Kevin Smith, fresh off jumping into DC’s television universe as a director on an upcoming episode of The Flash, offered his thoughts on DC’s foray into expanding its movie universe, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
“The movie I felt like didn’t really have a heart. It was certainly f—–‘ humorless, there was nothing funny going on in that world whatsoever,”Smith said on the latest episode of his Hollywood Babble-On podcast, as he and co-host Ralph Garman offered their thoughts on the film.
Smith didn’t knock every aspect of the film — he said Justice includes “the best cinematic presentation of Batman fighting you’ve ever seen in a movie” — but he generally came away unhappy with the end result.
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“There seems to be a fundamental lack of understanding of what those characters are about,” Smith explained in regard to one of his chief complaints. “It’s almost like Zack Snyder didn’t read a bunch of comics, he read one comic once, and it was Dark Knight Returns, and his favorite part was the last part where Batman and Superman fight. But… you get to do that in that book because you’ve got three books prior to that and 50 years at that point of comic book history to build on.”
Smith did praise Ben Affleck’s performance as Batman (“the least worst thing” about the film is how Garman described Affleck’s turn), even though the character “seemed a little off-brand for Batman.” Smith noted his issue wasn’t that this version of Batman would be willing to let his enemies be killed in battle, but that “Batman is never like ‘If there’s a one percent chance s— can go wrong, let’s f—— stab people.'”
As a longtime fan of these DC Comics heroes, Smith, who co-hosted this year’s preview special covering the upcoming DC slate of films, mentioned that he “literally leaned forward in my chair” during the film’s dream sequence, and that was in part one of the things he respected most about the film.
“…It had lots of spectacle. You can’t take that away from Snyder,” he said. “Boy, he knows how to compose a frame and set up a shot, beautiful visual stylist. But you need more than just the pictures, you need characterization and these characters seemed off, especially Superman.”
Hear Smith and Garman’s full thoughts on the podcast below, including why Smith “felt sane” when he saw reviews starting to come out for the film.