A little over a month ago, I stumbled out of a theater at 3 a.m after watching the premier midnight showing of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
A habit I've developed since I started writing about movies is to skip the potentially lame post-credit scenes and head to the exit before the rest in attendance, so I can watch and listen to their reactions as they exit the theater. Here you get the public's instant raw, emotional reactions to what they've just watched. After watching The Force Awakens premier (which was a 2 a.m. showing for me), I saw fans leaving the theater at almost 5 a.m., gleaming with excitement, grinning from ear to ear and proudly proclaiming that Star Wars is back!
Watching fans leaving Batman v Superman was a little different, I felt as if I were witnessing a group of people who'd just sat through a 3-hour long SPCA commercial starring only their dogs. How do you screw up the two most iconic heroes in the history of comics fighting on the big screen? A movie that fans have dreamed about for decades! Granted there were those exiting the cinema that you could tell really enjoyed the film, but most of them also donned Batman or Superman T-shirts. I myself was very underwhelmed with BvS, however, even after a month I feel that the backlash was way too harsh.
Don't get me wrong, BvS isn't a great film in my opinion, but it's not 27 percent on Rotten Tomatoes bad! That's a lower score than Batman Forever, whose only great achievement was a Seal music video. The film was an overstuffed desperate rush to catch up with Marvel that didn't make good on most of its promises, but there are still a few things to like about BvS. Ben Affleck's Batman was, in my opinion, the best so far. No Batman has kicked ass like Batfleck kicked ass. The fight scenes were incredible, and I was impressed by Wonder Woman. Still BvS was a disaster for Warner Bros.
The real mess wasn't on the big screen however. The next day, every comment section on every article or YouTube video that was about BvS turned into an all out war zone. Post after post of DC fanboys desperately pleading their case that BvS was a great film and not the biggest letdown since The Phantom Menace, that the DC Universe was bashed by a bought and paid for Marvel-lead smear campaign, that critics unfairly criticize DC movies due to their undying love for Marvel.
In the same comment section you'll see overconfident Marvel fanboys basically bullying DC fans about the state of their comic universe. Proclaiming the MCU can make a blockbuster out of an obscure comic featuring a tree and a talking Raccoon (all while forgetting that Fan4stic is a Marvel property.) You'll read things like Marvel is light years ahead of DC and even the long awaited fight between Batman and Superman couldn't live up to — Ant-Man?
So who's right? To me both sides have some truth to their arguments.
You can't look at the reviews of The Dark Knight trilogy and tell me that there is a vast anti-DC agenda among critics. Those movies are rated along side some of the best films of all time. However it doesn't mean that some Marvel favoritism has developed over the past couple of years. Especially on the Marvel Cinematic Universe portion of their films. I mean was BvS really that much worse than Thor: The Dark World or even Iron Man 3? I don't think so.
Maybe it's because the MCU formula has raised the bar by consistently giving us quality films that incorporate humor, action and emotion so flawlessly that you expect that from every comic book movie. DC was going for a darker tone, to differentiate itself from Marvel, but they couldn't pull it off because to most casual fans or at least those not so well versed in comics expect that MCU formula every time they see a movie now, because that's what they are used to. They expect funny, light-hearted moments mixed into story where the entire planet is on the verge of destruction.
This Marvel vs DC rivalry may seem to be inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but that's far from the truth. In fact this rivalry is one of the primary causes that Batman v Superman sucked. If both. Marvel and DC fans supported each property equally than DC wouldn't have felt the need to stuff five different movies into a 2hr 30 minute collage to try and catch up with Marvel. They could've taken their time, given us a Man of Steel 2, a solo Batman film, a Wonder Woman standalone before we ever saw Batman v Superman, then DC could've moved on to Justice League. Instead we got ten minute fight between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel sandwiched between a really really long Justice league trailer. The fans were screwed.
As somebody who is more of a movie fan than a comic book fan this is very frustrating. I really don't care which brand is better as long as both DC and Marvel put out great content. I'm willing to be a fan of both, but it seems there is a newly adopted mindset among hardcore comic fanboys that you either have to be team Marvel or team DC and quite honestly that's ridiculous.
It's especially ridiculous to folks like me who share and create movie related content online. You can't share your opinion on a superhero film, weather you think it's good, bad or mediocre without being bashed by the trolling fanboys. If you didn't like Iron Man 3 you were a banner waving DC disciple with a Frank Miller/Christopher Nolan shrine in your closet. If you hated BvS than you're a bought and paid for MCU puppet with Walt Disney's name printed on your ass. Yes I know you need to have thick skin on the internet but people have so invested themselves in this DC vs Marvel feud that people actually believe that reviews of these films aren't objective.
In a few days I'll be standing in line on opening night, waiting to see Captain America: Civil War, a film that is already as highly rated as it is over-hyped with a current Rotten Tomato score of 95%, on its way towards collecting at least a billion dollars. I'll be doing the same thing in August when Suicide Squad premiers on opening night, but sadly, if DC's second film of 2016 isn't a huge hit, it may be the final nail in the coffin for DC fanboys and the DC Cinematic Universe. All credibility on social media and the rest of the internet will be lost for DC and who knows how that all affect their plans for future franchises. DC will deserve most of the blame, but who's to know how things would've turned out if the fanboy narrative was different. Two groups of fans, both with an undying passion for comics are now on the verge of ruining the very thing they love. It won't be long until this rivalry starts to affect public interest and negatively impact the product, at least on the big screen, and the public will just move on to its next cinematic obsession while comic book films go the way of the western, a once dominant film genre that's now a novelty.