The film polarized not only the public but the industry, provoking extreme reactions of love and hate.
Between 1941 and 1986, DC Comics published a magazine entitled World’s Finest Comics, which initially proposed to bring isolated adventures of Superman and Batman opted, from the 50’s for reasons of cost control, to join the two characters in unique stories; thus resulting in the today so famous crossovers.
In general, these adventures always brought pleasant content for all ages and especially for their target audience, children, where good and friendship always prevailed over the villainy of enemies like Lex Luthor and Joker. They were also important in solidifying the friendship between the Guardian of Metropolis and the Bat of Gotham as the bromance most famous in comics.
Decades later, starting in 2013, Warner Bros (owner of the rights to adapt DC properties) found itself in a snooker. Its biggest competitor in the film market, Disney, saw every day the economic and cultural relevance of Marvel Studios take off at the same speed with which its films expanded their newly established shared universe in theaters.
The year before they had released the first film of the Avengers, hitting the billion mark and featuring the first major comic book movie to bring together as many well-known heroes as possible into a cohesive plot (in 1997 CBS released a TV adaptation of Justice League of America that was and is wildly rejected. for all). So it was imperative for Warner executives to start their own shared universe as quickly as possible.
Therefore, the director was chosen Zack Snyder, who was until then exclusively hired by the studio, to plan a similar project aimed at DC Comics characters. aided by Christopher Nolan and with script David S.Goyer (both having been responsible for the trilogy dark Knight), Snyder launched Steel man; Superman solo movie that would tell a new origin of the alien, now with references to a much larger universe.
The film was a notable success, both financially (by managing to pay the production costs) and by generating wide acceptance for the performance of Henry Cavill as Clark KentSuperman. However, the first cracks and signs of what was to come were already displayed at the end of the projection. In the plot, after an extremely destructive fight with General Zod, Superman finds himself in a difficult position; there is no way to imprison him in the phantom zone, there is no way to convince him to give up, there is no way to fight him eternally, and most importantly, Zod himself claims he would never stop until he took the lives of all humans.
In this way, Superman breaks the villain’s neck and part of the public goes crazy in virtual riots. With this divided environment, Warner once again entrusted the Snyder to produce a sequel, but this time it should have the function of leaving the ground ready for an adaptation of Justice League to come next. No previous solo projects by the heroes involved, no patience, no planning. The confirmation along with the film’s logo came at Comic Con 2013.
Not long after the production of the sequel was announced, it was confirmed that Batman would make his first appearance since the end of the level. Christian Bale. It was immediately speculated that Warner insistently tried to count on the actor to reprise the role, but, upon his definitive denial, speculation began about who would be the new actor.
As soon as uncertainty began the name of Ben Affleck came to be constantly ventilated as a strong candidate and every time this happened it was followed by criticism and provocation. However, the actor was finally confirmed in the role precisely designed to bring a Bruce Wayne older and more experienced than Superman, thus confirming that the film would have a great influence on the classic. Return of the Dark Knight.
The idea that the Graphic Novel would have its fair share of importance since Comic Con 2013 when the reveal of the film’s official logo came after a monologue by the actor Harry Lennix reciting a famous passage from the work. Snyder had already confirmed that the film would not be a literal and faithful adaptation of the work of Frank Miller, but that I would borrow some concepts presented there; more specifically that of a Batman coming out of retirement and eventually getting involved in a clash with Superman.
A new lineup controversy also came with the confirmation that Jesse Eisenberg would be responsible for giving a new approach to Lex Luthor, moving away from the comic version of Gene Hackman and getting closer to the character’s entrepreneurial approach that has become the standard since 1986 with Man of Steel from John Byrne. When the first photos of the actor were released, however, they did not follow the expectations of the fans of a Luthor closer to the animations and were quite compared to the Mark Zuckerberg present in the movie The social networkalso interpreted by Eisenberg.
And then came the debut and with it a never-before-seen split in the comic book genre. On the one hand, there was the part of the public that was really delighted with what was shown, arguing that the film brought a different dynamism to the market with more convincing dramas and discussions about what role these super beings would play in society if they existed.
The soundtrack composed once again by Hans Zimmer and the short but remarkable participation of Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman’s first appearance in a live action feature) were some of the few consensus factors for the quality presented.
On the other hand, there were disapprovals and these can be divided into two subcategories: problematic structure of the film and breach of expectations about the characters. There is a very valid point about the first one, which is the complicated post-production it went through. Batman vs Superman. The theatrical version had visible problems with the montage of scenes, with sequences of events that seemed broken and the development of subplots that either resolved unexpectedly or were abandoned, as was the case with Luthor’s problematic plan.
As it turned out, the studio actively interfered with post-production by removing certain parts and rearranging others. What resulted was a version that clearly had continuity problems and that greatly influenced a portion of the critics. The other had an evident discontent with the representation of the heroes.
With Batman and Superman alone is over a hundred years of development, breaking and redevelopment; in the meantime, it is inevitable that certain concepts will remain as references for readers and authors over the decades. “Batman doesn’t kill”, “Superman is a totally optimistic force”, “Lex Luthor is cold and calculating” (pardon the joke). So come BvS and presents to the public basically the whole inverse of these ideas. Batman kills, Superman is anything but optimistic about humanity, and Lex Luthor embraces theatrics for good.
The first meeting of the two biggest DC Comics icons in cinema is not a World ‘s Finest mentioned at the beginning of the article, not a celebration of the friendship immortalized in that title. It’s friction, combat, different worldviews that will inevitably clash violently. It’s everything a traditional comic-animation viewer or casual audience wouldn’t expect to receive.
In a period when it has become common to discuss and even expect expectations to be broken thanks to films like the last jedi, Between Knives and Secrets e Endless War when you go back to 2016 this was still a little talked about concept in cinema mainstream and whose generated reactions were quite unpredictable. However, if there is anything more chameleonic than David Bowie they are certainly comic book characters, who are constantly reinventing, updating and modifying themselves; therefore the fickleness of such fictitious beings is something to be expected.
In the end, the feeling generated ended up being one of deep popular division and fear on the part of the studio that inevitably led to the events of Justice League and basically the premature end of the DCEU (DC Expanded Universe). Zack Snyder he became an outcast in the halls of Warner and basically the board didn’t know what to make of him. Still, six years have passed and Batman vs Superman remains a topic of discussion on social media and conversations about comic book adaptations. It is, after all, an important chapter of the most profitable pop phenomenon in decades.