Curiosity, not Support: Batman v Superman

I have failed this blog.

My curiosity overruled my common sense as I allowed myself to become a slave to my comic book fanboyism and decided to watch Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (which is still a mouthful to say two years later) despite the disappointing prologue entry known as Man of Steel, the cheesy trailers, the dark dreary world showcased, Zack Snyder’s interviews where he was constantly defending his vision of the universe and hours of recorded conversations highlighting my concern with the direction of this franchise (check out pretty much any episode of the NerdEXP Cinecast).

Any other day, with any other genre with any of these marks against a release there is no chance I would see the movie in theaters, much less opening day. I was able to take a stand and not watch Fantastic Four (which shows I still consider watching even the worst comic book movies created). But I couldn’t resist Dawn of Justice – I needed to be part of the conversation.

This movie is important to nerd-culture (which at this point, is pretty much just culture in the modern era) and I didn’t want to miss the chance to have an informed opinion (a rarity on the Internet.) I wanted to watch Dawn of Justice despite all of my well founded reservations because I knew this would be a focal point in the online-chatter for weeks to come. I didn’t purchase a ticket to support Snyder’s vision, but to satisfy my own ego of to interject myself into the debate – and a debate there shall be.

Dawn of Justice will succeed commercially because of the property not because of the product created.

The creative team of DC’s latest installment stated this movie was made for the fans, not the critics. I hope this is true and the good people at Warner Brother’s are looking at the lukewarm, disappointing and heartbroken reception from many fans. I know there are supporters for this installment, but I feel they are a vocal minority fervently trying to defend a product which they know isn’t great because they love these characters. It will be interesting to see the reception of Dawn of Justice over time – fans defend Superman Returns when it debuted…but no one does today.

Fan reception can kill a franchise. Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a commercial success with a box office gross over $709 million worldwide, more than Man of Steel’s $668 million. However, there is no ASM3, Venom, Sinister Six or spinoff on the table. The film was destroyed by fans and critics because an overreliance on CG, convoluted comic booky logic, an oversized cast to setup sequels and choppy sequences as too many plot threads were slammed into a single movie. All of these criticisms, and more, apply to Dawn of Justice as well.

Sony realized fans loved the character and saw ASM2 because of their attachment to the property; Sony could have churned out more of the same and continued to receive 100’s of millions in ticket sales, merchandising and tie-ins but at the cost of a weakened franchise and salty audience. Instead of milking viewers, they switched gears and realized they needed a new plan of attack to regain fan support.

I hope Warner Brothers can learn a similar lesson as Sony instead of focusing on the Scrooge McDuck pools of money hoodwinked earned on opening weekend.

I failed this blog, fellow nerds and myself because I didn’t vote with my wallet. I blindly followed the Batsignal into theaters and gleefully pre-purchased my assigned seat to watch a film I was worried would be good. If this was a standalone product there would be no true harm, but this is entry is the catalyst for a brand new cinematic universe and when Flash, Cyborg, Justice League, Batman, Green Lantern and every installment afterwards are humorless, disjointed, melodramatic, joyless and concerned with set pieces over characters than it will be my fault for supporting a product I don’t believe in.

I’m sorry, friends.