The hype train for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is now well underway, with many fans eager to see the titanic clash between two of the most recognizable faces in comic books. For decades, the question of who would win in a fight between Batman and Superman has been debated in playgrounds, comic shops and internet message forums, but soon, the ultimate comic book grudgematch will play out on the big screen.
While many fans are excited to see this fight kick off, however, not everyone is optimistic that the spectacle of a man in blue pajamas punching a billionaire in a bat costume will be worth the hype. Comic book fans are pretty divided as to whether this movie looks like it’s heading in the right direction, or whether it’ll end up being an enormous let down.
While there’s every possibility that the upcoming movie will be a big hit, here’s 10 Ways That Batman V Superman Could Be a Disappointment.
10. Continuing Man of Steel’s Grimdark Style
“Grimdark” typically refers to a movie that’s overly gritty, dark and joyless for the sake of appearing serious and dramatic. There’s nothing wrong with a movie that has a darker tone, but deliberately taking it too far can make a film turn laughable in its affected bleakness.
Such was the case with Man of Steel, which featured, among other things, Superman getting sucked into a river of human skulls. You can’t get much more grimdark than that. Considering that the movie was color washed so heavily that it was almost in black and white, it’s not surprising that this ultra-depressing tone wasn’t exactly what fans wanted from a superhero movie – especially a film about one of the most colorful and child-friendly characters in comics.
Batman is generally a darker character (ignoring his fabulously colorful ‘60s television show), but even a dark movie can feature wit and lighter moments, as we saw in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. A movie that’s overly grimdark and takes itself too serious generally isn’t any fun to watch.
9. Silly Lex Luthor
Fans were excited when the first images of Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor were released online. A moody black and white photo showed a bald villain with a look of steel – the kind of interpretation of Lex that fans could get behind. With the latest trailer, though, came a look at a different style for the character, with Eisenberg’s performance coming off as loud, obnoxious, and more than a little annoying.
If Batman V Superman is to take a darker tone than most comic book movies, the inclusion of a comically flamboyant Lex Luthor doesn’t sit well with the rest of the movie. What’s more, it’s difficult to take the character seriously, and the odd humor that Lex displays (almost breaking the fourth wall to wink at the audience when mentioning that it’s a bad idea to get in a fight with Clark Kent) has many fans wondering whether this interpretation of the character is going to amount to little more than a supervillain version of Jar Jar Binks.
8. Too many new characters
Batman V Superman introduces Bruce Wayne to DC’s new cinematic universe. It also introduces Wonder Woman. And Aquaman. Not to mention giving us Lex Luthor and Doomsday. The movie is awfully crowded, with a variety of characters whose motivations and story arcs need to be set up in a memorable way, enough for us to care about them, without making their presence in the movie superfluous. There’s a reason Marvel set up the Avengers with a series of solo movies that go beyond the company’s love of box office revenue.
While films like Guardians of the Galaxy have shown that it is possible to set up a team in a tight two hour narrative, this is most definitely the exception, rather than the rule. Spider-Man 3, X-Men: The Last Stand and Batman and Robin all introduce so many new characters that the plot suffered as a result, reducing most of the new additions to little more than cameos. Without a well organized script making use of each new character, Batman V Superman might end up horribly imbalanced, taking screen time away from the main point of the movie.
7. Product Placement
Man of Steel was brought to us by IHOP. And Sears. And, according to some reports, over a hundred other similar marketing deals. The movie is absolutely full of product placements, some subtle, other decidedly less so. If Wayne’s World has taught us anything it’s that no matter the film, a big, obvious brand logo is distracting from the narrative.
It’s not known yet to what extent Warner Brothers have signed marketing deals for Batman V Superman. The chances are, though, that if the new movie is turned into a walking advertisement for a hundred different brands, it won’t help any viewer’s enjoyment of the movie. Just be prepared, in case Superman tells Lois that actually, the ‘S’ isn’t a symbol of hope: it stands for ‘Subway’.
6. Ben Affleck
Poor Ben Affleck. Fan outrage at his initial casting as Batman was so great that it’s hard not to feel sorry for him. While it’s hardly surprising that comic book fans can hold a grudge, it’s impressive that even over ten years after Daredevil, Affleck still hasn’t been able to shake off the stigma from his last superhero outing. Nobody’s gone to the same lengths to hound Ryan Reynolds over Green Lantern!
In spite of years of working on successful movies, both as an actor and even in directorial roles, fans haven’t forgiven Affleck’s past sins. It doesn’t help that Daredevil and Batman are such similar characters – both known for brooding and hiding in the shadows. For many fans, Affleck’s face beneath the famous cape and cowl is more than enough to put them off the movie before it’s even been released.
5. The Depth of the Plot
Batman V Superman is a movie that wears its central premise on its sleeve. Buying a ticket means seeing two men in silly costumes punching each other for a couple hours. But how much more to the movie is there, beyond this one central fight?
On the one hand, a movie that’s empty of any driving force beyond the main spectacle can end up feeling hollow. There needs to a be a story that’s strong enough to keep up a consistent narrative, because, eventually, overblown CGI action scenes lose context and emotion (for reference, see the end of Man of Steel). On the other hand, drama for its own sake can also end up feeling dull or distracting. Especially with the number of characters that are knocking about in Batman V Superman, it remains to be seen how well the movie will do at telling a story, rather than just showing more buildings being reduced to ash.
4. Movie Teases
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has a lot to answer for. Some could argue that movies like Captain America, Thor and The Incredible Hulk existed for no other reason than to serve as commercials for Avengers. Heck, Captain America actually even had a trailer for Avengers at the end, destroying any flimsy arguments that the movie had a purpose in its own right beyond explaining Cap’s backstory for the crossover.
Since then, we’ve seen many other movies trying out similar teases. X-Men movies have managed it relatively tolerably thanks to end-credit scenes, but Avengers: Age of Ultron was a little more hamfisted. Both Amazing Spider-Man movies became almost intolerable thanks to constant efforts to promote the next movie in the franchise (efforts that it turns out were ultimately wasted in the case of the second film).
Considering that Batman V Superman is DC’s first attempt at a crossover movie, there’s a good chance they might try to ram in a few teases – fans should cross their fingers that, for the sake of the film, these are infrequent and subtle. On the other hand, one could already argue that the whole film is a tease for the upcoming Justice League movie.
3. Imbalanced Fight
One of the big problems that many storytellers have had with Superman over the years is his power set. He’s just too strong, which makes injecting any kind of peril into his story a bit difficult. Many times over the years, kryptonite has been used as a lazy crutch to temporarily weaken Supes, before he eventually gets rid of it and proceeds to save the day.
Man of Steel did a good job of giving Superman a balanced nemesis, but with Batman V Superman, this is going to be difficult. Unless there’s a reason for Superman to hold back, Batman doesn’t really stand a chance, no matter how chunky his armor is. Unless, of course, Batman gets hold of some kryptonite – in which case, the movie ends up falling into the familiar trap of lazy Superman storytelling.
Many fans were less than impressed with the latest trailer for Batman V Superman. This wasn’t because the trailer didn’t show them enough of the movie, as was the case with some early teasers, but because the trailer showed too much. Without giving away too many spoilers for those who are avoiding trailers, it not only showed elements from the fight between Batman and Superman, but also gave away the specifics of the final act.
The problem with giving away too much of the movie’s climax in trailers is it tends to rob the early scenes of their peril. There’s no question of what’s going to happen to end the fight between the Justice League’s buddy team – it’s clear exactly how events tie up and what bigger threat is waiting at the end of the movie. If fans already know the ending of a movie, it’s far harder to invest in the story up to that point.
1. Superhero Fatigue
Let’s face it: there have been a lot of superhero movies in recent years. Pretty much every character from the Marvel comics has appeared on screen, sometimes twice. DC’s getting to the party exceptionally late, and there may not necessarily be a lot to say on the subject of superheroes that hasn’t already appeared in movies by this point.
It doesn’t help that Marvel’s Civil War is going to beat Batman V Superman to the punch in offering a movie about superhero infighting. To do something new, original and inspired will take some smart writing and directing – something original is definitely needed to reinvigorate the superhero genre and ensure Batman V Superman stands out among the many other superhero movies of 2016.
When all is said and done, it’s far too early to decide whether Batman V Superman will live up to the hype the movie’s receiving. Are you optimistic for the upcoming movie? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.