Edit: Sorry for such a long article! Here's the short version: Got to The Snyderverse Trilogy to check out a forum for supporters of MoS, BvS, and JL1!
I think it fair to say that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is, hands down, by far, the most controversial superhero or comic book movie in the history of the genre. It easily surpasses Man of Steel in that regard, the only other DCEU film to date, which was also directed by Zack Snyder. To say that this film is polarizing within the CBM fan culture community is an understatement. This is a film that it seems most fans either love or they hate. BvS is a lightning rod.
I love BvS.
But I actually don't see a need to delve deep into the reasons for the split in this article. Best I can see, for both MoS and BvS Snyder's darker themed and artistic stylistic approach as a director is ultimately is a matter of taste for what the viewer desires from a CBM in general and these DC properties in particular. However, I will say that in my opinion it is profoundly mistaken to confuse a personal distaste for the 'Snyderserve' approach to superhero mythology with 'poor filmmaking'. The same misattribution was made with MoS, and it is being made again even more feverishly with BvS. MoS and BvS are anything but poorly made films. There is plenty of evidence, with many voices to argue it, that both films are in their own way arguably even masterpieces. But please let me reemphasize: if this particular style of film isn't to one's taste, then I do not expect a person who feels that way to adopt my taste as one who loves it! So I'm not out convince anyone of why they "should" like the Snyderverse films.
It is however worth noting here that while MoS and BvS have received poor Rotten Tomato-meter critic scores, overall critical reception is drastically at odds with audience vote tallies found at RT, Fandango, IMDb, and Metacritic. The majority of moviegoers invested in film viewership enough to post an online vote LIKE MoS and BvS. So the divide exists not only within the fanbase. The split is even huger between professional critics and audience members. As of 4/12/16 when the 'big four' movie ratings sites audience scores for BvS... i.e., Fandango 80%, Metacritic 73%, IMDb 72%, and RT 69%... are averaged, it stands at 73.5%. That is a rough and unscientific measurement, but it is still meaningful. And it is a gigantic disparity with the professional critics' scores at those sites.
It will surprise no one that I also love MoS. And I fully expect that I will love the conclusion of this grand tale begun by Snyder's first two DCEU films with Justice League Part One. BvS and JL1 writer Chris Terrio has said that he regards MoS, BvS, and JL1 as a film trilogy, an entire saga. For lack of a better term I will refer to these three films as the "Snyderverse trilogy." I do not say tetralogy yet, because at this stage I only know the the writer of two of the films has identified the first three as a trilogy.
In any event, in my very first article for MoviePilot, I wrote a review of Man of Steel... well, more of a reflective essay, really... about why the film succeeds as I see it. And in that piece I wrote the following 'ground rules for film criticism' that I use, which provided the framework for the analysis that I made. There I stated that I believe that
... [A] film is experienced as satisfying or not to a viewer for what are ultimately personal and idiosyncratic reasons. (And thank goodness. How boring it would be if we were always in perfect agreement.) We can discuss objective facts about a film. But the subjective experience of the film, and one’s overall appreciation of it, is processed through each viewer's unique personality structure, personal tastes, and personal life history... [Therefore]... the foundations for these personal tastes are ultimately individual.
To develop the idea further: for me, a film succeeds in the most basic terms if:
1) I care what happens to the characters (they matter to me, their fate matters to me)
2) I become interested and engaged in the story itself and how it unfolds (it takes me on a journey, and I’m willing to go on it)
3) I appreciate the cinematic craft of storytelling, i.e., specifically through the medium of film.
The latter consists of cinematography, the screenplay and script, acting performances, pacing of the action, CGI (where applicable), etc., and how well the director orchestrates all the various elements of the film. We can offer objective evidence for these three criteria in our own appreciation of a film. But I assert again that the deepest reasons why one might appreciate a film as such ultimately varies individually, from person to person. I will add that I can often enjoy a film for the most part even when only one or two of these elements are mostly in place, and even without them succeeding brilliantly. (I tend to be pretty forgiving as a viewer.)
And I wanted to revisit this way of appreciating movies here because I think BvS elicits such powerful emotional reactions that using this approach might make it a bit easier for fans divided into pro- and anti-Snyderverse camps to 'agree to disagree'. To be sure, there is a shared stake for both groups: the health and wellbeing of the unfolding DCEU. For decades CBM fans have been dreaming to see their beloved DC characters finally done justice in a shared cinematic universe. And that is now finally underway. Regardless of our personal tastes, we all want to see the DCEU flourish. And the community is deeply divided about whether the Snyderverse was the best way to launch the DCEU. The fierce contention and debate about the films is understandable. But hopefully the above 'ground rules' might reduce the acrimony just a bit. The negative feelings toward the Snyderverse tend to be extremely intense, caustic, and bitter.
Alright. So with that argument completed, now on to the main topic of this article:
A group of devoted CBM fans that ardently support the 'Snyderverse' DCEU films has decided to build a forum community of their own: The Snyderverse Trilogy. The raison d'etre for the community was to create a space for fans to freely discuss our enjoyment of the films in peace, without continually dealing with others relentlessly hating/bashing on the movies. In a nutshell, here is the guiding philosophy for the community and what it exists for:
The Snyderverse Trilogy is a fan site devoted to the Zack Snyder film trilogy of Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League Part One. It it a place for fans who enjoy the films to discuss why we appreciate them, and engage in constructive criticism about them. It is not a place for people who dislike the films. There are plenty of sites where folks can negatively criticize these pictures to their heart’s content if that’s what they’re into. Again: constructive criticism is welcome. But incessantly negative criticism/bashing is not what we’re here for.
For many fans that generally like Synder’s two DCEU films and his vision for the CBM genre, it has become decidedly not fun to constantly have to defend the films in terms of craftsmanship, and why they personally like them subjectively. It ‘gets very old’ after the hundredth or so time.
That is why this site and its forums were created. DCEU fans that are more or less in the ‘pro-Snyder’ camp (for lack of a better term) need a place where we can enthusiastically engage in our appreciation of the films, and Snyder’s vision for the DCEU, without constantly defending them from the ‘haters’ (again for lack of a better term). This site and forum will attempt to provide that.
This is not at all to say that we do not invite constructive criticism of MoS and BvS, or JL 1. The community here can of course criticize the films. No film is perfect–-all movies include things that could be improved upon in some way. Nor are we out to create a discussion space that reactively quashes negative comments about Snyder’s work, or DC characters, etc.
Just be advised that for folks that are relentlessly, severely, and almost singularly negative towards the “Synderverse” (Snyder’s trilogy of MoS, BvS, and Justice League Part One), that is not what this site and its forum were created for. And it is not a ‘free speech’ issue. What free speech means is that fans can create their own blog and forum and invite like-minded individuals (or opposite-minded folks, as well, etc.) to join in discussion! If that’s your thing, go do it! Or go and use any number of other sites or forums where you are free to engage in singularly negative criticism of Snyder’s work. But if you do that here, it would be like attending a concert for a particular musical artist and blasting a different artist’s music on a boombox, or shouting your dislike for the music throughout the concert. That is, you’d then be ruining an experience for many others. This isn’t a perfect analogy, but hopefully it gets the point across.
No doubt it is inevitable that we’ll see some trolls here. But hopefully it’s not a lost cause to ask such folks to reflect on what their reaction would be if they attended a music concert and had to sit next to someone like we just described. Is that really the type of person you want to be? (Really? Hard to imagine.)
Anyway, in a nutshell that why we felt the need to try to create a (mostly, in the balance) ‘pro-Snyderverse’ community. Hopefully such a need exists in the CBM community. If there are other sites like this one out there already, then in our view the more, the merrier. We’d love to link any other such sites as this one (i.e., that share similar interests, values, and beliefs). So please reach out to give us a holler in the comments and we’ll link ‘ya!
Here’s hoping everyone has a great time here digging deep into why we love these films so much, and sharing our excitement for where the DCEU is headed!
The forum has a companion blog that is still in development (this is fan created and people have busy lives ;-p); but in any event it will serve as a repository for thoughtful 'positivity' about the three Snyder DCEU films. i.e., videos, articles, reviews, podcasts, fan contributed essays, and so forth. The blog also posts regular news of reflections about the currently three (eventually four) 'Snyderverse films', as well as the films that belong to the DCEU. Fan contributions are welcomed for this blog!
So this article is an attempt to help get the word out. The Snyderverse Trilogy's membership is growing steadily. It's activity is robust. And fans that have joined routinely comment what a breath of fresh air the forum is for them. To be able to post about what one likes about these films with like-minded individuals is a great feeling. And as mentioned, there are threads at the forum as well that constructively criticize and analyze MoS, BvS, and Zack Snyder's directorial approach. MoS and BvS are not perfect (no film is), and fans in this community recognize that. But that sort of analysis can be done in peace at the Snyderverse Trilogy.
If you like or love MoS or BvS, and would like to discuss why with people who (for the most part) share the same view, please stop on by at The Snyderverse Trilogy.
I'll close by noting that the creation of this community speaks to the controversy stirred by Snyder's two DCEU films. This says something about how strong Snyder's impact has been as an auteur.