Daily Archives: April 7, 2016

“All the Fun of a Protracted Custody Battle”

22 Awesome Put-Downs from Movie Reviewers Subjected to the “White-Hot Mess” Known as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 


Welp, I wasn’t planning to do a special themed Batman v Superman month, but it seems to be working out that way. What can I say: when you’re dealing with a movie as relentlessly joyless and humorless as this one, you’ve got to make your own fun wherever you can.

And it seems like I’m not alone in trying to find the silver lining in having to watch this “preposterous,” “gloomy,” “self-serious” “storytelling disgrace” of a movie. As it happens, a lot of movie critics forced to see this movie as part of their jobs have also channeled their rage into some of the most hilariously entertaining reviews we’ll see this year.

Now that I think about it, if I were Ben Affleck and I faced a stack of these reviews the morning after my premiere, I might cry, too:

Ralph Garman (with Kevin Smith), Hollywood Babble-On:
Batman v Superman, as you know, is the movie that finally answers the question: what would happen if Batman and Superman were both fucking assholes?”

Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail
BvS is not only an embarrassing effort to kick-start a business plan, it is a shambolic, ill-advised, white-hot mess of a movie. During its two-and-a-half bewildering hours, BvS piles bad decision upon bad decision, as if Snyder decided to pull a Springtime for Hitler on Warner and turn in something so wrong-headed and offensive that it could only succeed by failing.”

Dave Schilling, The Guardian
“Bruce Wayne opens up Lex Luthor’s computer files and discovers a photo of Wonder Woman from the First World War, plus some trailers for other Warner Bros movies. Luthor even designed logos for all of these movies in Adobe Illustrator. Why does Lex Luthor have four blatant bits of product placement on his computer? Because he’s been maintaining a secret double life as a film publicist. You thought running a multinational corporation while trying to murder an indestructible flying alien was hard? Try selling the Aquaman movie.”

Lindy West, The Guardian
“I’ve just come from Batman v Superman, which isn’t a film in any sense that I’m familiar with, but rather 153 minutes of a grown man whacking two dolls together, with character profiles ranging from ‘depressed statue’ to ‘depressed explosion.’ Did someone ask for this? Are we happy with this?”

Bob Chipman, MovieBob Reviews
“The resulting film plays more like a Producers gambit gone sentient and homicidal… Snyder’s increasingly garish aesthetic aims for Alex Ross but lands closer to compositions you’d airbrush on the side of a panel van.”

Christopher Orr, The Atlantic
“Snyder’s Batman is all over the map, suave and rational one moment and snarling belligerent threats the next. At one point, he taunts Superman like an overly theatrical WWF heel: ‘Tell me, do you bleed? You will.‘ What has Superman done to merit this degree of hatred? Leveled another city? Killed the president? Declared war on puppies? Nope. Alien monster that he is, he’s messed up the Batmobile.”

Peter Howell, Toronto Star
“The film should really be called Batman and Superman v the Audience, because the real beat-down isn’t on men in tights, but on the popcorn-chewing suckers fidgeting in their seats.”

A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“[It’s] not so much a ‘dawn’ as an entire morning spent watching the clock in anticipation of lunchtime…. The studio has, in the usual way, begged and bullied critics not to reveal plot points, and I wouldn’t dream of denying you the thrill of discovering just how overstuffed and preposterous a movie narrative can be.”

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
“A dark force has been unleashed in a new cinematic universe — an enemy of levity, a besieger of vulnerable psyches, a merciless wielder of advance technologies against which ordinary humans sit defenseless. And Zack Snyder is only the director of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The other two guys are really downers.”

David Edelstein, Vulture
“It’s a shame that Batman v Superman is also a storytelling disgrace. It has maybe six opening scenes and jumps so incessantly from subplot to subplot that a script doctor would diagnose a peculiarly modern infection: ‘disjunctivitis.'”

Robbie Collin, The Telegraph
“No major blockbuster in years has been this incoherently structured, this seemingly uninterested in telling a story with clarity and purpose. It grumbles along for what feels like forever, jinking from subplot to subplot, until two shatteringly expensive-looking fights happen back to back, and the whole thing crunches to a halt. That Wagnerian final brawl is exactly what you want in a film called Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice –- but it doesn’t come close to compensating for the blithering chaos that preceded it.”

Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
“Hans Zimmer, seldom the most placid of composers, is joined on this occasion by Junkie XL, and we should give thanks for their combined efforts, which render large portions of the dialogue, by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer, blessedly inaudible.”

Alex Abad-Santos, vox.com
“The darkest moment of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a montage of Bruce Wayne, played by an emotive rectangle of muscle and tendons known as Ben Affleck, prepping for his Superman fight by doing CrossFit. The sequence takes place in the Batcave to ostensibly camouflage the sound of Wayne’s weighted pull-ups and the percussion of steel weights dropped over and over. Wayne pushes a resistance sled — the kind you see in football movies like The Blind Side — and then swings a sledgehammer at a few tires. I don’t completely understand how performing these exercises was supposed to help him defeat a bulletproof deity who can melt faces. But then again, I’m not really familiar with the latest in CrossFit trends.”

Jonathan L. Fischer, Slate
“If Christopher Reeve is spinning in his grave right now, it’s not because Snyder’s film so egregiously ignores what might make a Superman film special (though it does!) but because the throbbing Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL score is loud enough to rattle a buried corpse.”

Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
“Suffused with paranoia and hostility, Batman v Superman engages in the kind of po-faced hyper-masculinity that can be seen as an apologia for privilege at its most unexamined and disarming. Sure, these guys swagger through the streets laying waste to all that’s in their path, but their psychic burdens are unimaginable. They hurt. (And man, do they love their mothers.)”

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
“You’d have to go back to Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ to find this much Christian iconography wedded to this much sadism.”

Kristy Puchko, Comic Book Resources
“Scenes don’t flow into one another; they just collide one after another, refusing to cohere to a sensible storyline. Leaps from Gotham to Metropolis are as jarring as their looks are indistinguishable here. But worse are a series of long, creature-filled dream sequences, into which we’re hurled without warning or logic. By the third bad Batman dream, I had completely lost my grasp on what was going on in this movie. And the script does the audience no favors. To call it ridden with plot holes would be a disservice to plot holes. These are plot caverns.”

Helen O’Hara, GQ Magazine (UK)
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the story of a self-important billionaire with a casual attitude to the truth, who becomes paranoid about a segment of the immigrant population. He decides to take brutal and — as it happens — entirely unjustified and even self-endangering action against that immigrant, to the benefit of a rich psychopath who wants to distract everyone from their own nefarious grasp at power. We cannot, however, credit this as satire. It’s too bombastic, too loud and ultimately too meaningless to qualify; any similarities to real life are entirely coincidental.”

Norman Wilner, NOW Toronto
“The superhero smackdown Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice plays like a DeviantArt version of a DC Comics movie – gloomy, self-serious and grotesque for no other reason than a talented artist thought it would look cool.”

A.A. Dowd, The AV Club 
“Directed by Zack Snyder, of faithfully butchered Watchmen fame, Batman v Superman takes a title fight kids of all ages have been speculating about for decades — costumed titan from the cosmos, meet costumed vigilante from the city — and invests it with all the fun of a protracted custody battle.”

Ben Dreyfuss, Mother Jones
“We all understand that plots in these movies don’t make sense. Of course they don’t. That’s standard. But in this movie nothing makes sense on a scene level. In a lot of movies that make no sense on a plot level, the person will say, ‘I am going to rob this fruit store,’ and you can quibble about why a person would rob a fruit store, but the characters in the movie accept it and go about robbing the fruit store and we go along with it. They have conviction and authenticity and they really try to rob that fruit store good, even if we in the audience think they are being ridiculous for robbing a fruit store, because when it really works, it doesn’t matter. In Batman v Superman the characters say, ‘I am going to rob this fruit store,’ and then go into the fruit store, throw fruit in the air, paint the walls with fruit, pay for the fruit, use the fruit as puppets in improv comedy, have a dance party with the fruit, build a home in the fruit store, burn the fruit store down, exit the smoldering husk of the fruit store and announce, ‘I robbed the vegetable store.'”

Rob Harvilla, Deadspin
“An even less charitable way to put it is that a clearly excited 7- or 8-year-old kid sitting in front of me busted out crying and had to be whisked out of the theater by his father within the first five minutes. Perhaps he was unnerved by the harsh, operatic violence of Bruce Wayne’s parents getting murdered — the mom’s pearls get tangled around the gun, somehow, which allows for some very tight and poignant slow motion — or maybe he was offended by the notion that a 2016 Batman movie felt it necessary to depict Bruce Wayne’s parents getting murdered. Either way, this kid bounced… I felt really terrible for that kid immediately, and was mildly envious of him two hours and 25 minutes later.”