Batman vs. Superman

Don’t not shoot the messenger


An overlong mélange of the rote and the inexplicable. Is that bad?
Yeah.  It is.
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Reported on 15th of April, 2016

I wasn’t going to see Batman v. Superman et. al. (not realizing that this tepid joke would be manifest by the addition of thousands of extra characters), but I, like you, felt sorry for Mr. Ben Affleck and poor little DC comics, who just can’t seem to get it right. And the reviews were so excessively hateful, why would I pour a well-rendered CGI fire sprite on that basement full of nitrite can polygons?

Batman vs. Superman

31 March 2016 @ The Gaumont Rennes


$3.00 or, if one must be jejune, and one must... 
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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But given the general lack of hate for the despicable and the pointless (10 Cloverfield Lane and Star Wars, respectively). I just had to why this one?  After waiting the appropriate week of mourning, or course. It’s really a week until they start showing it in 2D. The mourning is over the deaths that occurred by anyone who saw in 3D.

Now, the film is terrible. Of course it is. But the experience was at least enlivening. Due to the local cinemas’ practice of showing kids trailers at kids films and kids trailers at R-rated relationship dramas, I knew absolutely nothing about it. As such, I spend a good amount of mental energy not having to watch it and instead thinking: what kind of film is this? The first action scene occurs 90 minutes in, so it ain’t that. The absence of plot, as has been noted elsewhere

I like that they bothered to print it out. Going the extra mile.

I like that they bothered to print it out, but come on, go the extra mile and put it on a telephone pole. Probably worried someone would beat him to the meme. Hey, that’s catchy. Maybe it should be a meme!

obviates the possibility of a narrative. This is best summed up by one note taken during:

So Eisenberg is super rich, but lacks the means to bring a rock the size of an EU-approved carry on into the country. He asks Senator Holly Hunter to let him. She says no. He proceeds to bring the rock in, encountering no difficulty whatsoever, then blows her up to frame Superman for a crime no one thinks he did?

Looking back, that’s a more cogent summary than the film deserves. That could be considered giving it away, but 1) you’re not going to see it, 2) it is but one tiny sliver of what, well, happens may be too strong, but sure, let’s use ‘happens’ and ‘Batman vs. Superman’ in the same context, and 3) the summary, even as a small part of the film makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Do you even remember what I said? Of course not.

To date, the world's most expensive experimental film. It's like Bruce Connor forced Kenneth Anger at gunpoint to make a better simile than candystriping the plaid melancholy.

With this let’s throw paint on the wall and see if we threw paint on the wall approach, for a while I was at the same question: What is this? At minute 90, that action scene of sorts proved definitively that it was not an action film, but it was then it dawned:

I was watching the world’s most expensive experimental film.

Having been subjected to utterly random nonsense, this obligatory single shot fight scene (thanks a bunch, Sr. Cauron!) thrusts us without warning into an utterly unexplained post-apoco future, where Batman is fighting flying ant-creatures and ‘Lois is the key to everything. She’s a woman. She can’t very well have an agency in regards to story, now can she?’ I believe was one of the lines.

Now certainly this doomsday scenario/was it really all just a dream was in service of setting us up for the 8th episode of this franchise, but that’s not the effect that you get. If you want an audience to care about an action scene, you have to know what’s going on. This is slightly different than the action/chase later: if you want an audience to care about an action scene, you need them to be able to tell what’s going on.

The suddenness and never-to-be-referred-to-againness of this scene instead has the effect of a mispliced reel. This actually happened to me back in the days of film on platters, where reel 3 would get mixed up with reel 4, causing me to see Taken, ugh, twice. Since such splicing is not digitally possibly, I resigned to lay back and enjoy the intermittently weird and mostly trite.

Where ‘Where it comes from’ comes from

I’ve talked about A-Scene-Where-Ism before, quite a bit, but let me tell you a origin story, since they seem so popular. No, that’s not the right word. Obligatory? Already used that.

Rote.

Sometimes the shortest words are the hardest to find.

Speaking of which: Just a quick question re: the nth to the power of nth inclusion of Batman’s ‘His parents? Shot? Whaaaaaa?’ story: could you add a few more bats? I wasn’t clear about the metaphor.

As to my origin story, of sorts: I worked as a screenwriter for a very brief time years ago. Having optioned one actually pretty excellent global warming action movie (in 2001, suckos), I was stuck in what they call development hell. I escaped because my option ran out. I’m going the same excuse with Satan. He’ll appreciate it. And then keep me in Hell.

I learned many things from the experience, and even though they are utterly subjective, I have taken to projecting the actions of one person onto the entire film community at large. Given the product over the years hence, however, I’m positive I’m correct in doing so.

My script was gutted, natch, and its central concept, even its villain, eliminated (that’s right, an action film without a villain), but the note I remember the most?

‘Maybe we could have him talk in rhyme.’

Now there were other things, such as the inexplicable obsession to give one of the characters a kid who plays AYSO. This never stopped coming up. But what I’m trying to express is that in these situations where there’s lots, or in this case, very little, money at stake, if you have an idea, you absolutely must get it in there. Being a funny or an appropriate or a sensical or even a good idea be damned.

Et. al. takes this aesthetic to its logical end, though I may be using the term ‘end’ prematurely and tempting-fate…ly. The lack of plot is a result of keeping everything in, like a Caribbean vegetarian sushi ashtray licking medical waste disposal sawzall…tapas bar? It’s like Bruce Connor forced Kenneth Anger at gunpoint to make a better simile than candystriping the plaid melancholy.

The experience, unfortunately, is mostly pretty dull, especially during the blurry, shaky and poorly constructed action scenes, but there are moments of ‘huh?’ so profound it…keeps you vaguely conscious. DC studios, you have my permission to use that for the poster, and really stick it to all those mean critics.

Poor Mr. Affleck, part 2. The audience, with nothing to do in the dark auditorium, was very chatty.

Poor Mr. Affleck, part 2. The audience, with nothing to do in the dark auditorium, was very chatty.

This is a shame, really, as unlike many films of this ilk, there’s a glimpse of feeling there. This may be due to the sheer number of elements, but I really believed, at some point, that Batman wanted to kill Superman, possibly the most difficult conceit to get right.

At some point it was revealed that This Was Lex Luthor’s Plan All Along, even though he had absolutely no reason to plan this, do anything, have his head shaved (more on that below), be in the movie, or be in any movie. His character was defined basically on the principle that he wore sneakers. Which is more than Lois Lane’s, so go Team Male.

Re: Batman’s motives, the film begins – intriguingly if I’m being honest – at Man of Steel‘s end: the destruction of Metropolis by Superman. This was a sore subject for me and pretty much anyone, that, the hero killed a massive amount of people by wrecking a city. But, the filmmakers cried, it was super visual!

So Mr. Affleck as Bruce Wayne watches his employees die via visualosity, this was the classic revenge motive, and I bought it.

Until…

Well, here’s some things not to do. First, don’t have a buncha guys and gals in the Wayne building standing dumbfounded watching the supertypes are but a few feet away, pretty much about to kill you at any second. The slackjawed cityfolk seem only willing to leave when Bruce Wayne tells them to. To wit:

Get out of the building!

Hey everybody. Bruce Wayne sez we gotta get out of the building.

This building?

The building overlooking the giant explosions next to the titan fight?

With the flying boulders and semi-trailers?

Hey everybody, look!

….

….

That one nearly killed us all!

Yes, the cinematic diner-sized hunk of concrete did, in fact, nearly crush us horribly, with the possible chance of being slowly being burned alive as we suffocate. But the boss has spoken.

Aw. But, we were in so much danger.

Hey, don’t not shoot the messenger.

They’re idiots, fine, but they’re clearly really good employees. So Bruce Wayne is sad. I buy that. Also, the film has atoned for the previous film’s anti-human, pro-destruction ethic. Until, of course, it does the exactly the same thing at the end. And if you do that second thing, don’t do it three times in three different places. But if you did do that second thing three times in three places, in the name of all that is laugh-out loud camp, absolutely do have characters say, three different times mind you:

1) Thank God downtown is empty at night.

2) The port is abandoned.

3) It’s uninhabited. 

How many things is that not to do again?

Likewise Lex Luthor’s hair. A ha, the film seems to say, we’ll give him some long hair to cause the audience to wonder about when he’s going to be bald. Is it radiation when he resurrects a giant krypton monster with his blood? (Yeah, that happened). Is it cancer treatment to give a sympathetic backstory? (That, weirdly, did not). No, his head, very dramatically and in great exaggerated Mr. Eisenberg totally did this just like Ms. Demi Moore, is…shaved in prison.

Is he getting the electric chair? Nope, sorry, he’s just in regular prison. That’s weird, says anyone who lives in reality. They don’t shave heads in prison. That’s not a thing. It’s one thing to say Harry Potter got his scar from waiting in line at the DMV. It’s another to expect that we’ll think it’s cool.

Sure this moment was probably traumatic for Mr. Eisenberg, seen here at his most post-congratulatory indulgent. The movie treats this scene as a Great Reveal, as if the late night jam sesh that gave birth to the ‘we have to do something new with his hair’ – was never double-checked after the it’s 5am, all our ideas were brilliant man deadline.

We’ll leave it here – finally – because the depressing thing about this level and variety of spew is that it utterly lacks any creative spark. Unlike The Lobster, which probably the same film somehow, the scenes of Et. Al. bear no connection to one another and contain nothing especially compelling, witty or new.

And yet I feel bad. First of all it’s DC, and second I hate agreeing with critics. So let’s just agree that I didn’t agree. I’ll let the film make sense of that.

The Take

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Profits!
Look, the CGI is occasionally good. The entire car chase, however ineptly laid out, was nicely rendered.
$1.50
Another glimpse, when Batman, as a weak human, is up against the super krypton monster beast. With 14,209 ideas, 2 will be good.
$1.50
I can’t let the critics win. Out of sheer spite for their not lambasting 10 Cloverfield Lane, or even Spotlight, I’m giving it an extra
$3.00
Total Profits!
$6.00
Losses!
As per usual, by way of completed dialog. First line actual, later, refined by yours truly:
Headline! End of love affair with man in sky question mark?
Is the question mark because the editor in chief doesn’t understand how to write a headline?
Asterisk!
$0.50
Your grandma baked a cake, said Kevin Costner’s ghost, and now the horses are screaming.
But not the lambs.
No, the lambs are fine.
They’re not screaming.
Why are you bringing up lambs? I have no idea why you would do that, when I’m talking about a flashback that defines my character.
$1.00
At 2h45, It is a fucking slog.
$1.50
Total Losses
$3.00

$3.00

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