Whether due to the recent fall in the box office or the just film itself, many fans find themselves feeling let down by Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Some may even find themselves in a state of grief, as if they recently lost a dear friend, especially the Batman fans. Superman’s history in film is checkered, so it’s not as big a surprise to see a bad film with him in it. But Batman, especially in recent years coming off of the Christopher Nolan trilogy, usually delivers an enjoyable movie-going experience.
As with any other grief, it’s necessary for those Bat-fans to properly cope with the five stages- denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Here’s a stage-by-stage guide to doing so.
At this stage, you may be thinking to yourself, “There’s no way a film featuring Batman could be so bad.” You may find yourself trying to rationalize the situation with farfetched conclusions such as you’ve really just experienced a brutal nightmare brought on by Scarecrow’s fear toxin. Unfortunately, it’s reality. As hard as it may be to believe, not every adaptation of Batman is a homerun.
Address the problem head on and watch either Mystery of the Batwoman (2003) or Batman Forever (1995). Both are perfect examples of a Batman film gone wrong and should only be viewed in a situation like this.
Next comes the anger phase. There are many reasons to feel angry after watching Dawn of Justice. Maybe you’re angry at director Zack Snyder for doing such a terrible job with a film that had so much potential. Maybe you’re angry at Ben Affleck for failing to do the Dark Knight justice. Maybe you’re just angry at yourself for spending such a large chunk of time and hard-earned money to watch an unsatisfying film. Whatever the reason, you have to let that anger out.
Pop in a copy of Daredevil (2003). While Affleck’s performance isn’t half bad in this film, it offers a solid hour and 40 minutes to scream whatever terrible things you find necessary to release your anger.
The bargaining stage is one of the more complex stages of grief. You may find yourself looking to a higher power or loved one and saying things like “I would give up watching Batman forever for the ability to go back in time and keep Dawn of Justice from happening.” You may find yourself running various “what if” situations through your head such as “What if Snyder had just done this differently” or “What if Amy Adams had just been taken out of the film completely.”
Since there’s a good chance you may have broken your TV or other devices in the last stage, the best way to cope with the bargaining stage is with a comic book. Anything after “A Death in the Family” (1988) should work as many of them feature Batman/Bruce Wayne beating himself up as he wonders how he could’ve possibly prevented Jason Todd’s murder. “A Lonely Place of Dying” works well as it features the Caped Crusader’s first foray into crime fighting after the second Robin’s death and introduces Tim Drake, Robin #3.
The depression stage is probably the hardest to get through. You may feel like there’s a dark cloud over your head, or like you never want to see another bat-symbol again.
If you’re the type of person that likes to cry it out when you’re feeling down, watch the “Perchance to Dream” episode of Batman: The Animated Series. The episode features Bruce Wayne waking to find that his parents are still alive, and Batman doesn’t exist, making him happier than he’s ever been before realizing that things aren’t as they seem. You may also want to check out the “Heart of Ice” episode of TAS, which tells the tragic origin story of Mr. Freeze.
If you like to make yourself happy when you’re feeling blue, there’s no better Batman adaptation to watch then 1966’s Batman: The Movie. The campy and nonsensical film starring Adam West and Burt Ward is the lightest and most fun Batman story there is. It’s also the most villain heavy as the Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder face off against the heroes’ most popular and frequent foes — The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler and Catwoman.
It’s been an exhausting process. Hopefully as you’ve made your way through the first four stages, you find yourself in a place where you’re strong enough to take the final step to acceptance. Warning: it’s a bit of a doozy. In order to fully accept that having Batman in a film doesn’t automatically make it a hit, you have to reach to the deepest, darkest part of the Batman filmography and watch Batman and Robin.
If you can make it through this nipple-tastic disaster, then you should be able to accept that movies like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Batman and Robin are going to happen, but that shouldn’t affect your love for the World’s Greatest Detective.
As a reward for making it through this excruciating process, treat yourself to some peaceful reading time with a copy of The Killing Joke, or watch The Dark Knight for the thousandth time and revel in Batman at his finest.
To contact Lifestyles editor Tanner Dedmon email firstname.lastname@example.org.