As has been widely reported, the early critical reception to Batman vs. Superman has not been kind. The Rotten Tomatoes rating continues to plummet; what was once at 42% yesterday, now stands at 32%. What’s awkward is that the cast is still making their rounds promoting the film, and one brave and intrepid British reporter gathered the nerve to ask Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams and director Zack Snyder what they think about all the haters.
Cavill, who was paired with Affleck in this Yahoo! interview (you can watch the full video below, if you have the stomach), spoke first while Affleck simply shot beams of white-hot anger from his eyes that would make Superman jealous. He used the old “bias” defense and tried to insinuate that critics had it out for Batman vs. Superman from the beginning.
The interesting thing is that we get the critics who have their personal opinions. And the thing about personal opinions is that they always come from a place. And there’s a preconceived idea which you have to get past a critic before you start writing your article or your review, and that affects everything.
It’s strange to think that critics, who largely got into this job because they love movies and never want to spend their time watching horrible movies, root for movies to fail. Also, I’m not so sure Cavill understand what it means to be a critic. As Devin Faraci of Birth.Movies.Death wrote earlier this month, “All art can only be experienced subjectively. Who I am, what I like, to what I respond, all these things are exclusive to me. I cannot watch a film through someone else’s eyes. Literally every moment of my life leading up to me sitting down and watching the movie is part of the experience; all of that informs the way I will see the movie.”
Yes, critics have bias, but everyone is biased. Bias could, in theory, be used to dispute one dissenting review, but when the majority of critics — as is the case with Batman vs. Superman — have one particular viewpoint, it becomes more difficult to dispute.
Amy Adams was next and she trotted out the old, “we don’t make movies for critics” line. “None of us are making the movies for the critics…If you’re interested in a film you should see it and form your own opinion rather than just going on the word of somebody [else].” Which is a fair point. Critics aren’t necessarily here to tell you what to see and what not to see. It is advice of what to reasonably expect and audiences can choose to accept that or reject it. In the age of ticket presales, it doesn’t even really matter much. The negative reviews won’t impact opening weekend all that much, because so many fans have already purchased their tickets.
Finally there was Zack Snyder, who has taken most of the blame for the negative response to Batman vs. Superman. Snyder, who looks like this movie has aged him like a two-term president leaving office, was the most honest. “It is what it is.” And what it is, according to critics, is not a very good movie.
Most agreed that they’ll leave it up to the fans to decide whether the movie is a success or not, and that will come in the next two weeks or so as we learn what they really think of the film.