Et tu, Brute? Earlier this year, Warner Bros. tapped Kevin Smith to co-host the “DC Films Presents: Dawn of the Justice League” special on The CW alongside DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. Sure, it was a glorified puff piece infomercial, but Smith’s eye-popping excitement was palpable, and the director was over the moon with not only the teases for “Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice,” but everything else Warner Bros. and DC were planning. Well, now that the check has cleared, Smith is sharing his true opinion on ‘Dawn Of Justice,’ and he doesn’t like it.
In his latest “Hollywood Babble-On,” Smith did praise Ben Affleck‘s portrayal of Batman in the movie as its strongest element, but let his co-host Ralph Garman do most of the trash talking. But eventually, as the conversation rolled on, and Smith built a head of steam, he started cutting into the film’s problems.
“That didn’t seem like Batman,” he admitted about the movie’s characterization of the Caped Crusader. “Certainly not the world’s greatest Detective. More like Bat-Trump. The characterization is left of center…Batman’s never like, if there’s a 1% shit could go wrong, let’s fucking stab people.”
Smith spent the beginning of the podcast discussing when he directed an episode of CW’s “The Flash” and used it as a jumping off point about what ‘BVS’ was lacking.
“Remember when we were talking about ‘The Flash’ [which is mandated] to include heart, humor and spectacle? I don’t feel like ‘[Batman v Superman’] had a heart, it was certainly fucking humorless, there was nothing funny going on in that world whatsoever, but it had lots of spectacle.”
“You can’t take that away from Snyder,” he said, giving the director his due in terms of visuals. “Boy, he knows how to compose a frame and set up a shot; beautiful visual stylist. But you need more than just the pictures, you need characterization and these characters seemed off. “
Then Smith started to go off a little stronger on the movie. “Particularly Superman. I mean, Batman’s whole, ‘I fucking hate him! I’m gonna fucking stab him in the fucking heart!,’ that seemed way off, but they played Superman as dark as they played Batman.”
Garman then interjected. “This emo Superman is just a fucking nightmare. What a bitch.”
“It’s missing joy,” Smith continued. “The Marvel movies have a lot of joy in them and I realize as I was watching [BVS] and here’s the weirdest way to sum it up: I thought it was really dark, I don’t know that I would take a kid to this, it’s kinda bleak. And I’m not a pussy about this — ‘oh kids shouldn’t see violence’— and I’ll give you an example. I’ve seen ‘Deadpool’ twice. I would take a nine-year old to see ‘Deadpool,’ … More so than that, the moral of Deadpool is crystal clear: It’s not what you look on the outside, its who you are on the inside. It’s kinda of a beautiful story…there’s something there that you can grab onto… It’s been 72 hours since I’ve seen it and I don’t know what the moral of the ‘Batman v Superman’ movie is other than, maybe, maybe, if you stretch it real thin, ‘Hey kids, don’t judge a book by its cover.’ “
“Honestly, what was the moral of that story?” Smith asked. [Because] everyone was shitty to everybody and in the end Batman was like, “I failed him in life.” It’s like, fuck yeah, you did! You tried to end his life!”
The writer/director saved his best for the climatic turning point in the movie, when **spoilers**, Batman, who was trying to murder the alien foreigner Superman, but changed his mind when he realized that he and Superman shared a mother with the same name: Martha.
“That was the other thing: why they started fighting kind of makes sense in the first act; revisiting the end of ‘Man Of Steel,’ flimsy, flimsy, but at least you can understand why Batman gets steamy,” Smith explained. “But as flimsy as the reason they start fighting is, the reason they stop fighting is the fucking flimsiest reason on the planet. I was a little baffled by that. $250 million riding on that? That’s your moment and shit?”
Perhaps realizing he had gone off, Smith turned to the crowd a little sheepishly and apologetically. “But, uh, you know, I’m happy that the DC Universe is going… I guess?”
Listen to the full talk below, the ‘Batman v Superman’ talk gets going at the 1 hour and 5 minute mark.