“In my dreams Batman Vs Superman took me into the light. What a beautiful lie.”
Every great film feels like a magic trick. The audience knows the truth: the world is simple, solid and pretty much outlined all the way through by each and every one of us. Batman Vs Superman is one such magic trick that tries to fool the audience for two and a half hours. But Zack Snyder, the magician behind this cinematic Abracadabra can’t seem to grasp the fact that the object of his trick is the pantheon of American pop culture. Add one pissed off Batman and you get something already fantastic, it’s already out of the ordinary, it’s already super. Devoid of this basic knowledge Snyder flies around Metropolis and Gotham City looking in all the wrong places trying to amaze and squeeze some sort of super dark magic formula here and there, firmly convinced he will somehow make this negligent and faulty story even more super special.
Batman Vs Superman shattered my moral compass which is now all over the place. And I have to pick up all the pieces and put them back together. All the DC fans in the world, myself included, want to love this movie more than it deserves. The critics finally got their window, feeling relevant for a change, going all out hating the movie out of existence as if it performed some type of monstrous act of terrorism. The truth is out there. It’s somewhere between the critics’ hatred and the fans’ love for the World’s Finest: Batman and Superman and now Wonder Woman. Soon enough Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg will be joining the team.
Having seen the film three times already I will be honest with myself and point out the fact that my stubborn inability to see things as they are, has been very much active this whole time. This time around my subjectivity concerning this franchise has been diminished by a film that turns out is messy, loud and sometimes stupid all the live long day. These are the facts. Most of the film acts as a sort of mindless foreplay for an ending that signals the ejaculation of everything wrong with the Hollywood cinema spirit these days. It’s painful to watch even though the six-year-old living inside me is jumping up and down still managing to separately enjoy all the things that unfold. However, this is a movie about Batman going up against Superman. With animated eagerness and childish anticipation, I’m thinking “So coool!”.
Christopher Nolan told stories in such ways that you were intrigued to see them through even though his films lacked the action that would suit such a universe. He never made one single fight scene feel exciting or worthy of giving it the benefit of the doubt. Snyder on the other hand is a master at crafting and directing kick ass fight scenes that would leave you picking up your teeth from the floor one by one. His handicap is that he stumbles on the first line from the first paragraph of a story that is there for the taking. Which brings us to a harsh conclusion: Hollywood has proven yet again that it acts like an amputee person, always missing one essential limb, a part of a perfect functioning organism.
Dawn of Justice was set to hit the big screens last year. It was delayed and another writer was brought on board to re-work the story, delivering an anemic story that feels highly fragmented and chopped up, humorless and without heart. Kal-El’s birth scene in the Man of Steel has more emotion than all of Batman Vs Superman combined. This sequel made me feel nothing. Zack Snyder’s universe needed some special Joker laughing gas. Had the entire story of the film been carefully and thoroughly analysed, the film would not have raised so many stupid questions. Superman’s innocence turns boredom to peak level and yet he still manages to find it in himself to act like a dick. His actions and lack of action concerning key plot points in the story raises more than eyebrows.
But then again Gal Godot’s arousal at playing Wonder Woman is infectious and welcoming, saving this film from Doom(sday). Literally. Her role is predetermined and predictable at best but her Wonder Woman lights up the entire show when she enters center stage taking on the meta-threat they were staging from the get-go. As for the Dark Knight, this new iteration of Batman is what we’ve all been waiting for. Ben Affleck was probably shaking in his costume but truth be told he deserves all the credits. This version of Batman is a Wresltemania big bulky bad ass motherfucker. He is visceral, he is brutal and sophisticated. He may appear broken down and worn off but the only ones suffering from his years of psychological and physical fatigue and lack of patience are the criminals he targets with vertical ferocity submitting them to pure savage physical violence displayed through a visual impact of colossal asteroid sized extravaganza. Many have branded Jesse Eisenberg as an amateur, a weak washed up version of a Lex Luthor(ian) villainy that should have been nothing short of sensational. But this young version of Lex wants what all young men with madness, knowledge and power want… more power in their wrong hands. His role may express clichéic and bleak comic bookish motives but I believe he is on a par with an orchestral version of a newly beehive stirred Lex Luthor.
It’s a tricky thing these days merging superhero mythology with entertainment. Not in the sense of just bumping into it like every other week, but actually connecting to it, offering it a special place and a dedicating some time even for the most basic forms of its manifestation. From sheer CGI spectacle to simple lines of dialogue, I am THERE, flushed with excitement, all in, hating it at first, then loving it, wanting it to better itself as every second passes by. This excitement of almost two years leading up to the Dawn of Justice has turned into the Yawn of Justice. I’m done finding excuses for this franchise. And yet, I cannot. I find myself apologetic to my very core, acknowledging this offence of cinematic failure but defending it nonetheless.
Batman asks Superman: “Tell me, do you bleed?” And I can answer that question: I did. It is true I wish Snyder had more interest in building organic stories with organic characters rather than tearing up buildings with plot holes in them to make his film cooler. And like the audience witnessing a magic trick, I am looking for the secret. But I’m not looking really. All I want is to relinquish that reality grasp I have in the theater and walk out being wowed and fooled like a silly six-year-old kid who knows right there in that instant he wants to see the film again and again. I will…