Why didn’t test audiences like Batman and Superman in Justice League?


Why didn’t test audiences like Batman and Superman in 2017’s Justice League?

Justice League itself is something of a controversial film among fans. Now it appears test audiences originally were not that fond of an aspect of the film. Why could this be and why wasn’t this addressed?

What Did The Test Audiences Say of Justice League?

We think of the trinity usually when it comes to the Justice League — Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. These are the most popular characters within the DC Comics mythos. Yet, what test audiences say of the Justice League film is rather contrary. Number one is Wonder Woman, who was most likely hot after her own film. Tied for second is The Flash and Aquaman. Fourth is Cyborg. Batman and Superman are tied for last place.

Turns out, test audiences wanted a solo-film most from The Flash, not the big guns of Superman or Batman. This may sound paradoxical when people are still clamoring for a Man of Steel sequel. Meanwhile, people on the internet go nuts for any rumor, news or gossip on Matt Reeves’ Batman film.

Why Do The Test Audience Rank Them So Low in Justice League?

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Our answer can be summed up quite easily — Joss Whedon’s re-shoots. Because of Whedon’s usual, jokey approach, both characters are lightened up. Granted, both the studio and some fans wanted this.

However, Zack Snyder was always approaching a path to lighten them up, especially after Batman v. Superman. Whedon forces it on them overnight. Not only that, but the characters end up as just jokes of themselves.

Batman himself has little to any great, memorable scenes. Nothing in Justice League highlights him like the warehouse scene in Batman v. Superman does. We get lines like “I don’t… not” like you to Clark or “Yeah… Something is definitely bleeding” after Superman chucks him to the ground, resulting in breaking his leg. We have Batman using a double-negative and making light of his own serious injury. Not even Adam West’s Batman would even stoop to this.

Batman ends up serving like a butt-end of the joke to the league. Ben Affleck gave a phenomenal performance in the previous film, proving the naysayers wrong. The middle-aged Bruce Wayne of before is gone, replaced by something of a comedic, man-child who makes sarcastic remarks to Diana. Any character we usually expect of the Batman rather it be the Dark Knight detective or the Caped Crusader of the sixties is nowhere to be found. He feels more like an empty hero in a costume. Why waste Affleck’s talent for this?

Superman meanwhile gets forced into this kind of Christopher Reeve pastiche. Again, many fans wanted this, not realizing that is not the only Superman. Plus, that version did not age well. His line about truth and justice comes off as more of a wink to the camera, that breaks up all and any tension and drama in the scene with Steppenwolf. He refers to death and coming back as ‘itchy.’ No one can truly attest to what this scenario would feel like, but itchy?

Superman even makes light of his death when he says ‘I take it back — I wanna die.’ Superman can have a sense of humor, sure, but making a joke about his own death? The Man of Steel is hardly a character either in this film, but simply revived to just show up and save the day near the end and offer some forgetful dialogue about his itchiness.

Another Reason They Rank Low in Justice League

Many fans still want more Superman and Batman from the DCEU. This is the first shared universe of these two characters on the big screen. Prior to this shared universe we have five Superman films and eight Batman films. These two have a plethora of animated series and television shows. Whereas Wonder Woman has a movie, a show and an animated movie. The Flash has two T.V. shows, and you see where this is going.

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Does Batman and Superman have too much exposure? The Flash is one of the most popular comic book shows, which is probably aiding test audiences’ desire for a solo film. Even Cyborg beats these two titans.

Marvel’s Black Panther shows a good black comic-book film can work. Audiences are even desiring more diversity as well within their comic-book movies. Put race aside, our all-time comic-book movie list is hardly diverse with all of the Batman and Superman spots on it.

Why Did Warner Bros Still Use This Justice League?

It is fair to say Warner Bros. went in with their mind already made. They assumed what Joss Whedon gave us in Justice League with these two characters is what fans wanted. Ever since 2013 people had been yelling for a lighter Superman. Warner Bros. even needed some nudging from David S. Goyer during Man of Steel for the character and background. They are stuck in their ways and to refuse to listen to test audiences, for then they would be admitting they were wrong.

Adding to this is that Snyder has made money for Warner Bros, do not get that wrong. Still, he did not make James Cameron numbers for them either. Hence, they were willing to forgo his hard work to bank on Whedon in turned in two one billion dollar films over with the MCU. Obviously, he can cut copy and paste over, then Warner Bros. can add a billion dollar entry to the DCEU. Keep in mind they already spent millions of dollars on re-shoots. Are they going to spend that money, then throw out the re-shoots?

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Hopefully this can come as a huge learning experience for Warner Bros. May they event admit to this one day, with this ever-growing pile of evidence that they made a mistake. Perhaps it could push them to a Snyder Cut of Justice League.