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While the initial reaction to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice from the world premiere seemed to be strongly positive, that appears to be because the responses were coming from fans. The professional reviews were being held for release on Tuesday and when they hit we began to see a very different picture. Many reviewers didn’t like the movie very much. Some reviewers hated it.
When movie studios are promoting their movies in advertisements, they often like to pull quotes from professional reviews to bolster their claims that their movie is great. But then there are the other quotes. The ones that would never make it into a TV ad, and the ones the studio hopes you never see. Here are a few of the most vicious reviews that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has seen.
Bad BatWhile many of the reviews have been complimentary of Ben Affleck’s turn as Bruce Wayne/Batman, even if they didn’t love the movie overall, that praise has not been universal. Matt Goldberg of Collider had little good to say about the new Caped Crusader.
The movie drags through its first hour as it carefully tries to set up the individual conflicts, and yet the only character it seems to actually develop is Bruce Wayne. Unfortunately, it develops him into the worst Batman we have ever seen.
If he was alone, that would be one thing. However, Tim Grierson of New Republic also has little good to say about that Batman side of Batman v Superman.
The template for how to make a great Batman movie laid out by Christopher Nolan in his Dark Knight trilogy—grounded characters, a somber tone, believable emotional stakes—has now been pureed by Man of Steel filmmaker Zack Snyder into this indigestible, posturing, two-and-a-half-hour mope-fest.
The reviews don't get much better from here. Read on!
Son of Sucker PunchZack Snyder is a divisive director. Here’s made more than a few movies that critics really don’t like. One of those that is often railed against is his operatic action film Sucker Punch. When William Bibbiani of Crave Online compares Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to that, you know it’s not a compliment.
If anything, Batman v Superman's action is so adolescent and over the top that you half expect the film to end with Emily Browning opening her eyes, having just finished another off-camera striptease in Sucker Punch.
DC/Sucker Punch shared universe. Confirmed?
Tell me How You Really FeelThere’s a lot that goes on in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. For many reviewers, like Robbie Collin of The Telegraph, there’s just too much, and the movie just ends up all over the place.
No major blockbuster in years has been this incoherently structured, this seemingly uninterested in telling a story with clarity and purpose.
A lot of reviewers echo this idea that the structure is just a mess. It's not that there's nothing good here, more that it's just hard to find.
Is there a G-Rated Cut?There has been more than one comparison to Batman v Superman being adolescent here. One reviewer, Matt Pais from RedEye, apparently thought that was giving the story a bit too much credit.
Despite being way too young for the movie, 4-year-olds who delight in bashing toys against each other for no reason may be the only people who could have fun in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
To be fair, the characters bashing together is pretty cool.
Did I Leave the Stove On?Sometimes when a movie doesn’t engage you, your mind begins to wander. This is apparently what happened to Mike Ryan at Uproxx. While he wanted to enjoy the film, he simply couldn’t do it.
Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I was legitimately looking this forward to a movie that I found this dull. About halfway through this over two-and-a-half hour movie, I had to stop my brain from thinking about other things, like what groceries I needed to pick up at some point.
When a superhero movie doesn't get you thinking about superheroes, there is certainly a problem.
Batman v Superman v boredomThe name of the movie is Batman v Superman. There’s a certain expectation when you name your movie something like that. These guys are going to fight. When that’s the case, you expect extra time will be taken to make that part good. Mara Reinstein at Us Weekly didn’t think it happened.
Snyder botches the only scene fans truly crave: the fight between the classic superheroes. After an intriguing teaser... the brawl is a head-scratching letdown.
It also takes quite some screen time to get there. Like, nearly 90 minutes of the film's initial run time. Does Snyder botch it when it finally happens? You're going to want to see it to judge for yourself.
Bring On Wonder WomanWhile this movie is designed to launch the DC cinematic universe, the fact that it may not be great isn’t a terrible thing for all reviewers. However, that’s only because the next couple movies won’t be focused on the title characters as Jen Yamato of The Daily Beast points out:
Batman v Superman drowns so much in the juvenile angst of its heroes that the thought of getting away from them in the next two DC films is a welcome relief.
So bring on Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman...I guess.
Battle of the BehemothsHopefully, it’s not a spoiler to say that the movie ends with a big fight. It does. While that may be what many people paid to see, Joshua Rothkopf of TimeOut didn’t care for the battle, and thought it was part of the film’s greater issues.
The endgame is your typical WrestleMania nonsense, bereft of weight or grandeur, set in a generic rubblescape that’s emblematic of the script’s lack of human stakes.
As somebody who has attended Wrestlemania, I object to this characterization. I get the point, though.
Was Superman In This?Much of the criticism that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice seems to be getting is based around the feeling that there was some attempt at real substance in the film, but it never really gets there. Scott Mendelson of Forbes sums it up like this:
The film may very much be about the idea of Superman, but there is little-to-nothing regarding who this specific Superman is as a human and/or a god from another world. He’s too busy whining about Batman, and Batman is too busy whining about him.
The good news is Wonder Woman doesn't whine. She kicks ass.