One of the world’s most popular franchise properties with a bombastic score and heavy CGI inclusion, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” is a blockbuster in every sense of the word, and may just be too big to fail.
“Batman v Superman” might not be a critical darling, sitting currently at a 29 percent on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, but that has not stopped it from setting the record for both the biggest superhero movie international opening at $254 million and the biggest all-time worldwide opening box office of the superhero genre at $420 million, according to a recent Forbes article.
This large gap between critical rebuke and massive box office profitability is nothing unprecedented. There seems to be a new breed of “critic-proof” blockbusters in recent years.
Michael Bay’s “Transformers” franchise is a similarly loud effects-driven spectacle based on a beloved property. The “Transformer” films, while amassing more than $1 billion in gross box office sales worldwide, range poorly from 19-57 percent “rotten” ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.
It appears that director Zack Snyder and Warner Bros., in an attempt to create an expansive DC superhero universe, lost vision and overlooked the task at hand, creating a film with plenty of spectacle, but lacking in a coherent storyline.
“The plot was sort of vague and it didn’t really draw you in, but I liked how it gave a foundation for the movies to come,” said Dara Eckes, sophomore photography major. “It was a good starting point for this superhero universe. I feel like as a big movie franchise, people have a lot of expectations coming in and if the movie doesn’t match all of those expectations, they’re disappointed”
“Batman v Superman” has its merits, specifically in the score by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL and in the performances of certain actors. Actor Ben Affleck does an excellent job as Bruce Wayne portraying an experienced Batman with a graying moral code. Additionally, actor Jeremy Irons brings some much-needed levity to the film in his role as Alfred. Actress Gal Gadot also shines in her brief role as Wonder Woman.
Unfortunately, these standout performances are muddled by a mediocre script and poorly developed plot. To be fair, Snyder has a lot to accomplish in “Batman v Superman,” not only continuing the story of 2013’s “Man of Steel,” but also setting up DC’s entire superhero universe leading up to an inevitable film based on the Justice League.
“I actually really enjoyed the movie,” said Austin Dubyak, freshman graphic design major. “I appreciate how they differentiated themselves from the tone of the Marvel films. The movie did a good job of showing a different, more vulnerable side to these superheroes, one that’s a little more human and relatable.”
Living in an age of massive critic-proof franchises, Hollywood’s concerns for plot and good characterization are often overshadowed by massive financial investment and potential profitability.