“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” was dead in the water a long time ago.
Whether or not it deserved to be will likely be a point of contention among superhero fans for years to come, but it is hard to argue that a lot of people were never going to give this film a fair chance.
There is no way to pinpoint what it is about this film’s development that made people so sour about it a year before it even came out, but the press and the fan boy droves have been overwhelmingly negative almost every step of the way. After its swarm of mixed reviews there are still new articles from major sites every day taking what seems to be a perverse pleasure in kicking the film while it is down.
Now by no means is “Batman v Superman” an amazing film, but by no means is it a terrible one. It fails in such a weirdly and spectacularly ambitious way that it deserves at least a grudging admiration from anyone who respects gutsy storytelling.
“Batman v Superman” tries to be so much more than it needs to be, and is hilariously unapologetic every step of the way. It carelessly bounces back and forth from being an action-packed superhero romp to being a startlingly dark and confusing philosophical nightmare.
It is frustrating to have seen so many art house films being appreciated for jumping all over the place with such chaotic artistry or for relying on esoteric references, but when “Batman v Superman” does it, it is given zero leeway for what seems to amount to either a bias against director Zack Snyder or a bias against superhero movies in general.
Many other reviewers simply seem angry because they couldn’t follow the barrage of comic book references or don’t like the idea of a superhero movie trying to be too intellectual, and many fan boys seem bitter because the film takes too many liberties with the material they love. As a result, “Batman v Superman” was setting itself up for failure with certain groups all along.
For what it is worth, I found the film to be an earnest effort to not only build a huge new cinematic world, but to do so in a brave, unique style, refusing to take the easy way out. The visuals are often stunning, and most of the cast does a great job bringing the story to life. Jesse Eisenberg is a disappointing miss as Lex Luthor, but Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot bring their characters to new live-action heights.
If you haven’t already allowed yourself to be poisoned against it by the internet backlash, “Batman v Superman” deserves a chance. It scores 7 “not-so-jealous Matt Damons” out of 10.