Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice finally made it's debut in the theater, and despite a strong box office opening, it has drawn a huge amount of criticism from both fans and critics alike. But just where did Batman v Superman go wrong? The film had massive potential. I mean, Batman and Superman going at it in an epic battle on the big screen is every comic fan's dream. However, this film was meant to kick off a wider cinematic universe similar to what Marvel has done, and this is precisely where the film went wrong.
Where Marvel found its success was in introducing each of the Avengers one at a time in their own solo films. Now not all of those films were exactly masterpieces, but they still did a good job at introducing the characters and slowly but surely connecting the tangled web that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is what made the first Avengers movie such a big success. Fans were finally seeing these characters that they'd gotten to know and love come together in an epic crossover. I know this is starting to sound like a Marvel fanboy ranting on about how much he loves Marvel, but bare with me.
Batman v Superman was the second film in the DC Cinematic Universe, but it really didn't want to be. This film felt like it really wanted to rush the universe along to the upcoming Justice League film in a bode to catch up to where Marvel is with the Avengers, but it's just too early for DC to be pushing into the Justice League. The Universe's first film, Man of Steel, released three years prior, and it too received its fair share of criticism, but it mostly got the job done as a solo film. It told the story of Clark Kent, it introduced Superman, and it gave us our first glimpse at what would become a greater superhero film universe. Then came Batman v Superman, and DC's biggest mistake. Instead of making a new Batman solo film to introduce Bruce Wayne and show him become Batman, the film decided to be a Batman solo film and a Man of Steel sequel, and a Justice League intro all at once, and it just didn't work. Here we're supposed to be pumped for a Justice League film, but we don't even know a thing about any of the Justice League members outside of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, and DC doesn't plan on giving the other Justice League members solo films until after the first Justice League film. There's just no build up to the Justice League film, nothing to get me truly excited to see the Justice League band together in their epic crossover film.
Batman v Superman would have been a great movie had it come just before the Justice League film, after we'd already been introduced one by one to each of the other Justice League members. We'd be well acquainted with DC's film heroes and it would be our first taste of what DC could do with a crossover film. It could have ended with Batman announcing his plan to put together a team to fight crime, and then bam, Justice League movie comes in and shows us that team in action, but Batman v Superman left the universe just as undeveloped as it was before Man of Steel came out, and because of this, it has no momentum moving forward. This isn't to say that DC's film universe can't still be a success, they just need to do a better job at building the sort of "what's coming next?" anticipation that Marvel has created so well. How they manage to do that is on them.