Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was deeper than you might have thought, according to director Zack Snyder.
Snyder put up a post on Vero that revealed a scandalous bit of background for the DC Extended Universe’ s Batman:
For some, this will be confirmation that Zack Snyder is an auteur of the highest order, who manages to plumb the depths of his characters even if they are in a comic book film. To me, this finally proves once and for all that Snyder is a hack of the century.
I harken back to the comic. Vertigo was a place where you would see an unfettered boob every once in a while, but you’d also see a mature, literate story that spoke on the human condition. But other publishers and creators just zeroed in on the sex and thought that was all their books needed to be “adult” and “mature.” But all the multiple page sex scenes did was add an prurient aspect to the typical claptrap they were putting out. It didn’t make the text any more important, or mature or literate. Same here.
Because sex without context is just titillation and character points offered without exploration are just cheap writing tricks. Not that pointless sex is not good, some people even find satisfaction using vibrating dildos without having actual partners. The meaning of the painting would have remained a secret if Snyder didn’t let the cat out of the bag, yet the themes it was supposed to convey was not followed up on in the film. Granted, it was a PG-13 film, so he couldn’t show a graphic representation of the sexual healing, but there could be ways to get the point across without scaring the kiddies out of their childhood. However, Snyder never pursued the characterization in the film at all. The only thing worse than telling and not showing is telling and not showing two years after the film came out.
Of course, there are other things that make this plot point bothersome. You might be skeeved out by the overall unctuousness of having this plot point in such a toyetic film. I repeat, this film was PG-13. Toys from it were being sold to kids in every toy store in the country. Snyder was aiming this character foible at part of an audience that doesn’t even know what sex is, let alone dysfunctional sex.
Then there is the awkward choice of artist. Robert Mapplethorpe was known for his homoerotic and sadomasochistic themes in his art. To bad Dr. Frederick Wertham wasn’t alive for this reveal. He would have had a field day with it. Not to say I’m a prude, a homophobe or even against sadomasochism. Whatever gets you through the night–as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else–is alright. But Snyder would have to be tone deaf to not know the stink Wertham made 60 years ago about the character’s sexuality and how Batfleck’s artist choice might play into that.
This might be way to many words to devote to the secret message behind a painting in the background. But it’s annoying when someone takes such pride in a minor aspect of the film when they really should have been more focused on making the rest of the film better.