Those of you hoping for a review of ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ on this website will probably need to look elsewhere; I’ve never been particularly interested in seeing Zack Snyder’s take on the Batman/Superman rivalry, to say nothing of the fact that I’ve always felt that giving the two a “rivalry” was a misguided take on both characters to begin with. And Chris is tweeting that he has no particular interest in seeing it either. Unless you want to start a Kickstarter to pay for my tickets, I will let other people have All the Opinions on this one.
Oh, and hey, they do! The movie is currently hovering around the 30% mark on Rotten Tomatoes, which is…let’s just say Not Good. Further, the reviews themselves have been filled with phrases such as “like putting your head into a beehive for 2 1/2 hours”, “rectum-puckering garbage fire of a movie”, “blunt, humorless and baffling”, “overstuffed and preposterous”, and my personal favorite, “a ponderous, smothering, over-pixelated zeppelin crash of a movie scored by a choir that sounds like it’s being drowned in lava.” (That last from NPR. I didn’t think they got that mad about anything, up to and including Trump.)
So basically, the movie is not reviewing well. And Warner Brothers is right up against it–‘Justice League Part One’ begins filming literally within days, and this movie is going to be seen as the direct precursor to that one. Meaning that if audiences agree with critics, well…they are going to have to drastically retool ‘Justice League’ pretty much on the fly, starting with the decision of whether to keep Snyder.
On the other hand, if the movie does well (Thursday box office was great, but those numbers were always going to represent people who went to see the movie on faith) then it could be another ‘Transformers’, a critic-proof franchise that draws in major box office despite getting bad reviews. Warner Brothers can probably live with that.
So this weekend is going to be very important. Because BvS has to have a showing that will put it on track for the kind of 1.5-2.0 billion dollar box office that WB has every right to expect from a movie that finally puts two of their most iconic characters onscreen together. We’re probably talking about something in the $400-500 million dollar range, at a minimum. Anything less than that and you will see panic. And I mean panic; WB has left themselves almost no time cushion to absorb any lessons that might come from the success or failure of BvS, so if they find themselves in a crisis of faith, they will have to pull the trigger quick on any changes they want to make.
And they may make changes anyway. Some of the pre-release articles have hinted that not everyone up top buys into Snyder’s vision; if there are executives with itchy trigger fingers already, they may decide that it’s not worth the risk that audiences will stay away from another Snyder joint and bring in someone else to direct. Sometimes it’s all about how the person signing the checks feels about the movie. (Just ask ‘Superman Returns’, which was ultimately a modest success for the studio, but which alienated the top brass at Warner Brothers.)
Why am I so interested in this? Because with ‘Batman v Superman’ not sounding like anything I want to see, I take my entertainment where I can find it.