Mar 24 2016

Batman Vs. Superman is worse than you’ve heard

Published by at 8:30 pm under Writing Articles

This is the worst Batman movie since Batman & Robin ~20 years ago. The writing was sub-cartoon grade. If you didn’t enjoy the latest Fantastic Four movie or Man of Steel, I would stay far away from this one.

22 responses so far

22 Responses to “Batman Vs. Superman is worse than you’ve heard”

  1. Danielon 24 Mar 2016 at 9:56 pm

    I didn’t want to see it, and by what I’ve heard already, I’m not exactly looking forward to it either. Which will save me $40 ($20 for cinema then another $20 for DVD later). I am fine with this. It’s not a movie I NEED to see. I’d be okay with it, if it was “so bad it’s good”. But it doesn’t sound like it is that. It sounds boring and tedious and terrible. I’ll pass.

  2. B. McKenzieon 25 Mar 2016 at 9:02 am

    “I’d be okay with it, if it was so bad it’s good.’ There are 2-3 moments that are unintentionally comedic, but generally I think “boring and tedious and terrible” is spot on. I’d add “fatally unimaginative.” Also, the writing in general is consistently the worst we’ve seen for Batman since the Joel Schumacher years. In the entire movie, I think there were 3 scenes written well enough that I’d want to keep them in a rewrite.

  3. InnocentBystanderon 26 Mar 2016 at 7:24 am

    Guess this proves that swinging the pendulum in the opposite direction of campy does not a good film make.

    Honestly, the only reason I wanted to see this movie was for Wonder Woman. Unfortunately, even though the reviews I found said that Gal Gadot does a pretty good job as the character they also said she is barely in the movie. So yeah, not gonna see it.

  4. B. McKenzieon 26 Mar 2016 at 9:35 am

    “The reviews I found said that Gal Gadot does a pretty good job as the character they also said she is barely in the movie.” She gets less screen time than Lois Lane and probably about as many lines as Alfred. Wonder Woman was the only female character in the movie that didn’t spent most of her time on screen as a hostage/damsel-in-distress. Lois Lane’s investigations consist of asking a total of ~4 (idiotic) questions and getting kidnapped twice. (And they totally half-assed Batman’s investigations, too).

  5. InnocentBystanderon 26 Mar 2016 at 5:21 pm

    “She gets less screen time than Lois Lane and probably about as many lines as Alfred. Wonder Woman was the only female character in the movie that didn’t spent most of her time on screen as a hostage/damsel-in-distress.”

    Seriously? And she was featured almost as much as Batman and Superman.

    Sense; the movie makes none.

    Also, anyone who wants to see a good Batman vs. Superman movie go check out the animated adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns. While I’m not crazy about Frank Miller’s take on Batman, it’ll still got to be better than this.

  6. B. McKenzieon 26 Mar 2016 at 7:24 pm

    “Seriously? And she was featured almost as much as Batman and Superman.” She gets probably 5-10 minutes of screen time and maybe 10 lines. She and Alfred are arguably the least bad thing about the movie, but neither one really is in a position to save the movie. I would argue that the ONLY force in the universe that can make Superman an interesting character is Batman, but this Batman wasn’t even written well-enough to make himself interesting.

    Batman has one of the deepest and most memorable pools of villains to pick from. I’m a bit perplexed about why, with any of 6+ pretty kickass Batman villains on tap, they picked Lex Luthor again. For a darker, grimmer feel, I think a fear/nightmare-based villain might have been more effective (e.g. Scarecrow or a Dr. Destiny redesigned to not look like He-Man’s Skeletor). Superman’s fight scenes tend to devolve into flying at enemies really fast, and a more mental villain might help avoid the “flying brick” problems that have made his fight scenes miserably boring.

  7. Kevin Holsingeron 27 Mar 2016 at 7:02 am

    Good morning, Mr. McKenzie.

    (golly, I haven’t commented here in a while, despite reading the site on a regular basis. Anyway…)

    Since I won’t be watching this until it comes out on video, do any of your complaints seem like they’d be fixed with that 30-or-so-minute extended cut that’s supposed to come out? I’ve heard from multiple sources that, despite this movie being 2.5 hours, it feels rushed.

    Happy Easter, and be seeing you.

  8. B. McKenzieon 27 Mar 2016 at 4:32 pm

    “I’ve heard from multiple sources that, despite this movie being 2.5 hours, it feels rushed.” At best, adding 30 minutes of great movie would make me wonder why they chose to keep the 150 minutes they did. I don’t think a few missing pieces could make everything else fall into place. Regarding the pacing, I felt the movie was quite slow. They did sort of brush over the other Justice Leaguers besides Batman and Superman, but giving them another 10-20 minutes probably wouldn’t fix the core problems about how little was happening with Batman/Superman, and I don’t think there’s anything they could add that would get Lex Luthor Jr. off a Ten Worst Movie Supervillains list.

  9. saithorthepyroon 28 Mar 2016 at 4:05 pm

    If this is as bad as you say, there goes my hopes and dreams of a Sandman movie ever being made (Either Dream or Wesley Dodds). Here’s hoping DC gets back on their feet with Suicide Squad. Here’s a quick question, would you blame the film’s problems on the over-used Nolan tropes from the Dark Knight? Those were a lot of the problems I had with Man of Steel, which I liked less than Batman and Robin because at least I got a laugh out of Schwarzenager a few times.

  10. B. McKenzieon 28 Mar 2016 at 6:20 pm

    “Here’s a quick question, would you blame the film’s problems on the over-used Nolan tropes from the Dark Knight?” This may be a dumb question on my part, but which Nolan tropes are you referring to? I have a huge list below of the ones that come to mind, but let me know if I missed any.

    –Both movies have unusually morally gray protagonists, but I’d argue that TDK’s execution is a lot more compelling there. E.g. it’s one of the only superhero stories I’m familiar with where torture is used unsuccessfully (e.g. targets that don’t know the information desired or refuse to give it up under torture). Normally, when torture is used, lazy writers bring it in as a mind-reading superpower and it’s used without consequences. Also, in TDK the character’s morally gray decisions actually result in major consequences (e.g. Batman’s surveillance machine cause Lucius to part ways with him).

    –Villains without clear, consistent goals. Most obviously, Joker betraying his own men in the bank heist, and lighting $68m on fire rather than using it to advance his agenda. Secondarily, Scarecrow passing off his fear serum as a recreational drug mainly because because it suits his character rather than that it advances a more traditional goal (money/power/survival/etc). I’d argue that Lex Luthor Jr. is somewhat clear about what he wants (taking out Superman, because he thinks that an omnipotent force cannot be an all-good one).

    –TDK’s Batman falsely admits to a villain’s wrongdoing, which is pretty much unheard of for a superhero. Also, the idea of legacy is unusually central to the plot. (In BVS, Alfred offhandedly mentions Bruce’s legacy once, but there definitely isn’t anything on the order there of copping to somebody’s murders to allow the murderer to die an inspirational hero). Secondarily, Harvey Dent claims to be Batman at one point, which is itself a badass and uncommon turn of events.

    –In TDK, the side-characters are exceptionally competent (e.g. Dent / Gordon / Reese especially, as well as the more generic Lucius and Alfred). This was sorely lacking from BVS. E.g. Lois Lane’s greatest investigative insight is asking a government official to do the work for her (here’s an experimental bullet from the scene, tell me what it means). Would have been more satisfying if he had reacted less cooperatively (some combination of: he has no motive to help her and/or she’s asking for dangerous information and/or she’s clueless and unreliable and/or even if he were cooperative, it might take him weeks to find out what she’s asked for). Also, umm, if you’re LexCorp and you’re trying to hide your involvement in a shooting, why would you use super-experimental rounds that only your company has access to? ESPECIALLY if you’re trying to frame Superman?

    –Speaking of (in)competence, I think the Batman-Superman fight scene is a trainwreck. When you’re watching the fight scene, look at how SLOW Batman’s kryptonite attacks are. Superman just WATCHES as Batman shoots him in the face with a grenade. The fight scene is engineered this way because a remotely competent Superman would have won easily, so they needed an idiot Superman. Uhh, but isn’t Batman a pretty clever adversary? He shouldn’t NEED an insane handicap from Superman — just force Batman to be more clever about how he gets the kryptonite to Superman. Secondarily, check out Batman’s fight scene with the SWAT teams and Joker’s thugs in TDK. He doesn’t really have any of that finesse in BVS (or Dark Knight Rises, to some extent).

    –Casualty counts: very low in TDK, and mostly it’s a few VIP deaths (the police commissioner, a judge, a love interest, a protagonist, etc) that are actually plot significant. There’s also some deaths of minor characters and extras, but they tend to be actually emotionally impactful (e.g. see the deaths of Joker’s crew during the bank heist). In terms of THREATENED casualties, the Joker threatens to destroy a ferry with maybe 100 people on board, and the Joker takes maybe 25 people hostage. In contrast, in Man of Steel, we’re probably looking at 100,000+ fatalities on camera basically as mood lighting and/or to show off the special effects budget — there’s no heart or soul there whatsoever. In BVS, the main change is that journalists pop up from time to time to let the audience know that the buildings that the heroes are about to completely wreck are mostly uninhabited because it’s after office hours. So, okay, maybe 20,000+ casualties. Oh, also, a major government building gets bombed and, uhh, people sort of never mention it again until the epilogue (Lex gets convicted for the crime later). TDK takes its deaths a lot more seriously and they actually matter.

    –Morally gray civilians and/or society as a whole. Not really a major element in BVS besides the President launching a nuclear strike against a potentially world-ending danger (even though it might kill Superman) and a random victim of the Metropolis fight blaming Superman for some reason. I guess the kindest interpretation here is that Superman’s decisions (e.g. fighting like a flying brick in a city rather than, say, drawing the enemy AWAY from millions of civilians) have consequences in-story. :-/ That’s pretty weak sauce, though — nobody actually mentions that Superman’s tactical decisions and/or fighting style might be a problem.

    –Villains coercing people into making nefarious decisions. Sort of a modus operandi for Joker and maybe secondarily for Rah’s al-Ghul? This also showed up in Man of Steel (the aliens demanding that Earth surrender Superman or there’d be war), but not as elegantly as (say) the attempts on Coleman Reese’s life, the ferry scene, or the SWAT raid. I don’t think it came up in BVS.

    –I’d argue that Nolan’s Batman movies (especially TDK), had more of a realistic vibe and/or smaller scale than most other superhero movies. E.g. the villainous schemes are relatively limited in scope (e.g. blowing up a hospital, taking hostages, taking over several gangs, assassinating a mayor, etc). Neither TDKR nor Snyder’s movies went in that direction. I’m not sure a Superman movie could (although the first season of Lois and Clark mostly did).

    –Nolan’s female characters are mainly damsels in distress. Notably, Rachel gets killed, and she’s not incredibly impressive as a character either in terms of her capabilities or her character development. (Though TDKR is a bit better on this front, I think). This trope, BVS picks up with a vengeance. Lois Lane, Martha Kent, and indirectly Martha Wayne only show up to get abducted and/or endangered. Wonder Woman’s role is half superhero, half Bond girl, and lasts a few minutes. I think superhero writers are still sort of figuring out female characters (and I’ll be the first to admit that female characters are exceptionally challenging for me). Incredibles, Jessica Jones, and Deadpool did a vastly better job with having both interesting female and interesting male characters. The two main female characters in season 1 of the Daredevil show (Karen Page and Vanessa Fisk) are also not bad.

  11. Ben Willowson 30 Mar 2016 at 11:20 am

    Heya B,

    Thank you for this. I was considering watching it, but now I’m just going to wait until it comes out on DVD. Might not even buy that…

    By the way, in your comments here, you refer to “Lex Luthor Jr”. Is that just a reference to Eisenberg’s childish interpretation of one of the few good Superman villains, or is Eisenberg’s Luthor genuinely the son of a previous Lex Luthor? Could we actually see an older, threatening Luthor?


  12. BMon 30 Mar 2016 at 11:39 am

    “Is Eisenberg’s Luthor genuinely the son of a previous Lex Luthor?” Yes, they’re both named Lex. According to the son, LexCorp is named after his father, and Lex Jr. inherited it after the father’s death. (The relationship is hyper-generically abusive; it’s like the screenwriters have seen cases where abusive relationships were effective in developing some villains, but couldn’t come up with 30-60 seconds in a 2.5 hour movie to make either character human).

    Weirdly, the Amazing Spider-Man series (not great movies by any stretch) covers this ground much more effectively, as well as Chronicle, maybe the Daredevil TV show, probably Joker in TDK*, Jessica Jones, Vince Vaughn’s character in True Detective, etc. It’s a bit of a cliche at this point. Of these, I’d say that Daredevil and True Detective are probably the most effective “vanilla” versions of using an abusive relationship as character/plot development (a moderately dark villain and a wildly dark protagonist, respectively). Jessica Jone’s approach (the memorably dysfunctional and occasionally emotionally abusive relationship between Trish and her mother) is the only one that I’d consider better than well-executed vanilla. In the other cases, the abusive parent is less of a character and more of a plot device that exists to be abusive. For the most part, the formula is the abusive character shows up briefly (in a flashback, a retelling, or the “now” of the story), commits some major act of abuse either because they’re drunk and/or irrationally nefarious, leaves the character’s life (usually because the character kills them), and the main takeaway is whatever lesson(s) the character walked away with. E.g. don’t be weak, whatever.

    *”Wanna hear how I got these scars?” The wild inconsistencies between his stories are probably the most memorable element here.

  13. Dream Catcheron 30 Mar 2016 at 1:09 pm


    If you hated the massive CGI destruction at the end of Man of Steel, prepare your collective faces for 10 times as much in the movie’s final fight, with 10 times less lives lost because the city is conveniently abandoned.

    Watch as DC sets up a cinematic universe to rival the MCU, by…. bringing in the oldest possible iteration of Batman, who has abandoned his former moral standard against killing but somehow helps found the Justice League.

    Watch, as a man haunted for years by doing the right thing, only to be treated like a criminal, treats Superman like a criminal despite the fact that he’s trying to do the right thing.

    Watch as Superman doesn’t really get that emotional about the whole US senate getting bombed, only to be vindicated by the fact that no else seems to care that much either.

    Be prepared to abandon any build up to the big fight for a ridiculous amount of subplots, only for the fight to be incredibly cliche and quick, with the most ridiculous ending ever.

    Finally, catch the incredibly underwhelming finale where Superman sacrifices himself to kill Steroid Zod in one of the least resonating hero deaths ever.

  14. B. McKenzieon 30 Mar 2016 at 3:08 pm

    “Watch, as a man haunted for years by doing the right thing, only to be treated like a criminal, treats Superman like a criminal despite the fact that he’s trying to do the right thing.” The most unintentionally hilarious moment here for me was that Batman goes psycho on Superman (“Tell me, do you bleed? You will“) NOT when Superman’s fight with a genocidal supervillain gets dozens of Wayne’s employees killed, but when Superman wrecks the Batmobile. At a more structural level, Batman’s motivation for fighting Superman was pretty damn weak. Instead of getting angry at Superman for being involved in a fight where a genocidal supervillain killed civilians (which I think is easily forgivable — it’s not like FEWER people would have gotten killed if Superman had stayed home that day*, and no serious person could imagine that), I’d probably have his main contention with Superman be that Superman didn’t take enough precautions to minimize casualties (e.g. luring Zod towards the ocean or something rather than ineffectually slamming enemy combatants into skyscrapers with tens of thousands of people in them).

    *Unless Batman and/or other characters know about how Superman (unintentionally) gave Zod directions to Earth by activating a distress beacon. Superman is consistently pretty careless, especially compared to Batman, and I think this would be a more promising point of contrast/conflict than Batman being more brutal and Superman being more sanctimonious.

    I’d have written Batman as more suspicious than outright murderous, and then had a villain take advantage of his suspicions and try to mislead him into thinking that Superman secretly was a huge threat. (Again, I probably would have gone with a fear/dream/psychological-based villain like Scarecrow or Dr. Destiny here, to force Superman to do something more interesting than “fly into the enemy really fast”, and also because Superman is so much tankier than Batman that it’d be hard to find a physical-based supervillain that could have an interesting fight with both).

    The “death” was one of the most half-assed attempts at pulling at emotional appeal I’ve seen in a while. The ONLY good news is that they only spent a few minutes pretending he was dead, and presumably this means they won’t try a longer fake death in the future. It would have been miserable if they tried to spend half the movie getting us invested in a death that obviously wasn’t going to stick. Also, there’s some hope that Batman and Wonder Woman aren’t as clueless as they initially appeared (maybe they KNEW all along that he wasn’t really dead – there’s no way the World’s Greatest Detective would let a superhero get buried without checking that he’s actually dead, right? :-/ )

    “If you hated the massive CGI destruction at the end of Man of Steel, prepare your collective faces for 10 times as much in the movie’s final fight, with 10 times less lives lost because the city is conveniently abandoned.” I didn’t keep count, but to me it felt like there was a lot less time spent on random urban destruction in BVS than MOS. (SPOILERS? Superman’s fight scenes still suck, and his noncombat scenes aren’t much better. Actually, if you’ve seen a Superman movie before, that isn’t much of a spoiler).

    “Be prepared to abandon any build up to the big fight for a ridiculous amount of subplots, only for the fight to be incredibly cliche and quick.” I agree that the fight was mercifully quick. In contrast, it felt like the final fight scene in MOS lasted 30-60 minutes. Next time you watch BVS, does it still feel like there was significantly more random destruction in BVS than in MOS?

  15. Saithorthepyroon 30 Mar 2016 at 9:17 pm

    You touched all the Nolan troupes I was thinking of. Hard to believe that they’ve managed to make two bad superman movies in a row, especially considering how good their direct to DVD animated ones have been since Batman: Mask of the Phantasam. A few more questions

    1. If you could re-write, what would be the biggest things you would address?

    2. Does this make you worried for Suicide Squad? So far things look good, by between this and rumors that Warner Brothers might try to force a PG-13 cut, do you think it could fail?

    I definitely agree on Eisenberg, it’s not his fault as an actor, but their was no direction behind the performance, and giving him an abusive parent just because they can and not really building it up seems half-baked. Generally, movie suffers from the thing of writers hearing that certain elements add to a story, but not why.

  16. B. McKenzieon 31 Mar 2016 at 12:05 am

    “Does this make you worried for Suicide Squad? So far things look good, by between this and rumors that Warner Brothers might try to force a PG-13 cut, do you think it could fail?”

    –The trailer for Suicide Squad suggests to me that it may be funny, entertaining, and/or heartfelt. It also does not have Superman in it, which personally is a huge plus for me.

    –I don’t know about PG-13 cuts to know whether those rumors would be worrying. Personally, I have never seen a PG-13 movie where I thought that it would have been better if they had just ramped up the violence/sex/language. In rare cases (e.g. Team America), toning down a rated-R movie to make PG-13 would probably have made it a much better movie. On average, PG-13 superhero movies since 2000 have done slightly better on Rotten Tomatoes (61% for PG-13 vs 53% for R). At whatever rating they release at, I hope it is an incredible movie, and I don’t think it’ll affect the overall quality or critical reception all that much.

    –If you’re hoping hard for a rated-R Suicide Squad, the most encouraging case is Deadpool, which just became the top-grossing rated-R movie. At a production budget of $58m vs. a worldwide $750m, everybody involved will be ecstatic. But the financial circumstances for Suicide Squad are different — for one thing, one of the actors mentioned offhandedly that the budget was around $250m. With the promotional budget included, the total budget might reach something like $300-350m. Keeping in mind that theaters generally keep about half of the box office revenues, you’re probably looking at a break-even point of about $600-700m. Financially speaking, I’d be surprised if it were released at R. An R movie would probably have a much smaller budget.

    –“especially considering how good their direct to DVD animated ones have been since Batman: Mask of the Phantasm”… I love Mask of the Phantasm, but I think it was unexpectedly given a theatrical release rather than direct to video. (It didn’t do well at the box office, possibly because of short notice and/or it was animated and/or it was 76 minutes long and/or the title was poor and/or none of the actors involved were widely recognizable).

  17. B. McKenzieon 31 Mar 2016 at 1:28 am

    “1. If you could re-write, what would be the biggest things you would address?” In no particular order:

    –Before “Batman vs. Superman”, I’d start with a case where the two work together. An at least somewhat cooperative case will give an opportunity to develop why the two might oppose each other later on. First, this’ll give more opportunities for the characters to interact. I’d guess that less than 10% of the lines in the movie were between Batman and Superman, and that’s a really strange decision.

    –When they do oppose each other, I’d recommend having it be something besides of how cruel Batman is to criminals.* E.g. maybe Batman pushes Superman to retire because Superman is dangerously incompetent and/or his poor tactical decisions have gotten tens of thousands of people killed.

    *Superman isn’t badass enough or grounded/realistic enough to represent this point of view without coming across as a sanctimonious prick entitled by being born with incredible superpowers. In contrast, in the TV show Gotham, the conflict between being relatively pragmatic/unrestrained/rough vs. sticking to the books, even when it’s hard is a dark, badass Jim Gordon against an ALSO VERY BADASS Nathaniel Barnes, a military / Gotham police veteran who’s been down the darker road and is putting his ass on the line to try policing “by the book” in Gotham.

    –I’d completely sandblast the dialogue. Other superhero stories have done a much better job incorporating style/cleverness/occasional humor/wit into a relatively dark story (e.g. TDK, Gotham, Chronicle, Jessica Jones). Right now, I’d say it’s more like a a gray pile of sadness (see also 2015’s Fantastic Four and Man of Steel).

    –Lex Luthor is a poor choice for a Superman movie, and a terrible choice for a Batman/Superman movie. If I HAD to use him, I’d take him in a more Tony Stark / Moriarty charismatic genius direction, and build in superpowered capabilities of some sort. Also, would scrub every line for “Would a genius do this? If not, it goes.” E.g. would a genius use guns while trying to frame Superman for murder? No, that’s a really bad idea, especially using experimental ammunition that U.S. officials know is only used by LexCorp. Would a genius wade into alien fluids without any idea whether it’s human-safe? No, that’s a really bad idea, and even a $20 inflatable raft would have been better. Would a genius be present when he activates his doomsday monster? Would a genius reserve a seat to the Capitol Building and then not show up as though he knew it were about to be bombed? There’s probably like 8 of these. I’d strongly prefer to use an actually competent villain instead. Because of the very different power levels for Batman and Superman, I’d prefer a mental/psychological villain instead, as discussed above…

    Also, if Bane and Clayface can outthink you AND you don’t have superpowers, it’s definitely time to retire. Hell, Scarecrow has used the medical term “psychopharmacological” in a sentence. You think he’d wade into a vat of alien chemicals?

    –I’d spend less time on cooperative side-characters (e.g. Perry White and Lois Lane) and more time on hero-hero interactions and maybe on making the villains more complex and/or better developed.

  18. FVE-Manon 12 Apr 2016 at 3:01 am

    Finally got around to seeing this the other day. While I enjoyed it in the same way I enjoy any movie that gives me the chance to zone out, it’ll probably go down as one of the more forgettable superhero movies in my books.

    Apparently, the common consensus is that Marvel has the better heroes whereas DC has the better villains. In this movie, we got Squeaky-Voiced Teen and The Incredible Kryptohulk (who miraculously managed to be less well-developed than Lex by being an undevelopable, mindless punch-machine). I’m sure Doomsday has more of a backstory in the comics, but they may as well have put a giant unmanned mech as the final villain here for all it mattered.

    The “death” of Superman might’ve actually redeemed the movie a bit for me if the writers had the balls to make it an actual death, but of course, they had to add that final “Ooh look, his coffin is stirring” frame to set up the Justa$$ League. And why did Superman feel the need to wield a spear that weakened him when he could’ve passed it to Batman or Wonder Woman?

    On the topic of plot holes, how could Superman hear Lois as she fell from the building and fly there from halfway across the world, yet he was unable to save his mother without Batman’s help? And why did he try only briefly to explain his situation to Batman before giving up and proceeding to fight him, despite the fact that he could’ve just cleared things up in one of the many moments during the fight where he had the advantage? That was probably my main criticism of the film; there were so many ways they could’ve driven the protag-vs-protag drama to boiling point, yet the whole battle (you know, the one that gives the film its title) comes down to a flimsy “Bring me his head!” hostage situation.

    I can’t really fault the acting. I thought little things like the jar of “grandma’s iced tea” were a nice touch, and as I’ve said, it was a decent movie to just sit through if you don’t think too much into things. Something tells me that the next Captain America will do the whole hero-vs-hero angle better, though.

    P.S. And how come Batman doesn’t dance anymore? Remember the Batusi?

  19. B. McKenzieon 12 Apr 2016 at 5:30 pm

    “Apparently, the common consensus is that Marvel has the better heroes whereas DC has the better villains.” In my opinion, Batman’s villains and Ozymandias contribute more to their works than almost any other comic villain, but I think this is more of a Batman/Watchmen thing than DC generally, especially in the movies. Besides Batman’s villains and Ozymandias, the dropoff to DC’s third best movie villain is incredibly steep. (In all seriousness, I think it’s Laurel Hedare from Catwoman narrowly edging out Zod from Man of Steel — the field is so damn poor). On the Marvel side, I think the most effective movie villains so far have been (unordered) Magneto in First Class, Stane in Iron Man 1, Dr. Octopus in Spider-Man 2, and maybe Alexander Pierce from Captain America 2.

    For superhero movies, a successfully written villain is usually someone that helps give the superhero opportunities to be interesting but really rarely becomes one of the most memorable parts of the movie. (Exceptions that come to mind: TDK, Magneto and Mystique in First Class, Chronicle, and maybe Dr. Octopus in Spider-Man 2. On TV, I’d throw in Sylar from Heroes and maybe Kilgrave from Jessica Jones). Conversely, I’d argue that quite a lot of movies that got 70%+ on Rotten Tomatoes have a pretty generic villain (when was the last time you were wowed by an evil CEO, evil scientist, or crime boss?)

    Besides that, I haven’t noticed one or the other really outperforming in villainous quality. That said, I think that fantasy supervillains are on average less promising than sci-fi supervillains, and a greater proportion of DC’s movies have been fantasy so far).

    “And how come Batman doesn’t dance anymore? Remember the Batusi?” Haha! 🙂

  20. Andrewon 29 Apr 2016 at 8:04 am

    Y’know. I am really compelled to ask how much Marvel paid you to make this. It wasn’t that bad

  21. B. McKenzieon 29 Apr 2016 at 3:52 pm

    “I am really compelled to ask how much Marvel paid you to make this.” Why would they care? They didn’t have any competing movies out when BVS was in theaters, and I doubt they could afford me.

    Batman vs Superman is averaging 27% on Rotten Tomatoes. I see two main possibilities here.

    1) Critics overwhelmingly hated the movie because the writing was embarrassingly bad.

    2) Marvel/Disney bought hundreds of negative reviews for a movie it didn’t have a financial stake in. I’m not seeing a motive here (no competing movies), and if any studios actually had this capability, I think we’d see far fewer RT bombs than we actually do. E.g. in this case the difference between 27% and 80%+ on Rotten Tomatoes would probably have been hundreds of millions of dollars. If a studio could buy off hundreds of reviewers, don’t you think WB would have?

    If your theory is correct, I’d expect that the rating of the movie will gradually improve over time as more reviews trickle in. (No one has an incentive to tank movies years after they’re out of the box office, so I’d assume that any reviews that come out well after the movie’s release are almost certainly legitimate). I wouldn’t hold your breath on it. It was a really bad movie.

    [3/11/2017 UPDATE]: A year later, it’s still stuck at 27%. It’s looking increasingly likely that the 27% score was legitimate.

  22. Bobon 19 May 2016 at 11:33 am

    I have to agree, the only enjoyment I got from this movie was making fun of it, and that didn’t last long. Then I just watched the clock. It was thrilling watching it tick from minute to minute.

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply