Batman vs. Superman Just Sucks, Doesn’t It?

Batman_v_Superman_posterThe world doesn’t need yet another review saying the obvious, but I finally just watched it today, and holy moly, this movie is awful.

It’s a tedious, leaden, pompous, plodding mess of a movie. The dour, somber tone isn’t even level–it bounces around in degree every few minutes. Ditto for the pacing–mostly too slow (especially at the beginning), it often veers into quick summaries of scenes with hardly any context or relevance.

This movie breaks every known rule of grammar in the language of film!

Director Zack Snyder wants so badly to be the love child of Terrence Malick and Stanley Kubrick, but he just doesn’t know how to consistently balance his work like them.

Jesse Eisenberg’s version of Lex Luthor is just garbage. Seriously, who decided every interesting Hollywood character had to be ADD-addled and awkward? Eisenberg’s not a  bad actor, so I blame this one on Snyder, too.

Why was Wonder Woman there? Her presence is never really explained. She was on Luthor’s trail because…plot?

Did the Cinema Sins video for this movie have a Scowling Eyebrows Bonus Round?

Like the Star Wars prequels, the most infuriating part is that there’s clearly the kernel of a much better movie in here. How sad this opportunity got wasted.

Ugh. Congratulations, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. You’ve just entered the dubious pantheon of films that literally made me angry while watching them: Alien 3 and Batman and Robin are also members.

I have very little hope for Justice League.

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“Baned” Books

A “Baned” book would be in much worse shape than a banned book.

Last week I saw a student open a paperback in that painful way that so many people do; the pages he’d already read were folded all the way around so that the front cover touched the back cover.

As he started reading, I said, “Dude, that book’s Batman and you’re pulling a Bane on him!”  The student immediately got the reference and let the book go from this contorted death grip.

Scroll down for an explanation of the joke!

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Yahoo! FAIL

Over the years, I’ve watched Yahoo! descend into ever sillier tabloid trash, with increasingly poor writing in its stories, but their front page yesterday takes the cake.

The headline teases us with the identity of the next actor to play Batman, offering a couple of hints and clearly trying to get us curious enough to click the link and read the story to find the answer.

Sadly, the Yahoo! staff wasn’t working as a team, or somebody just really fell asleep at the switch, because the story right under it started by announcing the answer.  Holy anticlimactic spoilers, Batman!

The page layout wizards at Yahoo! do it again.

The page layout wizards at Yahoo! do it again.

The Dark Knight Rises

I just got home from seeing a marathon of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight films, including the new one, and I have to work out some thoughts.  I kept this spoiler free, but most of these ideas will make more sense after you’ve seen it, which (spoiler alert?) I strongly recommend you do.

  • The biggest question, of course, is how good is it?  Does The Dark Knight Rises live up to the other films, especially the second?  Certainly it’s an excellent work, and I’ll be honest that my preference is for the new film (even though I eventually loved The Dark Knight), but I’m fairly confident that most people will say that they thought The Dark Knight was even better.  Most fans of the series will still opt for its darker, more complex vision.  Fair enough.
  • But consider that they are very different movies.  TDK was a dense, episodic thriller.  In fact, watching it again during tonight’s marathon, I was struck by just how much ground Nolan covered.  TDKR, however, is a more linear narrative, with a single focus, albeit one that constantly crescendos to an emotionally explosive climax.  Where TDK packed in as much of everything as possible, TDKR actually goes out of its way to strip down the distractions of excessive characters and subplots so it can develop its primary interests as much as possible.

Batman’s Poison Gas Fetish

I just watched Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman and Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins again.  Burton’s film has an irrepressible panache that still makes it terrific fun, and Nolan’s first Batman film shouldn’t be underrated because it stands in the shadow of its even more superior sequel.

But I never noticed a plot element they have in common.  In each of those movies, the villain’s plan to plunge Gotham into chaos hinges on getting much of the city to inhale a massively-dispersed poison gas at the same time.  In Burton’s Batman, Joker uses the Smilex in his parade balloons to kill everybody who came to get some of the $20 million he was throwing around.  In Batman Begins, Ra’s al Ghul vaporizes the city’s infected water supply to instantaneously gas the populace.

The latter plan is the better of the two (why would people come to Joker’s parade right after he already killed a bunch of people by poisoning their beauty products, anyway?), but it strikes me as strange now that essentially the same plot device would be recycled like that.  But then again, I never noticed for several years, so I guess it’s not that bad.

The Dark Knight Reconsidered

Three years ago, I wrote a critical review of The Dark Knight which earned me a thorough beat down from a whole host of readers.  My review was based on my visceral reaction to the psychological torture and moral shades of gray that I saw in the film at the time. 

However, I finally watched it again last week.  A few things made me want to give it another chance:

  • The teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rises hints that this third film will be a redemptive story with a more clear-cut victory, perhaps making this a trilogy in the Star Wars-Empire-Jedi format.  I can appreciate that. 
  • Last year I read Frank Miller’s graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns, which obviously influenced Christopher Nolan’s movie.  It was excellent. 
  • Anne Hathaway will be in The Dark Knight Rises, so I pretty much have to see it. 

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