Only three days remain until Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters, and the early reviews are now beginning to emerge. Unfortunately for those who can’t wait to hit a midnight screening, the critical take on the big superhero title fight so far is — to put it mildly — not very positive. As of this writing, BVS sits at a relatively paltry 41% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, with only 16 positive reviews out of a total of 39. While that number will likely go up or down somewhat, as more and more reviews ultimately pour in, it would be an understatement to say that BVS was not widely expected to perform this poorly with critics.
What’s worse is that the negative reviews for Batman V Superman are less of the “this is underwhelming, but has potential” variety and more of along the lines of “give me the past two-and-a-half hours of my life back.”
Some reviewers chose to lambast the film, while others sought to keep their condemnations more succinct, but most were still generally negative. In fact, two popular lines of criticism thus far are that BVS overuses CGI spectacle and is just too dark and dour for its own good.
Below, you can read a rundown of what several critics thought of the film:
Time Out New York — Joshua Rothkopf
“If there’s any justice, dawning or otherwise, at the multiplex, audiences will reject Zack Snyder’s lumbering, dead-on-arrival superhero mélange, a $250 million tombstone for a genre in dire need of a break.”
Miami Herald — Rene Rodriguez
“In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel duke it out and the audience loses.”
The New York Post — Lou Lumenick
“Constantly threatening to collapse from self-seriousness, this epic has way too much of everything, including CGI and Oscar winners up the wazoo.”
“And what of the title’s promised skirmish? That face-off between two comics legends becomes but one in a series of big things bashing into other big things, which is what Snyder and writers Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer mistake for storytelling.”
Entertainment Weekly — Chris Nashawaty
“It’s another numbing smash-and-bash orgy of CGI mayhem with an ending that leaves the door open wide enough to justify the next 10 installments. Is it too late to demand a rematch?”
GQ Magazine — Helen O’Hara
“This is a film so bad it wears you down and makes you wonder if there was ever such a thing as a hero anyway”
Many of these criticisms mirror lines of attack launched at Zack Snyder’s previous effort, Man of Steel, and are not too surprising, all in all. If one disliked Snyder’s first attempt at a film starring Superman, it makes sense that his follow-up might strike out with that same moviegoer for similar reasons.
Of course, the response to BVS isn’t all bad, as there a decent number of positive reviews coming in as well:
Associated Press — Jake Coyle
“It hurtles not with the kinetic momentum of Mad Max: Fury Road nor the comparatively spry skip of a Marvel movie, but with an operatic grandeur it sometimes earns and often doesn’t.”
USA Today — Brian Truitt
“BvS will please those either waiting for the two main players to lock horns on a movie screen, or those who’ve just been pining for Wonder Woman forever.”
Empire Magazine — Nick De Semlyen
“There are moments that make the whole enterprise worthwhile, and introduces an intriguing new Batman. But it’s also cluttered and narratively wonky; a few jokes wouldn’t have gone amiss, either.”
As you can see, even most of the positive appraisals tend to stress that the film isn’t perfect. Some seek to hold BVS up as a crowd-pleasing spectacle, but don’t really seem to offer many compliments to the actual story being told by Snyder and company, much less the characterizations of either Batman and Superman.
At the end of the day, whatever the final judgments made by critics, Batman V Superman will still likely be a financial success for DC and Warner Bros. Hardcore fans of the two superheroic titans are unlikely to be deterred from seeing their two idols duke it out on-screen, and the marketing blitz over the last several months has succeeded in making even casual comic movie fans look forward to witnessing the Dawn of Justice. The real question will be BVS’ staying power, or lack thereof. Making lots of money in the short term is great, but if overall public opinion ends up siding against the film, it may bode ominously for the future of DC’s cinematic universe.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25th, 2016, followed by Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016;Wonder Woman on June 23rd, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17th, 2017; The Flash on March 16th, 2018; Aquaman on July 27th, 2018; Shazam on April 5th, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14th, 2019; Cyborgon April 3rd, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps. on June 19th, 2020.
Source: Rotten Tomatoes