'a malignant, puss-bleeding cancer on the ass of its own genre'
Zack Snyder’s sublimely ridiculous ubermensch battle royale, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opened over the weekend to a mix of reviews.
With domestic US box office takings are listed at $166.1 million (£115 million) and an estimated $420.1 million (£291 million) global revenue, its clear that the latest offering from the 300 and Watchmen director is a commercial hit.
But the critical response has been mixed at best, with the film currently receiving an average of 29% on Rotten Tomatoes, putting it just below the infamously bad Tommy Wiseau film The Room (which stands at 35%).
Batman V Superman is a movie so bad that I took a bathroom break and had trouble peeing because I was laughing so hard.
— Max Scoville (@MaxScoville) March 26, 2016
Some critics have been particularly savage, with Wired writer Oliver Franklin Wallis calling it ‘an excuse of a movie’, accusing it of being little more than a feature length trailer for a franchise no-one really asked for.
Famously vocal online critic Bob Chipman went as far as to call the film ‘a malignant, puss-bleeding cancer on the ass of its own genre’.
Other critics weren’t as harsh on the movie, USA today said: “BvS will please those either waiting for the two main players to lock horns on a movie screen, or those who’ve just been pining for Wonder Woman forever.”
batman v superman mostly just bums me out. somewhere in there was a great cast & good idea that deserved a tighter script & better director
— Andrew Goldfarb (@garfep) March 26, 2016
Professional criticism aside, the fans themselves have had mixed feelings about the film. Many found the film messy and convoluted, criticising Cavill’s wooden performance as Superman.
The general consensus is that there were too many ancillary characters in the film, a criticism also levelled at Sam Raimi’s Spider Man 3 back in 2007.
Just look at Ben Affleck’s face in response to the film’s reception:
But it wasn’t all bad news. Fans were overwhelmingly positive about Affleck’s portrayal of brooding billionaire hunk Bruce Wayne aka Batman.
Clerks director Kevin Smith lauded his performance ‘not because of how he looks in the suit, but rather how he performs when he’s not wearing it’
More praise went to Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Amazonian badass Wonder Woman, with the film setting her up nicely for her own origin movie.
The discord between a strong commercial opening and very mixed reviews has opened a debate over the role of the critic within the industry, with some arguing that the strong fan response to the film proves that conventional crticism has little sway over movie goers.
However, Crimson Peak director Guillermo Del Toro argued that ‘critics exist so a dialogue can exist about the art form. Not the business.’
As art ultimately is subjective, it stands to reason that there is still a lot of positive reception that one can gleen from the latest superhero blockbuster, Batman v Superman.