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Warning: This article quotes and references reviews of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice but is otherwise spoiler-free.
Those reviews, which went up Tuesday evening after the embargo lifted, do cover some of the positives: a strong beginning, the introduction of Wonder Woman, and aspects of Jesse Eisenberg’s performance. But overall the film was panned with critics calling it “a messy spectacle,” “a film so bad it wears you down and makes you wonder if there was ever such a thing as a hero anyway,” “incoherently structured,” and “even Wonder Woman can’t save this unholy mess.”
Batman v Superman will likely be a massive box office hit no matter what critics say. It’s already made between $20-25 million in advance ticket sales with experts predicting that it may make up to $140 million in its opening weekend. And for many, the reviews have been amusing to read.
The idea of film critics being paid for reviews by movie studios was floated earlier this year by screenwriter Max Landis (Chronicle, Victor Frankenstein), who has received some negative film reviews during his career. He later retracted it once critics denied it and asked him for names. Even Roger Ebert has debunked the idea that critics are paid for reviews in a 1994 review.
But that doesn’t seem to be evidence enough for some Batman v Superman fans.
The Batman v Superman smear campaign is going to go full speed ahead these next few days, journalists pumping out hate articles.
— KnightDragon (@Knight_Dragon_) March 20, 2016
Once again critics prove that there is some sort of conspiracy against Zack Snyder. I loved Man of Steel, and they critics ripped it apart.
— Mark O’Connell (@MarkTheMighty) March 23, 2016
All you Disney puppets who conspired against BvS Wil get what’s coming to you!
— Ggddf (@dcfanboyyyy) March 23, 2016
The conspiracy theorists have in turn triggered a wave of people making fun of their suspicion that the negative Batman vs Superman reviews were orchestrated by Disney.
Just watched a video where a guy says EW, owned by Warner Bros, are paid Marvel shills.
— Martha (@devincf) March 23, 2016
I like how even though early reviews are positive, there’s conspiracy theories for why critics will dislike Batman vs. Superman.
— Stephan Krosecz (@Krosecz) March 22, 2016
No, Marvel doesnt pay critics or smth like that, its ridiculous.
Both companies want the other to succeed
— Kyriakos Wake (@kyr95) March 23, 2016
Movie critics don’t like a movie – well, it’s a conspiracy!
Yeah, I’m sure that’s it, fanboys.
— Mathew Buck (@FB_BMB) March 23, 2016
Screen Rant also quashed the idea that critics are being paid, saying that if someone had it would’ve gotten out by now.
“There’s simply no evidence to support it—not even the ‘jet fuel can’t melt steel beams’ class of evidence associated with other conspiracy theories,” H. Shaw-Williams wrote. “There are occasional claims along the same lines as Landis’—supposed hearsay conveniently devoid of any specifics—but if this were really happening then you would think that at least one person among a group of professionals who are perpetually hungry for a scandal would have heard about it and published the details.”
While most people may believe the Disney conspiracy is bollocks, there is a stronger consensus that even if critics aren’t taking money for reviews, there is a Marvel bias among some critics, or at the very least an anti-DC Comics bias.
Critics will hate on ‘BATMAN V SUPERMAN’ to feed off your fears then pretend to love it a week before to feed off your excitement. Trash.
— Superhero Feed (@SuperheroFeed) March 19, 2016
The Critics Are In Disney’s Pockets conspiracy is absurd, but it does seem like some of you are going out of your way to bash the thing
— William West (@williambwest) March 23, 2016
If you’re angry about critic reviews, be angry that critics can’t see past the marvel formula. Don’t create conspiracy theories
— Dawn of Mac (@Damac1214) March 23, 2016
Ultimately, it won’t really matter what the critics think. They’ve said their piece, and nothing they say will deter fans from seeing or even enjoying the movie. Chances are, you might hate movies that critics adore and vice-versa, but a negative review doesn’t automatically equal a conspiracy. Soon enough, we’ll all be seeing it and opinions are sure to be all over the board.
Until then, we have the reviews.
Bad reviews of a movie don’t matter.
All that matters is whether YOU like it.
— Dan Slott (@DanSlott) March 23, 2016
Michelle Jaworski is a staff writer and the resident Game of Thrones expert at the Daily Dot. She covers entertainment, geek culture, and pop culture and has brought her knowledge to conventions like Con of Thrones. She is based in New Jersey.