Following the release of Batman v. Superman, which was directed by Zack Snyder, fans and critics have had extremely polarized viewpoints. Initially, the movie received scathing reviews from critics, and high praise from fans. Ethan Fuller, RAHS senior, was ecstatic to see the movie and thrilled to see how it stacked up to Snyder’s other films.
“I would give that movie a solid B+,” said Fuller.
Marvel has built a film empire surrounding their brand of superhero, and it doesn’t appear to be falling anytime soon. The DC Universe, on the other hand, generates consistent disappointment surrounding the moody, distinctly different atmosphere. This appears to cast a shadow on the future of the franchise that consistently has to compete with Marvel.
Robbie Collin, reporter for The Telegraph, says the film is a painful example of this dynamic.
“Snyder wants to show us gods and monsters, battling against a backdrop of lightning and smoke,” said Collin. “Every other scene is a murky allusion to classical mythology or baroque religious art.”
Critics and fans disagree about what the dramatic nature does for the film.
“It’s a lot darker in tone, it’s a lot darker overall, but in some aspects it’s very true to the comics,” said Fuller.
According to some critics, the characters appear cold and unrelatable, which gives the movie a disconnected and detached feeling.
“Zack Snyder’s superhero spectacle is a meatheaded, humourless mess that squanders its cast and makes little sense,” said Collin.
Although most critics disagreed with the nature of the characters, some fans thought it added to the realism and tone of the film.
“The reason this one is getting trashed on is because it such a different take on two iconic heroes,” said Fuller. “It’s not George Reeves and Christian Bale anymore.”
This stark contrast left critics reeling and fans desperate for more of the new sides each classic hero showed.
“I liked that they were willing to go that far, and the other reasons critics aren’t liking it is because this isn’t your cliche superhero movie,” said Fuller.
Many fans thought it was time for change, and that change has been coming for a long time. Batman reflects some obvious qualities that have never been present before, such as a darker, more wanton manner.
“[Batman’s] role has been clearly broken before,” said Fuller. “I liked that they were like ‘yeah, he’s older’ and it was really for the cinematic value.”
Maybe critics responded so negatively because they felt the change came on too strong, as opposed to fans that welcomed it with open arms.
“Perhaps the kindest thing you can say about Zack Snyder’s film,” said Collin, “a sequel to his superb standalone Superman movie Man of Steel (2013), but also the lodestone of a new DC Comics Extended Universe, around which further DC films will cluster – is that its ambitions wildly exceed its reach.”
Fans thought the film’s ambitions were spot on with the character arcs of the heroes.
“Batman and Superman are the oldest living modern superheroes,” said Fuller. “They’ve had time to really evolve.”
Despite critics’ generally negative opinions, one scene served as a semi-redeeming factor for the film.
“That Wagnerian final brawl is exactly what you want in a film called Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice,” said Collin, “but it doesn’t come close to compensating for the blithering chaos that preceded it.”
It is too early to see if future reviews will be any better, but it has been a pattern for Snyder’s previous movies to initially receive negative reviews with stronger reviews down the road.
“This isn’t a new thing.” said Fuller. “If you go back and look at some of Zack Snyder’s other movies, a lot of them get really trashed reviews opening weekend and while it’s in theaters.”
Regardless of opinion, Batman v. Superman was still a wildly successful high-grossing film. Fans rushed in mobs to see the movie, and it will be remembered as a staple in the Justice League and DC Universe.