Batman versus Superman : Dawn of justice

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:

Lois Lame: You’re psychotic.
Lex Luthor: It is a three syllable word for any thought too big for little minds.

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.


more movies

Godzilla (2014)!!!!

Godzilla – 2014, Gareth Edwards – USA


It’s been ten years since Godzilla has been in a movie, and sixteen years since he’s been in an American one. It’s weird, clearly America and Japan have a big time love affair with one another’s pop culture, but throughout history, anytime one of these two Nations attempts to remake the opposite’s intellectual property in their own image it has been a complete disaster, with the aforementioned Godzilla film from ’98 being an excellent example. We took something beautiful, and we gave the world shit. That crime can never be lived down… But, as always, no matter how heinous the sin, when there is money to be had, somebody will make a grab for it, and so with an insatiable desire for cash in their hearts, Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures went ahead with yet another major American studio adaptation of one of Japan’s proudest cultural icons- Godzilla. The most memorable thing thing that came out of this was that we got to hear Japanese people fat shame Godzilla. It’s true, he had put on a few pounds.


To be fair- he’s been asleep for a decade.

Frankly, this movie is not a masterpiece. I don’t think it was ever going to be, American mainstream movie-goers don’t have a lot in common with fans of Kaiju cinema, and any attempt to please both parties was always going to fail. Additionally, I can’t help but wonder if director Gareth Edwards was indeed the right man to helm this project. I’m not saying I don’t think he’s great, I loved Monsters, but I imagine that the real reason he was offered the job was because he had made a film “about giant monsters.” Honestly, to say that having directed Monsters makes you a logical choice to direct a Godzilla film is a dramatic oversimplification of both properties. But whatever, let’s jump into this.

First of all, movie goers were pretty much sold on this movie with the notion that Brian Cranston was gonna be the star. Naturally, this seemed like a good idea, Breaking Bad had been extremely popular, so people were for sure gonna want to see as much of that hot Cranston action as possible. I know I did! That’s exactly why it was pretty disappointing to actually watch the movie, because the moment the second act came around Cranston was freaking toes up, and it’s like Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty all over again. After that, we get conned off on our real central character, Ford, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who is the son of the Cranston character. While Poppa Cranston was a scientist; Lil’ Ford is a solider, which is a problem. He’s not a solider like past characters in the Godzilla cannon have been soldiers, he doesn’t pilot Mechagodzilla or represent some anti-monster task force, instead Ford feels like his profession was chosen simply to make him the one constant in a long string of soulless action sequences, which are a non-negotiable pre-requisute for big budget American cinema. The best thing his solider status does for the film is that it gives us a character who is estranged from every person in his life, either emotionally, or simply because he jobs demands that he be far away from his family. This jaded, American veteran perspective is extremely valid, and it does represent a growing cross section of the country, but it’s not universal, and in the end, Ford is impossible for us to identify with in any realistic way because of how unfazed he is by everything that happens to him. There’s just not enough to the character, he has no depth, he’s just a cypher who hops from action scene to action scene without any substance to back up the explosions. Cranston, or even Ford’s wife (played by Elizabeth Olsen) would have been much better central characters.

Also, anyone who compained that Gamera the Brave didn’t have enough monster content in it better never say a word in defense of this iteration of Godzilla; because guess who isn’t in this movie enough?


This guy!

We spend way more time with the Mutos, Godzilla’s weird, common-law married monster opposition. I’m really not crazy about these monstersr, to me they really don’t feel at home in Godzilla’s universe. They look too… American? They look like the monster from Cloverfield, or maybe even something from Pacific Rim. They’re lacking some vague, indefinable quality that gave the old Godzilla gang it’s appeal, and I’m just not very taken with them. I also hate Godzilla’s portly, stub nosed redesign, but whatever, I guess.

The technical work done on Godzilla is predictably excellent, but only if what you’re looking for is a super slick, digital Hollywood production. This is the first and only Godzilla movie ever made with CG that doesn’t look like complete shit, so I guess that does count for something, but I was always more fond of the big, clunky suits and practical effects anyway. I would have been infinitley more excited if the Jim Henson Company had been brought on to make this the Citizen Kane of puppet and suitimation films, but that’s a personal thing, so you may not have similar reservations. This Godzilla is well shot, well edited, and all the acting is great, so I’d say that if we’re being objective, there really isn’t much in regards to the film’s technical execution that I would wag my eternally disaproving finger at.

I think that the only real way to look at this film objectively would require you to just ignore the sixty years of baggage attached to the Godzilla name completely, because truthfully, this is something new that just can’t be lumped in with what we’ve seen before. That’s good and bad, though; throwing out all that continuity might seem like it would take the pressure off, but in doing so we also get rid of every reason we have to love Godzilla, and that’s a crippling blow. The fact is, I really don’t think this movie could exist if it was a stand alone film, and if this thing wasn’t piggybacking on the nototriety of Godzilla’s proud past, we for sure wouldn’t have a sequel on the way like we do right now. I just don’t think it brings enough to the table, it isn’t the non-stop thrill ride America wants it to be, nor the introspective, character driven journey Edwards probably wanted to make, nor even the wall to wall Japanese monster extravaganza longtime kaiju fans want. If we’re being honest, I think Godzilla is smack dab in the middle of all of these ever so distant points, and unfortunately, in this game, sometimes when you only achieve 50% of A,B, and C, it sorta feels more like you didn’t achieve anything at all.

But it’s fine. Hell, Toho just announced that they’re working on a new Japanese made Godzilla franchise which will be entirely independent from what is going on in the Legendary series, so these American movies don’t really help or hurt Godzilla in any way. Besides, if Big Green survived what happened to him in ’98, he really is invincible.


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