When Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice landed with audiences, it landed with something of a thud. Clearly a grand, operatic movie of massive scale and ambition, it nonetheless didn’t really connect with mainstream audiences.
Watching cast interviews and reading their take on events at the time, you can’t escape the feeling that everyone involved was caught up in this monumental endeavor, and was genuinely surprised that the movie they made was not connecting with fans.
In one famous interview, you can literally see the moment that the realization dawns on Ben Affleck, and all his joy is sucked out of him in an instant.
The older, bitter, clearly damaged Bruce Wayne versus the naive and not yet fully formed Superman was not chiming with comics fans or casual moviegoers. In a new interview with the New York Times, director Zack Snyder addresses this dead-on:
“I don’t have a dog in the hunt. When I made Watchmen, it’s deconstructionist. It’s a movie that pokes holes in your heroes. And BvS is the same thing. It’s meant to say, Oh, Batman’s drunk and taking painkillers and he’s sleeping with some anonymous girl. He’s a broken person. He dresses up as a bat and he goes out at night and he beats people up. He has issues. I do think the movie came along at a point where everyone was like, oh, we don’t want that Batman. We want Batman to be the warrior-monk who’s cool. And I personally am fine with that.”
He doubles down, fully aware of the niche that Batman v Superman has now slotted into, its notoriety and place in comic book culture. He is clearly reveling in it and he has no regrets:
“BvS, love it or hate it, it’s probably the most mentioned movie in hashtags and references. It’s the closest thing to a cult film that could exist at this level of pop culture. Am I a provocateur? A little bit. Is my job to make some pop-culture piece of candy that you eat and forget about the next day? Nah. I would rather [expletive] you up in a movie than make it nice and pretty for everybody. Let’s be frank, there’s no cult of Aquaman. Jason is a force of nature, and by all means, I want there to be 100 Aquaman movies because he’s an awesome guy. But it’s not controversial. And I have purposely, because I love it, made the movies difficult.”
Tomorrow we find out exactly where this provocateur wanted to take this universe as we subject ourselves to four whole hours of Snyder-ness. Good or bad, either way, it’s been one hell of an interesting time for movie fans and comic geeks. I can’t help but think we will miss this when it’s over.