Kevin Smith Says ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice’ Is Humorless, Lacks Heart
Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 at 2:43 pm
The critics and audience have spoken, and while the former didn’t like it as much as the latter, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was the number one film at the box office. This wouldn’t be the first time that there was a huge disparity between audiences and critics, and it won’t be the last. You’ve already seen our review of the film. And now celebrities are voicing their opinions on it. But one of them may come as a huge surprise.
Following his hosting duties on the DC Films Presents: Dawn of the Justice League special on The CW with DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, Kevin Smith has expressed some of his disappointment in BvS, saying that it lacked joy and that there is a “fundamental lack of understanding of what those characters are about.” See what else he had to say below.
The quotes came from Smith’s Hollywood Babble-On podcast, which he recorded with his Babble-On co-host Ralph Garman.
Smith opened with “Ben [Affleck] was good as Batman. That was the thing people were most worried about.” In hindsight, there were a lot more things to worry about than Batleck. Smith added:
“He moved the way Batman moves in fights with the best cinematic presentation of Batman fighting you’ve ever seen in a movie. It looked like a video game almost. It looked like how you imagined he moves in the comics.”
The director then went on to praise Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), whom he thought was fun, but there wasn’t enough of her. And that’s when he started ripping into the film, starting with this:
“Remember when we were talking about The Flash it’s got 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.”
Smith did have a few positives things to say about BvS, though:
“Like you can’t take that away from [Zack] Snyder. Boy, he knows how to compose a frame and how to setup a shot. Beautiful visual stylist. But you need more than just pictures. You need the characterization and these characters seemed off character, particularly Superman (Henry Cavill). Batman’s all ‘I fucking hate him. I am going to stab him in his fucking heart’ That seemed way off. But they played Superman as dark as they played Batman.”
This was followed by a comparison between the tones of Marvel and DC, in which Smith said BvS was missing joy, whereas Marvel had joy, and admitted that he would take his kids to Deadpool (which is rated-R, a film meant to be seen by audiences age 17 or older) before he would take them to see BvS:
“It’s missing joy. 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 like on the outside, it’s who you are on the inside. It’s kinda of a beautiful story”¦there’s something there, human, 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? 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 fucking life!”
Smith then proceeded to criticize how the titular fight ended especially when the first act worked so hard to get it all set up:
“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 and shit. And that thing that happens in congress, like they made it look like Superman had something to do with it. 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?”
It’s as I said in my review, don’t even get me started on how they stopped fighting.
Smith then reluctantly said: “I’m happy that the DC Universe is going, I guess.”
The director then went back into ripping to the characters, particularly the titular heroes:
“There seems to be a fundamental lack of understanding of what those characters are about. It’s almost like Zack Snyder didn’t read a bunch of comics, he read one comic once, and it was Dark Knight Returns, and his favorite part was the last part where Batman and Superman fight. But “¦ you get to do that in that book because you’ve got three books prior to that and 50 years at that point of comic-book history to build on.”
The times are changing, though. Smith addressed the idea of how this iteration of Batman is different because he doesn’t directly kill, but lets those he brands be killed by other inmates. It’s just something that the Batman he is familiar with wouldn’t do. But that wasn’t the only problem he had with the film. While he did get a chance to see it early, he was embargoed for saying anything, and he was initially worried that he was the only one to have said problems/issues. So while he isn’t a critic himself, he couldn’t wait to read what critics had to say. Needless to say he was relieved when it was confirmed he wasn’t the only one who had issues with the film.