WB and DC’s mega-movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has finally landed into theaters and it appears that both critics and fans apparently hate it. I’m not talking about the outliers or the picky ones, but most of the general population, despite the film bringing in an impressive $166 million for the weekend.
We all know that box office numbers account for very little in terms of quality and if you don’t believe me then simply look at the Transformers franchise.
But what’s frightening me most is how ugly the conversation about Batman v Superman is, with topics slamming not just Zack Snyder as a filmmaker, but WB and DC in general and the lack of excitement for the upcoming cinematic universe.
And I must say that I’m quite shocked about the general reaction. I don’t want to sit here and claim that people are wrong or that they should give it another shot, because we all like what we like and if people don’t dig Batman v Superman then so be it, but I will come out and say that I enjoyed it and that problems or not I’m still looking forward to the upcoming DC cinematic universe, even if it could possibly be in limbo depending on how much the film drops off in its second weekend and how much negativity the studio will take to heart, because both critics and audiences are slamming it and calling it one of the worst comic book films ever and I simply have one question for them — have you see X-Men Origins: Wolverine?
I had my problems with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. For starters, I feel like it was a bit too long and that the script couldn’t settle on being Man of Steel 2 or The Hastily Edited Introduction to The Justice League, starring Angry Batman and sometimes featuring a confused Superman. But I still liked aspects of the film and I still see room for improvement.
Thinking back in comparisons to Marvel I honestly didn’t care for a bulk of the Phase One films (including The Avengers). Marvel got off to a very rough start, but at least they wisely did the origin stories before the mash-up of characters. There’s no denying that DC is trying to play catch up and that’s coming at the risk of diminishing the quality of their first real go at it, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t learn and adapt and hopefully turn out some much better work.
Snyder without a doubt fumbled on several occasions, but the film isn’t all bad. It actually contains a fair share of good things and improved things that I feel Snyder and DC higher ups will address as we move forward.
Below, I’ve roughly outlined some things that I’m looking forward to in the wake of Batman v Superman‘s negative reactions, because sometimes we need to shine a little light on the future and not cover it in darkness, even if the film itself was aiming at the grim and hopelessness.
One of the biggest complaints that came from the announcement of Batman v Superman was the casting of Ben Affleck as an aged and grizzled Batman/Bruce Wayne and yet one of the biggest positives to come from the film is his performance as the pissed off caped crusader that’s not afraid to snap a few necks. Yes, his Batman is much more dark and unforgiving, but I loved it and felt that it best represented Snyder’s vision for this new DC universe.
Rumors started to swirl about Affleck directing his own solo flick titled The Batman sometime down the road and I very much hope that happens. I’m curious to see if WB would try to make it a prequel to Batman v Superman or a straight-forward sequel, because there’s plenty of years missing in this new origin that I’d love to check out.
Affleck’s physicality and emotional darkness helped bring new perspective to Bruce Wayne, revealing a damaged billionaire playboy that’s not quite at ease with Gotham or the new enemies and meta-humans that are coming into fold.
It was also quite refreshing seeing Affleck’s Batman do a bit of detective work and actually show us both sides of the character. I’ve always referred to Christian Bale‘s Batman as my favorite, but he always lacked in the Bruce Wayne department, whereas Affleck clearly has both personas gauged and defined.
Not to mention his brilliant chemistry with Jeremy Irons‘ Alfred, despite Irons only getting a few brief moments to display his talents.
The Justice League
One of my biggest complaints with Batman v Superman was how it handled the reveal of The Justice League. I won’t spoil the details, but it felt rushed and half-baked and like the poorest of introductions to characters that are going to be very important down the road.
That being said, I’m beyond excited to see what Snyder and his team of writers do with where the story left off. They left Dawn of Justice at an interesting place and I hope they continue to explore those interesting concepts while tackling the next film.
I’m not as excited for the characters themselves, but I am excited for the general story and seeing how Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman fit in with the rest of them in the biggest DC film yet, in terms of scope and size.
The next DC universe film in the line up is David Ayer‘s Suicide Squad. Most have been excited for the film since it was announced, but I feel like now more than ever will eyes be looking to the film to hopefully clean up some of that messiness left behind with Batman v Superman.
Also, Suicide Squad will show us how other characters and properties can fit into the universe without having to directly tie into The Justice League.
Batman v Superman clearly had a lot on its plate, while Suicide Squad should be able to step back and give us a different look on familiar characters. Sometimes a smaller scale can make for a much more effective approach. Just look at Fox’s The Wolverine.
It’s also worth noting that Ayer wrote the script and is directing, which might reflect strongly on the end result, since most are throwing hate at Batman v Superman because of its poorly written script, which had many hands in it.
Hans Zimmer & Junkie XL
This might be a stretch here, but I hope DC continues to use unique composers to score their films. I absolutely loved Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL‘s work on Batman v Superman and I hope that trend of original and distinctive tracks continues with Suicide Squad and future Justice League outings.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice proved that no amounts of money or pooled talent can equal an instant success, both critically and financially. The characters themselves might ensure WB that they’re going to at least make some coin both domestic and internationally, but will audiences willingly come back for more sequels and solo films if they absolutely could not stand your first film?
Time will tell how much of an impact Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice had on the newly-created DC cinematic universe. My hopes are that director Zack Snyder and all of the writers and producers hopefully learn from this backlash and apply it towards future films.
I really hope that WB doesn’t come out and announce a shuffled version of their once planned universe because of the critical backlash and I really hope that they don’t simply abandon the darker universe for something more kid-friendly like Marvel, because I truly love the options and I feel like both universes can co-exist and thrive as their own.
I feel like some of the darker decisions might’ve been made simply because Snyder wanted to make something more “edgy” and “different”, but that he maybe made those decisions for the wrong reasons. I also feel like starting such a massive universe with one film was always going to be a recipe for disaster, despite the talent involved.
But I feel like good things can come from this film.
There are strong elements present in Batman v Superman. Affleck’s Batman is proof enough that he could easily tackle his own film now or lead The Justice League with ease, while Wonder Woman’s brief moments showed that Gal Gadot can at the very least play the role effectively in a team-up situation, even if her solo film should probably be the true test for her performance and the character’s effectiveness on the big screen.
It pains me to say this, but I think Zack Snyder either needs to be replaced or needs to be teamed with more competent writers and producers. He’s a true visionary and gives Dawn of Justice a strong look, even if he bogs it down with dream sequences and overly dark colors.
His storytelling methods have always relied heavily on source material and perhaps his future scripts need more fine tuning and less rushing and universe building. The man clearly seems like he’s tackling way more than he can handle and perhaps a break is in need or at least a fresh approach that isn’t so heavily disturbed by higher ups trying to make the perfect franchise.
Watchmen and 300 had no problems showing his love for comic books and strengths as a storyteller, but Man of Steel had its fair share of problems, while Batman v Superman only made those problems worse.
Here’s to hoping that The Justice League corrects some of these mistakes and that maybe the eventual R-rated Director’s Cut will introduce plenty of needed deleted scenes that Snyder was forced to cut.
I know that most will disagree with my willingness to be so positive and accepting of such a film, but I really do feel like Batman v Superman was an okay film that’s been getting slammed by too many and now the bandwagon effect is taking off and people are just piling onto it for the sake of it.
Does it have problems yes? But does it have moments that are good? Definitely. Now let’s give DC that same chance we gave Marvel after watching how bad their films could be with the release of Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The First Avenger. Perfection takes time and I believe that DC is a few years away from making something as good as Marvel, while also making something completely different and enjoyable.
I’m excited for two cinematic universes to co-exist at the same time. We’re living in golden era of comic book movies and it’s only going to get bigger and better.