The reviews are out and the conspiracy looms.
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 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.
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.
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.