Published by: Anthony Wallace
What has been certainly an unexpected and surprising response by Critics and movie-goers to Zack Snyder’s epic showdown in ‘Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice‘ has Warner Bros. and DC scrambling to retain the loyalty to it’s world building franchise. Only making $872 million* at the global box office with a $25o million budget was not the success the studio was looking for. Where does the finger pointing begin? Certainly blame can be attributed to the director and studio but where in fact lies the problem for a movie that was supposed to lay the groundwork for a DC cinematic universe. And with an extended cut of the film being released with additional footage not seen in theaters has left many to question why Snyder’s original vision wasn’t realized by the fear of studios showcasing a 3-hour long motion picture.
The overwhelming responses are in as ‘Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice‘ was muddled with plot devices, plot holes, choppy editing between scenes, and the overall dourness of the characters that left the word fun at the door. Even if the Ultimate Edition helped to clean up some of the criticisms that plagued the theatrical release, and gave more of a motivation to Lex Luthor’s master plan, it still leaves a sour taste to those who didn’t like the original cut and only adds to the experience for those who enjoyed the film. In what should have been a clear victory for the studio ends up leaving more questions then answers. Now we look into how everything led up to this point and where the future of the franchise may lead.
Going back all the way to when ‘Man of Steel‘ was announced and the casting of Henry Cavill as the next Superman, Warner Bros. was banking on this film’s success to jumpstart the DC universe. After it’s initial release with mixed reactions by critics and audience goers, it led to Zack Snyder announcing at the 2014 Comic Con of Batman v. Superman. Snyder considered it the next step into building towards the Justice League and introducing everyone to a new Batman. The initial reaction to the casting of Ben Affleck as the new Bruce Wayne led the airwaves in blasting the studio for their decision. We also saw the casting of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman which too saw skepticism upon being announced as the new goddess warrior. Everything was heading into the right direction until the decision to delay the film’s release from 2015 to the Spring of 2016 as script issues came up.
An additional year was necessary for Zack Snyder as he proclaimed that they (Warner Bros.) wanted to flesh out the script and get it right. This then leads to the first trailer to leak online and a slew of other trailers hitting the web that were hit and miss as to the overcrowding of plot points drew red flags. With the film heading into its week of release, critics responses were mostly negative with an 11% tomato-meter score on Rotten Tomatoes. This caught the attention of movie-goers early on and with the bad word of mouth after release it would just all go down hill from there. In what should have been a $1 billion grossing event would lead to a less then stellar opening and doubt over whether the DC universe will weather the storm.
Even with criticisms abound, Warner Bros. continues on with keeping Zack Snyder at the helm for his next chapter in ‘Justice League: Part 1‘ (2017). However, before that we’ll be seeing David Ayer’s much anticipated ‘Suicide Squad‘ starring Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, and Will Smith as villains are forced to come together in Black Ops missions in exchange for mercy. Having dealt with the criticisms of it’s last outing has the studio banking on ‘Suicide Squad‘ to being a massive hit. With David Ayer’s success in war dramas, he most certainly has confidence by the studio that he will turn the tide and make things right. However, if the film is a dud and leaves a mark as it did in ‘Batman v. Superman‘ we can most certainly see a slow down by the studio with future projects scheduled down the pipeline.
It just seems like Warner Bros. and DC are playing catchup with Marvel as each film has been pressured to succeed. First with ‘Man of Steel‘ and the most recent ‘Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice‘, the obvious is present as they are starting to look desperate for answers into making the franchise a success. The studio shouldn’t be playing catch-up but rather taking it’s time as did Marvel in setting up their universe. After the first ‘Iron Man‘ in 2008 and the subsequent releases that followed, the quality and feel to the films just flowed. We’re not seeing that with DC as each film feels like it has a lot to lose with the stakes being so high. Typically the quality of a franchise goes down hill after it’s been around for a while but isn’t the case with DC as they’re already struggling from the start.
The studio needs to give itself time to flesh out the story arcs when building its properties. Warner Bros. still has a chance to head into the right direction and become the success it’s looking for. Against the argument that people want to see DC fail, it’s actually the opposite for fans of comic books as a whole as we live in a generation where superheroes and comic-book fandom has finally arrived at the cinemas. It just takes one film to turn things around and to re-instill confidence back to DC comic readers. All is not lost.
*Source: Box Office Mojo
What do you guys think? Will Suicide Squad make or break an already fragile DC Universe? Comment below and share your thoughts.