Exclusive: ‘Batman v Superman’ Crew: “We Like Marvel Movies Too”

Batman v Superman TrinityFans love to bicker about things. SEGA vs. Nintendo, Star Wars vs. Star Trek, Marvel vs. DC. Depending on your age, you’re probably familiar with at least one of these pointless debates, but, thanks to the internet, what was once just silly playground squabbles has turned into genuinely nasty discourse.

And what makes it all even more absurd is that almost no one actually involved in making these things see it in this light. Hell, many of the most prolific writers and artists in comics have done great work for both Marvel and the Distinguished Competition.

And, as it turns out, the people making movies in the DCEU enjoy some of the MCU movies as well. When I recently sat down with Batman v Superman Second Unit Director Damon Caro and Visual Effects Supervisor Bryan Hirota, the subject of these kind of intense fan wars came up, and they agreed that it’s all a bit dumb.

This is an excerpt from a larger interview. Look for the full interview later this week.

Both of you guys have worked on Watchmen, you’ve worked on Man of Steel, what was different about it this time around? Obviously you’ve got this rapport, you’ve got this shorthand that you’ve built up over these years, but was there anything substantially different about working on this one versus those other big comic book movies with Zack Snyder.

Bryan Hirota: More secret.

Damon Caro: (Laughs) Yeah, I mean, it was that, but we were better and more streamlined. Shorthand I don’t think quite does it justice. There was a workflow and an understanding and the techniques we had developed. So go back to Watchmen, Watchmen was more of a drama so there wasn’t a ton of stunt-vis, but I shot stunt-vis for the opening fight in the apartment and various other parts. We did Sucker Punch after that which was fun, there was great stuff with the train. But I think we had just really nailed the process of how we go about it. This goes to here and these guys come in, and everybody was just more efficient, and it was a good time for it because it was such a massive undertaking to do it well. We really look for the truth and the beauty of what we want it to be, I can go and choreograph ten versions I hate and still start over with a clean slate, so they gave us more time to do that. It gave us more time to really refine it before we got to the later stages of it. And it was a big undertaking to bring those two characters together for the first time ever, and we felt that weight. Whatever I’m doing, I want to make a movie, in every aspect of it, that would make me go to a midnight showing and stand in line and do that. And for us, we succeeded. Especially the Ultimate Cut. I love them both, but I think it’s an amazing comic book film. I think it’s super layered and I think a lot of what Zack does is really deep and layered and that’s not as common in the comic book scene so it feels disjointed to them. But you see a lot of critics even revisiting it and saying “oh, fourth viewing, I’m getting it now.” I worked on Fight Club years ago with Fincher for about nine months and that was a wonderful learning experience, and that was a similar sort of process where the movie was not well received, but the movie is so deep and it became this cult classic. And now, almost twenty years later, it’s studied and lauded in film schools and high school and they see the layers of it because it’s so deep. If you have to see a movie four or five times to get it, that’s telling you the movie has some depth to it, and I think BvS is on par with that. But I’m prejudiced. And I’m a fan of Marvel and DC too. I don’t understand the hatred and divisiveness.

Right, the rivalry is so silly.

Caro: It’s so silly!

And it was fun back in the day where they would kind of take potshots at each other in the back pages of the comic book, but it was never taken seriously. But the whole internet culture has turned it into this thing it was never intended to be.

Caro: And some people are kind of serious about it.

Hirota: Although there are Marvel comic books-

Caro: Oh yeah, I saw something the other day, it was Deadpool and Spider-Man. You guys are that annoyed at Snyder that you’re talking about him months later? I just don’t get it, because I like a lot of the Marvel movies. If I think a movie is bad, I’ll say I didn’t care for it, and it’s just my opinion, but I really think beauty’s in the eye of the beholder. I can defend my point as other people could as well, but I don’t understand. I enjoy them both. Marvel has a certain tone, and with the DC universe we’ve set a different tone, but I enjoy them both. And I don’t understand the crazy hatred I see sometimes. That’s just not me.

I’m totally with you there. It’s all just sort of silly and, frankly, a little petty. And there’s nothing I love more than a really well-written, well-argued unpopular stance. Even if I disagree with it, if it’s well-argued nothing thrills me more than to read something like that. And I’ve got plenty of unpopular opinions of my own. I’m a big fan of Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger which has enormous problems, but there’s so much there that’s so much fun that I can’t dismiss it out of hand.

Caro: And that’s ultimately what it is. Did you enjoy it? Did it move you? Did it entertain you?

Hirota: What I think is funny about fan culture now is that people love to get worked up over things they don’t like.

Caro: It’s almost like it’s their mission.

Hirota: What I think is funny is, and I don’t know that it matters in any significant way, the amount of work, and the hundreds of people, and the millions of man hours that go into making something that a person can put $15 down and go see for the whole purpose of hopefully entertaining you, it’s weird to go on a tirade of how angry this makes you. Because they just don’t know. Hundreds of people work on this for two years, three years, with the hope that for your $15 you’ll go, “I liked that. That was fun.”

Caro: And for fourteen to eighteen hours a day. Grueling hours. We love it, don’t get me wrong, but it’s hard.

Hirota: People don’t really understand. From the top down, people who touch this thing, who bleed to put it together, and for a relatively small amount of money you can go see it, and maybe you like it, maybe you don’t.

And, of course, there’s value in criticism, both positive and negative, but-

Hirota: But I guess it’s weird to me when it makes people mad.

Caro: Right, constructive criticism is good, or honest opinion.

Hirota: But even with stuff I don’t like, I don’t want to pour gasoline on them and start a fire.

Like I said, it gets a little petty. And it’s just ridiculous. The internet allows people to hide behind anonymous personas and just spew whatever they want, but ultimately it’s something that’s designed to hopefully bring a certain measure of joy, and if it doesn’t work for you, that’s fine, but there’s no reason to send threats to people.

Caro: But I do find it fascinating, in a good way. Clearly to invoke that kind of passion – and it’s still talked about! It came out nine months ago.

Hirota: The movie touched a nerve.

Yeah, there are certainly movies that have come and gone since that have not lingered in the conversation that way.

Caro: Clearly. Hence the passionate debate pro or con. And I’m fine with that. It’s a movie that’s saying something. And if it makes a little money, great, if not, oh well.

Hirota: But the strange narrative of it being a financial flop-

Caro: It’s that old, “you repeat a lie long enough, it becomes the truth.” It made $800-

Hirota: Close to $900 million.

Caro: That’s massive!

Hirota: Not many films gross that number. But ultimately that doesn’t matter. It’s so immaterial. Does Warner Bros. like the fact that people love to pillar this movie? No, they don’t.

Caro: You want both. Did they want it to make a billion? We all wanted it to make a billion, but I’m sorry it was $873 million. That’s not a failure.

And the whole box office thing is silly because it comes out of this desire to treat movies like sports where the box office becomes the score. At the end of the weekend, everyone wants to know who “won,” but what does it matter? If the movie was good, and it endures with you longer than that weekend, that’s what really matters. There are plenty of movies that were huge success right out the gate and have faded from the consciousness.

Caro: Absolutely! It happens quite often.

And movies that have made almost nothing that have gone on to become enduring classics. The whole numbers game is just a bit silly to me.

Caro: No, it’s true.

David Daut

David Daut

Though his taste has been described as ‘broken’, David maintains that the Fast & Furious series is the greatest cultural achievement of the modern era.

  • Philly Gannon

    of course they do, only online trolls and idiots think that you can’t like both. the rivalry is something made up buy fat geeks that live in their moms basement and have no life and will never feel the touch of a woman. They take their frustration of being a loser out online by raging at each other while the world doesn’t care. 90% of the world doesn’t even know the difference and just call them comic book characters, I heard someone in a the theatre once wonder why Iron Man didn’t try to recruit Superman during Civil War. the regular audience has NO preference in comic book brand

    • SAMURAI36

      There’s certainly no law that says you can’t like both. But conversely, there’s no law that says you have to like both either.
      If someone from DC likes Marvel, good for them. That doesn’t mean that I as a fan have to take cues from them, just because they are the official DC people.
      Also, I’m perfectly within my rights to criticize what I view as the opposition, as much as I’d like (

      despite what the fake version of me says

      ). My doing so should have no impact on those who like it.
      Not only are you NOT the thing that you like, but you can defend the thing that you like, while not taking the offense to the thing you like personally.

  • LupeX

    Reading this is funny because the truth of the matter is that the MCU vs DC divide is spearheaded by critics and bloggers who act like fanboys.
    Go read Batman V Superman reviews, not comments from fans who imbibe what they read and it clouds their perspective. From critics & Bloggers!
    The whole “BvS was a failure thing” was not spread and publicized by fans but by critics and bloggers.
    Look at the tone with which bloggers criticize Marvel’s subpar films like Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Thor 3, Age of Ultron and contrast it with the tone and style with which they attack DCEU films.
    The proof is right there for all to see.
    Fanboys in comments sections take on the lead of the outlets that channel this behavior. It’s time for some bloggers to start really talking the truth instead of shifting blame for a problem they started.
    So dear writer of this article, it’s time to take a look in the mirror and exercise some self criticism.

    • Axxell

      Um…Reviews are the ones that say DCCU movies have failed to hit the mark.

      • LupeX

        Reviews are written by critics and bloggers and they dont say “DCEU movies have failed to hit the mark.”
        They burn it with fire and say MCU movies are perfect. They go over the top with language and shaming and insulting the directors. Meanwhile the same things they claim are issues are very present in MCU films.

        • Nick Farina

          Not wrong. If BvS had come out in, let’s say, the 90s or even the early 00s, I think reception of the movie would have been much warmer. Reason being, that was when critical reviews were mostly kept to big, well known, publications. If you look at the “top critics” reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, they’re much more forgiving to BvS. Now, every nerd with a blog seemingly gets a voice on Rotten Tomatoes. What are their qualifications other than being mouth breathing fanboys?

        • Fenix
        • Axxell

          Who cares about bloggers? I’m talking about professional critics.

    • 12stepCornelius

      Yeah, and sorry to say, but HH isn’t innocent in this. Its very much sites like these that drove the “BvS is a critical and financial failure” narrative over the summer. So that made me roll my eyes reading the interview when it seemed they tried to play neutral in the whole debacle. In regards to the negative BvS narrative, HH was part of the problem.

      • LupeX

        Exactly. I think it’s fine for HH and all the bloggers to be Disney media shills and fanboys, theyr entitled to their own opinions within a profession that hinges on unbiased opinion. The rest of us fans can see it clearly for what it is.
        If you think that Iron Man2, Iron man 3, Thor 2, Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange are as good or better than Man of Steel or Batman V Superman, then you bias is clear for all to see. but to fabricate rumors and lies like these bloggers have done, is taking it to dangerous territory.
        What u end up doing is splintering the fan community. Because there are fans who see the lies and piling on for what it is, and there are MCU fanboys who want these lies to be true. This is where divisiveness starts.

        • 12stepCornelius

          Yeah, and I almost pity those who absolutely believe a rumor from some blog site as 100% factual, therefore hurting their enthusiasm for an upcoming movie. Literally see it all the time: “Well that’s a shame”, “I was so excited for this :(“, “Looks like I’ll skip this one”, “Waiting for it to hit Netflix instead”, etc., etc. It really speaks to how effective bloggers and small time movie critics with an approval stamp from RT can manipulate “fans” into following a completely different narrative than what they initially believed.

          • LupeX

            Exactly, it’s a shame because they do the exact opposite for MCU films. They create an atmosphere where people are so excited and happy to see those films. But they create a tense atmosphere of doom and gloom where people go in “wanting to like the film”. Rather than just enjoying them

        • Fenix

          BvS is a poorly constructed dumpster fire.

    • Anirudh Menon

      Iron Man 3 was an awesome flick and there is no Thor 3 yet.

      Age of Ultron was better than anything that the DCEU has put out as well.

    • residentgrigo

      You are a gentleman and a scholar.

      I view UC BvS as a film Kubrick would have made if he lived long enough. Another visionary who was ahead of his time and a Razzy Nominee for The Shining. At least half his films were torn apart on release, some even more vicious than anything Snyder gave us. Other very famous example of misunderstood classics are The Empire Strikes back or Heaven’s Gate (which i still dislike), besides the ones you give below..

      UC Watchmen got a huge reappraisal, MoS is now suddenly the “good” DCEU film, so give them time. Especially if JLA will managed to live up to his last 3 DC films and build upon the introduced themes.

  • David

    Did the guy keep a straight face whilst trying to argue BvS is the equal of Fight Club?

    • LupeX

      You’re just as ignorant as the people that critically bashed Fight Club when it came out …
      or Scarface, or Kingdom of Heaven, Or Blade Runner, Or Peeping Tom, or Unbreakable.
      It’s cool to say I love “Fight Club” now, it’s safe and you’re with the in crowd. Where were u when it was getting bashed? Would you have had the balls to say it was great?
      Well here’s what I have to say – Batman V Superman is an unabashed masterpiece and a most powerful commentary on our post 9/11 socio-political climate.

      • Fenix

        Scarface is a terrible movie. People lump it in with The Godfather which is like saying my favorite foods are lobster and skittles.

        • Nick Farina

          Lmao. Not wrong!

        • LupeX

          Nobody lumps it with the Godfather. and whether u like it or not, it is a classic film. That has endured through time. They dont seek to make sequels of “terrible movie” 20 years after. the film is legendary.
          If thats your appraisal of film history, then the fact that you dont get BvS is not surprising at all.

          • Jane Gana

            What does he have against skittles.

      • residentgrigo

        You sir are a gentleman and a scholar. I view UC BvS as a film Kubrick would have made if he lived long enough. Another visionary who was ahead of his time and a Razzy Nominee for The Shining.

        Other very famous example of misunderstood classics are The Empire Strikes back or Heaven’s Gate (which i dislike).

    • 12stepCornelius

      Come back and say that in 8-10 years.

    • Brett Botbyl

      His O P I N I O N. Did you just not read the article? And yeah… I’ll put it with Fight Club. So what…gonna insult me now?

    • mike alexander

      Without saying it is, the guy “worked” on Fight Club. Doesn’t that give him a bit of … entitlement to perspective ?

  • SAMURAI36.

    Yeah my thoughts exactly. There’s no reason why a person cannot like both DC and Marvel. Having said that, it’s also ok to prefer one brand over the other. Just don’t be brain dead and take it so far that you feel the need to insult or tear down the brand that you do not prefer. Furthermore, these kinds of people would also ridicule another just for preferring a brand that they don’t. It’s honestly silly. Liking one thing over another does not mean that you should impose those beliefs on others. That’s the problem with some of the mindless people here in the comments section. Comic book movies are great and we are definitely in a golden age. So, enjoy it while it’s here and stop bickering over which brand is better.

    • Fenix

      You’re describing yourself.

  • Axxell

    Of course they like Marvel movies. Why wouldn’t they?

    • jrvc

      They were just exemplifying their disliking over people who just hate for a passion and think it’s just one color or the other.

      BTW, don’t you find ironic that they talk about what we just were discussing on the other thread? As you can see even people in the field have noticed which movie remains prevalent after all this time.

      On their own words: “the movie touched a nerve”

      • Axxell

        I wouldn’t expect the people who worked on the movie to thrash their own work.

        • jrvc

          of course, but you know what I’m referring too, and it doesn’t matter in which party the crew is working, that the movie is still relevant is clear as crystal

          • Axxell

            Of course it’s relevant to the people who worked on it…it was one of their biggest disappointments.

          • jrvc

            hahahahaha! So you are that delusional that you even negate what your eyes see? Hahahaha!

          • Axxell

            What my eyes (and the critic’s eyes…and the audiences’ eyes) see, is an average film. That’s why despite having the DC trinity and the huge fanbase, it couldn’t make it to $1B, and it was rated as such by the critics.

          • jrvc

            Oh yes, speak in behalf of all those people. If that was to be true,then these debates wouldn’t exist.

            And don’t bring the numbers to the table, because if so (and I’m having the feeling you aren’t going to want to see the either) then I can tell you that by the numbers DC movies are faring much better that Marvel’s when they started. And that caveated 1B was only spurred by the haters when they saw it wouldn’t reach it. However it made almost 900mil and made A LOT on home video, being a best seller and leaving the competence well behind, so another proof that a big part of the audiences liked it.

            Again you don’t want to see it, but the facts are there. You can go hating blindy if you want, but it would be just that, only hating

          • Axxell

            Oh yes…compare the performance of an old studio with almost half a century of making comic book films to that of the first films in a studio with less than a decade of film making…classic apologist retort.

          • jrvc

            So as I said, you don’t want to see the facts

          • Axxell

            What I just said was factual.

          • jrvc

            oh yeah of course, don’t let me compare this while people who want to bash the DCEU can. Very logical indeed

          • Axxell

            Never said you couldn’t compare them…only that you’re comparing the freshman performance of one studio against the veteran performance of another…

          • jrvc

            Wrong, I was comparing the beginning of one movie universe with another. And don’t tell me that studios like Paramount and Universal are younger than WB…

          • Axxell

            Marvel Studios has only been making comic book based films for 8 years…WB has been doing it for 40, without mentioning their entire history. The DCCU’s inferior performance has nothing to do with “the beginning of one movie universe”…movies are movies.

          • jrvc

            So you again change arguments to try and have the upper hand. I’m getting really tired of this silly conversation where you make up your arguments as you go.

            Look, the first MCU movies came from Paramount and Universal. The studios you talk about came before.

            And who said inferior performance?? As I said it was superior to the beginning of the other company.

            Read what I say and you say before replying again with more nonsense

          • Axxell

            And like I said, MoS and BvS were NOT WB’s “beginning” into comic book movies…You’re trying to compare the DCCU to the MCU as if Marvel Studios and Warner Bros are both upstarts.

            That’s been my argument all along. You’re just dodging it.

  • Brett Botbyl

    Bottom line. Like what you like. Dislike what you don’t. Respect the opinions of others. Get nasty, you’re just being Trump. And that’s a terrible thing…in my opinion.

    • towblerone

      Oh, brother…