Minor spoilers ahead (plot points and character appearances, no story or other major spoilers).
There’s a reason that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has been getting such mixed reviews. And I’ll tell you why:
Perspective. Perspective as a movie-goer. You see, it’s not as simple as ‘If you read the comics, you’ll like it- if not, you wont’, because contrary to popular opinion, this movie does not consider the comic series as it’s bible.
But unlike Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder is quite a comic book fanboy and stays very true to the character profiles of the protagonists. Personally, I felt that Bale’s rendition of Batman was too ‘noble’ for the real Bruce Wayne, but Affleck hits it right out of the park in terms of semblance.
Well, our faith in Snyder was certainly rewarded. It isn’t just Batman who seems impeccably cast; both Gadot and Cavil seem like they were born to bring Wonder Woman and Superman to life – and Jesse Eisenberg never fails to impress.
Now here is why the fanboys and fangirls love it: it’s not linear and it’s not just the surface of the DC Universe. It doesn’t tie up perfectly with the events in the comics (are they trying to establish a DC Cinematic Universe, like Marvel?) but the character references and easter eggs are a joy for the DC worshipper to unearth. A large part of the audience don’t get these, and this makes it hard for the comic book connoisseur not to feel a tad elitist.
(Minor character appearance spoiler in this paragraph)
For example, most people don’t even get that the villain referenced at the end of the movie is actually Darkseid, because he has not been portrayed in a mainstream Superhero movie (yet).
Now, coming to why the critics have bashed the movie. Allow me to elaborate:
You see, the ‘filming’ aspects of the movie are very much underdone- particularly editing and screenplay. I don’t mean the script- because I’ve always trusted Snyder to deliver great dialogue since 300, but most of the cuts in the movie are rushed and irregular. This brings forth a sense of incompleteness and makes you feel like you’re skipping parts of the film. The screenplay is a collection of multiple cuts crunched together, just because Snyder has a lot he wants to show us- but he doesn’t really plant his brainchild in our heads as he would like to. The exceeding number of characters can be overwhelming in a film like this, and it hasn’t really been well balanced.
What I’m actually happy to see is that it doesn’t stoop down to cater to the audience that just goes to watch the movie with the sole expectation of a chuckle and some pomp. It doesn’t try too hard to fit a joke in at every other dialogue (unlike certain other rival Comic Universes *cough cough*) and hence when the movie breaks the air of gravity and darkness it maintains, it really does bring a smile to your face.
Now while I was thrilled to hear that the movie would be dark, I didn’t expect it to be literally dark. The 3D glasses only made it worse.
Overall, this is a movie that is perfect for a fan to deconstruct piece by piece, catching every veiled reference and reveal. It also hints hugely at things to come – a Wonder Woman feature and the Justice League movie!
In my opinion, the contrasting critic vs. crowd approval is at odds only because of the audience’s psyche – if it were to be critically acclaimed, the masses would strive to strike it down a notch but as it’s been bashed so bad, reverse psychology has viewers backing it up.
So riddle me this: should you watch this movie on which the hopes and dreams of countless comic book enthusiasts have been riding for over a year?
The correct answer? You definitely should. So go buy your movie ticket and a bucket of ridiculously overpriced popcorn. Enjoy the perfections and take the flaws in your stride. Cheer your heart out at all the badass dialogues and heart-stopping moments in this battle of the very best. Are you on Team Batman or Team Superman?