In case you were sleeping in a dark cave somewhere, you know that last week Hollywood unleashed their latest superhero juggernaut Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. It hit audiences like a firestorm, and the critics, by and large, hit back.
Currently sitting at around 28% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s safe to say the launching pad for the supposed DC Cinematic Universe didn’t launch quite as powerfully as some might have hoped, at least from a critical perspective.
Does that really matter when audiences flock to the film to the tune of $420 million worldwide? Some would say that “no” it most certainly doesn’t matter, audiences are the key, and if they’ll pay the money, critics be damned.
I don’t quite agree, especially when you’re talking about DC and Warner Brothers quest to kick start a combined cinematic universe with this film.
If one thing has been proven over the years, it’s that Batman is a Hollywood juggernaut. The Dark Knight made over one billion dollars globally, and in almost every case whenever a new Batman film launches it pretty much changes the landscape of Hollywood money making. He has become a rich, cultural icon, so it’s safe to assume when Batman vs. Superman (see he even gets top billing over Supes himself!) hits theaters, Batman himself is going to be a HUGE draw. Huge enough to overcome nasty ratings, right? Apparently so.
But here’s the rub. DC wants this film to spin up a whole series of other films, many of which will not star Batman. So my question is, while a Batman film can withstand the stigma of 28%, would a Flash film do the same? How about Aquaman? The widely panned Ryan Reynolds film Green Lantern sits right now at 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, only two percentage points lower than Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
So, I’d tread carefully, DC movie fans. The audiences have certainly spoken, and spoken loudly in regards to Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and while I strongly believe the behemoth that is Hollywood Batman can overcome this shaky start, I don’t believe the wealth of DC supporting characters can. So no matter how much you want to minimize what the critics are saying, I think we all need to hope Warner Brothers takes at least some guidance from them and doesn’t simply assume that because these films were launched by Dawn of Justice that they’ll have the same international draw as a film with Batman at its core.
I write this as a devout Zack Snyder apologist, who has loved most of his work, including the widely criticized Man of Steel. Believe me, I hope I love Dawn of Justice, and I hope it rolls out some awesome superhero movies. I just don’t think film executives should completely dismiss the valid complaints being levied against the loud and reportedly hackneyed start to the DC Cinematic Universe.