Sifting through the reviews of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice proves to be a tiresome task. A steaming lump of negativity stained the film's name before most audiences even had a chance to purchase their tickets. Critics have dubbed the flick "a stink bucket of disappointment" (Vox) and "not so much a 'dawn' as an entire morning spent watching the clock in anticipation of lunchtime" (The New York Times). Woof. In this decade, it's unusual for a highly anticipated blockbuster to be critically ridiculed, with superhero films generally receiving endless praise. And yet, it's happening.
If only the caffeinated commentators took a breather between scurrying from the screening to stabbing at their keyboards, they might have seen what I saw. As an entire picture, Batman V. Superman should be appreciated. The film is by no means perfect. It's true that the production may have hacked off a bit more kryptonite than it could manage - balancing the stories of two legendary superheroes within one film is a massive undertaking. It is nothing like a film focusing on the origin of one superhero, or like The Avengers which works effortlessly as an ensemble piece. Instead, it concentrates on combining two intricate narratives. Director Zack Snyder is one fearless fellow - perhaps the most lionhearted role attached to the film - for taking this on.
I shared the world's high expectations and excitement when the film was announced. For all we know, these demanding conjectures are at fault for the poor reception. After being bombarded with a myriad of dreadful reviews, I lost my preliminary judgements and blithely sat at a showing with my younger brother. My takeaway was nowhere near as vicious as the critics.
Like many of the fans, I felt that the film adequately paid homage to the comic books, while providing a nice theater experience for all. It wasn't necessarily a fresh reworking of the previous adaptations, but it didn't disgrace them either. It played it safe, with the usual livid color palate and the same heart pounding orchestral booms of composer Hans Zimmer. And although, I didn't leave with the adrenaline that pumped inside my little brother or the urge to go punch some villains like the Dark Knight shot in me, I wasn't rolling my eyes. I was content. To me, a safe version is still an enjoyable one.
Of course, bum reviews or not, both Batman and Superman are laughing all the way to the nearest Metropolis (or Gotham) bank. Domestically, the film earned $209.07 million in its first week. Even still, I offer a word of advice. If you go in aware that the film drags a bit more than it should and doesn't contain as many quips as a Joss Whedon adaptation would have, then you'll be better off. This way you can relish in the grand effects, stunning cinematography and the fact that Batman and Superman exist in one movie. Seeing the caped crusaders share the screen, is worth the $10.69 admission. Just lower your expectations.