From the Archives: Batman v Superman v You: A Challenge to the Haters

From the Archives: Batman v Superman v You: A Challenge to the Haters

In the interest of getting “hard” copies of my work under one roof, I plan to spend the next few weeks posting the entire archive of my film journalism here on ScullyVision. With due respect to the many publications I’ve written for, the internet remains quite temporary, and I’d hate to see any of my work disappear for digital reasons. As such, this gargantuan project must begin! I don’t want to do it. I hate doing it. But it needs to be done. Please note that my opinions, like everyone’s, have changed a LOT since I started, so many of these reviews will only represent a snapshot in time. Objectivity has absolutely no place in film criticism, at least not how I do it. 

Without further ado, I present to you: FROM THE ARCHIVES.
Originally posted on Cinema76.

While I don’t foresee ever attending San Diego Comic Con (the only thing I hate more than going to the beach is waiting in line), I get excited for the event every time it rolls around. Thanks to the Internet, we non-San Diegans are instantly privy to any information revealed at the Con. The conversations started at the Con about our favorite nerd properties are able to be partaken by anyone with a computer, and the big conversation starter this time around was the new, full length Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer:

The response amongst us nerds is varied and is almost perfectly in sync with the response to Man of Steel. A lot of people really loved it, and a lot of people really did not. I am, quite expectedly, in the ‘love it’ camp. Not only was I floored by Man of Steel, I was challenged by it. The idea of putting Superman (a character for whom I had no prior love) into a lose-lose situation is terrifically interesting, and to have him barely eke out a victory in a battle with severe real-world implications gave Supes a reason to strive for perfection, rather than just being the “Big Blue Boy Scout” simply by default. But that’s just my opinion, and the film clearly didn’t work for some others WHICH IS TOTALLY FINE.

The viewpoint I’m currently struggling with is that of the folks who, based on their distaste for Man of Steel, explicitly WANT to hate Batman v Superman, because they feel it affords them some sort of critical validity even though they haven’t seen the movie yet. These are the folks who were mad at Man of Steel for daring to develop Superman as a character but also complain that he is inherently static. These are the people who are upset that the end of Man of Steel didn’t pay lip service to the victims of the attack on Metropolis, but are equally angry that elements of the sequel appear to be a response to this complaint. These folks lament that the DC Universe is different from the Marvel Universe, but also get mad that “all movies are the same” and that “Hollywood doesn’t care about anything but the bottom line” and will thusly recycle the same tired stories until they are a limp shadow of a narrative. Seems contradictory to me. Some people can’t be pleased, or worse, don’t want to be pleased.

So to these folks, I offer two challenges. The first challenge is to go see Batman v Superman with an open mind. No matter how you felt about Man of Steel or DC’s cinematic universe as a whole, reserve your judgment of the film until after you see it. I’m very excited for the film, but if it turns out to be terrible, I shall have no qualms in saying so. I implore you to offer yourself the same courtesy: an opportunity to enjoy a film (an increasingly lost art) before reverting to nerd-rage (an increasingly tired art).

Buuuuut if you absolutely can not abide the existence of Batman v Superman, and you are just oh-so-confident that it will definitely be the worst thing on the planet, acting as irrefutable evidence of Hollywood’s thoughtless money vacuum, I offer my second challenge: Don’t go see it. Speak the language of Hollywood and let them know that this is not the type of movie you want by avoiding it entirely. Not only will you save a few bucks, but you can hold on to your “Hollywood doesn’t make the type of movies I want to see” card. You can also offer a the significantly more valid critique of “I didn’t care to see it.”image2-4

While the first challenge is certainly my preference, as I would love for everyone to enjoy film as much as I think I will (which unfortunately does require the consumption of a few turkeys here and there), by accepting either challenge, you will be doing your part to protect this parade from rain, to preserve nerd culture as a culture of fun, and to do so without losing an ounce of precious critical validity (which you’d think would be more affected by a willingness to tender a review of an unseen film).

I’ll be beating the drum for this one until it is released, at which point I’ll be much happier to be disappointed than to have months of curmudgeonly hatred vindicated.

But I won’t be disappointed. How could I? Batman and Superman are going to fight while I watch.



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