatest sidekicks, Groot vs. Chewbacca, which ended in a tie, causing much looting and rioting. But a memorial foundation has been set up in name of the victims of said pillaging, and it’s time to move on to this week’s match-up which pits two movies more controversial last year than ladies in plumber costumes: BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE vs.SUICIDE SQUAD.

These were two movies ranked high on “most anticipated” lists heading into 2016, with one delving into the DCEU in a big way and the other acting as the extended universe’s answer to GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (same release slot; focusing on an obscure band of rebels; aimed to be unique in style; had a soundtrack filled pop hits including Spirit in the Sky, etc.). Though raking in big numbers at the box office, both received a critical lashing and caused much panic in fans looking for a worthy contender to Marvel’s MCU. But there's no real point in comparing anything from the DCEU and the MCU, as they're two different beasts with different styles. No, these two titans can only stand up to each other, and it's time to see who's got the stones to come out the winner.

Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman
Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
Amy Adams as Lois Lane
Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
Laurence Fishburne as Perry White
Diane Lane as Martha Kent
Holly Hunter as Senator Finch
Scoot McNairy as Wallace Keefe
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn
Will Smith as Deadshot
Jared Leto as The Joker
Viola Davis as Amanda Waller
Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag
Ike Barinholtz as Griggs
Jay Hernandez as Diablo
Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang
Cara Delevingne as June Moon/Enchantress
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc
Karen Fukuhara as Katana
Adam Beach as Slipknot
Zack Snyder has been spearheading the DCEU since he took on MAN OF STEEL years ago, a job that has been met with mixed reception, if we can put it nicely. The man knows how to film dudes punching each other, that’s for sure, but his penchant for mixing the earth-shattering chaos with moody atmospherics was seen as a negative in STEEL, and unfortunately it took on a more bloated form in BVS.
David Ayer, who both wrote and directed SQUAD, seemed like he had a lot more to juggle than just making an ensemble flick featuring a band of villains. However, if one quality he has as a director/writer shined through the darkness it was his ability to get a large cast to work fast and loose with each other, offering at least some great banter in between the destruction and keeping the pace brisk.
After the destruction of Metropolis Bruce Wayne/Batman takes it upon himself to try and find a way to ensure Earth’s protection should Superman ever have a bad day. Meanwhile Clark Kent/Superman is investigating the Batman and doing lots of sulking while Lois Lane is investigating Lex Luthor to find out why he’s so obnoxious. In the end Batman and Superman fight and then team-up. Sorry, my head hurts now.
After the destruction of Metropolis Amanda Waller pitches to the government the notion of putting together a team of baddies to do their bidding should Superman ever have a bad day. Then one of the bad guys (Enchantress) turns into CGI Shakira and does what bad guys do and forms an army of pimply, puss-filled lizard monsters. The team is then assembled and lots of bantering and action ensues and the bad guys save the day.
Anytime there’s an action sequence in a Zack Snyder movie the environment it’s taking place in will never look the same after it’s over. BVS is destruction galore, and with the exception of the final battle against Doomsday (which looks exactly how you think godly heroes fighting a mega monster against a green screen would look) the movie has some pretty clean, well-rendered effects. The fight between Superman and Batman looks seamless and almost believable, and the Batmobile has never looked so cool barreling after criminals.
Though the budget for this movie was around $170 million (compared to $250 million for BVS) one wonders if that all went into The Joker’s knife budget or backup leggings for Haley Quinn. The movie’s effects often look hammy and cheap, whether its helicopters crashing for the 11th time, plastering Delevingne’s face onto a Big Mouth Billy Bass, or yet another “blue beam in the sky” climax. Smith’s Deadshot even described the latter as being surrounded by a "floating pile of garbage." Yep…seems about right.
Characterized by a progressive series of “thuamp” and “dun...dun dun dun DUN!!” sounds, Hans Zimmer’s score at least gives the DCEU some sort of sound to stick to, which is something even the Marvel movies don’t have. Sometimes even taking hints from THE DARK KNIGHT trilogy (see the shipping dock chase), Zimmer's score is able to give the movie a sense of epicness and scope, if not without sounding repetitive. Oh, and Junkie XL had some input somewhere, I guess.
Like I said earlier, SQUAD tried hard in obvious ways to be like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, a big giveaway being the infusion of pop hits into the movie. Of course you can never go wrong with Queen or Kanye West, but from the movie’s first scenes it’s a bombardment of song after song like a road trip mix tape your “cool” aunt gave you.
A distinguishable plus from BVS is the bevy of “superhero moments” that fill up the two and a half hour movie (which I will cover next). But that’s the thing…this movie is two and a half hours. This isn’t new in the genre, but there’s so little to make that runtime a smooth journey. For every explosion there’s two scenes of Superman sulking, and Batman doom-hinting. The movie will go down in the annals of comic book movie history for seeming to have a massive stick up its ass, and though it has cool moments the aforementioned story makes it just a chore to sit through. Plus resisting the urge to punch the screen when Eisenberg is on is a true test of fortitude.
SQUAD will probably sit better with audiences as time goes on than BVS simply because it’s easier to pop in and have fun with. The cast works well with each other and the humor lands more often than not, which is great because most of the movie relies so much of the team communicating with each other. Sure, there’s a lot of walking from incoherent action set piece to set piece, but the brisk pace keeps the train chugging. And who honestly could get bored watching Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn?

Bruce Wayne runs into the destruction in Metropolis.

Superman saves the day in grand montage form.

Knightmare sequence!

Batman v. Superman…all glorious five minutes of it.

Batman raids the warehouse to save Martha and the film.

Meet the other members of the Justice League.

Pre-Justice League vs. Doomsday...mostly thanks to Wonder Woman's presence.

Extended Cut: Lex Luthor and Steppenwolf.

Meet the Squad.

Deadshot mows down some monsters.

Any scene with Batman.

Every Harley Quinn body shot.
Both dissenters and fans of BVS had something to look forward to again after news hit an extended cut of the movie would be released, the hope being some of the plot holes would be filled, and it could raise to the ranks of the LORD OF THE RINGS extended cuts. Though there are some gaps in the story filled thanks to more scenes with Amy Adams’ Lois Lane investigating Luthor and Clark Kent investigating Batman the movie will always remain clumsy and bloated; with the extended cut it’s just more coherently clumsy.
The recently released extended cut of SQUAD seems like more of a pandering to fans who shelled out for the BVS cut. Nothing really noticeable is added here except some more Quinn/Joker moments, but they’re mostly pointless and drag the movie on longer than it should. Same goes for most of the extended scenes with the rest of the cast. Just because they have more lines doesn’t make the movie better. In the honor of BILLY MADISON, I award this cut no points, and may God have mercy on its soul.
Batman v. Superman
This result stands as a testament to the purpose of Face-Off, as it eliminates preferences based on off-the-cuff opinions, requiring a thorough look at both opponents. Case in point, my personal preference, gun to my head, is SUICIDE SQUAD. This is a decision mostly made out of determining which lobotomy is less likely to leave me pissing myself uncontrollably, but frankly it’s just an easier pill to swallow than BVS. However, story aside, BVS was just a better made film when you get down to the nitty-gritty of it. From how it sets up the DCEU, to the bevy of awesome comic book movie moments, this is the movie the folks behind the universe took more seriously. Whether or not they did a good job will be up for debate until the end of time, and history will probably be kinder to SQUAD. But BVS proved Ben Affleck could be a great Batman, and if it doesn't deserve a prize for that then I don't think I can live in this world anymore.

Agree? Disagree? Which do you prefer?



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