Reviewing Marvel/DC Films’ Reception

Back in early 2016, rumors had surfaced that Warner Brothers were afraid most movie-goers would not appreciate their upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, not because of its quality, but because it was “too smart for the average superhero movie-goer” (HitFix, 2016). Well after the movie was released, as it was being critically panned by reviewers and audiences alike, its fans declared it as “misunderstood” and “brilliant”, even going as far as saying that it is a “masterpiece” (Monkeys Fighting Robots, 2016). They concluded that its nature strikes a significant difference between the DC cinematic universe and Marvel’s, calling it “darker”, “more ambitious” and “more mature” than the latter will ever be (New York Post, 2016), since Marvel films are usually light-hearted and adventurous, with snarky humor and filled with action sequences throughout.

While this discussion went on, trailers for DC’s upcoming film Suicide Squad was released, resembling a lot like the typical Marvel movie. The characters it featured cracked jokes and one-liners, it promised lots of action sequences, and the overall tone of the film was light-hearted and adventurous. It even featured a heavy soundtrack filled with licensed music, like in Guardians of the Galaxy. Despite fans accusing Marvel for spoiling the audience’s expectations for superhero films for their style (The Escapist, 2016), Suicide Squad was also critically panned by audiences.

After this, DC fans have ruled out critics and opposing audience members from their opinions, saying that they are wrong (The Washington Times, 2016). In addition, they think Marvel paid critics to make good reviews (Vox, 2016). They had even attempted a petition to shut down Rotten Tomatoes, a website that averages critics’ and audiences’ ratings into an overall percentage, because the website was giving DC films “unjust bad reviews” (Variety, 2016). This led to furthermore fights between Marvel and DC fans, deconstructing each other’s arguments as to why their respectively defended films are not good, eventually catching the attention of the filmmakers who have made their fair share of superhero movies.

“Every time I mention DC, no matter what, my feed becomes an endless screaming match about (Batman v Superman),” Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn tweeted, saying that they are wasting each other’s energy (Deadline, 2017). He continues, “It’s a 2-year-old movie that some people like and some people don’t. Why is someone’s opinion so important to you?” Even after he had asked that question, people are still wondering why there is such a disagreement between film critics and fans. YouTuber Adam Johnston of YMS has an answer for this, saying, “Film critics showed up to this movie to see a film, not (to) validate their obsession with a (omitted) action-figure” (YourMovieSucksDotOrg, 2016).

This is true, especially when most of the arguments come from the adapted characters being unfaithful to their source material, which is mixed with constructive criticism against either side’s films, but would often get subjected to unfaithful adaptations. In the end, you should never try to reason with passionate fans. It’s likely they will not listen, even if you provide the most excellent, thought-provoking points about their awful movie in the world.


 

References & Bibliography:

(CalcetinConRombosMan). (2016). (No Spoilers) Do u think Marvel movies have too much “humor”?. Message posted to https://www.reddit.com/r/marvelstudios/comments/4l3r5v/no_spoilersdo_u_think_marvel_movies_have_too_much/

Abad-Santos, A. (2016, April 2). Batman v Superman was trashed by critics. Fans think it’s because Marvel paid them. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from https://www.vox.com/2016/4/2/11348262/batman-v-superman-conspiracy-critics

Ayer, D. (Director). (2016). Suicide Squad (Motion Picture). United States of America: Warner Brothers Pictures.

Cornet, R. (2016, February 11). Despite a great trailer, Warner Bros is worried about Batman V Superman and Justice League may be in jeapordy. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from http://uproxx.com/hitfix/batman-v-superman-could-dcs-entire-slate-be-in-jeopardy-fandemonium/

Deace, S. (2016, March 30). Why the critics are wrong about ‘Batman v. Superman’. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/mar/30/steve-deace-why-critics-are-wrong-about-batman-v-s/

Gunn, J. (Director). (2014). Guardians of the Galaxy (Motion Picture). United States of America: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Marvel Studios.

Johnston, A. (YourMovieSucksDotOrg). (2016, August 5). Quickie: Suicide Squad. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL7UStivFHY

Moreno, E.J. (2017, August 7). ‘Batman v Superman’: The Misunderstood Masterpiece of 2016. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from https://www.monkeysfightingrobots.com/batman-v-superman-misunderstood/

Ramos, D. (2017, October 28). James Gunn Addresses “Silly” Marvel Vs. DC Raging Between Comic Book Fans. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from http://deadline.com/2017/10/james-gunn-marvel-dc-rivalry-comic-book-fans-batman-v-superman-1202196779/

Shapiro, B. (2016, March 28). The Critics Are Wrong: Go See ‘Batman v. Superman.’ It’s Awesome. Yes, Seriously. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from http://www.dailywire.com/news/4440/critics-are-wrong-go-see-batman-v-superman-its-ben-shapiro

Smith, K. (2016, March 31). ‘Batman v Superman’ is too smart for Marvel fans. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from http://nypost.com/2016/03/30/batman-v-superman-is-too-smart-for-marvel-fans/

Snyder, Z. (Director). (2016). Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Motion Picture). United States of America: Warner Brothers Pictures.

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FLM215 – Blog Post #8

After a cinematography workshop with one lecturer and a practical exam with another, the short film’s production had commenced on Thursday morning. Locations included a library, a lawn on campus, a student lounge, a studio, and a parking lot in Al Qudra. Interrogation scenes were set in the studio, which was to be completed in the first day. However, it had to be used in both filming days because of difficulties following the schedule, as prepared by the producers.

This was due to stagnant on-set preparations, multiple takes, and constant tending to the equipment. In particular during the first day’s shoot in the studio, the audio equipment did not function well. Nearly an hour and a half was spent attempting to fix them, from what I remember, before they were replaced for the remainder of the shoot. As a result, plenty of the scenes in this setting had to be delayed to the second filming day. This was exacerbated when footage for those scenes were saved as separate images, forcing us to reshoot Thursday’s scenes on Saturday.

Much of Saturday’s delays stemmed from straying away from the shot-list, according to a director of photography. This resulted in wrapping up the production nearly an hour after it was supposed to.

FLM215 – Blog Post #7

The seventh week was reserved for a break, save for the amended one. We had submitted our drafts for the Centipede Poem edits and played a few of them during class. Once more, we were encouraged to be as creative as possible with our videos, since the showcased videos did not reach their potential. They were displays of the poem’s recitation, typically matched with the recorded sound effects.

The class was not without its learning outcome, from what I remember. We had to learn how to assemble other lighting equipment we had never used before, as well as a portable green screen. This was all for a practical exam due in the ninth week.

Filming dates were on the eighth week’s weekend, as confirmed to the enquiring actors, along with their wardrobe details for the shoot. Make-up was to be taken care of by another art department member, along with the props, with the exception of the handcuffs. One pair was to be purchased by myself, and the other to be acquired from a student, who had used them from a previous short film assignment. These were all my given tasks during the week for the final stages of pre-production.

FLM215 – Blog Post #6

In the first class of the sixth week, rough edits for the footage shot in the third week were expected. Our lecturer allowed us to edit our assignments further after we had recorded sound effects. They were to accompany the passages read from the Centipede Poem, along with furthermore effects and even soundtracks. We were encouraged to get creative with the project as long as we completed it by the seventh week, where we had a class to make up for the dismissed class in the fifth week.

All the while, my classmates and I were still busy with pre-production documents. Last week, after some miscommunication and delays, we reduced most of the problems facing this development phase – a teammate and I had even completed our lists and breakdowns of props and costumes. We had to redo them, however, when our lecturer told us to use the program introduced in the fourth week. Soon, the breakdowns were redone, but in the form of a shooting schedule. There was a type of template for a props list, but it did not provide sufficient information needed for the breakdown, and the shooting schedule template was the closest to providing that.

In the next day following a successful fundraiser for the short film, we had a directing and acting workshop with a guest lecturer. She taught us how to get comfortable with the workspace, heightened our observation skills, and spent the remainder of the class rehearsing scenes from the short film.

FLM215 – Blog Post #5

The only Studio I class of the fifth week was focused on refining the second draft of the short film, whose name has changed from Match to Perspective. I was met with criticism for submitting the script a day late, in addition to failing to comply with a co-director’s previous instructions. These were to refrain from sharing any information about the script to the rest of the group, which I had forgotten. This was then quickly resolved before we went on with the third draft’s completion and, in the next few days, with the rest of the pre-production documents. These included two lists pertaining to props and costumes, as made by myself and a partner in the art department.

The remainder of the week’s class slots were occupied by a guest speaker, who is a television writer and the CEO of an academic institute in Cardiff, Wales. The first class concerned the Eight Dimensions of Wellness, all of which was discussed extensively by classmates and the speaker herself through anecdotes and general theories. The second class spoke more pragmatically about the film and television industry in Wales, before the speaker awarded certificates to those who have attended the Cardiff trip.

FLM215 – Blog Post #4

A class from a later trimester joined us in the first class of the fourth week. Both class groups were at a similar stage in the middle of pre-production, so our lecturer had introduced us to Movie Magic Scheduling 6, a production organization software. After a brisk tutorial, we were left to break our scripts down to a list of costumes, props, and potential schedules. I had written a first draft prior to this class, but we had used the one written by the co-director, which was submitted on the Drive for the lecturer see.

The final class of the week had us rewrite almost the entire story, following constructive feedback provided by our lecturer. After the directors had invented their plot points and organized them into a structure, I was left to write the screenplay itself, along with some of their notes instructing how they wanted scenes to play out. Unfortunately, I was not able to finish the screenplay that day due to a Q/A session with documentary filmmakers I had to attend that evening. This was in addition to my laptop having depleted its battery charge before I could send what I had written so far to the directors and our lecturer.

FLM215 – Blog Post #3

We had finally presented the three-point lighting system to dissatisfying results. Along with the chiaroscuro group, we were to redo them in the next class in order to pass that learning outcome. For the rest of the first class in the third week, we had assembled the chiaroscuro system, while the other group handled the three-point system. A classmate and I had to recite a poem in front a camera, and we had to use that footage to include sound effects for an assignment.

The second class had us learn some more about directing, with a heavier focus on shot-lists. We amounted the types of shots used in a scene from American Beauty. Along with that clip, we had also studied yet another scene from Magnolia to deconstruct their use and choice of shots.

This led to learning about blocking and staging, through the different short films we watched prior to discussing them. Aside from the fundamentals of those two directorial aspects, I have learned how much content is necessary in a short film. This is since blocking and staging themselves tell a different level of storytelling that re-contextualizes scenes through subtexts, from body-language to visual metaphors. A scene from The Graduate employs both simultaneously, which we viewed towards the end of the third class.

FLM215 – Blog Post #2

In the first class of the second week, we learned how to loop auxiliary cables and operate an audio interface, completing the first of two learning outcomes that day. The other had us split into two groups and researched lighting techniques in the library, all for a presentation we had to perform the next week. Our group was assigned to the standard three-point lighting system, and the other to the much moodier chiaroscuro system, used in plenty of horror films.

Until the night before we were to officially present them, there were hardly any ideas to expand on for the alternative pitch. This was reflected during the pitch itself, resulting in a lack of votes for our story. The pitch that won the votes was a thriller, despite the majority of pitches being horror stories.

I offered to be a screenwriter for this project during a role pitch presentation – a performance I felt redeemed after what happened in the second class. We spent the remainder of the third class learning the art of direction through clips from Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1999 film, Magnolia. In addition to this, we learned how to deconstruct scripts into character breakdowns, shot-lists, and much more.