Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is being released this Friday (tomorrow, in fact) and the film has begun to do what many comic book fans had feared: BvS is getting a lot of bad reviews and press.
Possible spoilers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice up ahead.
It really all started with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel in 2013. Snyder was looking to completely reinvent the character, as was the studio, and the end result definitely did just that. Henry Cavill’s Superman was and is not as much of the boyscout as the character has been in previous films. Many critics, as well as comic book fans, complained that the film was too dark, too serious, not fun enough — and then there’s the collateral damage controversy.
Batman v Superman picks up where MoS left off, with the film addressing the damage Superman had caused to Metropolis, which is an incredibly smart move. However, according to early critic reviews, Batman v Superman has even more problems than Man of Steel did, which is not good at all. This is the film that is leading up to The Justice League Part One, and because feedback has been so mixed and negative, it’s only going to make things harder on the superhero team-up movie.
It looks like things might get better with Warner Bros. later on this year, with David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, and I also think things will get better for the DC Extended Universe once Zack Snyder is no longer directing films. There are still plenty of people who have not forgiven him for his 2011 bomb, Sucker Punch, which was followed by the very mixed and problematic Man of Steel. Now that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is also getting poor reviews, it’s looking like Snyder might be the common denominator here.
Snyder now has three problematic films in a row, all with a huge budget and meant to be blockbusters. BvS will easily be the most financially successful out of all of them, but the DCEU is off to a shaky start. I can say that Marvel Studios released Iron Man in 2008, which was met with glowing reviews and did well financially. The Incredible Hulk, however, was met with more mixed reactions and didn’t do incredibly well at the box office. Comic book fans also point out the number of issues that are in 2010’s Iron Man 2. In the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios definitely had some bumps and bruises, but it doesn’t look like they match the wounds Warner Bros. is currently receiving.
So, if Ayers’ Suicide Squad is able to turn this around and critics and fans alike all end up loving it, it would first prove that critics don’t just have a bias against DC Comics films. I would hope they don’t have a bias, and if everyone loves Suicide Squad, the problems with BvS and MoS might be able to be solely attributed to Zack Snyder. If Ayers and Patty Jenkins (who is directing Wonder Woman) can make DCEU films that are critically successful, it will absolutely turn all of this around.
“This is their big shot on goal. You assume this movie should do better than all the individual character movies: you’ve got huge buildup, huge anticipation,” according to senior research analyst with Cowen & Co. Doug Creutz. “If this film doesn’t do well, if it doesn’t get people involved in the universe, I suspect most of the other films are going to struggle. And that goes beyond the box office. It goes to how people feel when they’re walking out: Were they excited about it? Would they watch more?”
Batman killing people in Batman v Superman will probably be just as controversial as the collateral damage in MoS. Zack Snyder has already confirmed that his Ben Affleck Batman kills in the movie, but he explains that he tried to handle this “by proxy.”
“I perceive it as him not killing directly, but if the bad guy’s are associated with a thing that happens to blow up, he would say that that’s not really my problem,” Snyder says.
Batman v Superman will no doubt receive plenty of backlash for this by diehard Batman fans. Regardless, they’re going to go see the movie this weekend and make up their own minds on the film, which is necessary.
Wonder Woman is slated to debut on June 23, 2017. Suicide Squad opens August 5, 2016.
[Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures]