One of the narratives coming out of this weekend’s blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opening was that it “defied the critics” or that “critics don’t matter.” Well, as always with these sorts of things, it’s a little more complicated than that. Yes, the film got a stunningly low 29% on Rotten Tomatoes and yes the average score was 5/10 (which is closer to mixed-negative as opposed to outright dismissal). And yes, the film made (as of this writing) $170.1 million domestic and $424.1m worldwide despite the fact that 7.1/10 critics on that popular aggregation website disliked the picture.
You might think that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justicewas something of a critic-proof picture, but you’re only half-right. The majority of those critics confirmed that, be it good or bad, viewers of said picture would get their money’s worth in a few key areas. It wasn’t so much that audiences ignored the critics (although some surely did), but rather that the negative reviews offered up confirmation of several core elements that were part of the film’s marketing campaign.
They confirmed that Batman and Superman do beat the heck out of each other. They confirmed that the film is full of “gotta see this in IMAX” spectacle and cinematic grandeur. They argued that Ben Affleck made a compelling Batman. They mostly were thrilled to see Wonder Woman in her late-in-the-game action cameo. The reviews were terrible to be sure, but they acknowledged that the film provided value regarding most of the core elements that a viewer might want out of the film.
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