Maybe its the number of comics I’ve read. Maybe my understanding of the differences in storytelling between comics and movies is colored by how many variations on these characters I’ve seen — there must have been hundreds — and how many different writers and artists I’ve seen taking on both Batman, Superman, and all their fictional associates. Maybe the fact that I’ve actually read the classic The Dark Knight Returns, and The Death of Superman makes a difference in how I reacted to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
It could just be that professional film critics have become so convinced that they know what works best that any story line that confounds their expectations is met with scorn and derision (“I wanted to see Clark doing a news story. They didn’t show that, so this movie is bad!” “What? Lex tricked them into fighting? Preposterous!”). Or maybe they’re just tired of comic book-based movies and want to see them transform into something they aren’t.
Whatever the case, I went into Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice with pretty low expectations based on critics who found the movie overly dense — “incoherent” one wrote — too dark, and a number of other negative adjectives. Listening to the critics, I really expected to hate this movie. “DC has done it again,” I thought, “taken an idea with potential, burned up three years of development and failed to deliver.” That, however, was before I saw the movie.
After watching it, I can say that while it certainly has its flaws — what film doesn’t these days — Dawn of Justice was certainly not a train wreck. It was not bad at all, purely from a storytelling point of view. The acting was solid all around. The special effects were as good as they ever are in a superhero flick. And it accomplished what it set out to do — apart from wowing the critical masses.
So if you decide to see Dawn of Justice, go in with an open mind. You might find, as I did, that the nattering nabobs got it wrong this time.