It started simply enough that no one noticed a thing. At first, the sentence went as follows, word for word:
“Batman v Superman will be a two hour tracking shot of every DC character crying in the rain.”
Simple and kinda funny but also kinda stupid. But the weird part is, that same sentence started appearing everywhere. Once it was used once on Twitter, if you looked it up with quotes, or even Dawn of Justice itself, you would often find Twitter feeds saying the exact same thing, word for word. Hell, some of the Twitter feeds weren’t even people who spoke English, and suddenly, there on the feed, one perfect sentence of perfect English about how Dawn of Justice was gonna suck ass and be too emo. It started spreading so wide that people began to notice. Holy shit, this is a good ole fashioned smear campaign. The funny thing is, here we are after the dust has settled, and, dammit if Marvel weren’t right as rain, pun intended. It really was just a massive, emo set up for Justice League, and one that everyone walked away from wholly underwhelmed by. So smear campaign or just Marvel, using fans to predict the inevitable? I do believe it was a wee bit of both, to be honest. But there was and is DEFINITELY some shady shit going on with Marvel here.
First Off, The Movie Itself
Watch this trailer and save yourself the pain of seeing the actual film. The trailer is way better and less dull.
Before we even touch upon Marvel’s crafty, subliminal smear campaign that some of you may have even taken part in, let us talk a little bit about Dawn of Justice. It sucked. We need to get that out of the way. This article will not be demonizing Marvel or completely shit-talking DC, either. It is simply a very interesting thing that was going on under everyone’s noses that very few people seemed to notice.
The truth is, Marvel just pretty much made the highest earning R-rated movie ever (Deadpool), and Dawn of Justice is the only DC movie that had them sweating (though Suicide Squad should be, more so). So instead of pushing Civil War more (which is, for all intents and purposes, a similar movie of heroes fighting) they decided to sneak in the building like this is a stealth game and start inserting anti-Dawn of Justice propaganda all over the interwebz.
And while talking shit about a competitor is not illegal, setting up spam bots and paying your fans to is, at the very least, very amoral. But, dare I say it, in this case, rather genius and seemed to pay off.
Let me explain a little more.
Explaining a Smear Campaign To Those Uninitiated
The sad part is when smear campaigns are 100% accurate. Then they are no longer smear campaigns but truths.
You will actually be seeing a TON of smear campaigns in the next year because no one does the smear campaign better than politicians. The smear campaign is pretty much what it sounds like. You try to “smear” someone or something’s good name by planting seeds of doubt in supporters. Smear campiagn commercials are the commericlas that have the narration that says:
Trump SAYS he wants what is best for this country, but remember, he told the media he would have sex with his own daughter if she weren’t his daughter.
Now here comes the crazy part, though. Much like the Marvel smear of DC, the above smear is true. It is something that actually happened. Which begs the question, if a smear campaign is telling the truth, why is that a bad thing? Well, it isn’t. It is just kind of unspoken that major companies like DC and Marvel normally try to avoid such immature means of “battle.” But, in this case….
Marvel Was Right
I wanted to punch him in that cocky bat-grin so f*cking bad. Batdouche. Makes me miss the nipple suits.
So the smear campaign went like this. People who were definitely bots and A.I were tweeting the quote from the intro sentence in this article, but so were actual people, which begged the question, were Marvel fans and or employees being secretly paid to talk shit about Dawn of Justice to imprint that in people’s minds subconsciously before they went and saw it? I am not saying the movie tanked because of it. The movie tanked because it sucked and was a glaring failure of what it had the potential to be. BUT, could it also be that we are being hard on the film because the smear campaign predicted exactly what the movie ended up being? What is even funnier is, they have changed the smear saying since the movie came out. Now it is:
“a film about an alien & an alcoholic billionaire pervert throwing everyone around in the rain while grimacing heavily”
See how a brilliant company covers its own ass? This happened WHILE I was writing this. The key expression changed, yet you check it out on Twitter, there are thousands, word for word, same expression. I do believe this is me doing some real, Ckark Kent journalism right here, folks. The irony is not lost on me.
And trust me, this thing was set on motion long before the movie came out, as you can see by this Reddit thread where I was made aware of this issue. This was clearly something Marvel was doing, but morally, was that the right thing to do? Paying people to talk shit about a competitor is right up there with someone getting paid to do a Yelp review (which was a thing I did way back when I was new to the game and struggling): it is morally corrupt and kinda shitty. It really is. And the reality is, the movie was bad enough that Marvel didn’t even need to do that.
Or Did They?
So exactly how bad do you want this to be, Mr. Snyder? The Worst? Can do, now gimme some guns!
See, this is where it gets tricky, because could some of us have gone in already hating this film with that in our minds? We don’t give proper credit to just how much our subconscious factors into how we feel and think, and maybe some of us sat down already hating the film before it even began.
Then we saw Jesse Eisenberg and realized, yup, we hate this film regardless of what anyone may have smeared about it. Couple of Batman fights were cool, but mostly it was, well, a two hours tracking shot of every DC character crying in the rain. I would love to tell you Marvel is shitty and shouldn’t have done that, and that it was, undoubtedly, very Blackhat of them. But…..
At the end of the day, if they were right, they were right (even if what they did was kind of wrong). And DC, you just messed up what could have been the best comic book movie ever. Not even sure how that was possible. Shame on you, Marvel, and shame on your, DC. You both need to sit in time-out for 20 minutes and think about what you’ve done.
We expect better from both of you.