1 April 2016

Are You Team Fan Or Team Critic?

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In many ways I think that we humans are essentially just an over-evolved gang of mentally deficient pack animals. Sports fans hate the fans of a rival team, mods hate rockers, Bible-bashers hate common sense, and bigots hate anybody with a skin shade darker than that of a shaven wookie. Just look at Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and you'll see this in almost every aspect of it. The marketing asked us if we were 'Team Batman' or 'Team Superman' to which I couldn't help but align myself with 'Team Not A Teenaged Fucking Girl'. Even before this though, and simply at the announcement of the movie, the internet insisted that you had to be on the side of either DC or Marvel. In the way that this became a thing, you'd think it'd be impossible to enjoy a film without giving a solitary shit about the publishing rights of the characters' original incarnation. It's like living in an alternate world in which literary adaptations bring in the biggest audience and being asked to pick between Team Penguin Books or Team Faber and fucking Faber.


However since the film's release it seems that another rivalry has also emerged and that's between the critics and the fans. After the film's embargo was over, a slurry of average-to-shite reviews began to emerge with the online fans responses being that of pure denial. It was like watching a bitchy Mum get called into school to be told that her child had been a scummy little twat, resulting in her flicking a cigarette into the teachers eye and accusing them of lying about her 'precious little prince'. As an independent observer it was difficult to know who was right during these initial clashes of opinions... the highly respected journalists who were paid actual money for their cinematic expertise.. or the nerdy little fanboys who hadn't even seen the film at this fucking point. The general consensus seems to be that the reviews have been written by a hive-mind-like Borg of critics who have simply used their powers to sully the reputation of director Zack Snyder. This is despite his remake of Dawn Of The Dead actually being quite highly regarded and Sucker Punch, his only completely original movie, being less enjoyable than picturing Donald Trumps undersized, witchetty grub of a penis.

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice actually begins with a Rashomon-style retelling of Man Of Steel's Metropolis-shitting conclusion. Do you remember that episode of The Simpsons in which Mr Burns tells the story of his life in a slightly more flattering way than it may have happened? Well speaking of Donald Trump, the opening to this movie is like a promotional video for his presidential campaign as directed by the scatty-haired, knob-toad himself. Affleck's Bruce Wayne, the respected and influential billionaire, runs towards his tower as it's smashed into living fuck due to the pettiness of a couple of super-immigrants. As a result, Batman decides that instead of investigating the indestructible flying man who has since co-operated with the grateful humanity, the only thing to do is kill him. By contrast however, Superman doesn't seem to be doing that much beyond being a shite reporter and dwelling over how much a minority of people might one day hate him. Balls to bright green kryptonite, it seems that the Man Of Steel's real weakness is anxiety. Every time there's a disaster on the news he looks at it as though debating whether to get involved and help or to simply run to the bathroom for a nice long stress-dump.

As a fan of Snyder's Dawn Of The Dead and a defender of his Watchmen, I went into this film with a completely open mind, and I have to say that I thought the first half-hour was brilliant. I loved its operatic scale and the fact that he seemed to think he was making a horror movie. One of the biggest criticisms of Batman And Robin was in how it pandered to a younger audience in order to sell merchandise. Well, unless your child is after an officially licensed, red-hot piece of metal to melt their friend's flesh by branding them with the shape of a bat, then I don't think that's something that we have to worry about here. Buzzing off this opening, it was a shame to realise that the second full hour had actually been pretty fucking boring by comparison. A bunch of shit had happened and none of it really made any sense. Do people actually think Superman shot a bunch of people? I mean I know he's American, but he's also got laser fucking vision! And why did that bomb go off at the inquest again? Because as far as I could tell it achieved pretty much piss-all in the grand scheme of things. Not to worry though, I thought- still got the big fight to go. That should liven things up and maybe the third act will explain what the fuck is going on?!

Do you remember how everybody slagged off Man Of Steel for its final fight being over-loaded with CG, the destruction of Metropolis, and Superman's out of character killing? Well.. same thing happens again here. Despite this being billed as Batman versus Superman, that actual fight only lasts a couple of minutes and ends when one of the characters 'operation grand slam's his way out of trouble. As anti-climaxes go, it was the cinematic equivalent of actually getting to sleep with Jennifer Lawrence but the moment you're about to get down to it you find a big old pair of hairy bollocks between her legs. The real fight however is with a cave troll that's completely fake and unbelievable, with the one exception of it's obvious and winking anus. Despite this film trying to cram too much in to the point of incoherence as it is, they then decided to fuck off the whole Batman versus Superman thing and conclude with an adaptation of The Death Of Superman's third act. During which Batman for some reason lures the beast to a small weapon near the city rather than just going to get the weapon to take back to the monster. But don't worry because he assures us that it's night and so despite the insane levels of devastation, nobody will get hurt because at this time they'll all be tucked up in bed. Oh and then Wonder Woman drops into battle from literally out of nowhere as though Player fucking Three has entered the game.

In fact, the film's treatment of its females is one of the worst depictions of the alternate gender since Michael Bay introduced a character via her arse and then had her described as though she was a fucking car in Transformers: Dark Of The Moon. Lois Lane might be one of the most iconic characters of all time but here she's reduced to 'damsel in distress' and 'constant fuck up'. I mean, the daft bitch gets herself into so much trouble, all without adding a single thing to the plot, and Superman is practically her fucking carer. At one point too the villain uses her to get Superman's attention as though her screaming is the Kryptonian's fucking ring tone. Oh and then there's his Mum who only gets about two minutes of screen time in which she dispenses some obvious and bullshit advice before she too.. yep you've guessed it.. becomes a damsel in fucking distress. With the amount of trouble that the women in Superman's life cause him, it's a wonder that he's not gone full Nil By Mouth, turned to drink, and started smacking them about. Holly Hunter also pops up, and despite being a brilliant actress, adds literally nothing to the plot here. Oh, and as for Wonder Woman, she really is nothing more than a giant advert for the next Justice League film. You know how Marvel spent years building up their cinematic universe? Well, the DC equivalent seems to be to have her walk about the film like an extra taking the piss before going onto Lex Luthor's computer and watching a couple of trailers for the next few fucking films.

Oh- and speaking of Lex Luthor, fuck me was he at knob-rash levels of irritation in this movie. Usually I'm a huge fan of Jessie Eisenberg with there being no doubt of his brilliance in films like The Social Network, The Double, and even Zombieland. However his performance here has got to be up there with Chris Tucker in The Fifth Element on a list of people I instantly want to punch in the fucking face. It's like somebody had asked him to do that slightly crazy, neurotic thing that he often does and then right before calling action, they darted him in the eye with some speed and stopped giving him direction. Imagine Jim Carrey's portrayal of The Riddler in Batman Forever but crossed with the moment in Austin Powers in which he can't control the volume of his voice and it's a bit like that... as played by a knob with a bag full of nervous ticks. I heard in an interview that he finds it hard to watch himself back on screen, in which case -and as a fan of his work- I hope to shit that he doesn't catch a showing of this movie. Beyond his performance, the characters motivations and plan also make literally no sense whatsoever. Why does he go to Holly Hunter to request permission for the creation of a weapon when he's already planning to build it anyway? And because Batman isn't capable of typing the name of a boat into fucking Google, he's quite clearly going to get away with it too.

Although if his plan to destroy Superman is slightly muddled then I wouldn't worry because the film seems to hate the man of steel too. Despite being indestructible, he literally kicks the buckets twice within the space of about half an hour; he fails to notice a bomb that's in the same room as him; and it turns out that he's about as good at fighting as Stevie Wonder is at 'I Spy'. Batman is a little more interesting as a character although you never really get chance to learn much about either of them because it's essentially two separate films that have been donkey punched into one. It's like channel flicking between Batman Begins and The Man Of Steel for two hours in that you might see some cool moments but the story now makes no sense and you've learnt nothing about anyone involved. It doesn't help when the whole thing is muddled with hallucinations, flashbacks, and dream sequences, which all also add fuck all to the story. At one point the un-introduced Flash travels back in time into a dream-within-a-dream to deliver Batman a message that makes no sense, and that he then rightfully ignores. It's honestly like this script was not only written by somebody with no basic understanding of structure, but by somebody who also only knows what a film is from a brief explanation from an autistic child.

So why do the 'fans' seem to think this film is so brilliant when it is quite obviously a little bit shite? Well I do think that the previously mentioned denial is a factor. Also Snyder made his name initially from directing adverts and music videos which would probably explain why the opening Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, musical titles for Dawn Of The Dead and Watchmen are their highlights. The man is good at putting together cool little sequences which I honestly think has here shown the fans clips of what they want to see and prevented them from taking the movie as a whole. There's a short sequence in which we see Superman save a bunch of people which is genuinely cool... but that's all it is. A cool little sequence in a movie that's more muddled than an old man with alzheimer's on a pub crawl. I mean, in one scene in this movie we see Superman dragging a boat as though it's a log through the snow and in another we see Bruce Wayne's training montage in which he hits some big rubber tires with a sledge hammer. If you look at The Dark Knight Trilogy then you can see outside of the source material that Nolan's biggest influences were the genre re-defining Blade Runner, the seminal Heat, and Dickens's A Tale Of Two Cities. However Snyder's seems to have taken his main influence from Rocky fucking 4... the worst of the Rocky movies. His religious subtext here is also so unsubtle that it if you were to take a drink every time somebody says the word “God”, then when you get to about twenty minutes in you'd be fucking dead.

There's this bizarre idea too that there's a distinction between fans and critics. The fans sit at home and bitch about shit on the internet whereas the critics are so in love with the medium that they've found the drive and dedication to somehow make film an all consuming part of their life. Could it not just be a tiny bit possible that critics are fans too? They're not just trying to fuck over Snyder because, as mentioned, Dawn Of The Dead did really well with them. They're not trying to fuck over Batman or Superman because Nolan's trilogy and Christopher Reeves first two movies were also critically adored. The reality is that Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice is an overly-long, narratively incoherent, plot-hole filled, CG over-loaded borefest that puts too much time into setting up sequels before concluding with two anti-climactic battles. Ben Affleck was alright though. There's an interview going around right now in which he's asked about the bad reviews and it looks as though he's about to burst into tears. However he's a brilliant filmmaker in his own right, having won an Oscar for directing Argo before then giving a phenomenal performance in Fincher's Gone Girl. He doesn't look like he's about to cry because the film got bad reviews but because he knows they're fucking right. The tagline for the ultra-shit Alien Vs Predator was “whoever wins, we lose”. As Ben Affleck and the critics know.. that could probably be the tagline for this film too. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time. 



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