Looking over the news today, I found this tidbit at box-office mojo regarding last week’s movie take up to August 21:
This summer has been an interesting one when it comes to expectations and internet fueled opinions. Batman v Superman was the first film to face the internet firing squad well before it was actually released. After its release, opinions appeared to be divided between those who hated the film and searched far and wide for any little or big reason to justify their hatred and those like me who defended the movie and felt it was…gasp…quite good. Great even.
I’ve stated before (to the point where I’m in danger of beating a dead horse) that BvS, especially in its director’s cut version, is a far better film than the critics and some internet posters made it out to be. In time (what the hell, I will beat that dead horse) I believe the film will rise in people’s estimations and may become viewed as one of the better superhero films ever made.
Once BvS played itself out, the sometimes red-hot internet hatred found its next victim in Ghostbusters. Much of the venom, sad to say, came from people who claimed the film was “sexist” because the leads in the film were female. To those I say: Please look up the term “projection”. The only sexism in Ghostbusters was the one coming from those who accused the movie of it.
Nonetheless, the film didn’t do all that well at the box-office. While I enjoyed it and recommended it, I was nonetheless not too surprised to find it underperformed. While I still believe the movie was good, even I’ll admit it never reached that next gear of hilarity that really great comedies hit.
As the summer died out, one of the last “big” films to be released was Suicide Squad (you knew I’d get there eventually, right?!). As I’d written before, I was curious why this film would be the next big DC tent pole versus so many other properties out there they have.
Despite that feeling, the first few trailers of the film blew me away and had me hoping for a genuinely entertaining work. Sadly, the film, to me, proved to be a mess, storywise. Despite that, I nonetheless enjoyed the bulk of it after its very rocky start. Perhaps it was the performances or the giddy vibe it sustained but I didn’t feel like I’d just wasted my time and hated myself for spending my time and money on it. On the other hand and unlike BvS and Ghostbusters, there was no way I could recommend the film to anyone.
Nonetheless, Suicide Squad is, as the article above points out, doing quite well at the box-office. Now in its third week of release, it is still #1.
Which makes me wonder…
The critics hated BvS, liked Ghostbusters, and hated Suicide Squad. Yet of the three, the ones that made money were BvS and Suicide Squad. Clearly there’s a disconnect here and I wonder what it is.
BvS, as stated, had plenty of negativity from critics and many on the internet but, as I stated above, there was stuff in the film that even the harshest critics would agree was good. Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne/Batman, for instance. Or Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. The cinematography (even the film’s harshest critics can’t deny the film at times looks gorgeous, even if its palette is dark). But moving past all that, there is a solid story, IMHO, here. One that is far deeper than many are willing to admit and/or recognize.
Which is something I can’t say about Suicide Squad. Despite this, the film is drawing tremendous amounts of cash.
Which leads me to wonder why the DC films made as much as they did given all the flack they got.
I’m just guessing here, but I think part of the reason is that fans are starved/primed to see big budget versions of DC comic heroes.
Marvel, for better or worse, has dominated the movie landscape these past few years but after so many films, there may be a sense of fatigue starting to appear regarding the “Marvel style” hero movies. The fact is that all the Marvel Universe films thus far have displayed certain tendencies. This is not surprising given the fact that the same people who run the Marvel show have been behind it since its inception.
When one gets a new toy, its shiny and beautiful and you play with it to your heart’s content. But after a while, that shiny new toy no longer entertains you as much as it once did. With the Marvel Universe films, they were shiny and new and intriguing but I’m wondering if audiences are starting to see through the “magic” and that shiny new toy may become just a little bit dull.
While Captain America: Civil War made a tremendous amount of money (more than BvS) over its run, I find it fascinating how little people talk about the film now. Those who do are just as likely to disparage it, noting its plot was weak and the film, overall, was underwhelming. That’s not to say everyone who writes about the movie does this, but it is curious how even now BvS can inflame passions and create a commentary hurricane while CA:CW engenders far less enthusiasm.
So, is it possible people are starting to tire of the Marvel movies to some degree yet remain thirsty for superhero films? This might explain why Suicide Squad, despite its many deficiencies, manages to hold on to the box office pole position. Despite its many weaknesses, one thing you can say about Suicide Squad is that other than having a cast of super-beings, it is nothing like a Marvel film and so too was the case with BvS.
Sometimes, variety can indeed be the spice of life.