Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Snyder's worst, taking his adolescent sense of narrative 'subversion' and forcibly embedding it within every aspect of what is already a dour film, crafting an experience which attempts to undercut any kind of cinematic joy one might feel in favor of muddled satire, lacking the insight necessary to make the entire affair feel even remotely worth it. Every character, every arc, every moment of the entire film is played in exactly the same register, an unending barrage of leather-clad, psychopathic figures filled with toxic masculinity inelegantly posturing as Snyder attempts to create conflict through empty, underdeveloped political gesture (the performances - especially Cavill's - are ridiculously hollow). I've seen a lot of people read this as a positive, a bold attempt at correcting the frustratingly light-weight sensibilities which have defined Marvel's Cinematic Universe as of late, but Snyder is too in love with the imagery of his source material for this to register as subversion for me - he doesn't reinterpret these characters so much as he poorly repurposes them, no-one here played as anything but a paper-thin surface to which Snyder can pin any of his current stylistic/thematic obsessions on (unfortunately his current obsessions hold literally zero interest for me).

What's worse, the ideology which supposedly underpins this all isn't developed in any meaningful way (it's certainly there, but nothing that happens here feels remotely interested in deepening it), nothing more than a front to help rationalise a conflict which neither screenwriter nor director can properly explain. Doesn't help that this is structurally inept, messy in a way that leaves me more befuddled than it does exhilarated, the work of someone who thinks that by throwing everything up on the screen without a thought given to thematic or formal coherency, somehow it'll all just 'work itself out' (the attempts at broadening the DC Universe are genuinely laughable, one scene in particular feeling like a deleted moment from some alternate universe 'Agents of Justice League').

I'd maybe be able to forgive this if Snyder's visual aesthetic didn't feel so goddamn ugly here, the painterly beauty of films such as Watchmen and even Man of Steel giving way to massive, near-unintelligible bouts of weightless conflict, the climactic (and nearly hour-long) battle lacking in any kind of impressive imagery or sense of spatial navigation - his typical bombast somehow rendered utterly boring. Kind of wish I'd enjoyed this though, because usually I find the Snyder hate to be poorly judged and completely overblown, but I guess I'm a part of that crowd this time - alas.

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