Batman v Superman: The Rocky Road to Dawn of Justice

by GregFahlgren

Examining the fan reaction to one of the most anticipated superhero movies in history

Superhero movies have a somewhat turbulent history. Over the last 70 years they've gone from respected, to laughed at, and back again time after time. Two heroes have been at the centre of all that: Batman, and Superman, who along with Wonder Woman have formed DC's Trinity, they're three biggest stars and most popular heroes.

Today, the genre dominates different mediums across the board. From the comic books to video games to TV to the SIlver Screen, superhero films have become the norm for big box office attractions. However, no single film has been talked about more in recent memory than the upcoming Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice. Fans and critics alike are constantly talking about it, their reactions to every minute piece of information ranging from unbridled excitement to outright hatred.. Today, I will talk about the upcoming film, and examine how a single movie has created so much controversy.

The Beginnings

In reality, this whole thing began with the announcement that Christopher Nolan, famed directed of The Dark Knight Trilogy, was pitching a new Superman film to Warner Bros in the wake of the success of the aforementioned Dark Knight films.  With Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) and David Goyer at the helm, many fans became optimistic about the project.

In summer of 2013, Man of Steel opened.  While a critical success, many fans were disappointed with certain deviations from common story elements with Supes, such as his secret identity being a non-issue, and some rather distressing departures from Superman's tradition character traits, the ending ESPECIALLY earning the ire of many fans of Superman (including me).  


The being said, the film was a massive box office hit, and that, combined with the success of the Dark Knight films, not too mention that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, led Warner Bros to green light the production of a new line of DC movies.

The excitement of comic book fans was palpable at this point, but as time went on, that excitement turned to anxiety, which then in turn changed into anger for many of the more vocal members of the fanbase.

First Whispers

At first, all that was announced was that Warner Bros would be producing a Man of Steel sequel.  The only facts that were certain was that Syder would be returning to direct, Henry Cavill and Amy Acker would reprise their roles as Superman and Lois Lane respectively.

However, the world became abuzz in May of 2014 when the title of the film was announced: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  Fans everywhere exploded in their reactions, the dream of having Batman and Superman side by side in a movie finally becoming a reality.  What was more, the story would be inspired by the classic graphic Novel by Frank Millar The Dark Knight Returns by Frank MIller, quite possibly the greatest graphic novel of all time.  The book, which I personally recommend to EVERYONE within the sound of my voice, features the single greatest battle in comics when Batman and Superman lock up in Crime Alley, the former allies finally coming to blows.  Needless to say, the implications of all this left many fans, including myself, near shaking with anticipation.

However, it was here that we first can see the whispers of discontent among the public.  The title was criticized by some fans for being silly or corny, which is silly in itself when you think about it.  This is a movie about superheroes after all.  Furthermore, a title of a movie does not dictate how good it is, but fans being fans were already complaining, which was a bad omen for what was to come.


And here we go...

With Henry Cavill obviously returning to play Superman, discussions began about who would play Batman.  Christian Bale had expressed some interest to return, but Warner Bros and DC has stated that the The Dark Knight Trilogy was separate from the new universe they were building.  With Bale out, it was time to find a new Caped Crusader.

After months of speculation, Snyder announced that veteran actor Ben Affleck would taking on the role.  The reaction was explosive, and not in the good way.  Fans took to the internet, proclaiming their rage and hatred over this choice, some even starting petitions to get Affleck removed from the project.  As an observer, I had never seen anything like it, and was dumbfounded.  I wasn't thrilled with the choice, but it was out of my hands so I decide to just leave it alone.  Some people however, couldn't, to this day raging about the casting choice.

Common criticisms were that Affleck wasn't imposing enough, his role as Daredevil in the disastrous film adaption of that character, and his overall disdain by the public for some of his sub-standard films.  Everywhere fans were crying that he was going to "ruin" Batman, even before a single scene had been filmed.  The ridiculous of this was and still is incredible to me, considering that his performances in recent films Argo and The Town being some of the best of his career.

The outrage escalated when Gal Gadot, star of the Fast and Furious franchise and former Israeli model, was cast as Wonder Woman in the heroin's first big screen appearance.  Her slight frame was the biggest criticism, Wonder Woman being far more muscular in the comics, though Gadot has gone on the record to state that she had begun a rigorous training regimen and strict diet to put on the required muscle.  The fact that she was also former Israeli military has also being pointed out, but some people cannot be satisfied it seems, many fans demanding that she be removed and let a "real" actress take over the role.  She hadn't even put on the costume yet and they were declaring her the "Worst Wonder Woman ever." Crazy.

This outrage peaked even hire when it was announced that Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) had been cast as classic Superman villain, Lex Luthor.  To many fans and critics, Eisenberg was far too young, and far too small to play the genius megalomaniac Luthor.  This is probably the only part of the fan outrage I partially agree with, but at the same time, Eisenberg is a wonderful young actor, and I reserve my full judgement until I see the movie in full.

Casting is a huge challenge in producing any movie.  You have the find that one person that fits that one role, and if you chose the wrong one, it can severely damage the film.  In superhero movies however, this is multiplied exponentially.  Millions of people around the world know who these characters are.  Be it through the comic books, TV, previous films or pop culture, they want these characters to be represented properly.  And hey, I get it.  I still can't get over Meagan Fox being cast as April in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I just can't.  No offence to her, but seriously can't see it (again reserve judgement until I see the movie).  But the fan outcry surrounding Dawn of Justice has gotten to the ridiculous level.

These actors and actresses have been tasked with portraying characters with over seven decades of history, and before they've even shot a single scene, they are already being thrown the wolves by fans who want "their" characters to be on the big screen.  To those fans I say that these characters do not belong to you.  They belong to everyone, and just because you don't like the actor or actress that is getting the opportunity to play them doesn't mean they will be ruined for you

The thing I find the most ridiculous is that the movie hasn't even been released yet, and fans are already decrying it.  As of this date, only two trailers have been released to the public (the second featuring some distinct elements of Mark Waid's wonderful Birthright by the way).  Both trailers were met with incredibly positive response, quelling some of my own personal fears (WONDER WOMAN!).  But even then, fans continue to decry that this movie will be terrible and will ruin these characters for everyone, as if it's a matter of importance for all of humanity.  Sound silly and childish?  Good, that means I'm not the only one.

Fan Outcry

Since the casting was announced, many fans, including myself, have adopted a "wait and see" mentality about Dawn of Justice.  However, there is still a vocal minority of fans that are continuing to voice their disapproval over the film, which is scheduled for release in March of 2016.

Even with the release of promotional photos and trailers, each one leading me more to the opinion that Snyder and company are going to deliver a great movie, certain fans continue to decry the film, and with every new piece of information, their cries of outrage are shifting more to the crazy people side of things.

Now, are their some legitimate criticisms to be made about those things?  Sure, and frankly, that's normal for movies, or any other medium for that matter.  But the fan rage surrounding Dawn of Justice, declarations of "this movie will suck!" or "they don't know what the are doing!" are running rampant.  That is the part that I find baffling, especially given that most of the people saying this haven't even watched the trailers yet.

This trend of abject, ignorant hatred has unfortunately gotten so common that some movies in my mind have been ruined for people because of this Internet rage. The new Turtles film suffered from this, as has the Transformers movies, and various other science fiction/fantasy movies over the past ten years.  It's gotten to the point where most of the outrage feels like people just screaming to be noticed or to be a part of the crowd.  Hell, I think a good amount of them are just saying these things to look "cool" or "real" when they are anything but, especially given that most of them haven't even watched the movies in question.

The fact of the matter is that Dawn of Justice will not be released until March of 2016, but somehow these people have managed to figure out that it will be terrible and that we shouldn't waste our time and money on it.  The only conclusion that I have come to is that some people have too much time on their hands, take movies and comic books way too seriously, and have nothing but hate and negativity in their hearts.  However, this doesn't mean that I am painting every fan out there with the same brush.



Fandom is a tricky thing.  No matter what you're into, the majority of fans are great people, passionate about what they love no matter what.  The ugly side however, is dominated by a vocal minority that for some reason have put so much of their lives into these things that anything that falls short of their lofty expectations is a failure.  I have seen this so much over the last few years it's actually become quite disheartening.  I don't give it much thought, people are free to believe what they want to believe, but it does concern me that so many people can live with so much negativity towards things that are supposed to give them pleasure.

With Dawn of Justice however, it seems to be amplified times a thousand.  From the casting, to the trailers, to every single rumour that is circulating out there, it seems that the pressure for this film to succeed is exceeding anything that can be even remotely expected.  And in a world where superhero movies have exploded in popularity, Dawn of Justice stands to be the most anticipated, as well as the most controversial, comic book film in some time.

The thing I don't get is how people seem to know what's going to happen.  They KNOW that Ben Affleck was the wrong choice, that Gal Gadot will be terrible, and that Jesse Eisenberg will fail.  They KNOW that the script is awful and will destroy these characters.  They KNOW that the movie will begin the downfall of DC movies, and possibly the comics as well.  When I think about it, I almost want to laugh if I didn't find it so sad.

Unless you have a DeLorean with a Flux Capacitor, no one has the ability to see how this movie or any movie for that matter is going to turn out.  If you go and see it when it comes out, and you don't like it, fair enough.  But the fact that people were writing it off before they had  even started filming yet is ridiculous to me, and is a perfect example of how privileged people have become. Children are dying by the thousands in Africa, women are being beaten to death for wanted education in the Middle-East, and in the United States, race violence has escalated to levels not seen since before the Civil Rights movement.  But heaven forbid that a superhero movie not be perfect, that's a cause for outrage if there ever was one (sarcasm).

However, no matter how anyone feels about this movie, it is coming.  Principal photography is finished, the script is done, the cast has assembled.  We are less than a year away from it hitting the theaters, and already it is one of the most talked about films of the last ten years.  I for one, am looking forward to it, excited to see what will happen.  It could be the start of something really special like Avengers was, or it could be a train wreck.  Either way, I will be happily paying my money to see where it goes..

But in the end, there is only one thing for sure about Dawn of Justice: When it's all said and done, no matter what happens, someone will find something to complain about.

Thanks for reading, and see you next time.


Updated: 03/21/2016, GregFahlgren
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Guest on 09/13/2016

Great summation of superman Batman movie. I do think the first one was better, though. Hopefully they make a crossover so that we can see Superman vs Hulk.

candy47 on 07/13/2015

I'm not a fan of superheroes, but I can see why Batman v. Superman would be a blockbuster! Very nice article.

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