Critics have been none too kind to Batman V Superman, DC’s desperate lunge to keep Marvel from continuing to dominate the cinemas. They’ve got an uphill battle – Marvel had a very coherent vision and they spent many films building to the ensemble piece that was The Avengers. DC are trying to rush to the same spot without doing all that world- and character-building. Marvel also got there first, even superhero-loving movie goers are starting to get comic movie fatigue (though Deadpool’s surprise box office proves there’s still gas in the tank). DC’s biggest problem, however, is they bet on the wrong horse. Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel didn’t set the world on fire – it retold Superman’s origin AGAIN and then missed the whole point of Superman by turning him into an angsty murderer. DC needed someone to kickstart their grand designs and Zack Snyder was the closest they could get at short notice. Unfortunately Zack mistakes his absolute love of comics (primarily the dark anti-hero stuff from the 1980’s) with his ability to tell these stories well on screen. You can’t just jump straight to the film adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller’s dark story that Batman V Superman draws much from – you’ve got to work up to that. The biggest pity is that it’s Zack Snyder’s vision that will be the basis for all future DC films (assuming Batman V Superman doesn’t bring the whole plan down with it). That means everything will be the gritty, dark and under-saturated version whether that’s appropriate for the character or not.
At least the DC tv shows are getting the tone and characters right – Arrow, the Flash and Supergirl are exactly what the DC films should be.