Batman v Superman: Dawn of the conflicted fan – talking with fans about a movie to rock the ages

Batman v Superman has been getting hammered by critics and is a tornado of love/hate by the fans. I have always rendered my opinion on the movie, and for all its positives and negatives, it has still grossed 500 million in the five days of its opening weekend. I thought, it would be fun to see what other fans thought of the movie, so I reached out to about twenty or so of my friends and gave them a series of questions they could go off on.

I realize that this isn’t a huge sample size, but surprisingly there is a good amount of diversity within the people I asked. I won’t be using anyone’s name, just for simplicity’s sake, and will break down the bulk of responses by each question. This is just a bit of fun for me, but I think helps illustrate the wide amount of views and opinions on BvS. Here we go!

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1) What were your expectations before seeing Batman v Superman

When I asked our test group what their initial expectations for the movie were, I got a fairly standard response. Most were going into the movie with a moderate to low expectation. This either revolved around their enjoyment of the movie Man of Steel, how the trailers impacted them, many citing the ‘Doomsday trailer’ as a negative, and generally what they thought the movie would be about. Dawn of Justice’s darker tone didn’t excite as many as I initially thought. Another aspect which I personally didn’t consider was how much the run time would effect people’s opinions. When you look at a two hour and thirty minute superhero movie, you expect it to be jam packed with a fast pace and a good amount of action.

While a minority, there were a handful of people who had high expectations for the movie. Whether its based off of how, again, the trailers made them feel or their love of the DC universe in general. These individuals had really banked on the conflict nature of the trailers between our heroes and took queues form the various comic arcs that this movie used.

EGO

EGO

2) Did the reviews/comments you saw BEFORE seeing the movie worry you and did they change your expectations

This ties into the first question a bit, as our preconceived notion of a movie, regardless if it is a superhero film or a Disney animated, always gets bumped around by early reviews, critic scores and general word of mouth. Like above, there was a majority opinion that while the reviews/comments didn’t overtly effect their want to see the movie, it did reinforce their own opinions on what they had seen in the trailers. Two aspects of the movie which got a lot of praise, Ben Affleck’s Batman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, was met with much elation and generally good vibes. When you have two people cast in predominant roles, there is a lot of worry on how they will fill them out and do justice (no pun intended) to the characters, especially when they are going to be in multiple movies.

Another common thread among about half of our review crew, a name I just came up with so please don’t hate me for it, was that many critic reviews made correlations DC’s competitor movies, as is usually the case when talking about DC/Marvel, and said that this type of review/critical response did little to dissuade them from seeing the movie. The major point that was brought up revolved around the fact of “A Marvel movie is a Marvel movie, and I am going to watch a DC film”. I personally though this was a good way of looking at the movie in the lead up to actually watching.

The Trinity

3) What aspect’s did you enjoy about the movie: specific scenes, lines, set pieces, characters, etc

This Question had the almost unanimous answer of “Batman was awesome”. Whether it was his visceral nature in the fights, the way he looked/moved or just Ben Affleck’s general awesome portrayal of the entire character, Batman/Bruce, fans seemed to really enjoy this character. Other aspects people liked were Wonder Woman, as Gal provides us with a fantastic looking, strong and kickass version of the Warrior Princess, although no one really mentions her ‘civilian’ identity Diana Prince, its safe to say there is a lot of good vibes for her in the Wonder Woman stand alone.

The other common threads that people were talking about was the supporting cast. Perry White and Alfred stole pretty much every scene they were in with both their levity, of which the movie had little, and their voice of reason/compassion in a movie which had a lot of anger in it. Of course we cannot forget about the fight scene’s. One thing that was seemingly universally liked was the look of the fight scenes. They popped with power and really showed off the visual powerhouse that is Zack Snyder. Did I mentioned everyone liked Batman?

ohmygod

4) What aspect’s did you not enjoy about the movie: specific scenes, lines, set pieces, characters, etc

Funny image aside, this question had the most content per response, as some people/ had literally four paragraphs worth of items to discuss.. When you read reviews from critics or fan’s every point made there comes up in some form or another. While a handful of people dislike batman killing, others merely shrug at that aspect but point out the lack of motivation for most of the characters. Motivation be damned another group would say as they pick apart Alexander Luthor and his portrayal by Jesse Eisenburg as some sort of low rent Joker or Riddler. The Pacing for many people/ jumped around like a twelve year old on his eighth cup of coffee, and this lack of connective tissue between scenes did not help anyone’s understanding.

Looking back on the comments, Eisenburg’s character and Superman gets lambasted a lot, and in my opinion for good reason. People point out his lack of motivations in general, the lack of explanation of his actions, his odd character ticks which also have no explanation. How does he know Batman is Bruce Wayne, how does he know Superman is Clark Kent, why does putting his own blood into the evolution chamber create Doomsday. These are just the big questions in the movie that people have had issue with, let alone little gems like why did he let Mercy die, how did he get a jar of urine into the senate room. Superman received, as said above, his own blast of criticism. Why could he not smell it the urine in the jar, or hear the mechanics of the bomb in the wheel chair, show more emotion throughout the movie in general. His power set was poorly utilized and never consistent so you felt like he was a yoyo with a wonky string.

Getting to the fight alone concerns were raised at why saying the name “Martha” somehow made them best friends. Why did Lois throw the spear into a incredibly convenient deep pool of water THEN somehow realize that Doomsday was a kryptonian and run back to get the spear only to again, for the third time in the movie, become a damsel in distress and force Superman to put himself in a compromising position and weaken him as a character and a force in the movie.

Fake Poll

5) What was your overall impression of the movie

This question may be been poorly placed in the list, as we get off a negative aspect, so all the bad aspects are in the forefront of peoples minds. Surprisingly though, there was still a lot of positivity about the movie while still noting and accepting its flaws. We have a range of “It was utter shiet” to “I loved it” and I have the fake pie chart above to prove it!. In all seriousness, there were a lot of people who did just love the movie. They had a great time, didn’t put to much care into the movies missteps because they enjoyed themselves. Others, such as my self were closer to the “meh it was okay” line as we had issues with various aspects of the movie as they either didn’t make sense or we thought they diverged to far away from the source material we know.

There are also those who flat out thought this was a pile of garbage. In their mind, the film’s screen writer and director did not understand the source material and squeezed out a three ring coiler all over the DC universe rich history and lore. There were a few comments, and surprisingly this was the only place where they appeared, that Marvel had no really ‘concern’ for this movie as while it will make money hand over fist, the critical and fan reaction would be leaps and bounds better for Civil War.

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6) What do you think the future DC movies will be, ie: Do you think something will be changed/cancelled?

The last question in our little survey was also met with a decent amount of variety. The one thing all of the responders did generally agree on however was that regardless of the critic reviews, this movie was going to make a metric shit ton of money and that Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman would be seen by the public. Some people thought that for all its faults, BvS helps set up the DC universe so the other movies are in good shape. Others think that because the movie was a hot load of garbage they future movies would suffer from the narrative mistakes made here yet admits that the DC cinematic universe seems, at the moment, too big to fail.

In a bit of unfortunate timing, DC is doing some reshoots for Suicide squad to quote “Make it more fun” which doesn’t look good from a perception stand point. WB has a long history of being a ‘knee jerk reaction’ company, and having such little faith in the properties could in the end be the most harmful thing to their entire superhero universe. That being said, I am personally looking forward to both Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman (My favourite DC character) and hope that the lessons painfully learned here in BvS carry over to the future of the cinematic universe and we have a strong slate of movies for years to come.

I would like to thank all of the best friends who took the time out of their day to respond to me. You gave me a lot of information to work with, and I think we had quite a fun little time here. Let’s cap this off with a poll, because everyone likes poll’s. What did you think of Batman v Superman.

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2 thoughts on “Batman v Superman: Dawn of the conflicted fan – talking with fans about a movie to rock the ages

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