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BvS: Did the Critics just Jump the Shark?

BvS: Did the Critics just Jump the Shark?


Online Critics told us Batman v Superman was terrible. So why do so many people seem to love it?

Newspapers, traditional publishing and old-school outlets in general are struggling to stay relevant in the user-generated, viral reality of modern media – and I don’t think they did themselves any favors with the pre-emptive reaction to Batman v Superman: The Dawn of Justice.

Just this morning, I was refilling my coffee when a colleague said: “I’ve read the reviews, so I think I’ll just pass and see it when it’s out on digital download.” And I had to practically slap the latte out of their hand and tell them: “Go see it in the big screen, like nature intended.”

After seeing BvS myself, the glaring disparity between what the critics have been writing, and actual cinematic reality, is mind-blowing. From what you’d read online, BvS is simply awful – but if you ask anybody who’s seen it, the general response is: “It’s not the Avengers, but it’s pretty damned good.”

(Which our own ModCon02 being the exception that proves the rule.)

So why did the huge incongruence? Did the early critics literally see a different movie than the rest of us? Or is there something more sinister at play?

Now, I can’t really speak for anybody else, but I’d argue that there is something bigger going on. I suspect that the speed and weight of the criticism had more more to do with certain media outlets trying to drive the narrative than actually responding to the movie they saw. I think they were so vitriolic in their reviews because they wanted people to think that the movie was bad without actually considering for themselves whether it was or not.

I literally felt like the sheer volume of bad reviews were being rammed down my throat. In fact, it’s my sheer bloody-mindness that made me stump up for popcorn and soda so I could go and see the preported shitshow for myself (and discover that many of the critics were talking crap.)

But I think the general commercial reaction to Batman v Superman kind of demonstrates that the weight of critics’ opinion carries a lot less clout than it used to.

While Rotten Tomatoes certified BvS as ‘33% rotten’ it still had a record-breaking opening weekend. Bats versus Supes scored $160+ million in the box office, and instantly became the sixth biggest-opening movie of all time.

I think the reaction to BvS demonstrates that something has changed in the world of cinema criticism. Because of the sheer weight of online opinion, more and more paying customers are dismissing what the ‘critics’ say and choosing to decide for themselves; and they’re voting with their dollars.

I think legitimate criticism is fine (ModCon02’s review makes for entertaining reading) but the once formidably powerful news and media outlets can’t pretend to be the ‘kingmakers’ any more. I personally feel that they tried to scuttle Batman v Superman before the movie even had the opportunity to stand on its own merits; and I’m personally ecstatic that they got a hot, steaming cup of shut-the-fuck up in response.

Read my review of Batman v Superman. Then go and read MadCon02’s. And then see the movie for yourself, if you haven’t already. And, finally, please let us know what you think. I’d love to know if you agree with me, that the criticism was unfairly harsh, or that you think ModCon02 and the detractors have a point.

Militant Ginger Born and raised in the cathedral city of Winchester, Roland earned his Eurotrash merit badge in Paris before moving to America to seek his fortune. If you've seen it, please give him a shout, because he's still looking. A digital Don Draper with a Hemingway complex, Roland pays the bills with his social media savvy, but under various nom de plumes is a top-ranked Amazon author after hours, and is impatiently awaiting the day he can give up the rat race forever and write schlock in a cabin in the mountains.