“The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world” of course it is, Its a Batman vs Superman movie, go watch it! It’s the first time these icons are on screen together (plus Wonder Woman) in a live action flick, go watch it.
Now that we got that out of the way.
The critic reviews are in, verdict, it’s a piece of sh!t. But how did we get here? Not in a million years could the world’s finest be so poorly represented and received first time on the big screen. What’s the deal yo?
So I watched the movie Thursday night (24 March 2016) the theatre was packed and relaxed, folks where there to feast their eyes on a 3 year promise. I tend to think that people who show up on the first day are the eager beavers who follow movie news closely. Generally South Africans don’t pack seats on the first 2 days a movies comes out. The numbers grow over time, we’re not amongst the top countries that push movie ticket numbers on the first weekend, It’s not how we roll…yet. But on Thursday night, hard working men and women and spoiled-teens where gathered to “witness” the birth of the DCEU (DC Extended Universe)…and then something happened.
2. Give the people what they want:
It’s just not possible that a bad feeling I’ve had for many months since the trailers dropped followed me to the cinema. A feeling of disappointment over a product I hadn’t seen yet. The world shouldn’t work like that, the law states “innocent until proven guilty”.
With social media platforms and fan fiction sites filled with fan-ideas and suggestions to mine data from, it’s not possible that WB and DC could get this second try at launching their comic book movies wrong. Right? “Give the people what they want” as the saying goes. Alas, as the credits rolled and the audience cheered , I was left wondering “IS THIS what the people want?”. I died a little that night.
3. Death by fanboy-ism:
I stated writing a review as soon as I got home that Thursday but something wasn’t right, “slow down” I thought to myself, digest the events of the last 2 and a half hours and be fair on your outlook. So I stopped.
The next morning I woke to a world with big words and descriptions of how bad Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice was. Early credible critics where not impressed…some where polite about it at least. YouTube reviewers where pleading with fanboys and girls to converse in a respectable manner in the comment sections. No need for name calling, Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice broke the comic book genre.
If you thought the South African rand had hit rock bottom, BvS depletes the superhero currency more. This is a superhero movie in the second decade to expose the chink in the armour, the picture that suggests that the well might be going dry. This movie has succeeded in seeding doubt in the snobby movie goer’s mind about this genre, that it was fun while it lasted.
The thing about it is, it’s not incompetent filmmaking. The film was not made by amateurs cutting their teeth in the film game. Big names where attached to this 3 year circus, but I think the why remained unanswered.
“Why are they making this film?”. That is the billion dollar question, billion, with a B.
This iMAX disaster might be the perfect study as to how one should interpret the market. Maybe for a time the market was good for Marvel movies only. A fun filled adventure with likeable characters, and at that time it was enough to just have 3 Nolan dark, grim, moody Batman movies. Just enough, nothing more.
Hence the phrase ” In Nolan we trust”. Great work done at the right time.
The Nolan worshiping opened doors to a need that didn’t necessarily need to be addressed. Fans of the Nolan series took his work as gospel and Warner Bros followed suit. A world with Batman’s problems was suddenly the blueprint for characters that didn’t belong in it. Nolan’s vision was held hostage by the studio (WB) and the fans had to pay the ransom, and it all went down hill from there.
Some of the problems that this blueprint brought to the table mainly for me is Henry Cavill as the Last Son of Krypton. Nothing against the actor, but he lacks that kid from Kansas demeanour. That farm boy charm that hides a god underneath. Given that Zack Snyder is the “go big or go home” type of artist, it stands to reason that he would agree to picking the biggest guy in the room. The way Clark Kent acts and talks in BvS, you want Batman to punch him in the face. Superman had Man of Steel before going into this movie, and with all that showmanship and chiseled abs, he doesn’t resonate with golden age comic book audiences.
Review after review, Ben Affleck is praised most of all as Bruce Wayne’s/Batman in BvS. this movie is suppose to be the quasi-sequel to Man of Steel yet Cavill is a no show (he’s barely in the movie). It could be the tone of the material that hurts his performance, which should be alarming to those responsible for the script. I wonder if this question was asked before conceiving the DCEU: “Who asked for THIS Superman?”
The other factor I considered after my second watch of BvS was maybe all that Warner Bros. wants to get out of this is cool visual superiority over their competition. Hardcore DC fans and haters say Marvel films look like Made-For-TV movies, too much colour, too many jokes, does not take itself seriously for an older audience. It’s like complaining that your dad isn’t cool in front of your friends , but he’s the one who puts food on the table and clothes on your back when your “cool” friends are not around. Welcome to the DCEU, after 2 and a half hours of BvS, you miss the above. Yes, Marvel is winning without lifting a finger…and that’s not a good thing folks.
With first Man of Steel now Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice, Marvel is having to do all the heavy lifting on its own, “without competition you become complacent”. Marvel has little to worry about when Wonder Woman’s problem is getting a picture back, or Superman sulking for 2 and a half hours or Lex Luthor doing a Joker impression or Ma Kent giving bad motherly advise.
4. Now the gloves come off:
Yes Frank Miller made Zack Snyder’s career with 300. Today, Snyder is one of this generation’s most influential filmmakers because of that adaptation. I’m sure I don’t speak only for myself when I say Zack Snyder is wrong for this venture. Please understand, I’m saying this DC venture not comic book material as a whole. I don’t think his picking up what the market is putting down. Two movies in and we (the audience) are still confused by his “genius” storytelling, I mean who approved a 3 minutes re-telling of Batman’s origin in this day and age? We’re all caught up from the last 2 decades of batman in popular media, move on. I don’t multitask that well, so given 4 plot lines in 1 movie is taxing, and having Wonder Woman play the trailers to the next 4 DCEU movies for us on her laptop is insulting.
As for the reaction from the casual movie goer, my sister (yes I know, this makes for a polling exercise with 1 subject) loved the movie. I asked her what stood out for her, and yes you guessed it, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. This is surprising considering Zack Snyder’s record when it comes to portraying women, think Sucker Punch and Watchmen. Why did WB let Zack Snyder start production on Justice League before BvS Dawn of Justice hit theatres? That’s weird. This is not to be misconstrued as The Lynching of Zack Snyder, but maybe a change of pace and tone behind the camera could be what the doctor ordered.
5. Off on a tangent:
How much influence does he have on David Ayer’s upcoming Suicide Squad? Or Wonder Woman? What are the possibilities of a Batman v Superman 2? If Marvel releases another game-changer film, will WB DC amend its list of upcoming movies? My brain hurts now.
6. To the Bat-mathematics!
How invested is WB in the DC properties? I mean they got the Harry Potter franchise which is coming back with Fantastic Beasts. They got the LEGO movies, heck! They can reboot the Matrix if they want to. The point I’m getting at is; will Warner Bros. close its door tomorrow if they decided to stop making DC properties for the big screen?
Right now the process is slow and emotionally taxing. The only numbers that seem to add up are 1+1 = Batman. I guess we want more Batman movies because #reasons. When Batman was announced in 2013 as part of Man of Steel 2 I was not happy. The popularity of the Dark Knight was not going away anytime soon, but Superman needs love and attention in order to grow the audience for the cinematic universe WB is building.
Batman will be a crutch for the DCEU moving on, he’s the Teflon Don of superheroes at this point, every studio accountant loves him. Because of this line of thinking, something I always suspected might be happening. I think Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice is a continuation of the Nolan universe, hear me out. I think this new string of movies chronicle the journey of how Batman becomes the leader of the Justice League. A human chosen to lead gods from all walks of life. This is my take on the mess that is BvS Dawn of Justice, but for this to work Ben Affleck’s Batman would have to show up in all the solo movies to let them know whose boss…and help sell tickets.
7. The billion dollar question revisited:
Earlier I ask the question “Why are they making this film?”, as I write this, Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice broke every record imaginable. In its opening weekend it grossed $420 million worldwide. These are pop bottle numbers, the highest opening for a superhero movie EVER! Why make this movie you ask? Because money doesn’t grow on trees, it comes from being Batman and Superman, the material writes it’s self. Move over plot lines, there’s a new way to make money in town.
We can argue till the parademons come home about the effects of Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice but are the fan boys and girls defending a flawed picture? Yes they are, and no studio should ask that of anyone.
8. The killing joke:
The joke’s on us the fans, whether Marvel or DC affiliated, because WB is more reactionary than revolutionary. Case in point: It was announced that WB and DC will be releasing an R rated version of Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice on blu-ray after the success of Fox’s Marvel property Deadpool. This is a reaction to the success of Deadpool, just to be part of the R rated conversation, no sure if an R rated version BvS is even necessary but it’s in the books never the less.
Fans need to realise that attacking critics in defense of this movie gives WB the license to dish out more of this standard of movies. Movies that rely on the name on the marquee and explosions on screen to turn a profit. A profit mostly generated by the casual movie goer who has no affection for the material in question.
It’s time to face reality geeks, there ain’t that many of us to generate $420 million over one weekend, we don’t have soccer supporter numbers. Say what you want about FIFA but…
“World Cup Brazil will generate $4 billion in total revenue for FIFA, or 66% more than the previous tournament in South Africa in 2010. – Forbes.com”.
Maybe it’s time for the comic book genre to have their own version of the Transformer movies. Stop!!! Read on for context. What I’m saying is maybe it’s time to create the “shut your brain” films to widen the market. Zack Snyder was chosen for a reason, and as far as the dollars go, he delivered. Think about it, if it really did bother WB that Man of Steel was lacklustre don’t you think they would have changed directors to “cause correct”?
The joke’s on us true believers… The joke’s on us.
I wrote a piece years ago titled “I believe in Zack Snyder”, I was praying that BvS becomes the new gold standard in the superhero genre, guess I was in cahoots with a false god.
9. In conclusion:
This is not a review or an open letter, it’s me wondering how much the superhero genre is worth after Dawn of Justice. The critic’s pens were not mightier than the curiosity of the audience. Like I said before, this movie broke the genre, more money less credibility.
There are 13 year olds who fell in love with BvS, 5 years from now they’ll be the dominating demographic for the genre. They might not even read comics, what they know might be Internet general knowledge. So to the angry fanboys, fangirls and damning critics I ask this…what source material are you protecting? The money seems to be rolling in just fine.
It’s a brave new world, WB and DC are bringing the fight to us. Consider this a warning shot.
Agree? disagree? Let me know in the comments.
*(images used in this article are the property of their rightful owners and art not original art created by ChicksLoveGeeks)