Warner Bros. is betting you’re stupid.
Normally I don’t begrudge anyone for liking a movie. But in the case of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, I’ll make an exception. Because, make no mistake, Warner Bros. is hoping to take advantage of the hopes of comic book lovers, as well as the unreasoning anger of Trumpitis, to make this portentous, pompous, pretentious, protracted piece of poop a hit.
Make no second mistake, Warner Bros. knew what it had. Word started filtering down early last year that a screening of Zack Snyder’s latest masturbation did not go well. Hence it was scheduled far away from the peak holiday and summer release seasons. But then some genius in the marketing department realized three things.
One, that the noose Medea (news media) was packaging/promoting a spray-tanned comb-over as the opposite of the silent majority.
Two, that the burgeoning international market seemed to love films that featured ugly Americans.
And three, that the “Phantom Menace Syndrome” (the inability to realize that a film from a beloved franchise was actually as awful as it was) would hold them in good stead until at least next weekend.
I’m begging you: don’t prove them right. Because if you do, you’re telling the world (and yourself), in this era of exceptional Avengers, Dark Knights, Deadpools, Galaxy Guardians, and Supergirls, just how much insulting, nonsensical, sloppy, sh*t you’ll swallow in the name of superhero love.
Because, make no third mistake, this movie is all of that, and more. I was amazed, even stunned, at how bad it was, because I was prepared. As far back as the special introduction of a Wal-Mart-ticket buyers’ only sneak peek of Man of Steel I was prepared. That screening started with a special video introduction by Zack Snyder, where-in he proceeded to tell us all of the plot of the movie that was about to roll. Not how he made it, not a single insider’s behind-the-scenes tidbit, not how he felt about the cast … the plot!
At first the audience started to murmur. Eventually they started to shout (led, I’m proud to say, by me): “Shut up, shut up, shut up! Let us watch the movie, then WE’LL tell YOU the plot!” Only afterwards did we all realize the madness of his method. He had to tell us the plot because Jor-El knows the movie didn’t. In the case of BvS:DoJ, however, the plot was comprehensible enough if one accepts that every major character on screen is:
C) Mentally constipated
D) Emotionally constipated
E) Blindingly stupid
F) All of the above
It also helps if one accepts that virtually every major plot development is predicated on … nothing. I was going to say “contrivance,” but it really isn’t that. How did Bruce Wayne not know an ex-employee was sending threatening letters? The answer is, and I quote, “I don’t know.” Why did Superman turn off all his powers so he wouldn’t know a bomb was in the room? The answer, and, again, I quote: “I didn’t look.” How does Bruce know there will be a sequel. Quote: “I have a feeling.”
It gets worse. Because soon, no one even needs words to drive the story into the ground. In fact, the entire title confrontation is predicated on Superman’s unwillingness to simply say ANYTHING. At three major story junctions, all he has to do is say a maximum of four words, and there’s no problem. But does he speak? No. Is that good drama (or even comedy)? No, that’s stunningly sloppy, silly scripting. Speaking of silly scripting, Snyder also obviously is a big fan of comedian Emo Phillips and Pee-Wee Herman, because he seemingly instructed normally sane actor Jesse Eisenberg to base his strident Lex Luthor on those two.
But wait, there’s even more. To cover up the Swiss cheese screenplay, the director ladles on two hours and thirty minutes worth of nonsensical eye candy (with a particular love of slow motion bullet shells). And what good is an elegant single concept, when at least a quartet of reiterations are allowed? That last word was not idly chosen. Warner Bros. is like a really bad parent who keeps giving their slick, spoiled child the keys to their new car no matter how many times he wrecks it.
Happily, there’s two moments that are worth YouTubing: Batman’s fight with Luthor’s henchmen, and the full-costume battlefield introduction of Wonder Woman (haters of the multiple Oscar-winner aside, Ben Affleck does a fine job, and how come no one else finds it fun that a Wonder Woman is well played by a Gal [Gadot]?). Are those few minutes worth substantiating Snyder and Warners investment in your credulity? Obviously I don’t think so. But, if for no other reason, consider not paying to see this film not just for all the aforementioned reasons, but because, when all is said and done, despite a lot of noisy cgi, it’s actually pretty boring.