I, like most, had seen and heard numerous rumors and reviews of BvS prior to watching the movie. After the movie I, like most, left with a deep sense of “meh” (insert a shoulder shrug: `\_(°°,)_/` ). The movie wasn’t awesome. Nor was it awful. It was an attempt at a universe building movie that was just... underwhelming.
So where did they go wrong? Why didn’t we leave the theater amped about what we just saw and hyped about the future of the DCEU?
Was it that they were trying to do too much? Not really. The amount of time dedicated to the rest of the world outside of Goth/opolis wasn’t that significant. In fact one could argue that they spent just the right amount of time on it. There were just the right amount of visual Easter Eggs for fanboys and fellow comic book nerds to fawn over.
Was the movie too long/not long enough. Not really. BvS has a 2hr 31min run-time. You can’t squeeze everything in to 1:45 min or less (just look at 20th Century Fox’s: Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, or… Fantastic Four [the reboot]). Nor do you need 3 hours to tell a great story (see: Captain America: The Winter Soldier with a run-time of 2hrs 16min). Were there moments when BvS seemed to drag? Yes. The entire beginning wasn’t exactly necessary (by now we all know the back story of little orphan Bruce). Also, [MINOR SPOILER]
the Superman & Earth Dad scene on the mountain top wasn’t necessary either and kind of felt of offbeat. But, that didn’t break the movie.
But, that didn’t break the movie.
“Nightmare Sequence" a problem? Yes, and no. For what the scene was worth, (a look into the fear that was Batman’s motivating force maybe) the scene was fine. But, was it a dream? Was it a vision? And why the hell would Bruce be dreaming of Darkseid’s minions anyway? Have they met before? [Plot Holes Abound]. We never actually transitioned away from a wide awake Dark Knight Detective actually detecting. The scene was awkwardly cut, without transition, and so the audience is left feeling weird about it. Still, this didn’t bring down the movie either.
Was it the lack of comedy? Not really. Yes, a joke here or there may have been nice. However, DC’s universe is a darker one, and apparently DC has a “no-joke-policy”. Ok, fine. Still not a deal breaker. (But could you have imagined Batman saying in his robo-gruff voice, “Oh... my bad,” once or twice?)
How about the fact that the movie was titled Batman VS. Superman, but The World’s Finest only fought once throughout the entire movie! Most certainly there should have at least been a punch thrown during their first encounter. But even that was forgivable.
So what was it then? What ultimately did the movie in?
It was a lack of what I refer to as the “Oh Sh*t Factor".
The two most critically acclaimed movies from Marvel Studios are Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Avengers. With The Avengers, everyone knew the heroes were going to eventually team up. You knew there was going to be growing pains. And you knew Loki was involved along with the Chitari army. But what the previews didn’t tell you was how the team would be assembled. You didn’t know what individual battles would occur and to what extent (i.e. Thor v. Hulk! or Thor v. Iron Man v. Cap!). You didn’t know Loki’s plans, or who would end up dying. And you didn’t know the scope of the Battle for New York in the third act!
With The Winter Soldier, anybody who’s familiar with the comics knew that Bucky was in fact the Winter Soldier. We were made aware of Alexander Pierce’s existence because of the previews... and Marvel using Robert Redford to say hey, we’ve got big named actors, we take this thespian thing seriously. But, who Alexander Pierce actually was and where his allegiances were a mystery ( ...although if you’ve ever seen any movie, ever, you could've pretty much guessed that the new big boss was the bad guy, but whatever). You knew Cap & Black Widow would be on the run. But, you had no freaking clue that they'd be on the run from [SPOILER ALERT FOR THE FIVE PEOPLE THAT HAVEN'T YET SEEN IT....]
Hydra, whom had been growing inside of Shield for decades, or the fact that Shield would be no more by the end of the movie!
So what do these movies have in common? The element of surprise. Neither of these movies were ruined by the fact that even though there were multiple trailers, none of the trailers spoiled the surprises in store.
BvS? This was a horrible job on behalf of the marketing department. They revealed EVERYTHING in advance through the trailers, announcements, photos, rumors, and blogs. It’s like the old adage, leave something to the imagination. A woman wearing a nicely fitted dress, with just a hint of curvature can be oh so much more appealing than a woman in a painted on skirt. It because the dress leaves something to the imagination! BvS was just that, a painted on skirt. Showing all her goodies thru the previews to try and pull you in. Well, we saw it all before ever buying a ticket.
Imagine instead if the entire plot of the movie hadn’t been made available prior to the release of the movie. Imagine if when you first saw it you had absolutely no idea that Gal Gadot was Wonder Woman. She would’ve been seen as some sort of spy with unknown motives and then, BAM, She's Wonder Woman! OH SH*T!!! Or better yet, imagine if you had never seen General Zod’s body in the preview and there was no hint of Doomsday, and then, BOOM, OH SH*T!! They used Zod to make Doomsday!!! Or... Wait, that’s the symbol for... OOOOOOH SH*T!! THEY’RE BUILDING TOWARDS THE JUSTICE LEAGUE!! WTF!! There is no doubt that you would've walked out of the theater wanting more. Heck, I don't even have to say "spoiler alert" here, because it was literally all in the previews.
This movie should have simply been named "Batman vs Superman". And the final shot at the end of the movie, just moments before they rolled credits, should’ve been a title card reading: “Dawn of Justice”. Mind… Blown!
DC, instead it was opportunity... missed.