Speaking with FOX 5 DC's Kevin McCarthy during the promotional tour for Justice League, Superman actor Henry Cavill was asked why Man of Steel follow up and Justice League precursor Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice proved to be so divisive with audiences.
Cavill: I think it was — that movie is… it’s part of an arc for what [director Zack Snyder’s] vision was, or is, and it’s also, in my mind, fairly niche. It’s a niche style of movie within a genre and it reflects in the audience reviews and critic reviews, it’s divisive. When anything is niche, it’s gonna be liked and loved by some and disliked by others, and that’s the whole point of niche.
The second installment of Warner Brothers' shared DC Extended Cinematic Universe launched with 2013's Superman reboot, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hit theaters last year to mixed response from fans. Audiences gave it a B Cinemascore and a 63% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes (with an average rating of 3.5/5), but the team up feature was mauled by critics: it garnered just a 27% approval on the review site, with 102 "fresh" reviews and 269 "rotten" reviews.
As the first-ever and long-awaited live-action team up between superhero icons Batman (played by Ben Affleck) and Superman on the big screen, the movie was expected to be a billion dollar earner — an expectation that was especially reasonable considering the inclusion of another DC Comics icon, Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot), in her live-action movie debut. Batman v Superman would pull in $873 million worldwide; a big success, especially despite its negative critical response, but one that was perhaps not as big as it should have been, considering The Avengers grossed more than a billion just four years earlier and with characters who were (at the time) not the pop culture heavyweights that Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman have endured as for nearly a century.
Speaking with FOX 5 last year, Affleck — who has frequently been pointed to as standing among the best parts of Batman v Superman — said he "loved" the movie.
Affleck: It's interesting. It was a huge hit movie — more people went to see that than any movie I've made in my career. It was the biggest hit of my career and then it had so much editorial negativity. Fans went, and I got a lot of positive response. It was interesting, that movie, because it was judged not necessarily on execution so much as on its tone. People seemed to want to have a lighter tone to the movie, and I thought that was interesting. Tone is not a qualitative thing. It's subjective, right? Some tones resonate with me that might not with you. And the tone of the movie was really parallel to the Frank Miller book [The Dark Knight Returns], which I liked and thought was great. I'm glad that so many people went and so many people liked the movie.
Cavill and Affleck will reunite alongside Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher as the Justice League, in theaters November 17.