In just under three months, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment will get the ball rolling on their shared comic book movie universe (dubbed the DC Extended Universe). Zack Snyder’s highly-anticipated Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice serves as the real launching point for the franchise, but many fans are approaching the project with trepidation. After Snyder’s Superman reboot, Man of Steel, divided critics and audiences, just about every development with Batman V Superman has been a lightning storm for controversy.
It’s not an understatement to say there is a lot of pressure on Dawn of Justice to deliver and become a fan-favorite hit in March 2016. If the movie is a failure, the DCEU could end before it even begins. Everyone is curious to see how the movie will be received, and if a supposed leaked early review of Batman V Superman is any indication, DC fans can breathe a sigh of relief.
Heroic Hollywood caught wind of a post from Reddit user ViolatingNDA, who claimed to have attended a screening of the film on December 29, 2015 in Los Angeles. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, punctuated by the hyperbolic statement that Batman V Superman will go down as the greatest comic book film since The Dark Knight. ViolatingNDA feels that even though the movie is long (reportedly 151 minutes), it flows nicely and everyone in the crowded cast plays a key role as a valuable piece to the larger puzzle. He/she alleges that there were 20-30 people in attendance at the screening and everyone left the theater pleased with the results.
ViolatingNDA spent a lot of time praising the performances, particularly Ben Affleck and Jesse Eisenberg. The former was considered the “standout” of the film and portrayed a frightening version of Batman that could come across as a villain to some viewers. It’s also alleged that Eisenberg steals every scene he’s in and will leave fans wanting more. The review makes a bold comparison to Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning turn as the Joker, calling this Luthor “multi-layered” and “complex.” In addition, ViolatingNDA explains that the bemoaned Doomsday reveal in the third trailer is merely the “tip of the iceberg,” echoing statements made by members of the Dawn of Justice crew.
Before fans start getting excited, there are a lot of potential red flags here. Obviously, anybody online can say that they’ve seen a highly-anticipated film and make something up, so one has to wonder how valid this is. In the Reddit thread, ViolatingNDA posted an apparent screen shot of his confirmation to attend a “mystery screening” from WB, and HH‘s Umberto Gonzalez tweeted today that the screening did in fact take place. While the truth may never be fully revealed, there’s at least some evidence pointing towards the film being shown, lending credence to ViolatingNDA’s review. It’s important to keep those grains of salt handy, but test screenings do happen from time to time in the film industry.
Considering the Reddit post is legitimate, it still doesn’t mean Batman V Superman will be the critical darling ViolatingNDA says it will be. History has a horrible track record with test screening reactions serving as an indicator for the film’s overall quality. Disney boasted that Million Dollar Arm (starring Jon Hamm) scored higher than any movie from the Mouse House or WB before, only for the baseball drama to land softly at the box office. In contrast, Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity was not exactly praised after its first showings, but it went on to win Best Director and six other Oscars. So nobody really knows what to expect until critics see the final product and start weighing in once a formal review embargo lifts. Until that happens with Batman V Superman, its ranking among superhero movies will remain a mystery.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25, 2016, followed by Suicide Squad on August 5, 2016;Wonder Woman on June 23, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 23, 2018;Aquaman on July 27, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern on June 19, 2020. The Superman and Batman solo films have release dates TBD.