No, Critics Disliking ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’ Is Not a Conspiracy

No, Critics Disliking 'Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice' Is Not a Conspiracy

Scroll through the comments under any less-than-glowing review of “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and you’ll encounter a few recurring themes. (Actually, under no circumstances should you read the comments yourself. Just trust me on this.) There’s the old saw about critics not getting it, expecting a Batman movie to be “fun” when everyone knows that Batman stories are always dark and gritty. (Not remotely true before Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” permanently transformed the character, but okay.) There’s the idea that movies are meant as entertainment, and any who thinks about them too hard is just missing the point. All par for the course. But then you get into the particular pathology of certain comic-book fans, the ones who just know that a movie they haven’t yet seen is awesome, and anyone who doesn’t agree is either crooked or irretrievably biased. (As a hilarious string of retweets from producer Keith Calder underlines, the latter complaint is almost always lodged by people who think that “bias” is an adjective, but we’ll leave that alone for now.) Here’s one, from a review by The Wrap’s Alonso Duralde: “You give this a rotten score, yet you give the last two Hunger Games a fresh rating? Yea, you’re bought and a fraud!” Matt Zoller Seitz’s review on Roger Ebert.com gets “How much did Marvel pay you for this review?” followed shortly by “There is absolutely no denying that Marvel had a budget set aside to pay critics for negative reviews. They don’t want competition.”

To state the blindingly obvious: The precise number of reviewers who have been paid to negatively review “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” is zero. Studios can buy influence through junkets and other perks, but it’s always aimed at getting critics to like their product, not dislike someone else’s. You can argue that critics have it in for Zack Snyder — or, if you’re the kind of person who thinks they’re “bias,” that they have it out for him — but the idea that actual money changed hands is preposterous. More to the point, it boggles that mind that there are people for whom the only possible explanation for a critic — or, really, anyone — disliking “Dawn of Justice” is that they’ve been paid to dislike it. It’s like the people who believe that all the protestors at Donald Trump rallies are hired operatives of the Democratic Party, as if Trump didn’t go out of his way every day to say something that enrages people.

It’s the latter connection that sticks, because it underlines how many Americans have secreted themselves in an airtight echo chamber where they only interact with people who believe what they believe, to the extent that the existence of people outside that circle begins to feel like a myth — kind of like “The Village,” where Bernie Sanders voters or people who hated “Man of Steel” become Those We Don’t Speak Of. It’s hard to confront the possibility that a movie you’ve anticipated for years might be a letdown — so hard, in fact, that some people would sooner convince themselves it’s great, no matter how much actual movie they have to overlook in the process. But then, that’s unfair, too: Viewers like and dislike things for all kinds of reasons, and as long as they’ve got a decent argument to go along with their opinion, it’s no better or worse than any other. People holding opinions that differ from your own isn’t a conspiracy, mostly because it doesn’t need to be.

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Comments

Clarence Ewing

These are the same zealots who pushed "The Dark Knight," a good but nowhere-near-all-time-great movie, into the Top 10 of the Internet Movie Database’s list.

Koutchboom

Soooooo TDK isn’t that good….but The Shawshank Redemption is perfect? IMDBs greatest movie list is solid, and anyone can vote. Don’t hate the list, it’s the closet thing to a global consensus on movies. If you are a true movie fan it’s honestly beautiful.

Koutchboom

But I disagree with this article. There’s totally a weekly news letter for critics, and I will make it my life goal to get on the mailing list. The first rule of film critic club……

TC Kirkham

It’s interesting that the number of negative reviews has declined in the past 24 hours, raising the Rotten Tomatoes score from 37% to 42%…and also that the fans who have already seen it have given it an 85%. So there’s definitely a disconnect somewhere…but on which side will forever be subjective…

TC Kirkham

whoops…should have said ‘declined proportionately’ in reference to the numbers of good vs bad reviews…sorry about that

CC

Guess what?
All the protestors at Donald Trump rallies were hired operatives of the Democratic Party.
Even if you are Democrat, you are a idiot if you don’t know that to be a fact.

David K West

Totally agree about IMDB ratings, Koutchboom. I think it’s a fantastic resource. Of course it doesn’t accurately reflect my own rankings of films since I have my own specific tastes and interests, but it’s pretty rare that I watch a film on the top 250 list and just straight up don’t like it. And even when I DO dislike a film that makes it on the top 250, I can totally understand why lots of other people may love it. I think it’s obnoxious when people try to discredit it just because it doesn’t reflect their own personal tastes perfectly.

Randy

"The Dark Knight" is beloved by audience and critics alike. Its widely believed that it should have been nominated for "Best Picture," and was part of the reason the Academy changed the number of nominees the following year. These are not "the same zealots." Clarence, you just don’t get TDK the way other people do.

Justin

TDK knight is a terrible film, and the only batman esqeu scene is lifited directly from Frank Millers Dark Knight Returns

DougW

Not sure the review game is as pure as you think. Wasn’t there a story not long ago where people at a studio were writing their own blurbs for movie ads? Also, I’ve heard of more than one critic who give great reviews to undeserving movies because they like to see their blurbs and names on the movie ads.

Mandy bel

Wow so you do admit that you got the marvel/disney treatment and that you have it out for Snyder … I think it’s really funny that most of the audience gave it a 85% rating proves that critics are useless. You donNt get the character/don’t like DC/never read a comic book then it’s simple don’t watch it because your "critics" are irrelevant since you don’t represent the general public.. Honestly you are just hating on it to hate on it

Scatman Crothers

Sorry to destroy your theory TC Kirkham but Ive just glanced at RT and DOJ is presently sporting a rating of a turgid 33%, maybe it’s time to accept the facts this film is a pile of overblown juvenile dog’s eggs.

Ronnie

There is a comment there about how there is people who will say this film is awesome before seeing it and whether they think its bad or not. The same in fairness can be said for those that think the film will be bad before even seeing it. There is always people on both sides of that scale. In terms of the bad reviews. They dont make a bit of difference to whether I go and see it or not but unfortunately some people dont form their own opinions.

Scatman Crothers

The funny thing is with Fan-boys and critics is that when the latter love a film DKR or Mad Max the fan-boys will constantly refer to this praise as validation of their devotion. However as soon as the critics call a turd a turd ( DOJ) the same fan-boys say they never listen to critics and happily dismiss them all as snobs when the find a two and a half hour toy advert a less than thrilling watch.

Apollyon

Let me get this straight…Batman wasn’t dark and gritty until Frank Miller came along? So in 1939 when the concept of a child avenging his parents who were murdered right in front of him isn’t dark? No one said you have to actually know what you’re talking about to critique something, I guess. Not that I think the conspiracy is actually a thing, personally it sounds like nonsense.

No

I haven’t seen BvS and don’t intend to until it comes out DVD. I saw Synder’s last film and thought it was utterly boring, an example of destruction porn.

Conrad

Selective Exposure and Selective Perception. They’re theories, but they’re real. It’s a thing, people, and the Internet has exacerbated it tenfold.

Hughy Dewey and Louie

@Koutchboom As a true film fan, no, the top 250 in imdb is not a beautiful thing. It’s mostly voted by people who like middle-of-the-line movies that are not challenging or interesting for the most part. The Shawshank Redemption is one of the safest movies ever made that doesn’t take any risks or chances, so most people end up liking it. It’s not bad, but that’s the thing, you don’t have many people voting against it. It’s a mediocre list with some movies that don’t deserve to be on a single top 100 list.

Cameron Johnson

Honestly, TDK > Shawshank for me @ the IMDB list. Shawshank seems to be the one film everyone calls the best movie (including both of my parents), but no one can actually say WHY they think it’s the best movie. It’s certainly excellent, but not life-changing or revolutionary, like, for me, TDK was.

moderatejohn

The thing that gets me the most is the amount of 1/5, 1/4 stars the movie is getting. The movie is weak but the low ratings surprise the hell out of me. This movie isn’t worst than half of the superhero movies that have been released in the last 10 years or so. I think it’s weak and flawed but not that much.

Kyle

The only ciritcs who got paid were the ones who got paid by AIPAC. This movie is to promote IDF it girl Gal Gadot. Paint a pretty face on the murder of Palestinians.

Winnie

Fanboys stop being in denial. The movie was a huge disappointment that didn’t live up to the hype.

Patrick

You give no more proof in this poorly constructed piece of crap than the people saying there’s a conspiracy… There is literally no information in this—it’s just you circling around the same points to set up your two terrible political analogies. And sure, there’s not a conspiracy, but the groupthink amongst you pack of morons isn’t a much more assuring reality.

yeahbut

"There’s the old saw about critics not getting it, expecting a Batman movie to be ‘fun’ when everyone knows that Batman stories are dark and gritty. (Not remotely true before Frank Miller’s ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ permanently transformed the character, but okay.)"

Please don’t dismiss this element like it hasn’t been a driving force to influence Batman’s tone and identity for the past 30+ years. Also, Miller wrote that comic bring Batman back to a darker (and truer) version of himself that had been replaced with the light-hearted version born out of a time when comics were heavily censored.

…for real, tho. The idea of critics getting paid for negative reviews is dumb.

cate

eh I always thought that they should have released the film sooner. They have been teasing the film for well over a year, the damn thing was finished at the beginning of last year.

Kingrs

I think the critics are suspiciously unted in being jaded cynics as well as wrong. It’s a good film.

steve davidson

…so. how much did YOU get paid to write that the fix wasn’t in?

Not serious at all, but I figured such attacks are inevitable, sa why not get them out of the way?

Guest

Bravo, Sam

GB

I went to the movies expecting to see Superman Returns and got a pretty good movie. I have watched every Superhero type movie/TV series that has been released the past 40 years and this movie is easily in the top ten percent of those films. It’s not the Godfather Part 2 or the Empire Strikes Back but it’s much better than the critics are saying.

Conroe Rance

I don’t get how people just can’t digest that, like horror movies and period dramas starring (Dame) Judi Dench, there can be good movies, and movies that are not so good. Michael Bay is not a maker of good films. That doesn’t mean he can’t cut a mean music video or make a profitable Transformers movie, but there’s a reason there’s a difference between a "Christopher Nolan film" and a "Michael Bay movie." At the end of the day, B vs. S really just seems to be a Michael Bay movie. Some dudes like the Transformer movies, quesalupas, and farting for laughs. Its cool, to each their own. But to question the character or integrity of someone who doesn’t? That’s just lame.

Bilahari Aryat

There is no conspiracy, agreed. But they are hell bent on hating Zack Snyder’s films. Personallly, I thought the movie was awesome.

It was great film

This is the reason why I hate film critics so much. Bunch of arrogant people who get paid for criticizing films. And unfortunately, there are a lot of people who read their crap. Some of them even publish books about films they’ve seen and tell us – stupid viewers who are according to them not so intelligent and experienced of watching films as they are – which films they should watch and which not. I liked Batman v Superman. Of course, It’s not Shakespeare, but it’s a great film. Critics, please go to hell and take rotten tomatoes and other shitty sites with you. Thank you.

Pat

I enjoyed the movie…more I think than Age of Ultron. I think the critical consensus got this one wrong….the movie has good energy…good acting…great effects…OK not perfect but good and the RT score of 30’s is just ridiculous.Also Batman was a revelation.

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