The critics lambasted Batman v Superman and used the words like it was an “expensive prank, full of narrative nonsense, bore of a movie, the plot is absurd, full of gloom and doom is just the pits, a momentum-less ode to uncreative people, extraordinarily muddled and boring, it’s shockingly joyless and overlong, dark, gritty and poorly acted, it is as drained of fun as it is of light and color, it is a profoundly dissatisfying film, it is a hot, steaming heap of trash, and this thing is atrocious”. It is amazing how many ways they can say the movie sucked. Critics Consensus: Reviews Counted: 319 – Fresh: 89 rate 3.5 or more out of 5, Rotten: 230 rated less than 3 out of 5.
What does it all mean why did the movie fail in their eyes? Movie critics. You know, the experts that have a higher understanding of story telling, plot development, and great film making that they break down for people like us.
When they know their stuff, they help us navigate through the sea of movies to watch, they also help us decide what is be worth our dollars, and help us make up our mind what could be a waste of time and money. When they don’t understand what they are watching and don’t do their homework about the subject of the DC Universe it becomes “boring and dissatisfying” viewing. The backstory is not clear in their minds and it becomes a bunch of “narrative nonsense”.
The Batman v Superman movie was clearly a reproduction of several great stories in the DC universe over the last 50 years and they are well done both in acting and production of the movie. Many of the story points were spot-on in line with outstanding story telling in the comics. The first that comes to mind is the story arc in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, where Superman and Batman actually square off. The reproduction of the Batman’s steel battle suit was a visual reenactment of the art work displayed in the comic itself. The Batman himself in Miller’s work was a seasoned older crime-fighter who is much like the character played by Ben Affleck in BvS who is no longer mister nice guy and would do anything to get the job done. The use of Kryptonite to weaken Superman is a key part in both stories. Superman being weakened by a hydrogen bomb is refreshed by light from the sun in both film and Miller’s story. Other similarities are too numerous to mention.
It is a dark story for the most part because the source material that the original story is based on was dark- especially for its time. The “Man of Steel” movie was very different from your beloved Christopher Reeve Superman. Muck like John Byrnes’ change in Superman after Crisis on Infinite Earths back in 1986 where Superman executes General Zod, Quex-Ui, and Zaora, phantom zone criminals in Superman 22.
Superman is still developing his code of conduct and is still immature in decision making and what to do with the great power he possesses. Dan Jurgens, Louise Simonson and Roger Stern’s The Death and Return of Superman series, this is where the most indestructible super hero of all time gives his life saving the world from Doomsday and that story is brought to us on screen in Batman v Superman. The film points to a gathering of heroes to stop a future threat of Darkseid (created by Jack Kirby of Marvel fame) the major villein in the DC universe on par with Thanos in the Marvel stories.
This DC cinematic reboot is Goyer and Snyder deliberately choosing not to go the Marvel route by making their story lighthearted and comedic. Hard hitting stories told in a serious, straight forward way. I mean really Marvel has had 13 movies about superheroes and a lot of time to educate the critics and unlearned non-comic readers about the Marvel universe. They have set the bar high and have produced some very good movies and Warner Bros. has produced 2 good movies that tell us a lot about the DC universe and the potential that is there. Yes the bad reviews kept many people away from viewing Batman v Superman and that is a shame but between 800 and 900 million dollars have been paid to see a movie that some critics thought was “atrocious”. Something does not compute and that must be a wake up call for people to check out the DC superhero universe on film.
There are some great scenes in the movie and the story is reflective of past stories that people loved so why do people use words like hate and awful to describe this movie especially the learned people we call critics. It is unfounded in my opinion and my only thought was that they did not understand what the movie makers were trying to accomplish. The emotion runs deep with the production of BvS, love it or hate it, it is the start of a new line of stories and Marvel is not the only show in town any more. There real fault in my eyes is trying to tell too much at once. It would have been possibly better if told in maybe two movies instead of one. Be that as it may, I was pleased with a movie that featured Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman in film. It is truly comic history made in our life time.
If you did not know what to expect and thought you were seeing a movie like Marvel and had little knowledge about DC then it is understandable why you watched it and thought it is all over the place and there was no unifying plot or point. The learning curve is steep but the rewards are bountiful with the rich superhero stories from the last 75 years. Stop the anti DC rhetoric which is undeserved and check the DC Cinematic area and find out what it is all about. Suicide Squad will be here on August 5, 2016 with director David Ayer and Wonder Woman will premier June 23, 2017 Patty Jenkins directing. Then the big one <i> Justice League Part One </i>November 17, 2017 directed by Zack Snyder. Join me at the theater and enjoy Comics Talk at comicstalk.com comic faithful. Walt Stiles