A Thousand Passwords

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I’m not going to ramble I’m just going to get to the chase.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Is quite possibly one of the most infuriating films of the year so far.

“…there is not an ounce of fun to be had…” Entertainment Tell

“Like a big, wet glob of fetid bird droppings tumbling down from the sky, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has landed with an audible splat” The Guardian

“Zack Snyder’s superhero spectacle is a meatheaded, humourless mess that squanders its cast and makes little sense” Telegraph

“The film may be imposing, but it’s not fun” Hollywood Reporter

“…the effects are an embarrassment of pixels…” Entertainment Weekly

“Batman v Superman” is an insanely long and convoluted action movie, made worse by an air of importance. It’s dispiriting and visually bland.” San Francisco Chronicle

I could find hundred’s more like it, with Batman v Superman having obtained a 29% on Rotten Tomato’s and a 44 Metacritic score making it in the world of Superhero’s worse then Daredevil and Batman Forever. I could list a cavalcade of films considered horrendous and un-watchable that sit on forums and sites with higher collective scores.

All of this has led me to the declaration that Batman v Superman is and quiet possibly will remain the most infuriating film of the year. But it’s a darn fine picture. One of the most enjoyable this year and potentially one of the best films of recent years. I’m not going to sit here and explain why everyone is wrong, if I wanted to do that I’d need at least a thousand passwords and accounts to troll through every forum, berating the haters, telling them how they are wrong, pointing out inferior films, how the film is trying to reshape the appeal of mainstream comic book films. But there is so much unwarranted bitchiness, hate posting and slandering from the mainstream media; something we could expect of the likes of moviepoopshoot.com, but respected papers, reviewers, vloggers and bloggers, you can see why it has so easily given rise to conspiracy theories of Disney paying off reviewers and controlling the media but do we really want to go to that extent and venture into a world surrounded by Disney’s Stormtroopers’ as we parade to work to the tune of It’s a small world after all .

I’ve read review after review slandering the film for being overly long, complicated, convoluted, boring, messy, not enough story, filled with misdirected characters, boring visuals, poor CG, not enough action, not enough explanation, too much pondering, to dark, not fun. This ISN’T a Marvel film and I love it for that, when it comes to comics I’m pretty evenly split, I love a bit of Marvel, a bit of DC and a bit of an indie smash on the side and love how I can bounce from book to book discovering new and brilliant things, Marvel has always been the light to DC’s dark, yes in turn they have all had their moments but on pure aesthetics and characters DC has always tended to be deemed the darker of the two companies, especially with its affiliation to Vertigo titles like Preacher, Constantine and the seminal Watchmen. I wish I could visit every reviewer and well and truly have a frank conversation with them to discover why they hate the film so much, after a long conversation I’m sure the truth will prevail and as I bid farewell knowing that that person doesn’t unequivocally hate it, we will shake hands as friends and cinephiles alike but as we do so I will see the flash of the pin on the inside of their lapel, a pin synonymous with joy and childhood dreams and then I will truly know the truth, and the superstitions will be justified.

How can I be sure of all this, and I am, why because it is the truth, I have spoken to viewer after viewer declaring the film is a terrible scar on the body of filmmaking, but after speaking with them this outright hate turns to an indifference to the film but also with us reliving  in some of the fun and enjoyable moments, not the haha funny moments or cute moments left to the world of Marvel but the holy batarang moments, the dear god let me gather up my popcorn moments. It is this outright hate I cannot understand that is driving me to scour forum after forum, driving myself closer and closer to the brink of madness and I will probably never understand where this hate has originated from but one thing I will never abide is ignorance of history be it real or fictional. So many many people have belittled the film for elements that seem contrived, under-developed or be it impossible, I have read them all, in all their pity misguidedness;

I didn’t like the film because how can Batman beat Superman…

…I thought it was unrealistic that Batman could just fly to Metropolis as if it were just across the bay…

…what lazy writing giving both Batman and Supermans’ parents the same name and like that would just make them friends…

…no one (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman) seemed to be friends…

… I don’t get why Lex Luthor hates Superman

These are all genuine comments I have seen in one form or another, the Trinity itself has a greater history then most modern historical films, steeped in over 75 plus years of it from books, films, radio shows and how they have been prominent in pop culture throughout their lifespan. To insult a film for using it’s history cleverly and effectively and then not understanding that history and or expecting it to be spoon fed to you is like going to see Saving Private Ryan and complaining why didn’t they land at a different beach rather then Omaha or maybe they should have brought a tank. The film maybe based on real life events but it is a piece of fiction, so why can’t fiction have history or legacy of its own. Or is it just the legacy of ‘picture books’ we question, we accept the world and entire history presented in the likes of Lord of the Rings without question. But Batman v Superman is being ostracised for embracing it’s history and it’s legacy, and damn it for that, damn it for being different, damn it for being brave, damn innovation!

Not long before this film was released there was a lot of speculation of whether the Comic book Superhero genre would go the way of the western, would it finally run out of steam, I was so tempted to put pen to paper, fingers to keys on the subject but felt ultimately there was no precedent for such a question, as while the western waned it never truly died and has seen a resurgence of late. If we look to the history of the superhero film it is in it’s resurgence, it boomed in the 80’s with the Batman and Superman films before fading in the 90’s but still classics were produced like The Crow and Blade II. Before the genre achieved greater prominence in the early 2000’s with Spider-Man and so fourth before exploding once again into what we now know. Why am I reverting to this history lesson and the evolution of the cinematic superhero because we’ve been through it all we’ve witnessed uncle Ben die twice now, seen the flash of Joe Chills gun again and again as the pearls role away, we’ve seen it all again and again and we complain about it. But when a film tries to inject and use history that we’ve all witnessed time and again or have read, grown up with and loved in some form or another and use it to it’s advantage to set up a greater picture, to give us a little mystery, to leave us hanging and guessing, we belittle it. We may be once again treated to the death of Wayne’s parents but we are also given a destroyed Manor, a dead Robin and a broken Batman and why, we don’t know, not yet anyway. The only way to sum up Batman v Superman is as the quintessential comic book film it isn’t a superhero film it is a comic book film. It plays out and reads like a great comic book, one I would of loved to have discovered over time but having it condensed into a 150 minutes rather then waiting and reading for 6 months is an undeniable thrill. While I understand not everyone loves or understands comics you can not insult a film born of pulp paper and ink, sold on magazine racks for 25 cents and for a film maker to embrace it’s true nature and wanting to let people explore its world be it in a latter films or even by going out and picking up a comic.

The film is an innovation, breathing new life into a genre which while fun and enjoyable has been stale and systematic for a long time. I mean this post could go on and on, pointing out the evolution of comic book and superhero films, the comparisons between the film and comics, how they read and feel the same, I could delve into the legacy of characters and how only a little outside knowledge is needed to turn the film from a mess to a triumph and while many would slander the need for knowledge, instead DC and Warner Bros. have tried something brave and brilliant (and no I won’t do it I won’t say bold, even though they have been) and have delivered one of the greatest comic book films of all time. But what I will do is I want you to ignore me along everything else you’ve read, ignore the critics and the hate articles and even the few that praise it, just go out and see it, create your own opinion but don’t let others influence you nor be ignorant of the larger picture, be an engaging and educated viewer and make up your own mind.

But let it be known if these haters and critics effect my Justice League film in anyway I will show you the face of a true supervillian.

And that is no idle threat.

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*at time of posting figure’s presented in this article were correct.

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4 thoughts on “A Thousand Passwords

  1. Wow! you are spot on. I couldn’t have put it better even if I had tried. This is by far the most sensible review I have read.

    I have been going through a similar fate as you. I have been scouring through the internet looking for some sense but no… instead what I have got is a shitload of negativity. And while the film stood against it in the first week because of “Hype”; the overload of negativity seems to be really hurting the movie judging by the numbers in the second week.

    Do you think this will affect the future dceu movies?

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    1. Thank-you I was just fed up with the lack of faith and love for a film that was trying something different and I am so glad I have had an overwhelming response to this piece. Do I hope all this negativity doesn’t effect future DCEU movies? Of course I don’t, but will it sadly and undoubtedly I think it will. As Warner were worried about the film pre-release following the response to Man of Steel, and sadly on a critical level their doubt has likely on been doubled but the overwhelming fan response may sway this with Warner releasing rumours of stand alone Batman and Superman films, as well as their constant release of information to qualm fears is all both comforting and worrying at the same time. Saying this however I firmly believe the DCEU will continue, maybe not as intended and it may take the criticism to heart and change the tempo and feel of films to come slightly but I don’t think they will do anything as dramatic as cancelling films, and I believe Warner should be optimistic and not put their faith in Wonder Woman resurrecting or saving the franchise as that film is going to do well as will Suicide Squad but what they do next will tell us what direction the future of the DCEU is taking.

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  2. I can relate to this, especially scouring the internet for any sense or reason for the hatred. It felt like I’d gone to an alternate reality where everyone else saw a different movie. I needed this for my sanity.
    I have read many negative opinions and the main points I got are:

    1. It’s not formulaic enough. (incoherent/messy/confusing/unfocused)
    2. it’s too grimdark.
    3. That is NOT our Superman/Batman.

    The films biggest problem with people seems to be the fact it takes risks which is just sad to see. Deadpool is good but very formulaic, no real risks. Yet it’s smashing box office expectations and is critically acclaimed. Another example is Star Wars episode 7, the film destroyed all records even though it was just a retool of episode 4 with a worse lead.

    BvS is so much different, it’s got a clear artistic style, treats the audience with intelligence, makes the universe seem massive, all whilst being it’s shot in a way to represent an actual comic book, jumping around to different threads, foreshadowing, cameos. Too dark? Lex Luthor got laughs, Perry got laughs, ect. The levity comes naturally not from one liners or ongoing jokes. Just because our leads are in a difficult place doesn’t make the film depressing to watch, itnfact it’s what makes it more compelling.

    This film was fucking fantastic. It made me excited for superhero movies again when I was on the verge of not caring.

    The thing I diden’t get most was “incoherent” this word was being throw about all over the place, by everyone. There is not one thing in the movie relevant to the plot that doesn’t make sense. Lex’s motivates? explained. Why Superman has a problem with Batman? explained. Why Batman is branding people? explained. Why diden’t Superman see/hear the bombs? explained. Why Superman was blamed for the Africa incident? explained. The film is at a quick pace, yes, yet I easily spotted all of those on a first viewing, at midnight. I discovered more on repeat viewings like the Doomsday timer and a crucial line Diana says “photograph” which I missed. A film that may require repeat viewings to get all the details? blasphemy.
    People also point to the nightmare sequence a lot, “no casual will know what’s happening” it’s pretty self explanatory, it’s a vision of the future. It adds to the narrative, cause, hey Bruce might me right.

    This is a Batman 20 years into his career, a career he deems a failure. He brands criminals like rapist so they get killed in prison, that way he doesn’t have to do it himself. He’s broken at this point and it’s utterly compelling.

    As for the Batwing/mobile killing, seriously? how is he suppose to avoid there indirect deaths without letting himself be killed? It doesn’t compromise the character in the slightest.

    This is a Superman two years into the job, he doesn’t know when he should help, when not too and often he does more harm than good. Superman is a product of his environment. In this interpretation the world is 50/50 on him, nothing he does is ever unanimously praised.
    That’s the reason for his somber outlook, despite his powers, he’s still human so to speak. I felt for Superman in this. He doesn’t have to be a beacon of hope always. Maybe if people had a little patience (dirty word I know) they would see Clark slowly evolve into that classic Superman we know.

    Since I heard about Suicide Squad reshoots I’ve gotten edgy that they’re gonna ruin Justice League. I can’t bare the thought of WB execs coming into pre production with a three joke per page rule. These aren’t lighthearted family movies thus they will never make Avengers money, good money but not that level. If they wanted that then should of just straight up copied them to begin with. Mature films will always make less surely(hopefully) WB knows that and don’t have stupid expectations for this and future films.

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    1. So well put my friend, the issue lies with what mainstream audiences have acclimatised themselves to, and that is the Marvel formula, of a untrusted odd new hero doing good and proving to society they are good, they have a light hearted tone and multiple big set pieces, they are light and fluffy. BvS does very little if none of this, the heroes are perceived as bad no matter what good they do, there are plenty of humorous moments too but this film does not humour or pander it’s audience it excepted it as an intelligent, thoughtful and well versed audience, these characters are so big everyone knows a little something about them so lets you use that to enhance this film so as not to go down the root of retracing the back stories we’ve experienced again and again.

      The reactions we have encountered have undoubtedly changed the course of DCEU, and we won’t be seeing the films as they were originally planned, but I believe in the people at Warner to make the right choice and to continue on the path they have started, Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman are going to undoubtedly do well, as the hype is still big around these films, it is what comes next that will prove the future of DC, but I still hold my faith in all and in particular Snyder who has undoubtedly made two of the finest comic book films of our time, both of which have led troubled paths and deserve far greater recognition then they got. So my faith remains as strong as ever, and hope it does for you too friend.

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