(Pre-)Judging Batman v Superman in the Age of Internet Hyperbole

This weekend see the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and boy has the internet has been venomous. Reviews have been starting to pop up in my Letterboxd feed, with many of the ratings being two stars or less and I have been reading general hatred from both people I know and the internet in general. It almost doesn’t matter what I will think of the film when I see Batman v Superman in IMAX tomorrow evening. The internet has already decided that this is a “bad movie” and that director Zack Snider is a “bad director”.

While, I probably won’t go out of my way and defend Zack Snider, I will say that I have generally liked every film of his that I have seen. This includes 2011’s Sucker Punch, which can rightfully be described as more than a little misogynistic at times. Unlike many people, I was not up in arms over the direction he took Superman in Man of Steel, particularly involving the presumed collateral damage in the film’s climatic battle.

I also believe that Batman v Superman was never going to be given a fair shot. In addition to the bad taste Man of Steel left in the mouths of many people, a proper sequel was scrapped in favour of doing a crossover movie with Batman, which would also throw Wonder Woman into the mix and plant the seeds for a Justice League movie. Then there was the controversial casting of Ben Affleck as Batman, and it went on from there.

I’ve always believed that everyone has the right to have an opinion and that it is alright if someone goes against the general popular consensus about the film. However, I have come to believe that many people made up their minds about Batman v Superman months ago and nothing that they see in the final film is going to change that opinion. Whether its truly an issue with the film’s depiction of Batman or Superman or merely a vendetta against Zack Snider, there are many who already hate the film, even though it has not officially opened yet.

The irony here is that despite all the hate that is being spread about the film on the internet, I would surprised if Batman v Superman isn’t a box office hit on some level. Even though many have already decided that they are going to hate the film, chances are that they are still going to pay to see Batman v Superman in theatres, if only to prove themselves right. It would frankly be amazing if all this negative internet hype actually resulted in people skipping the film, which would send a message to the people who made the film. While this did happen somewhat with Fantastic Four last year, I think that Batman and Superman are too widely known and are sure to attract both casual moviegoers and the hardcore geek crowd.

While the internet has its positive aspects, and is also the outlet I write on, part of me wishes I can go back to my teenage years in the mid-1990s when social media was not a thing and I can see a film like Batman Forever and only be concerned about my own personal opinion on the film. Because all this internet hyperbole is too much to handle sometimes.

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).