Ten days into the Batman v Superman extravaganza and it’s breaking all kind of records and causing a massive rift between fans and critics. The movie is one of the most disputed movies that have come to mainly because it was a movie that I had a different opinion in the two times I watched it. Here’s some reasons why it’s so split among everyone:
Catered to the Fans: there will be a big difference of viewing pleasure depending how much you know or care about the DC universe (not just Batman and/or Superman). We all love Wonder Woman but there were so many other easter eggs and cameos that many viewers may not have picked up on or limited their understanding on what the *bleep* was going on. Regular fans may piece events together especially if they’re updated with the comics…
“Dark” Tone: DC Comics’ last update of the DC universe involved a darker or more serious kind of world as well. The “scowling Superman” and “thuggish Batman” impressions in this Zack Snyder-directed film were met harsh reviews specifically with Superman. But this is all personal preference. The lack of comic relief is definitely a flaw but whether you agree with the pessimistic-like quality of the tone or still expect the traditional “fun” superhero vibe like from Marvel. DC wanted to sell a more serious story.
Plot over Characters: in story writing you can go either way: develop a strong characters who are fleshed out and developed slowly but strongly over time or a plot-focused story that sets into motion event after event sometimes at the expense of developing characters. Clearly, the movie went with the second approach. But things like a new Lex Luthor coming out of nowhere without background or even developing his motivation seems too steep of a price to pay.
Editing and Director’s Cut: it wasn’t so much the plot that really did make the movie shaky. The editing didn’t pace the film well and exacerbated the fact there was like three different stories all that shifted throughout the movie.
There were some serious inspirations from major Batman and Superman stories most notably Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, another which is a major spoiler and Injustice: Gods Among Us (the dream sequence). But a Director’s Cut to be released later has about 30 minutes of extra footage that could piece the stories better together. Here’s hoping at least.
Criticisms on the film’s editing, storytelling and lack of character development seem fair but for bashing the entire movie because it wasn’t the usual “fun” type of superhero fair is utterly delusional. Critics often like to see new elements incorporated into genres but apparently not on this one. With superheroes it’s hard to sell a more serious tone just for its fictitious nature but the characters have to be in line with the maturity of the world now.
The movie was also intended to be more of a “Batman film” and Superman just happened to be his co-star. So the typical dark tone of Batman movies was set. Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy was heavily praised for its maturity despite the dark nature of its story and that’s what this film followed with. Future movies may not be as dark.
The second viewing definitely made it better but it definitely isn’t a masterpiece and just because you have the three most iconic superheroes in one movie doesn’t mean it will be. But it’s worth noting all the major characters were played very well by everyone.
Cavill is solid as Superman. Let the haters, hate. He is right for this time. Gal Gadot captured Wonder Woman well in her short time. Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor is really controversial but he was brilliant and had some of the most interesting lines in the movie. And finally of course, Ben Affleck is Batman: the most intimidating and darkest reincarnation of him yet.
The movie itself was a bit too packed and missed on developing its multiple storylines or characters but it set the pieces – beautiful pieces already. The looming Director’s Cut may make this a better movie in hindsight especially if it fills in missing pieces. So for now, here’s looking forward to the future. ★★★☆