Well, I do feel sorry for Informant. If you looked at the movie when I first saw it, I liked it a fair bit more than I do now. It's only after I've really sorta tore at the movie that the flaws really bothered me. It's an autopsy of the film that I don't usually do for many films. And as I've said a couple of times, it's unfair to the movie but it also comes from a place of love.
Will Smith's I Am Legend is a pretty forgettable film, but it's relevant for a couple of reasons that have nothing to do with the movie itself. The first is that I Am Legend was the movie that WB attached the prologue (the bank scene) to The Dark Knight in IMAX to. If you went and saw the movie in IMAX, you got to see the opening scene to The Dark Knight. That's why I saw the movie in theaters. The second is an easter egg. The movie takes place in the future, and there's a billboard in Times Square for a Batman/Superman movie. That one easter egg is probably the most famous shot in the movie.
When Schumacher did his Batman films, he makes reference to Metropolis (in Batman Forever) and Superman himself (in Batman & Robin). Those movies were horrible Batman films, but they hinted at a bigger universe and we loved it.
Bruce Timm made the Batman Animated Series and then the Superman Animated Series. Then he brought them together in "World's Finest" (one of their finest episodes) and renamed the whole thing the "Batman/Superman Adventures." One of the best episodes is when Superman comes to impersonate Batman. One of the best episodes of Batman Beyond features an aged Superman. Justice League ran for 5 seasons under two titles based around the adventures of Batman and Superman.
People have wanted to see BvS for decades. Batman and Superman on the same screen. How would it work? What would it look like? Who would play them? Could they get Routh and Bale together? Tom Welling? Keaton/Kilmer/Clooney? Would it be goofy? Dark? Funny? Serious? Who could possibly make that work.
And unlike any comic book movie ever, people wrote the movie in their heads. What they wanted to see, how they wanted it to work, what villains they'd use, how the fight would look, who would be manipulating everyone. Every line of the movie was written in everyone's heads years ago.
So when the movie came out, it had to compete with everyone's expectations. Not only that, it had to compete with a Marvel Cinematic Universe that was almost a decade in. And this was Batman and Superman, the two most beloved heroes in comic history. Expectations were through the roof.
But the problems started before the movie was announced. Man of Steel's ending had problems, and we were promised that a sequel would solve them. Then came the casting of Ben Affleck (a controversial hire) to replace the was-never-going-to-happen-fan-casting-of Christian Bale. And the odd choice of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Then we heard that the cast was bloating to include Flash and Aquaman and Cyborg. That Wonder Woman would be heavily featured. Man of Steel 2 was turning into a Justice League movie, and none of us knew how any of it would work.
There might've been Marvel folks who wanted the movie to fail. And maybe some people who wanted to see a billion dollar franchise crash and burn. I'm sure there were people that saw this as a desperate move to capitalize on the Superhero craze and wanted it to fail so these movies would just go away.
But I honestly don't think anyone went into this movie wanting to hate it. People definitely went in with their biases, whether they hated Man of Steel or don't like Zach Snyder or Ben Affleck or the casting or the tone or whatever. But people don't spend $166 million on a movie they aren't excited about. For a movie they expect to hate. And while this is a movie that I think most people liked, I don't think it's a movie that most people loved. It's a controversial success at best and a mess at worst.
And, honestly, I think it was set up for failure because it could never be what everyone wanted it to be.
And, yeah, I think we've said everything about the movie but I just want to harp on one last thing:
I wanted a Man of Steel sequel that showed the progress of Superman. What we got was a Batman movie where Superman is used as a symbol in the minds of others rather than a character of his own for most of the movie.
You've mentioned this a bunch and I'm really having trouble connecting those dots. It's almost like you're making the movie a bit like Rashomon, where we're seeing a skewed version of Superman because we're seeing him from the perspective of Batman. And I don't get that idea from this film at all. I understand that it is from Batman's perspective, but I don't get the idea that we're getting a distorted version of Superman that looks evil because Batman wants him to look evil. I see a version of Superman that looks evil because the director needed him to look evil for his protagonist to get *any* benefit of the doubt from the audience.
Ironically, Man of Steel is on TV right now, and I just watched the interrogation scene with Lois. Superman shows more personality when he's talking to Stanwick through the one-way mirror than he does for any public scene in BvS. Cavill is able to show Clark's personality in intimate moments with Lois, Martha, and even Lex. But every. Single. Public. Scene. Clark either looks angry, emo, or depressed. When he's allowing a building to burn down as he allows people to worship him, scowling as he saves a rocket, creepily floating over begging flood victims or standing around doing nothing while the US Capitol burns.....he shows no emotion. And if all of that is Batman's distorted perspective, that's fine. If they did some clever trick where TV footage shows Clark putting out a fire, quickly saving the flood victims, and frantically saving two dozen senators, I totally missed it. Because what I saw wasn't distorted Superman - it was just Zach Snyder's version of Superman. A Superman I didn't like at all. Clark is fine. He's a good character that Zach Snyder cares about. He's vulnerable and human and the best cinematic Clark Kent.
But Superman is a cold, distant, terrifying alien character without an ounce of humanity in him. And I think Henry Cavill plays him that way. And, again, unless I missed it, I saw no indication of Rashomoning.
And no matter how good the action is or how much you enjoy Affleck's Batman....if you get 1/2 of the title characters so incredibly wrong that they're the worst part of the movie for a huge chunk of your audience....that's a problem you just can't overcome for some people. It'd be like if they nailed Superman but had a 60s Adam West - style Batman to face him up against. It'd just ruin the movie, no matter how good they did Superman.