Jeez, this is not good. The reviews are brutal …
(UPDATED 3/25/16: I’ve seen it now. So if you want to read my actual review, click here.)
I’ve not seen Batman v. Superman yet, so this isn’t a review. But I already have a LOT on my mind given that it’s at 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes as I write this …
1. What does this mean for the rest of the DC Films slate?
2. How can Warner Brothers stay the course with Zack Snyder?
3. If your answer to both of those is that it’ll have a huge opening and money talks, that’s true. But video sales will likely be way down, as will merchandising sales. And expect a gigantic drop-off in the second week. This presents a real problem from a business standpoint.
4. I usually like being right. This time, I don’t like being right. This movie has had a stink on it for ages and only one trailer gave me hope.
5. Whenever I write something critical about what’s now called DC Films, people accuse me of being some kind of Marvel fanboy. I’ll say it again: I’m a DC guy from the get-go — anybody who reads this site knows this. And it’s why this is so painful.
6. I am now officially in that “I’m only seeing this because I have to” phase. So I can talk about the movie itself with some authority.
7. I also hope I disagree with the vast majority of the critics. Somehow I don’t think that will happen.
8. Warner’s biggest problem is that it has bought into the idea of forcing DC’s square pegs into round holes. I have long pointed to the Richard Donner/Christopher Reeve Superman as the Platonic ideal. And one of the biggest reasons is that the first movie was released in the throes of the very cynical late ’70s — and it embraced the fish-out-of-water idea of an idealist hero in an ugly world. Abandoning that concept is toxic for most of DC’s characters.
9. Zack Snyder doesn’t seem to understand that Watchmen worked because it deconstructed the superhero foundation. It doesn’t necessarily work when you use it as the foundation for telling other superhero stories.
10. Maybe, just maybe, there’s hope. Snyder in an interview dismissed the idea of the sunnier TV Flash in his filmic universe. But The Flash (and Supergirl) are hits. At some point, the suits will hopefully decide to change the course.
11. Not that those shows are without their problems, but they at least embrace what’s made those characters endure for 50-60 years.
12. And it’s not that all DC heroes work as sunny archetypes, either. Batman is definitely not sunny. Despite my love for the Adam West show, the best Batman stories were written by people like Frank Miller, Denny O’Neil, Steve Englehart, Scott Snyder, etc. It’s all about balance.
13. No, I don’t plan on watching any R-rated, extended version at home.
Want some happier coverage? Check out our BATMAN/SUPERMAN WEEK Index, here.
March 23, 2016
Right on the money. I hated MAN OF STEEL very much. It’s a flawed movie that you either love or hate. I can’t help have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that this film won’t be good. Trying to keep an open mind since I’m seeing it tomorrow night. Will definitely know if the reviews are right by then.
March 23, 2016
I really enjoyed it. Just went to the Premiere in New Zealand last night.
I think DC is creating something magnificent at long last. The movie made sense….and the stunning appearance of Diana Prince, Wonder Woman with her clear incredible abilities and smile in combat….
Then we have those spoilers and Suicide Squad…
No one enters this realm to create something and epically fail the fans.
This is no mean feat. DC has a mythology that’s made for movies and dying to be translated into this genre.
If yiu see a new growth do t stomp on it and call it a weed before it has a chance to flower…. nurture the new beginnings… Movies evolve and improve…
Good work DC etc… more power to you.
March 23, 2016
Hpw can you write a review of a movie that you have never seen with your own eyes. Whoever you are you should NEVER be used as a crecible source.
March 23, 2016
I didn’t review it. I’m discussing the reaction by reviewers. That’s pretty obvious. Whoever you are, you should be more careful with your comments.
March 24, 2016
Yes, it will also be fascinating to see how WB reacts to it all.
March 23, 2016
On the other hand, here’s Forbes look at box-office potential and a review. Much more promising.
I seem to see the same critics who gave Avengers: Age of Ultron a pass or good rating savage BvS. However the same flaws they perceive in BvS were there in spades in A:AoU.
March 23, 2016
Here is a spoiler free review:
Zack Snyder has a interesting way of doing his films. Though Man of Steel has lots of exposition, the movie feels like a longer film that has been edited in such a way to fit it into time. It seems like you go into scenes late and leave early, without much room for colorful banter or extraneous filler. There is a version of Man of Steel that would have told the same story, more traditionally, but probably in 3 hours. Batman V Superman, in that same token, is like a 10 Episode Netflix Series cut down to 2.5 hours. There is very little exposition. Scenes move very very fast, and they show you the minimum of what you need to get the story. Now, I’m not saying this is a bad or good form of movie story telling, but it is different. This is not a Marvel movie, where there is a lot of humor. These people don’t have time for humor.
The only Arc is Bruce’s. Superman, Lois, and most of the characters are the same from beginning to end. Bruce is the only one with a real change which occurs.
This is a definitive comic book Batman, and one that is not explained. Forget about the images you’ve scene of Bruce’s parents in the trailer, they aren’t there for an original story. There is no origin. No explanation to why Batman is Batman, no room of armor from around the world, no mobsters and mysterious ninja’s talking about desperation and the will to act. He’s Batman with Alfred, who also isn’t explained. They are presented in a manner as if this is not the first movie you are seeing them in for this cinematic universe. Normally, this wouldn’t work. It totally works though.
The same goes for Luthor. There are a few hints at his history and past here and there, but overall not really any set up or explanation to him. A lot of people are worried about how silly he seems in the trailer, but that is in part a show, and though he isn’t what I would call the comic book or traditional version of Luthor, he is easily the most evil and interesting cinematic version to date.
The vast majority of the movie is about how we get to the fight of the century, what leads Batman to aim for Superman, and why Superman entertains the fight. Everyone knows some of the reasons why we go there from the trailer, but there are more that involve spoilers and twists. One that happens in the middle of the film comes completely out of nowhere, but is at the same time wholly supported by everything before it, and it takes everything to the next level, both in the eyes of Batman and our eyes of how we view Lex.
It isn’t a spoiler that there is a Doomsday, or how he plays into matters. The biggest concern about Doomsday is his look. All I can say is don’t worry about that, Doomsday totally works.
There are several points of applause. The first came in a nightmare Batman has. The next 3 come in very short distances of each other, and involve Wonder Woman’s mission. The next two applause points have to do with the fight we see at the beginning of the final trailer. This fight is what made everyone say to people who doubted Ben Affleck that they fucked up. Well, you only see half the fight in the trailer, and as a Batman fan, it brought a tear to my eye and had me saying out loud, Fuck Yeah! Also note, that fight scene we see in the final trailer, that is not just some throw away, “this is what Batman does” scene. There are no throw away scenes in this movie. That fight scene is intricate to the plot, unlike how the trailer may make it seem. The last applause is the climax.
There is a moment in this movie, the moment where everything changes for Bruce and Clark. It is the most stand out moment for me for the entire movie. It wasn’t a surprise either, as I kind of predicted minutes before about how it would happen, but in the way they did it, the words they used, made me realize something about both these characters I had never thought of before. I just never connected it, and it was right there the whole time, and it is so fucking brilliant. If you have the two greatest men alive fighting each other, one about to end the other, what is the one word that not only gets the other to stop, but turn him from enemy to brother. It is, to me, the most perfect scene in the movie, well earned from everything that came before it.
Where Luthor doesn’t get much set up, there also isn’t much time spent on his motivations. He’s the bad guy, accept it, move on. Though I recognize the story telling style calls for this, I still felt I needed a little more in this particular department.
Also his bodyguard Mercy is not utilized much.
Superman, for much of two thirds of the movie is very reactionary as opposed to pushing the story forward. It is more about what happens to and around him as opposed what he does. Of course, he’s resting up for Batman though.
Honestly, these are my only objections. Music is spot on, movie feels disjointed in its storytelling style, but all the pieces despite seeming random at times, they all work in the end. As I try to go back, I can’t think of one scene or part that isn’t intricate to supporting another part later on. In planning the movie, that had to have the fight first, and then worked backward to how each man got in this position, both from their experiences and choices, and it all works.
I’m not going to say it is the best Batman movie I have ever scene, because it isn’t a Batman movie. It is something I’ve never scene before. There is a lot I haven’t said, cause of spoilers, but Dawn of Justice is a very fitting title for the movie.
If anyone has any questions, PM me. I’ll add more thoughts I have as I dwell on it and analyze it more.
March 24, 2016
The Daily Beast has a crush on WW, tho: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/03/24/forget-batman-and-superman-gal-gadot-s-wonder-woman-is-the-badass-superhero-we-deserve.html