It may be years before a truly accurate postmortem on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is done.
The film, which earned nearly $900 million globally, is nevertheless being described as a "disappointment" in Hollywood insider circles, with the logic being that Warner Bros. had hoped the film would top $1 billion like the last two Dark Knight movies did (and analysts looking at the general recognizability of Batman and Superman individually have a point there).
When all is said and done, what did producers Zack and Deborah Snyder and Charles Roven learn that they can bring into the forthcoming Justice League?
"I think every film is a learning experience. We hear what everyone has to say because we care what the fans say," executive producer Deborah Snyder told reporters at a set visit last week. "At the same time, each story that we're telling is a completely different story, and I think what's really great is that where we were going is kind of what the audience is wanting. That's a good thing. We just had to start. We had to take the characters from somewhere to bring them up to where they are. That was kind of our journey."
"I think the main thing we learned, I think people don't like to see their heroes deconstructed," Snyder half-joked. "I think that's hard, because it's people that we've grown up with, and that we care about, and that they like seeing them in all their glory."
Of course, the textbook example of deconstructing superheroes is Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's Watchmen, a film adaptation of which Zack Snyder released in 2009.
Justice League, directed by Zack Snyder, is filming now. It also stars Henry Cavill as Superman, Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, and Ezra Miller as The Flash. Spider-Man villain Willem Dafoe has joined the cast as the Aquaman supporting-character Vulko. Amber Heard will appear as Mera, as well.
The movie is set to hit theaters on November 17, 2017 – the twenty-fifth anniversary of the release of Superman #75, the best-selling finale to "Doomsday!: The Death of Superman."