Advertisements

‘Batman v Superman’ Is Better Than ‘Civil War’ Because Whatever – Snarcasm

batman v superman

Snark + sarcasm = what you’re about to read

Hey superhero fans and all-time purveyors of basic logic! I’ve got a twister for you. Did you know that  with just a few baseless assertions and false equivalency arguments, you can decide for everyone else that a truly terrible movie is better than a pretty good one?

Welcome the internet! And also the inner workings of this summer’s ultimate contrarian, Donnia, who wrote this little number on Fansided:

Batman v Superman Is Actually A Better Movie Than Civil War

You heard it here first. And for good reason.

Now, I’m all for taking a close, critical look at Captain America: Civil War, an entertaining film that doesn’t fully succeed at being anything extraordinary beyond what we’ve already seen of the MCU. It’s pretty good and an easy recommend, but it can be picked apart just as easily as any other Marvel film.

Batman v Superman, on the other hand, is a glorious misfire as one of recent film history’s most obvious examples of style over substance. Still, the movie has its fans who declare it to be an underrated masterpiece, in some part (I suspect) because they’re displacing the earned love they have for DC onto this neat-looking, but thematically hollow, fan film by Zack Snyder. It’s not without its high points (a great Batman aside from sociopathic tendencies and pretty much everything Gal Gadot does aside from opening emails). But to say it’s better than Civil War is a such a non-starter piece of hot-take nonsense, I can’t wait to share it with you.

Despite what many think, Captain America: Civil War really isn’t a good movie,

“Sorry legions of people who have the exact opposite opinion, including film critics, fans, and experts in this industry. I’m smarter than you!”

but Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is.

I’ll give Donnia some credit here for at least eliminating the pretense that she considers film analysis subjective.

That’s right, folks: you read the title correctly.

Yup, so sit back and breathe in the “pretty much clickbait.”

If you dare to have this unpopular opinion, you’re sure to be bombarded with reasons as to why Captain America: Civil War is apparently the better film

Right, it’s almost as if people use reasons to articulate their observations. Next you’re going to get mad at them using examples and evidence.

But the truth is that both of these movies hit the same beats to the same effect but for some reason, Civil War is praised for it while Batman v Superman is criticized. And the question is: why?

False premise alert! Donnia is putting opinions into our heads, claiming that the reason people disliked Batman v Superman as a set up, not an execution. Which means if I liked Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation but disliked Spy Kids 3D, then obviously it was because I have a double standard for the genre. Obviously.

I enjoyed Batman v Superman.

You don’t say.

When critics panned the movie for being poorly edited, poorly paced and basically a massive failure of a superhero film, I was discouraged to say the least.

You shouldn’t be, and for one simple reason: Liking a bad movie is fine. People do it all the time. That’s why they’re called guilty pleasures.

I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew there was something strange about the film when I first saw it. It wasn’t a bad feeling, but I knew that the film didn’t feel like what a superhero film usually feels like.

Was this before or after Jesse Eisenberg shoved a Jolly Rancher into an old dude’s mouth?

It didn’t look like it either, and that’s when it hit me—Batman v Superman didn’t follow the formulaic superhero narrative that we’re used to seeing.

False premise alert! Donnia is slipping into a quick, no-big-deal conclusion that we’re apparently used to seeing formulaic superhero narratives in our movies. This is important because instead of establishing this as a problem, she jumps ahead to the part where Batman v Superman solves it. Tell us more!

we all know that the MCU has and will continue to release a million movies and we flock to see all of them.

Everyone is terrible, yeah.

The MCU follows a very specific blueprint, as if it’s not obvious by this point.

“So obvious, I don’t need to spell it out. I’m just right.”

Yeah, so, all movies follow blueprints, especially franchises. If you’re criticizing Marvel movies for having some common ambiguous…thing…then you have to say the same for Star Wars always involving Skywalkers or Indiana Jones always being about historical adventures (yawn!)

 the problem occurs when a movie like Batman v Superman comes along and is very different than what we’re used to seeing.

Being different isn’t always better, and Civil War is actually a great example of that. Despite what you may think, Donnia, that movie isn’t a lot like any of the other Marvel movies. In fact, plenty of Marvel movies have been completely different from each other. Iron Man was an action comedy, Thor was a fantasy adventure, Captain America was a pulpy period action piece followed by a 70s-esque spy thriller in its sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy was a space opera comedy, and Ant-Man was a superhero heist movie.

And then there’s Civil War, which was a superhero teamup fight movie where the bad guy (spoiler alert) actually wins in the end. So how is Civil War formulaic again?

We’ve unknowingly set expectations for what we think a superhero movie should be that we reject when one tries to be different.

Nope. We just reject bad movies. Simply being different isn’t enough merit to warrant getting a pass, for the same reason a lot of people wanted to write off Ant-Man long before it was released because it was being heralded as something different.

And how exactly is Batman v Superman all that different from typical superhero movies, aside from having Snyder’s particular visual flair we’ve seen many times since 300?

Batman v Superman isn’t poorly edited or paced, it intentionally edited to be like a comic book.

Pack it up, everyone, the medium has officially stopped being the message.

Look, there’s nothing wrong with trying to make a movie match the experience of a comic book story. It’s been done successfully in the past with movies like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and done quite poorly with movies like Batman and Robin.

Pointing out that what they were going for was interesting in and of itself doesn’t negate the problem, which is that editing a movie too much like a scatterbrained paperback is a bad idea, mostly because comics usually have built in context continuity and are able to be digested in short bursts that rely on dramatized set pieces.

Movies are different, especially if they’re aiming to be over 3 hours long. They require cohesive visual editing that allow viewers to soak in the narrative and appreciate the characters, because unlike a comic, everything moves. And there’s sound. When you remove that cohesive visual editing, the “spectacles” onscreen that would look great on a comic ring hollow on the big screen.

 It was a radically experimental decision, and it did feel strange at first but once I realized what the film was doing, I loved it. How can I put a movie down for trying something different in an industry that always does the same thing?

Easily! For doing it poorly. Remember when I said style over substance? Yeah, I wasn’t just throwing around a cliche aimlessly for once. That directly applies here.

A common complaint about Batman v Superman is the “Martha” scene. That scene is just so horrible and laughable to many people and I don’t understand how they can mock that scene when the exact same thing happens ten minutes into Civil War. 

False…everything alert!

Bruce loses focus because Clark says his mother’s name and Steve loses focus because Crossbones says Bucky’s name.

And then Steve and Crossbones become best friends for life! Right?

Obviously the context of their names being said are different—

“But that huge difference in the scenes is not important or anything unless it makes my point stronger. Obviously.”

Look, the whole “Martha” thing has been talked to death in length elsewhere and on this very site, and honestly, I’m quite done with it. The main issue at this point is that this scene is so badly executed, everyone mocks it and willingly ignores the author’s intent. That’s a sign something went wrong here.

Another complaint towards Batman v Superman is the Doomsday fight…By taking the fight to an uninhabited island they’re preventing mass death.

That’s not the complaint at all. The complaint is more an aside (and not even one of the movie’s most annoying flaws) regarding how ham-fisted the line is when they say, “Oh, and that island is inhabited! WINK WINK.” We point it out because it’s moments like these that take the viewer out of the movie, because you consistently have to be told by the filmmakers that this isn’t Man of Steel. Oh, how I wish this movie had been Man of Steel.

Civil War does the same thing when Cap’s team and Iron Man’s team fight in an empty airport and destroy it in the process. So why does Batman v Superman get criticized for the line that a government official makes when he says that he island is uninhabited but no one says a word when it’s stated that Tony evacuated the airport so that they could have their showdown?

Is this a real question? Because they evacuated the airport. It was a decision that made sense because they don’t want people to get hurt. With Doomsday, they practically flashed this on the screen as, “Oh, what a coincidence that Doomsday wants to duke it out on an abandoned island that’s abandoned because whatever. Now you can’t complain! Wait, I’m not supposed to say that part of the line that’s scribbled on the script in red ink?”

I don’t have a problem with how either movie handled these scenes but I can’t help but to feel some animosity towards Civil War because audiences and critics are so willing to give the film a pass for doing same thing that they criticized Batman v Superman for.

Advertisements

Ranking The Best Superhero Movies Of 2016

From Deadpool to Doctor Strange, here’s how I rank the top superhero movies of the year. The post below is a transcription of the video above, minus some extra commentary at the very end.

It’s pretty obvious at this point in 2016 that the “superhero genre” is here to stay. These movies seize a huge share of box office profits every year, and their mainstream takeover isn’t slowing down in the slightest. Going back a decade, we’ve gotten at least four or five “big” superhero movies a year, sometimes six, and this year saw eight alone, with all but two of them being huge moneymakers and making the top 10 grossers of the year.

I say “superhero” movie, by the way, because things get messy when you try to categorize these films by “comic book.” For the same reason it would get a little hairy if you tried to lump all book adaptation movies together, because they stretch across so many genres and sub genres. With a superhero movie, you’re at least addressing a few basic similarities between movies that are derived from DC, Marvel, and other studios. You have a hero (or heroes) with strange abilities who goes on some type of emotional, action-packed journey.

superhero movies 2016

So this year, I want to point out which superhero movies in 2016 were “better” than others, not just from a film critic standpoint, but also from how they contribute or don’t contribute to the ever-expanding superhero movie genre. I have to leave out two movies in particular because I haven’t seen them: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and Max Steel. Because I don’t review absolutely everything that comes out, these ended up being on my cutting board of films to review over the summer, and I have no desire to check them out anytime soon.

But the rest of the entries on this list are certainly ones you’ve heard of if you’re a big fan of superhero movies, but in case you haven’t watched them all, I’ll be avoiding any and all spoilers within reason. So let’s begin with the worst of the bunch:

#6 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

superhero movies 2016

The film critic in me can’t stand this movie. It’s an abomination of narrative, pacing, and character development to the point of almost being a parody. But the DC fan in me has plenty of nice things to say in spite of all that, notably from a visual standpoint. The costumes are incredible, the subject matter is at least interesting in theory, and most of the characters are well-cast with the exception of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor.

The strange thing, though, is that despite being such a weak movie overall, it contains some of my favorite superhero moments of 2016, including Batman’s warehouse fight, the Trinity’s stand against Doomsday, and Wonder Woman’s theme music. Unfortunately, these bright spots just don’t overshadow enough of the problems to redeem the rest of this frustrating embarrassment of a superhero movie.

#5 Suicide Squad

superhero movies 2016

For me, Suicide Squad was just a slim margin better than Dawn of Justice, mostly because the standards were set just a little lower thanks to this being a movie about lesser-known characters I’ve always wanted to see on the big screen.

It does have some of the same issues as Dawn of Justice, though, particularly when it comes to style over substance with its visuals and plot. But the characters are mostly fun to watch and suggestive of a bigger, better DCEU we haven’t gotten to see enough of yet.

#4 X-Men: Apocalypse

superhero movies 2016

I actually liked this one quite a bit more than most, mainly because I’ve been hoping for a better realization of these characters since the third X-Men movie, and for the most part, Apocalypse is immensely entertaining lore for longtime fans.

It’s nowhere near perfect, of course, but there are enough great moments here to overlook some of the bland story structure and checklist of characters for Fox to cross off their list. This is one of those superhero movies I walked away from wanting more, which is both a criticism and a complement in this case.

#3 Doctor Strange

superhero movies 2016

Familiarity breeds contempt, and so it goes for some who view Doctor Strange as more of the same from Marvel. And they’re not entirely wrong. This is the origin formula Marvel has been polishing since 2008, complete with a flawed protagonist who has to humble himself after gaining extraordinary powers.

And mileage varies for anyone who appreciates some stunning visual effects that go with the whole package, as you might be one of those viewers who can’t get past folding cities reminding them of Inception, or just someone looking for a breezy, colorful Marvel movie with some clever spins on what’s already worked before.

#2 Deadpool

superhero movies 2016

This was the movie that arguably had the bigger impact on comic book fans this year, even ones who never liked the character much before seeing this movie. And that’s because it’s less a superhero or anti-hero movie and more a self-reflection of the genre itself.

That lended for some great movie moments and humor, but at its core, Deadpool is just barely shy of real greatness, as it only manages to tackle a small handful of neat ideas over and over again, using a formula that’s not far removed from much of what we’ve seen before. It won’t be long before the movie will be remembered as a lightning in the bottle experiment that aged a bit quicker than we expected.

#1 Captain America: Civil War

superhero movies 2016

If you had to criticize Civil War for one thing, it might be that it almost has too much going on in its long running time. But if what you’re looking for is a dense spectacle that reshapes a cinematic universe with recognizable characters, then Civil War absolutely had you in mind.

There were so many ways for this movie to completely fail: the villain could have been atrocious, new arrivals Black Panther and Spider-Man could have been mishandled, we could’ve gotten more Iron Man than Captain America, the emotional stakes by the very end could have come off as meaningless, and so on. But while it stumbles at times, Civil War pulls all of this off in an entertaining, often thrilling way.

And close to everything we love most in the Marvel Cinematic Universe had a time to shine, paid off after years of buildup and patience. Similar to how a comic book event can impact longtime readers, this was worthy of its title and then some.


Thanks for reading this. Seriously. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. 

Or just say hello on Twitter: @JonNegroni


Snarcasm: 5 Non-Reasons Why the DC Movies are Working

dc movies working

Snark + Sarcasm = what you’re about to read.

Hey, did you guys know that the DCEU is working? I mean, it’s working hard, for sure, to dominate headlines and pointless online arguments about the very essence of filmmaking between people who’ve never watched Before Sunrise, but that’s not all!

The DCEU is also working in the sense that this was somehow the plan all along for DC and Warner Bros. That’s right, their first three films were critically panned on purpose. It was the plan all along for Man of Steel and Batman v Superman to get outclassed (financially or otherwise) by a movie about the Suicide Squad. And for all of these movies to scream “we’re a huge step back from The Dark Knight” on every poster that isn’t a bowl of Suicide Squad cereal for some reason.

How do we know the DCEU is working? Because Cowboy Bebop enthusiast Kofi Outlaw has five, count them, five reasons. And haven’t list-designed essay substitutes been the absolute best when it comes to persuasive arguments? I sure don’t think so.

DC Comics and Warner Bros. have had a strange year trying to get their DC Extended Universe established.

What a long, strange year it’s been in Rotten Tomatoes hell.

Big questions like “Who is to blame for the DCEU’s problems?” get tossed around the interwebs daily, but are they questions that need to be asked at all? 

Nope! No one needs to get blamed for failure or be held accountable for the consequences of certain actions, anymore. We now live in a society where doing something wrong is actually right, at least if you want to get “saved” from Rotten Tomatoes hell.

It’s clear there are people who do not like the films already released in the DCEU saga

And if it’s not clear, they’ll make it clear within five seconds of talking to them.

or the direction the films are taking with the likes of Zack Snyder’s Justice LeagueWonder Woman

Patty Jenkins is directing Wonder Woman, to be clear, not Zack Snyder. Though Snyder did have a hand in writing it, but alongside Geoff Johns, DC’s “budget Kevin Feige.”

But opinion is just opinion;

Oh, thank goodness.

and here are 5 Reasons Why the DCEU is Working, and could end up being dominant and cohesive shared universe movie saga. 

Terribly written sentences aside, you just stated that opinion is opinion, which is the exact equivalent of saying onion is onion, which takes less time. So why is your opinion opinion a better opinion opinion than anyone else’s?

Start slideshow –

God help us.

#1 It Makes Bigger Headlines

That sure is impressive.

DC makes bigger headlines than Marvel.

Source? Ah, who am I kidding.

And let’s be frank, here. DC’s biggest headlines happen to be more about how the movies are getting ravaged by critics (which Kofi later admits), instead of the headlines Marvel makes on good reviews. Assuming DC does have “bigger” headlines (what, is it like a bigger font or something?), Marvel still has more movies, which is only relevant if we care about quantity over quality, no?

I was there when Chris Evans won the long casting search for Captain America, or Chris Hemsworth won the role of Thor; they were big deal headlines, yes, but they were nowhere near the scope of when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman, or Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. 

That’s nice, but how does that mean the DCEU is working? It really only means that DC has recognizable characters, and we knew that alreadyOf course a casting announcement for Batman is going to get more attention than Thor. How is that indicative of the DCEU working?

The divide is even wider when it comes to villains: No villain Marvel has cast touches announcements like Jared Leto playing Joker or Jesse Eisenberg playing Lex Luthor.

Again, this is a battle not even Marvel cares about. You think they’re losing sleep over the fact that Yellowjacket didn’t have as many depressed journalists covering his casting than they did with the Joker and Lex Luthor, two of the most well-established comic-book villains of all time?

No, they were too busy enjoying the fact that they don’t need superfluous news coverage to dictate the success of their movies. It’s known as Metacritic Heaven.

Trailer releases put things in solid numbers, with the last few years at San Diego Comic-Con proving in indisputable viewer stats that DC movie trailers get more exposure than Marvel’s.

The DCEU has had great trailers, that’s for sure. I watched every Man of Steel trailer dozens of times because I couldn’t get enough. Then the movie utterly failed me and most of the audience. Turns out that good trailers don’t equate good movies, and if your idea of a film universe “working” has more to do with good marketing, then I’ll show you to the door that has a huge Transformers logo on it.

#2 It’s Established an Edgier Alternative

That’s like saying Christian Rock is inherently good because it’s “alternative” to mainstream music.

Nowadays, Marvel movies are released to slightly varying degrees of praise, make and expected level of money (half a billion at least) and pass through theatrical release with few waves. It’s a reliable machine, but does threaten to get a little boring in the long run. 

Yeah, it was really boring when they did a space movie that was nothing like what they’ve done before, a comedy heist movie featuring a guy who talks to ants, and a trilogy closer that rivals The Last Crusade.

BO-RING.

Thanks to Zack Snyder immediately going “full edgy” with his tinkering and re-imagining of DC’s core heroes –

Oh! I’ll finish this for you: everyone wants him fired. Well, not everyone, but everyone who has at least seen Before Sunrise. Or Sucker Punch. Or any other Zack Snyder movie.

the DCEU has established itself as a place where the rules get broken, and not everything is as “Disneyfied” as the squeaky-clean MCU. 

Yeah, I was so annoyed when the MCU decided not to “break rules” by starring a talking raccoon and a tree alien in one of its movies. Or when they pulled off a 70s spy thriller starring Captain America, one of the previously most one-note characters in all of comics.

But DCEU breaks rules left and right! Like when the characters in Suicide Squad fight a villain with a beam of light hitting the sky! And when they wrote Lex Luthor as Edward Nigma from Batman Forever! Or when they used virtually every visual trick and style Zack Snyder has featured in his movies since 300, but with DC characters!

Who would have thought style beats substance?

Long after people stopped caring about Iron Man 3’s shenanigans, they’re still arguing for and against Man of Steel;

Believe me, people still bring up Iron Man 3.

that says the DCEU is like punk rock: the financial returns may lower than a pop-culture formula, but the loyalty and love is exponentially more intense.

Again, though, this is all based on cheap intertextuality. A love and loyalty earned by the comics and previous iterations of the characters, not anything at all what the DCEU has earned on its own. Do you truly believe the majority of these fans would love Batman v Superman if it was featuring characters they didn’t recognize?

Meanwhile, people who’ve never read a comic in their life show up to see Marvel movies, because they don’t rely too heavily on intertextuality to tell a good story. They just tell good stories.

#3 Cult-Status Double Dip

Oh, this feels like a cult, alright.

While the theatrical releases of Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad have all been plagued by harsh criticism, they’ve also achieved a sort of cult-status amongst the fans that embrace them,

Of course they do, and for the same reason people still think the Star Wars prequels are actually good movies. When you want something based on something you love to be good, you find ways to make it good. And since when are comic-book movies intended to be cult films? They’re made to be widely accessible and approachable. You’re essentially admitting that the DCEU is failing to find an audience outside the devoted few who would love anything with Batman and Superman in it.

With BvS:UE still making strong sales (and headlines), DC/WB has pulled off another trick: getting people to double-dip for a movie initially deemed “a failure.”

Yes, the DCEU is doing well in terms of DVD sales, but they’re a fraction of what a worldwide box office will bring you. It’s like saying the DCEU is “working” because they found a $20 bill on the side of the road.

I’ll grant you that a sizable group of fans love the DCEU movies. but that only means the DCEU is working for them. For these movies to become truly successful and grow in that success, they have to speak to larger audiences and prove themselves worthwhile films. But nothing in Kofi’s article explains how specific decisions made by Warner Bros. have yielded better results than they could have hoped for.

#4 Heroe$ & Villain$

Oh, Kofi, you outlaw.

As of writing this, Suicide Squad has just crossed the $500 million mark at the worldwide box office. At a nearly $200 million budget, it’s not a slam-dunk win like, say, Captain America: Civil War, but at three weeks at the top of the domestic box office (and overwhelmingly positive viewer ratings), Suicide Squad is far from the prophesied disaster that would die quickly on bad word mouth. 

A couple things. Like we mentioned earlier, Suicide Squad had fantastic marketing. The trailers sold a lot of people (not literally), many were curious because of the controversy, and many many people were itching to see Margot Robbie and Will Smith. Critics arguably put a sizable dent in the film’s potential returns, but nothing would have stopped the fans from showing up and rightly so.

But what did they think of the movie after they saw it?

Of course, Kofi doesn’t source his “overwhelmingly positive viewer ratings,” and I think he should because the data doesn’t back up his claim. It has a Rotten Tomatoes user rating of 68%, which is more “whelming” than anything else. And its B+ Cinemascore is decent at best. In comparison, Guardians of the Galaxy has a 92% user rating and an A Cinemascore. But hey, onions are onions.

So yes, Suicide Squad is doing well despite terrible reviews. For that reason, I’ve decided that the Transformers movies are “working.” Working to make a few people rich, at least.

the DCEU has now proven that it can make lucrative franchises out of its stable of heroes and villains.

Lucrative? Sure. As lucrative as they expected? No.

And diminishing returns are a big deal, Kofi. If these movies don’t improve in quality, more and more people will stop paying ticket prices to see them. Full stop. Short term success is one thing, but Warner Bros. is smart enough to know that they can’t keep churning out critical duds and expect growth.

#5 Better Woven Saga

Oh, this has to be a joke.

The truth of the matter is

…nothing you’re about to say.

cinematic shared universe world-building is always going to be somewhat clunky, given that a movie is supposed to be a standalone story while shared universes work in episodic chapters

And yet every Marvel movie has been a modest success at the very least. So maybe it’s not that clunky always.

The MCU phased 1 thread connects were superficial and arguably weak: 

This…is a joke a right?

post-credit “Avengers” name drops before anyone knew such scenes existed

…What?

characters like Hawkeye and Black Widow get half introduction while wedged in some one else’s solo film, etc

…What?!

First of all, both Hawkeye and Black Widow had introductions. Not “half” introductions. No one came up to ScarJo, asked her name, and walked away knowing only “Black.” Both characters made sensible appearances to slowly establish themselves before getting better fleshed out when it mattered. How is that weak? How is restraint weak?

The MCU has gotten a lot smarter about weaving its many many threads together (see: Captain America: Civil War), but it had a rough start. 

A rough start? Is that why The Avengers (the culmination of their “rough start”) is the highest-grossing superhero film of all time, complete with some of the highest ratings?

The DCEU, on the other hand, took a standalone film (Man of Steel) and managed to drop enough Easter eggs seamlessly into the mix to create a universe where Batman and Lex Luthor not only already exist offscreen, but are directly impacted by Man of Steel’s events.

What the Rotten Tomatoes Hell is this guy talking about? What easter eggs in Man of Steel are stronger than flat-out introducing characters in MCU films? How was it seamless? How is any of this part of your sentence?

One of the easiest criticisms to lob at the DCEU is their rushed cinematic universe. Instead of a sequel to Man of Steel or a standalone Batman movie, they skipped ahead to a movie with both characters, combining several comic storylines (Dark Knight Returns and Death of Superman) that don’t fit together and shouldn’t even exist at the beginning of a film universe.

Rotten onions are rotten onions. Or are they tomatoes? Now I understand that website.

Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad both grew organically out of both narrative developments in the preceding films, 

Said the most wishful thinker in the history of opinion opinions.

That interactivity and forward-thinking right from the start will inevitably make the DCEU a long-term investment that could come back to pay off in a much more fulfilling way than the MCU.

Forward-thinking? The DCEU has been one of the most reactionary products in modern cinematic history. They’re constantly shifting the tone and talent behind their movies to appease public opinion, hence the debacle that was Suicide Squad‘s final, Jokerless, cut. It’s not a bad thing that they’re at least trying, but to suggest that the DCEU has failed on purpose is an utter joke.

I also take umbrage with the idea that this “investment” will pay off in a more fulfilling way than the MCU. In order for that to be true, I have to rewatch Man of Steel and Batman v Superman one day. But honestly, if the DCEU rights the ship with Justice League and Wonder Woman (fingers crossed), I’m just going to pull a Green Lantern and pretend those first few movies never happened.

Seriously, this entire article is the equivalent of watching an infomercial. “Buy now! Guaranteed results!” It’s one thing to point out reasons for optimism in the DCEU, but it’s another to rewrite history and make your opinion sound factual. While I don’t disagree with Kofi that the DCEU could become a force to be reckoned down the road, he seems to have taken a page from Warner Bros’ handling of BvS, in that he just wants to skip ahead without any of the real work being done.


Thanks for reading this. Seriously. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar.

Or just say hello on Twitter: @JonNegroni


The Big Friendly Conversation

big friendly giant

This week on the podcast, I’m joined by film critic, Will Ashton (who you can follow on Twitter here, and you should because reasons), to talk about The BFGSwiss Army ManThe Purge: Election Year, and tons more topics and distractions worth conspiring.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Which Ilvermorny house were you sorted in? (or which do you wish you had been sorted in?)

Go on…The Big Friendly Conversation

Why I Walked Out of ‘The Legend of Tarzan’

the legend of tarzan

Not long after the halfway mark of The Legend of Tarzan, I did something I almost never do. Something I haven’t done in several years.

I walked out.

The strange thing is that I’ve sat through worse films. Last year’s Pan, for example, was a movie I opted to sit through until the bitter end, and this year’s Divergent Series: Allegiant (while tempting to bail on) had me following along until the moment the credits started rolling.

I’ve sat through The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, both Hitman movies, even Drillbit Taylor, and many more movies that deserve to be listed here. But Legend of Tarzan couldn’t get me to stay in my seat. It lost me around the time a grim and depressing Tarzan played by Alexander Skarsgard forced whoever it was Samuel L. Jackson was supposed to be against a wall with broody threats, despite the fact that this man had saved Tarzan’s life half a scene prior and was the only spark of life to exist in this story.

the legend of tarzan

To be fair, the movie lost me a lot earlier than that when it forced me to read through one of the most boring opening paragraphs set over black screen I’ve ever read, citing various political matters regarding a section of the Congo focusing on characters I know nothing or care nothing about — not because Belgian conflicts in the Congo aren’t interesting, but only because they’re not interesting when I’m in the theater to watch a Tarzan movie.

It’s strange because The Legend of Tarzan does very little to hold its viewers’ hands when it comes to the lore behind the story that this movie is essentially following up. It’s like watching the sequel to a movie that doesn’t really exist, perhaps because they decided enough people have either watched the old serials, read the old books, or even grew up on the Disney movie, even though that is a vastly different take on Edgar Rice Burrough’s original tale.

The movie gets started in a world where the classic Tarzan story already happened a long time ago, and he’s now a rich bloke in England married to Jane. One of the film’s first major red flags to me was how misappropriated the characters were to the plot they were acting. It was as if none of what was said or done mattered to them at all. Even Margot Robbie, who normally infuses quite a bit of energy into any movie she’s in, struggles to seem comfortable in this role and beside a brooding man who says little both verbally and nonverbally.

the legend of tarzan

There’s a glimmer of intrigue in the flashback scenes, which they use to eventually reveal more of Tarzan’s origin. But even these promising and gritty realizations of a boy growing up in a savage jungle are undercut by hideous CGI gorillas that look more dated than Rise of the Planet of the Apes, despite that movie being 5 years old.

Christoph Waltz plays the film’s bad guy, because for whatever reason, Hollywood can’t seem to get over that role they’ve pre-ordained for him because of one incredible performance from seven years ago. In the short time I stuck with the film, Waltz seemed incredibly restrained and unfocused on what was happening around him, very similar to last year’s Spectre.

The movie is bleak, colorless, and a victim to dreary pacing that even Batman v Superman would scoff at. It seems Warner Bros. is trying to capture a very specific aesthetic of dashing cinema that makes seeing these films on the big screen quite worth it. When they get it right, like with Mad Max: Fury Road, they accomplish this in spades.

But it seems these specific restrictions placed on decently talented filmmakers like David Yates manage to cripple most of the spectacle WB is trying to entice us with. The result is a movie like The Legend of Tarzan, which is just so boring and flavorless, I don’t hate it. I’m completely indifferent to it, which is a lot worse.

the legend of tarzan

I can have a lot of fun watching a bad movie. There’s a reason I bought Batman v Superman: Ultimate Edition, against all odds. I find failure just as fascinating to dissect and analyze. But is it interesting to delve through the recipe of a Pop Tart? Maybe for some, and you know who you are, but even a meal that tastes bad can be worth the adventure realizing that fact. The Legend of Tarzan is anything but a worthwhile adventure.

No More Questions: Melissa McCarthy from ‘The Boss’

melissa mccarthy questions

Welcome to No More Questions, where I ask the stars you know and love everything you want to know and love.

When I say I’ve been waiting all my life to sit down with Melissa McCarthy from this weekend’s wide release, The Boss, I really mean to say that I’ve been waiting since I reread the film slate to make sure there wasn’t anyone else on the list.

Two screened phone calls from Jake Gyllenhaal later, I managed to get some face time with the face of McCarthyism, which her publicist keeps emailing me not to say for some reason. Thanks to my spam folder, however, we have a No More Questions made for the fans.

Go on…No More Questions: Melissa McCarthy from ‘The Boss’

Snarcasm: Film Critics Aren’t People Like Us

snarcasm film critics

Snark + Snarcasm = what you’re about to read

I struggled selecting this week’s Snarcasm because at this point, I’m pretty much done talking about Batman v Superman. I’ve reviewed it, talked about it endlessly on the podcast, and I even wrote a list of over 65 problems I have with it.

I’m just done. And while typical Snarcasm fare would involve digesting (then regurgitating) an insanely contrarian piece about Jesse Eisenberg’s “Lex Luthor” being the best version of the character yet…which exists…this week, let’s take a look at something you’ve probably thought at least 300 times in your lifetime.

Film critics aren’t perfect.

snarcasm film critics

For some reason, people think that critics think that they are perfect. That they fancy themselves the end all for whether or not a movie is truly good or bad. Never mind the fact that critics disagree constantly, which is why websites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic exist. But this is the Internet, where all of your presuppositions and knee-jerk opinions are signed into law by Facebook Congress (I’m bad at metaphors).

Sidney Fussell at Tech Insider (because apparently the film blogs didn’t want this hot take) writes:

Here’s the problem with all those bad ‘Batman v Superman’ reviews

Weirdly, but not surprisingly, Sid gives us more than just one “problem” with these reviews. I’ll be honest though and let you know now that I have quite a few problems with this article.

“Batman v Superman” isn’t a perfect film.

When did “this movie is not perfect” become the new preface for setting up an unpopular opinion? Next you’re going to tell us that Superman has a black best friend.

snarcasm film critics
Supergirl beat you to it

 But it would have to be a lot worse to justify its embarrassing dogpiling from critics.

Would it, though? I’m one of the critics who hated it, but it’s not like BvS has a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes (as in 0% of critics liked it). It actually scored a 29%, with most critics being pretty mixed on the movie. In fact, the article Sid links to here mentions that critics almost unanimously praised certain aspects of this film, including Ben Affleck’s take on Batman.

So where is the dogpiling? The film has an average rating on RT of 5/10, which is an even split. You know, the opposite of an uneven split.

Critics are using their “BvS” reviews to express their frustrations with the big-budget superhero genre as a whole.

Holy generalizations, Batman!

First of all, critics have been frustrated with the superhero genre getting oversaturated for a while, now. Age of Ultron had a lot of complaints lobbed at it for this, and weak entries like Fantastic 4 have been eviscerated by critics. What makes BvS so special that it gets a pass for happening to be a bad movie that also exists in an oversaturated genre?

The film had to set up the DC universe, debut new characters, break even on the budget, and keep up with Marvel. Each misstep (and there are many) was reported as a complete disaster. 

Which is exactly the fault of DC for putting all of their hopes and dreams (and ideas) into one movie, when they could have just as easily taken their time and evened out their ambition. The stakes are high because DC is playing a high-stakes game and betting the house on the ponies and other casino metaphors (told you).

The pressure to do it all made for a very uneven film and many critics voiced frustration at what they saw was a rush to set up a lucrative cinematic universe (with endless spin-off and sequel potential) over simply making a good film. 

In other words, “Critics made that criticism because they’re right! What a bunch of morons!”

It’s funny though. The second season of Daredevil stuffs a lot of new characters and plots into its run, and yet critics aren’t taking their frustrations out on Marvel/Netflix. I wish I knew why.

snarcasm film critics
“It’s too dark!” 

When reading the many poor reviews of “Batman v Superman” it becomes apparent that somewhere along the way the action epic morphed from just one subpar action film into the representation of everything wrong with the (admittedly stuffed) superhero genre.

Again, this is because the movie itself is poor. If it had been excellent, no one would have made this observation. You sound like Zuko complaining because he didn’t want to go to the war meeting (“I just wanted to be invited!”)

The huge gap between critic reception and fan response shows that this movie really wasn’t “for the critics.” 

I’ve read this sentiment a lot, and I still don’t understand what it means. What, you made a movie that isn’t “made” for people who study and analyze movies? Do you think that’s a valid sentence to throw at people?

Critics review movies on the basis of how they represent the best of their own genre. Odds are that the critics have seen more superhero movies than many of the “fans,” considering they have to watch hundreds of films each year, including all of the ones you didn’t bother watching because you had the choice.

Telling a critic that a movie “wasn’t for them” is like getting mad at a garbageman for saying your moldy trash bags smell terrible. You don’t have to listen to him, but he’s probably right.

“Batman v Superman” currently has a mediocre to fair 72% audience approval rating with a ghastly 28% critic score.

Good thing people aren’t insanely easy to please.

Look, liking a movie doesn’t make it good, no matter how much I wish people liked Speed Racer as much as I did. Because it turns out that everyone likes bad movies, and it’s just tossup depending on the person.

It’s not the job of the critic to get inside your head and predetermine everything that will satisfy your Narnia mind. It’s your job to interpret a review based on what you know about the critic’s tastes, which is why people read the same critics every week, even if they disagree sometimes.

Amy Adams, who stars as Lois Lane, said the movie simply wasn’t “for the critics.”

Sure, let’s listen to the person who has a financial stake in the film she’s promoting. Not saying that doesn’t mean she’s right, but—

She’s right.

Let’s just settle down.

ultimately critics and audiences go to movies for different reasons: a critic goes to engage with a film, it’s perspective, and decide how well it executes a cinematic vision from this perspective. Audiences, especially for a popcorn action movie, go to be entertained.

Right, critics don’t care at all about entertainment, which is why they never talk about it or base their reviews on it. I’m pretty sure you have to sign an agreement on the “Become a Critic” form that states you can no longer factor in the entertainment of a movie when evaluating how entertaining it is.

If “Batman v Superman” functions well as entertainment, but not as reflective Campbellian metaphysics, then (no matter what critics say) it works.

Correction: a movie “works” if a movie works. The fact is that critics happen to be people as well, and guess what? The movie doesn’t work for them. A lot of people, fans included, don’t think the movie works. The people who do think the movie works have every right to think the movie works for them. But for everyone else who disagrees, it doesn’t work.

You can’t negate that by arbitrarily splitting up two vague generalizations of people groups and simplifying it to match your argument. That also doesn’t work.

And given its success at the box office so far, it’s working fairly well. 

Setting aside the fact that the movie had a record drop in the box office from Friday to Sunday, the big takeaway is that a movie making money is not a reflection on quality. It’s like saying McDonald’s is the best restaurant because it sells the most burgers.

snarcasm film critics

Fans have many new films and heroes to look forward to and most of it isn’t coming from “BvS” Zack Snyder.

I’m one of Snyder’s most vocal critics, and even I cut him some slack on the blame for BvS. A lot of its problems are clearly due to the studio forcing him to add unnecessary plots and teases.

Director Zack Snyder has taken the brunt of the criticism for “Batman v Superman,” with most reviewers saying his vision of an ideologically heavy-action film resulted in clunky, obtuse dialogue.

And for good reason. He may not deserve all the blame, but he certainly deserves most of it. BvS is based on his vision, as you say. And even though he doesn’t concept everything in the movie himself, he signed off on a vast majority of it as director.

And while the many teases to other properties irked some critics, at least fans can look forward to different visions for DC heroes from other directors. The sprawling DC Universe already has 11 more films in the docket between now and 2020, not a solo adventure for Ben Affleck’s Batman. 

That’s it? That’s the end of this article? Are you sure?

Let’s just call it a Thursday and get some McDonald’s.


Hey! If you’ve come across a silly article that deserves the Snarcasm treatment, send it my way via Twitter or the comments below!

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

%d bloggers like this: