Thursday, March 31, 2016

CrossFit Bruce and Frowny Clark, or Thoughts on Batman v Superman

Dude, what happened to Zack Snyder?  He showed so much potential in the Dawn of the Dead (2004) remake that I almost forgot it was a remake, struck gold in 300 (2007), went a little nuts with Watchmen (2009) and then completely off the rails with Sucker Punch (2011).  Since then Warner Brother’s been throwing Breaking Bad-sized pallets of cash at him and betting everything on his dark and humorless superhero vision. 
That’s my primary criticism of his directing style; nobody’s having any fun.  Are you telling me an alien with god-like powers who can fly or the world’s greatest detective who runs around in a big black cape isn’t having even a little fun?  Have you ever even worn a cape?  I defy you to put one on and not at least do the Dracula pose.  Capes are fun.  Flying is fun.  Superhero movies at their most basic level need to be fun.  That doesn’t mean light, or marketed to children, it means exciting and entertaining.  Star Wars and The Godfather are both fun movies, on very different levels.
And how many times do we need to see the broken pearls montage when Thomas and Martha die?  The fact that I can write that sentence and you know whose parents I’m talking about answers that question.  And full disclosure, you should know that I hate Ben Affleck; I hate his smug, entitled frat-boy face.  I realize this says more about me than him; he represents everything I hated about high school.  I should grow up and get over it, but like Batman, the old wounds run deep.  He was perfectly cast in Gone Girl (2014), a movie that you only need to see once, where you still have more fun than this movie.
It’s a hard PG-13, which means that people are killed, but you really don’t see the bodies drop.  Consequences are implied, but not shown.  When the big fight finally comes it has no emotional resonance or value because the audience knows there is only one possible ending; these guys will fight for a bit like a couple playground bullies before they decide they’re friends and team up.
Like Sucker Punch, the Batman v Superman is also heavy on the dream sequences, which I find is a cheap conceit that disrespects the audience and also a lazy excuse to shoehorn in even more CGI.  That doesn’t make for a better movie, it just adds unnecessary bloat to an already corpulent corpse.

It was nice to see Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Holly Hunter back on the big screen, but in the end Superman v Batman takes the same panic and frustration we have with contemporary issues like terrorism, school shootings and immigration and staples it over the superhero phenomena.  But we don’t need another metaphor on how crappy the world is right now, we need solutions on how to move forward and make it better.  Every incarnation of Superman from Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster to Christopher Reeve was about hope.  These movies are all about sequels.



my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.