Much has been said about the new Zack Snyder film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It’s the dawn to a new era of superhero movies from the DC stable, so it’s no wonder there’s a lot to say. Not to mention the insane amount of money spent on the film ($250 million to make, $150 to market), and all the vested interest within it. We’ve all heard how much is riding on this to set up the DC Universe for Warner Bros, following Marvel’s roll-out at Disney. But I wonder, where to from here?
The film has already found success in the US and globally, with a hot take-home at the box office. In South Africa, it’s become the biggest opening for a Warner Bros film (but is still behind Fast & Furious 7 in terms of 3 day-opening weekend), which has been the case in the US and other countries too.
And, yes, it’s been established that numerous critics have intensely disliked it. Filmmaker Kevin Smith has just panned it too, for its misunderstanding of the characters and being too dark, a sentiment shared by many of my favourite critics. He also says there was no humour whatsoever in the film, but I actually found the reason Batman and Superman stopped their fighting to be very funny. I couldn’t stop laughing at how lame they both sounded in the dialogue that followed. This is quite sad, given it’s a moment that’s actually meant to be pretty profound and moving.
This M & M review, aside from my friend Alicia Malone’s priceless facial expressions and one word answer to it all, expresses the disappointment I, too, felt early when an interesting idea that’s set-up at the beginning of the film for the audience is not followed through, because it’s just stuffed with too much material that makes no sense as a whole. This review from GQ is unforgiving, but not as unforgiving as this one from Film Freak Central. Batman v Superman is a film that seems to suck the joy out of believing in something bigger than ourselves, something more positive and stronger and better.
But it’s already been established that all the critical response to the film doesn’t really matter, because people still paid to see it, they want to see it and will see it, based on the characters alone. What I want to know is, what does this mean for other films? If there’s this perception that these blockbusters will do well no matter what the story-line or lack of character development, what will happen to the willingness to invest in films that do pay attention to this? And will audiences just go on to accept this? I’m not a comic book geek so I don’t know the story-lines or characters well enough (even more reason then to explain who these new people are when you bring them into the film’s world) but I do love a good superhero film – yet only if I believe in the heart behind the actions. See, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers.
Who are we rooting for when that support isn’t actually isn’t earned? When the films just take for granted the built-in fan base and ride it? Does it even matter to ask out loud and want for more? I imagine these questions will no doubt be answered in the coming years – and the films they will bring with them. In the meantime, thank goodness for Wonder Woman, hey?