Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice~ 2016, Zack Snyder (ugh), USA
Imagine that one day you’re browsing social media, and you come upon a photograph of some people playing joyfully in the snow. They’re smiling, laughing, having the time of their lives. They’ve even made a snowman, and you can see a kind of happiness in their faces that you remember from your childhood, but which you haven’t experienced in what seems like forever. This picture is getting mad ‘likes’, tons of shares, and everyone is commenting about how much they enjoy it. Meanwhile, the last photo you posted is a damn ghost town, initially ignored, and now forgotten, today it stands as a nagging illustration of your many failings in life, forever enshrined digitally and available worldwide. These people in the snow… Their popular photograph… This is an experience you must have for yourself. This need consumes you.
But there’s a problem; you don’t have snow. You look outside, and there’s not a single flake to be had. You NEVER really get snow, you live in Arizona, and it’s dry as a bone year ’round! I’ll tell you what you DO have, though: DOG SHIT! You have PLENTY of that! Enough to build a house!
So, you spread it all around your property, sprinkling it on your car, on the house, you make sure the ground has an even coat, and soon, it’s just like the picture! It’s a different color, it smells different, but such details are lost on you. To you, this looks great! A perfect reproduction! For the finishing touch, you even build a dog shit snowman, but you take the liberty of updating the no longer relevant snowman design that everyone else doesn’t seem to understand is broken, and after you’ve outfitted him with some wrap around shades and a trenchcoat, you have made a superior snowman that you fully believe will be embraced as the new standard in anthropomorphic snow mounds for all time. And now, the preparation is complete. You stand in your shitscape, and briefly, you feel pride… Except… Then you notice that you are alone. There are no people… No laughing children… And you don’t understand. Why?! What happened? You even went on Conan and showed everyone your sweet tribal arm tattoos, so what went wrong? You shake it off. “Hold it together,” you tell yourself, “the fans just need some time to process this…” Quickly, you upload your photo to Facebook, knowing that an avalanche of ‘likes’, comments, and shares is sure to come crashing down upon you, quickly elevating your photograph to one of the most treasured destinations on all of Facebook, and finally filling that emptiness inside that eats away at you every waking moment of every miserable day. This photo is your salvation, and you cannot wait for the people to embrace it.
But then they don’t. In fact, people don’t really seem to like your photo at all. You get a couple likes- but these are just the people who like anything you post no matter what. The rest of the world tries to ignore you, and the people who comment… Well, some of them actually seem to dislike what you’ve done. What happened?! How did your dream become a nightmare, and why can’t you have your own moment of happiness in the snow? Why? WHY!?
This emotional journey that I have taken you on is exactly the experience that Zack Snyder has experienced with the production and release of his latest (last? a guy can dream) motion picture; Batman V. Superman: Giant Hunk of Bullshit– oh, wait. Sorry. Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice. But hold up, dear readers, do not feel sympathy for Mr. Snyder, there is a corner booth reserved for him in the darkest corner of hell, and I assure you, he’s earned it. The real victims here are the fans. To them, I would like to extend my most heartfelt condolences. Honestly, I’m really sorry this happened to you.
THE PLOT~ Ugh. I want to skip this. We don’t need this. It’s bad, just take my word for it.
So, here’s the skinny: We KNEW this would suck. I knew it would suck from the moment that Snyder was named director (and therefore de-facto architect of the entire DC Comics Cinematic Universe,) but funnily enough, the WAY it chose to suck was entirely unexpected. For a comic book action film, this fucker is SO, SO, SO unforgivably slow and boring. The title of the fucking thing is “BATMAN VERSUS SUPERMAN“- there are not one, but TWO of the biggest superheroes of all time in the damn name of the movie– so why is it that if feels like four hours of slow, boring, clumsy exposition before we even get see anything remotely superhuman go down? The “fun” is kept on a tight leash throughout the entire film until the third act, which attempts to wad about nine storylines into 45 minutes of motion picture, dropping the most extreme overdose of superhero bullshit on you ever in one radically condensed portion of the movie. The structure of the film is basically this: ACT ONE: No where near enough, ACT TWO: No where near enough, ACT THREE: WAAAAY WAAAY TOO MUCH, The end. And why!? What’s the motivation here?! To catch up with Marvel, of course, but do they not see how foolish this is? This literally could have been like, eight movies, and with OTHER directors behind the camera, there could have even been some good ones in there. But instead, DC tries to match Marvel’s eight years of painstaking work to establish a well nurtured universe that fans will want to come back to time and time again with a single movie, and we end up with an overly long, horribly written, convoluted shit show. I can’t believe it, but even Man Of Steel was superior to this. Batman V. Superman is just as bad as we feared.
I feel like what must have happened here is that Snyder, knowing he is routinely criticised for being all shine and no substance, badly overcompensated, and tried to hold back on the action, mistakenly thinking that people not dressed in tights and talking was the same thing as character development. He knows he has to really bring the thunder sometime, though, so in the third act he drops the beat like crazy, and it’s so out of balance that the whole ship sinks. Batman V. Superman has a long list of problems, but I think this might actually be the single biggest flaw in the entire picture.
But what else wrong with the film? Well, ALL of the dialogue is bad. All of it. Jeremy Irons and Jesse Eisenberg especially have some lines that are just embarrassing, one that sticks out for me is even in the trailer:
That sounds like it should be printed on the front of a Wal*Mart T-shirt, and then worn by the most hopelessly socially awkward high schooler ever during an all night Deviant Art Marathon, not a piece of dialogue deemed suitable for inclusion in a major motion picture. Nobody smart would ever say that. That’s the dumbest, most embarrassing shit I’ve ever heard. Who wrote this? You did a bad job, you should feel terrible about yourselves.
Additionally, the plot is awful. There’s way too much going on here, predictably, so we end up wasting storylines which could have been their own movie, if handled by a more capable studio. It feels like the scripts for nine movies were just copy and pasted together into one overly long mess and then nobody bothered to proofread the results. We spend the first two thirds of the film trying to establish our character’s motives, and yet when things finally start to happen, nobody’s actions make any sense. Superman winds up being easier to manipulate than a senior citizen lost at the wrong bus stop, and Batman, in the act of murdering Superman, pulls a full 180 when he discovers that both of them have moms named Martha. That ends up being a major plot point. I’m serious. They go from nemesis to BFF in an instant, and learning the name of Clark Kent’s mom is what makes the difference. Imagine what’s going to happen when he meets the Hulk!
At the end of the day, millions of desperate people are going to pretend that this a good movie no matter what, and it’ll make money. It’s disheartening, but it’s true. We’re at a funny point in human history, these days we’ve become so dependent on media to dull the aches and pains of modern life that we’ve developed a kind of Stockholm Syndrome for bad artists. People want to love this so badly that they would have accepted absolutely anything. The whole film could have just been Zack Snyder in Superman tighty whities rolling around on the floor of a public restroom and humming the theme song to the 1960’s Batman TV show for three hours, and it still would have been defended to the death by legions of sad DC Comics fans who just want to have a good time at the movies. As it is, we have a film so critically reviled that it currently rests a full five percent more rotten that The Room on Rotten Tomatoes, and honestly, that’s where it belongs. Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice is a stinker I would not wish on my worst enemies.
Still a better movie than Sucker Punch.