(Planet Me)
Saturday, April 02, 2016

I don't tend to write reviews of movies, insomuch as there's no need to convey that sense of being there : after all, aside from the cinema itself, the experience is identical every time, the film itself doesn't change, and you, or anyone, can have a largely identical experience in a darkened room. Having avoided the trailers with a passion, and the spoilers, I went into the film knowing only four things : Superman, Batman, Lex Luthor, and Wonder Woman are in it.4

Where to start? It's a long, unhappy, and somewhat poorly thought out slog through two superheroes grimacing at each other. The bad guys have no motive apart from... er, they're baddies. And well, it's not just not as good as it needs to be. The only really good things about it, surprisingly, is Ben Affleck as Batman who seems to have been teleported in from a far better film.

In fact, it's baffling that this film exists. That nobody, at any point, asked the simple question about the plot, given how utterly bizarre some of it is, and nonsensical.

The film opens well... with a reprise of the end of Man Of Steel, told from another perspective. In some ways Snyder is telling us that yes, he understands the controversy of the previous film, and a retrospective attempt to humanise the previous, consequence-free death and mass destruction of the prior film. But come on man, 15 years after 9/11, and I'm bored of watching superheroes run through dusty streets and collapsing buildings in cities that are clearly New York With A Different Name. It's always going to be too soon to trivialise the biggest terrorist event of my time for bad superhero movies, and here it is both obvious, and stupid. No need for it.

Man Of Steel was, by any standard, depressingly predictable, filled with shallow ruminations on heroism, tedious GrimDark mumbling and miserabilism, a joyless and unintelligent plot and very little heroics. Films reflect the times in which they are made, and this day and age is miserable, grey, and staring meaninglessly at its own navel, mercifully free of the ravages of intelligence. To cut a short story long, being in this film is quite a miserable, joyless experience, where no sun ever shines and no simple explanation is ever good enough.

Still, this is a kids film which features amputation-by-skyscraper, paedophilia, piss jars, the murder of a major character given multiple funerals, and a tasty lump of incoherent alienosity. Because, well, because the film needs a Bad Guy Punchup Fighty Fight.

This? Well, The Batman bits are verging on.. very good. Batfleck is : it's like he's been transplanted in from a much better movie. Henry Cavill is still no more than a paper mache Superman. A one dimensional life size Minifig that glares witlessly at furious reality. Or, for that matter, a huge muscled troll, made from cloned Alien DNA and Lex Luthor, once again, an implausible huge monster than conveniently appears at the appropriate time for a big fight. (See also, Spiderman 3, The Hulk, Lord Of The Rings), alongside enough casual radiation to turn Metropolis into Chernobyl.

And, we don't need to see the Batman origin story for a third time. Let alone be told it again in some kind of allegory that involves some form of levitation. Even if Batfleck is transported in from an alternate and far superior film he has yet to actually lead in his own right.

And... am I tired of GrimDark. Like a corrision in my soul. Witless and humourless people of incredible powers, staring endlessly at their own good fortune like it were some kind of curse. In the meantime, here's another improbable, and ridiculous dream sequence of such crazed numbskulledness that it can't be anything other than a fever dream from a billionaire. Or..can it?

Most of the problems with this, like similar films, comes down to the lazy, stupid plotting where events leap from one place to another lacking logic or even connective tissue, where plot threads are thrown into the air and only some land, scenes cut short without explanation, other scenes lack sense and logic without these missing parts, and there is a wildly inappropriate tone. Batman is dark and moody, and always has been. Superman, the eternal optimist from a better land. And yet here, the roles seem reversed.

And, well, this screen is the worst Lex Luthor I have seen on screen. Played from the start as a kind of wacky dot com bazillionaire, and also, at the time, as an evil genius, Lex's plan lacks motivation. I don't believe it. What is his plan? Why would he do this? It's stupid, lazy plotting. It needs to make sense. And it doesn't.

Let's not even take issue with the dull, grey, dark, orange and teal colour scheme of this film, which feels like all the colour has been drained out of it by a Kodak Vampire. Someone covered the screen with a veil.

Now, all this sounds like I like kicking this film. I don't. And in so many ways, there is so much to love in this film. The Batworld is perfect : Jeremy Irons is a note perfect Alfred. Batfleck is a very good Batman / Bruce Wayne. It's the non-Batman bits that don't make sense : Superman is wasted here, and easily the least effective portrayal of him on screen. And, well, - THERE WILL BE SPOILERS – a major character does bite the bullet.

And, it appears that they survive in the last shot of the film. And I am sick and tired of this boring, and unoriginal trope. Make us 'feel', then resurrect us with hope? No. No. NO. Get characters to die, and get them to STAY dead. Don't toy with emotions. (Though the only emotion I felt for much of this was boredom). People don't come back from the dead. Believe me, I wish they did. Just kill a character, and make them stay dead. No nonsense resurrection. Just pure death.

Batman Vs Superman, Fighty Fight Fight is one of the worst films ever. Made of, at best. Misguided intentions, and full of lazy and incoherent plotting – though thankfully not as dunderheaded as civilisations low-water-mark of “Prometheus”, it's a bad film, with a great one starring Batfleck trying to get out. You'll watch it, of course you will, because its a thing, an event movie, but it's at best, an OK ovie that could have been fantastic. As ever, the weak point rests mostly in the script and plot. Hell, parts of this make make “Superman IV” look like Citizen Kane. Think of this as a $300,000,000 paper aeroplane, wobbling gracelessly to the ground. You'll believe a man can fall.

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