Friday, March 25, 2016

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

This is the worst Superman movie ever made.

No, I'm not forgetting about Superman III or IV, which were horrible but at least managed to convey the basic underlying tone of the character and the optimism he represents. And, for all its faults, I really liked Man of Steel. Sure, it was darker than a Superman story should ideally be, but Clark still felt like Clark to me. Here, all of that was stripped away. Superman is basically the selfish Nietzschean ideal he was created to subvert.

Fortunately, this wasn't just a Superman movie. It was also a Batman film, and that's where the movie manages to redeem itself.

Ha! You rube! You bought that, didn't you?

See, it's funny, because this is also the worst Batman movie ever made. And yes, that's counting the Schumacher fiascoes. At least that Batman had a sense of humor. At least he wasn't a psychotic asshole for ninety percent of the film. You think Burton's Batman undervalued human life? Batman murders about fifty guys in this thing, and it's really not clear all of them are even criminals (just because you work as a security guard for LexCorp doesn't mean you deserve to be gunned down by the Batmobile). Yeah, there are a few good shots of Batman in action, but they're all in the trailers... and they're better out of context.

I'm sorry. I think I might have gotten ahead of myself. This movie wasn't very good.

Of course, if you've been to Rotten Tomatoes in the past few days, you already knew that - it's currently at 30%. What you might not realize is the critics who gave it a pass are being hilariously generous.

Do I have to acknowledge the handful of things the movie did well? Fine. Wonder Woman was really cool, even if she felt more like a new character than a faithful adaptation. There were also a few cool scenes with Lois. Oh, and some of the Trinity Vs. Doomsday fight was cool, though it would have been cooler if it hadn't felt like an homage to Michael Bay.

And Ben Affleck did some good work - the issues with Batman were in the writing, not the acting. Unlike with Daredevil, he wasn't part of the problem. Unfortunately, this was nowhere near as good a movie as Daredevil. Or Electra. Or Green Lantern, X-Men 3, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3....

You get the point. This was not a good film.

However, some good may come of it. Judging by the expressions of the people leaving the theater before us (think war refugees), there's a good chance Warner Bros. is about to realize that they're going to need to make some changes. Even after this thing makes far more than it has any right to, the idea of a sequel isn't going to fill audiences with confidence. With any luck, they'll fire Zack Snyder and find someone who's proven they're capable. Or just someone off the street - that would still be a step up, as far as the Justice League movie is concerned.

While they're at it, perhaps they'll realize that trying to give every superhero movie the tone of The Dark Knight isn't the best strategy. This was one of the most humorless movies I've ever seen. Unless you count what was supposed to be the film's emotional beats.

The bats... Martha.... The last shot in the movie, which went on for TEN FREAKING MINUTES.

Don't try to understand yet - when you see the movie, you'll laugh your ass off.

It's really hard to convey just how bad this is. The movie goes on for an agonizing two and a half hours, most of which fails to move the story and instead tries to imply deeper themes than are actually present. This is a movie made by a director pretending he's a competent filmmaker. I can't stress how much better this would have been if he'd just picked up a comic and made the pictures move, like he did in 300 and Watchmen.

Sure, he failed to understand the point of Watchmen on a fundamental level, but at least he tossed sequential plot beats at the screen. Here, he can't even manage that. Absolutely nothing makes sense. At one point, Lindsay leaned over to me and said she felt like she was seeing a series of random fan videos, which is as good a description of the experience as any.

If you can somehow avoid giving this thing your money, please go see something else. Go watch Zootopia or Deadpool or something. Then wait a year, go to Youtube, and watch a handful of scenes people stick on there.

I promise, it won't be any less coherent.


Zak said...

So....Batman was planning to straight up murder Superman, right? Premeditated, carefully planned execution?

His whole fight plan was to plant the kryptonite spear downstairs, then gradually weaken Superman with krypto-gas and pummeling while leading him to the spear site. Then when Superman is prone, grab the spear and mother fucking execute the man?

Erin Snyder said...

Yes. Also, Batman is now the world's worst detective. Superman, Wonder Woman, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor: all really good detectives. They figured out EVERYTHING. But Batman? Not so much.

He is, however, really good at murdering security guards who are protecting something he's trying to steal.

Sam said...

The best best best part of my screening was the response of the guy in front of me during the "Why did you say that naaaaame?" scene when I couldn't stifle my chortles anymore. He turned, locked eyes with me, and hissed "Shut. UP." It was the cherry on top of a nearly perfect film-going experience. This film is weaponized contempt for the audience, and I wrapped it around me like a warm blanket.

Erin Snyder said...

I almost want to listen to the audio commentary just to hear them try and make that scene seem clever. It was one of the funniest unintentionally comedic sequences I've ever seen, right up there with Trinity's death in The Matrix Revolutions.