Batman v Superman was one of the bigger blunders in recent filmmaking, all the way down to that stupid lowercase, unpunctuated “v” in the title. Sporting a solidly suboptimal Rotten Tomatoes rating of 27%, the film was widely panned for its pacing, script, visual style, characterization, and all out lack of, well, fun. How do you have a movie with Batman, Superman, and freaking Wonder Woman all on screen and have it be a slog?
Oh, right, Zack Snyder was in charge for some reason. Ben Affleck’s performance as Batman wasn’t bad, but he had to know the film wasn’t going to work out, because he’s at the very least a competent director in his own right. And now, more than a year and a half after its release, Affleck has come out and said that he understands, and perhaps even agrees with, some of the criticism of that film.
This comes as Affleck makes the rounds to promote Justice League, which somehow comes out in November. For once, the DC film universe is coming off a critical hit, with Wonder Woman breaking all kinds of records and barriers. Unfortunately, Justice League still had Zack Snyder in charge, until a few late reshoots overseen by Joss Whedon as Snyder dealt with a family tragedy.
Affleck gave an interview to Empire magazine, in which he talked about the updated and hopefully brighter tone Justice League will be showing off. The full interview is subscriber-only for now, but the AV Club has the relevant excerpt:
Affleck says he“can understand people saying [Batman V. Superman] was too dark, or this was outside the tone of what I’m used to seeing with a Batman story, and I think that’s a fair criticism.”
But Zack Snyder, who directed BVS and Justice League, is gradually lightening up his part of the DCEU, Affleck claims. Calling it part of a “natural progression,” Affleck says that with Justice League, Snyder “wanted to make a movie that was more fun, that was a little bit light, that wasn’t so encumbered with heavy melodrama.”
That said, Zack Snyder hasn’t really ever directed a decent movie, and has managed to bungle this entire franchise from the start due to a weirdly preternatural aversion to coherent storytelling or sophisticated characterizations.
It’s hard to get too excited for Justice League backed out of his agreement, especially as Affleck himself has to direct a standalone Batman movie. At least Wonder Woman was awesome. And at least they’re not promoting Justice League with a 6 month advertising blitz a la Suicide Squad. Maybe they’re learning some lessons after all.