The reviews for "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" have not been kind, and that has people talking -- including the film's director and stars.
Zack Snyder's follow-up to 2013's "Man of Steel" started hitting multiplexes Thursday evening, but by that afternoon the film had a less-than-stellar 31 percent at movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, with the site's Critics Consensus not pulling any punches: "'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' smothers a potentially powerful story -- and some of America's most iconic superheroes -- in a grim whirlwind of effects-driven action."
Perhaps because of the tone of the reactions or because of Warner Bros.'s high expectations for the film -- which is meant to kick off an extended universe of films with release dates stretching through 2020 -- the negative reviews have themselves become a story, one that Snyder and his stars were asked to comment on this week as their press tour continuted.
"I know that Zack doesn't make the movies -- or none of us are making the movies -- for the critics," Amy Adams told Yahoo Movies. "If you're interested in a film, you should see it and form your own opinion rather than just going on the word of somebody."
Diehard fans of the characters and franchise have even taken to accusing critics of conspiring against the film and being paid off by rival studio Marvel Entertainment to pan the film. "There is absolutely no denying that Marvel had a budget set aside to pay critics for negative reviews. They don't want competition," a comment on the review on RogerEbert.com read.
So how bad are these critics' reactions? Here are some highlights:
"Underdeveloped, overlong and stupendously dispiriting." -- Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
"It's another numbing smash-and-bash orgy of CGI mayhem with an ending that leaves the door open wide enough to justify the next 10 installments." -- Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
"Lobs out big ideas like an underprepared undergrad sweatily pitching off-the-cuff thesis topics." -- Alison Willmore, BuzzFeed
"The film might be pretty to look at, but narratively speaking, it is a disaster." -- Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail
"Blunt, humorless, and baffling, it collides the brutish directorial stamp of its director (he of 300 and Watchmen fame) with the most shameless instincts of our latter-day superhero franchise bubble." -- Jonathan L. Fischer, Slate
"Eventually the script's illogic and the relentless pounding of the action scenes wear you down." -- Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"A joyless slog." -- Soren Anderson, Seattle Times