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Advance word suggests that 'Batman v. Superman' never lets in the sun
Batman (Ben Affleck), left, Superman (Henry Cavill) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) star in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," expected to be one of the year's biggest hits. - photo by Jim Bennett
Well, heres a piece of news I didnt need.

Advance word from is that we can expect an Ultimate Edition Blu-Ray release of the upcoming movie Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice that will be rated R for sequences of violence.

Oh, goody.

True, nobody will have to watch an R-rated version of this film. The movie will hit theatres next month with a PG-13 rating, and no doubt the theatrical cut will also be made available in all home video formats. The reason this concerns me is that its part of a broader pattern that demonstrates that Warner Brothers and Zach Snyder, the movies director, dont really understand the appeal of the iconic characters that theyre putting on the screen.

Watching the latest TV commercial, I realized that the sun makes an appearance in only one shot of all the advance footage of this film thats been released. (Its the moment where Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne holds a child to protect him from the carnage unleashed by the fight between Superman and General Zod in Man of Steel.)

Based on what weve seen so far, Superman and Batman could well be vampires based on their evident aversion to daylight. Zach Snyder apparently believes that scenes taking place during regular business hours would compromise his vision of a dark, bleak world where only the bad guys are allowed to smile, and everyone else is always grim and miserable.

No, I havent seen the movie itself, but some people now have, and the advance word is not great. Drew McWeeny, a reviewer and columnist for the website, made some remarks earlier this month that suggest that Warner Brothers is starting to panic, too. The advance screenings have underwhelmed preview audiences, and some studio execs think they may have a bona fide flop on their hands.

What Im hearing, McWeeny said, (is that) theyre going to need to rebuild again; theyre going to need to win people over; theyre going to need to lay some different groundwork. I dont think this is going to be the springboard into the Justice League that they wanted it to be.

It didnt have to be this way. How could they have gotten this one wrong?

The central problem, from my point of view, is that Snyder seems to have no idea who Superman is supposed to be. Yes, Batman is dark and brooding and borderline vampiric, but Superman is all primary colors bright, bold and drenched in sunlight. Hes also been known to smile every once in a while, too. Nobody wants to see the Last Son of Krypton in the kind of gloomfest this movie is shaping up to be.

The irony is that the DC Comic movie universe is completely ignoring everything the DC Comics television universe is getting right. Supermans cousin Supergirl has her own TV show on CBS, and the tone of that series is diametrically opposed to what were seeing from Batman v. Superman. Its got plenty of adventure and derring-do, but its also got a light and playful tone far better suited to the character. It also happens to be a lot of fun.

Over on the CW, DC Comics heroes have three different TV series going now Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow and all of them are enormously entertaining because they feel like comic books brought to life, and they use a far broader color palette than Batman v. Supermans muddy greys. True, Arrow tends to brood more than the other two, but its nothing like the joyless mess that Snyder is peddling.

I could be wrong. In fact, I hope Im wrong. But all my instincts are telling me that when we finally get to see Batman fight Superman, its the audience thats going to lose.
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