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DC Movies v Critics v Audience: Spawn Of Hype

The DC universe has gifted the world some of America’s most iconic superheroes. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the first cinematic venture to feature Batman and Superman along with Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. The plot drove some of its elements from Frank Miller’s iconic graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns, as well as the “Death Of Superman” story arc but overall followed an original premise deviating from aspects of its source material. It reincarnated Batman differently from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. The approach of Zack Snyder was justified as the movie brought in Batman into the universe which Superman inhabits coinciding with the first ever appearance of Wonder Woman, and DC’s Trinity, in a live-action theatrical film. The attempt was a challenge in itself as when we speak of superhero movies all the elements are aggrandized, logic defying effects are incorporated and often a freewheeling ensemble cast keeps a plot moving with average cinematic brilliance. The film was savaged, mostly, by not so constructive criticism, as it was unfairly judged to evoke too much cinematic piece of art which cannot be expected from superhero flicks. The superhero ventures are always like an act of operatic grandeur, the kind of stuff which the kid in each and every one of us would yearn for to experience visually stunning action spectacles executed with flair and not always brilliant storytelling which the critics crave for. Though, the movie was majorly smothered as an act of destroying a potentially powerful story by eminent websites like Rotten Tomatoes, some went ahead with praise. I have referenced Wikipedia for some of the positive critical reviews received by this movie. Mark Hughes of Forbes called it “the follow-up to The Dark Knight that many viewers and fans wanted or hoped for”, adding that it’s “visually stunning, with powerful emotional storytelling and awe-inspiring action spectacle. Andrew Barker of Variety said “as a pure visual spectacle… Batman v Superman ably blows the hinges off the multiplex doors. Charles Koplinski of the Illinois Times called it “a brooding, but most importantly intelligent take on the seminal figures of our 20th century pop culture mythology, a movie that at once pays tribute to these characters’ roots while offering up modern incarnations of them that ring true for our times.” Nicolas Barber of the BBC called the film “a four-star epic” praising Affleck’s performance as Batman and the visual grandeur of Fong’s cinematography.

Coming to the latest installment of the DC extended universe, Suicide Squad is written and directed by David Ayer and stars yet another ensemble cast portraying imprisoned super villains on a mission to save the world from impending doom, in exchange for shorter sentences. The critics yet again chopped this movie apart by their hair splitting analysis complaining that the characters were thinly written. The impressive cast garnered positive reviews owing to their performances, especially Margot Robbie. The backgrounds for the characters weren’t researched much in the movie as otherwise the movie wouldn’t be confined within the conventional duration. It dwelled on a gleefully nihilistic flavor of its own despite being not the best mainstream, darkest comic book movie adapted on screen. It was highly anticipated by audiences worldwide despite the negative critical reception. As far as facts and figures are concerned, as of September 4, 2016, Suicide Squad has grossed $297.4 million in North America and $375.5 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $672.9 million, against a budget of $175 million ($325 million including advertising and promotion costs). It was a quirky attempt that stood apart from the stereotype superhero movie theme.

The battle between the critics and DC is a never ending one but the question that arises is not whether the critics are unfair or DC has failed to deliver but whether the kid in you gets excited to relive the ventures on screen, the stuff that DC Comics’ dreams are made of. That day when the kid in you no longer wants to watch the caped superheroes, would be the day, DC lost the battle to critics.

WRITTEN BY:
SHAON MONDAL

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