IT’S BEEN A strange week for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. When the first few reviews hit the Internet on Tuesday, things weren’t great, but the smattering of boos quickly built to a unified chorus—by Thursday, the movie’s Rotten Tomatoes rating had slipped from the mid-40s to 31% (29% if you count just “top critics.”) Worse, there was a barely concealed glee suffusing the snit parade. “Laborious.” “Baffling.” “Humorless.” “Dead on arrival.” It felt, honestly, as though people had gone in ready to pan the movie. This can’t be right, we thought. Some people must have liked it. Sending just one person to review the movie seemed like we were limiting the sample size. So we sent two! And, as we’d hoped, they had differing takes on the superhero epic. Were either of the takes positive? Depends what your definition of that word is. Forthwith, though, your two takes on BvS—for better or for worse. ...
Man, the reviews for this range from absolutely terrible to grudgingly admitting stuff like, well, the music wasn't bad, some of the CGI is OK, at least there's some action, real damning with faint praise business. Looks like this'll be the Batman movie we actually wanted:
Saw this today, following an impromptu decision by my daughter and her mate. I'm not the target audience, not a big superhero movie fan at all. This won't convert me. It plays with 9-11 imagery at the start, but never really does anything to justify raising those visual tropes - if you buy into the notion that the movies are the modern-day versions of the stories we tell to try and make sense of the world, I think you can reasonably expect some effort to engage with those events beyond visual references. Nope. Not here.
Likewise, I can see the attraction of superhero stories as a way into exploring what it means to be human, and there are portentous attempts to raise issues around having a superhuman living among us, but these scenes are, at best, to echo the unkind remark about Stephen Fry, the stupid person's idea of what a clever film looks like.
It doesn't even work on the level of populist popcorn pic: the set pieces are dull and repetitive. There is no sense of jeopardy or even inventiveness. Oh, and there's an evil Russian and a final monster straight out of the Middle Earth casting agency.
It spends a lot of time trying to set up the showdown between the eponymous caped caperers, but the moment of reconciliation is laughably simplistic. Actually, I'll shut up at that point: laughably simplistic sums it up.
There is a blockbuster film out there at the moment that is a witty and entertaining take on the odd couple movie while still raising some remarkably profound questions about society, fear, and the American dream, but this ain't it. So which film am I thinking of?
Go see that instead, you'll have a much, much better time.
It'll break even, at the very least, I have no doubt. There's enough, even in the bad reviews, to make me interested in seeing it. And is it just me, or are some of those reviews overly gleeful? The reviewers are so delighted with their own apparently superior language skills that they go to town with their spite, just to show how brilliant they are.
The hype machine is so huge nowadays that people are always disappointed with movies.
Everyone reckons thay could have done better.
Everyone claims to know better.
The question is...why the hell did you watch the whole thing then?
It's almost like people are just too damn cool to admit they like something. And too scared to disagree with the reviewers, who obviously know better because they're reviewers.
The first reactions from people who saw the film pre-review embargo were overwhelmingly positive. As soon as the reviewers review it, everyone changes their tune.
I'll watch it, I'll probably enjoy it, I very much doubt I'll switch it off before the end. It won't change my life, 'cos it's a superhero movie and it isn't supposed to. But what would I know? I thought RIPD was entertaining.
I hardly ever read film reviews before seeing a film. I think it's nice to be pleasantly surprised.
Three films particularly got me buzzing after I'd seen them, because I'd read no reviews and had no preconceptions - Blade Runner, The Matrix and Men in Black.
I feel a bit sorry for him...but perhaps he should pick the films more carefully?
There are a few great actors now who just can't get the roles they used to get, because of just one or two failures (e.g. Tobey Maguire, Brendan Fraser).
Maybe he's a bit worried about that?
I'd rather read critics' opinions a lot of the time because I think Forteans can relate to their obsessiveness about their subject that may not feed the world but can make it better if we are allowed to contemplate it. I hope we don't want to become passive consumers who just check films we want to see off a list and say "Seen that, what's next?" when instead we can engage with them, whether we enjoyed them or not, and really think about what was appealing (or not) about them.
Critics are unfashionable these days when it seems anyone can put their opinion on entertainment and art online and wonder why the critics get paid for doing the same, but the good ones have devoted their lives to studying this and experience has value. Besides, even if you disagree we have been provoked to think about the work in a different way, which is at the essence of Forteana.
And it's not all negative by any means, John Simon was not the be all and end all (even he likes a few movies), it's like what Stephen King said about horror fans, they pan for gold and have to sift through a degree of dirt before they get to the nuggets. If you find some film criticism that puts into words why you liked something so much, it's a great thing. Mark Kermode said he was deeply disappointed by BvS, but hoped there would be fans who got enjoyment out of it since he hated to think those optimists would be as let down as he was. Critics are not a mass of big grumpy bad guys/girls, they want to be entertained too, and there is rarely a complete consensus.
I was wondering about seeing Batman v Superman being a lover of Frank Miller's Dark Knight but my problem with Supes is kryptonite. I'd assume that the first time Bats confronts Supes, Supes would just pick him up and chuck him into the sun. If Bats sorts that out, he'd go to his Batfridge and get some kryptonite out and then kick the shit out of Supes. I'll give it a watch despite the lukewarm (at best) reviews.
Anyway. We should all be watching Life of Brian this time of year.