Despite raking in the cash at the box office, it’s no secret that critics and fans weren’t totally over the moon for 2016’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Sitting on a pile of cash with a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the Warner Bros. superhero pic can arguably be the most divisive comic book movie of our time. Even Batman himself, Ben Affleck seems to recognize the criticism.
Affleck’s casting as the new iteration of the iconic Dark Knight already had fanboys and fangirls skeptical. Filling the signature cape and cowl of the hero after Christian Bale’s stint in the Christopher Nolan films was a lot to live up to. More than that, expectations were high for Zack Snyder’s BvS, as it was to build a foundation for the DCEU that would be a formidable rival to Marvel, which has been carefully sculpting a cinematic universe since 2008’s Iron Man.
Not only were the reviews for BvS less-than-stellar, but it also prompted a “sad Affleck” meme (or “sadfleck”) which featured the actor with what seemed to be a somber face of regret during an interview during the BvS press tour (he probably was just tired). In a recent interview with Empire Affleck didn’t address “sadfleck,” but he was very open about the criticisms of BvS.
“I 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,” he said. He then went on to say that the caped crusader we were introduced to in BvS was part of a “natural progression” and that Snyder “wanted to make a movie that was more fun, that was a little bit light, that wasn’t so encumbered with heavy melodrama.”
Based on Wonder Woman and the first footage and trailers from Justice League (opening November 17), Affleck seems to be right with his analysis of the direction for the DCEU. Despite the heavy use of Snyder’s signature slo-mo action shots and washed-out color palette, there is a bit more levity in this universe. And with former Marvel Cinematic Universe Godfather Joss Whedon stepping in to take over for wrap up reshoots and post-production for Justice League, the DCEU may very well be on its way to having that comic book charm that it’s been lacking.