BvS: Dawn of Justice vs Deadpool

Discussion in 'Movies and Shorts' started by Tyroc, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. Tyroc

    Tyroc Deactivated Account

    Sep 5, 2015
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    ‘Deadpool’ Isn’t the Only Solution. But ‘Batman v Superman’ Is the Problem.

    What say thee @DreG ?

    APRIL 12, 2016

    Like a lot of people last weekend, I spent some time catching up with “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

    When it was over, I, too, was overcome with the urge to brood, mope and cultivate stubble I could ponderously stroke while asking, “What’s the most ridiculous thing about this movie?”

    Maybe it’s that a fight between Batman and Superman is fundamentally illogical. (Uh, he’s super, man.) Maybe it’s that the fights are treated with onerous seriousness by real scientists, journalists, cable-news bigmouths and sitting senators. (You, Patrick Leahy? Again?) Maybe it’s that Shostakovich fugue on the soundtrack — Shostakovich! Or maybe it’s the persecution and martyring and pietà-cradling and resurrection done to, and by, a certain Man of Steel — and just in time for Easter weekend!

    Yes, all that. But what’s really most ridiculous about “Batman v Superman” is its lugubrious solemnity and generic philosophizing. The movie is debating moral absolutism. It’s trying to locate the line between superheroism and nihilism, between virtue and vice, between being good and being a psycho. But those lines were found in early February. They ran straight through “Deadpool,” the scuzziest of this recent rash of comic-book adaptations and one of the year’s most popular films.

    Where “Batman v Superman” weighs a desperate ton, “Deadpool” mocks that weight. Its opening credits announce, for instance, that it was directed by “an Overpaid Tool,” which the finished product does little to dispute. In Ryan Reynolds, it has a leading man playing a salty mercenary whose face, body and vanity are so badly disfigured that his costume disguises both who and what he thinks he is: ugly. It’s a get-up that lands somewhere between Spider-Man and the Gimp’s S-and-M outfit in “Pulp Fiction.” But where brooding over misfortune typifies this world, Deadpool prattles through action sequences. He prances.

    Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne tinkers over state-of-the-art gadgetry with his manservant Alfred (Jeremy Irons), while Deadpool and his roommate — a blind black woman (Leslie Uggams) — trade insults and commiserate over the shoddiness of Ikea furniture. This is to say that “Deadpool” is the most insolent example of where the comic-book movie has been headed: anti-serious, acutely aware of its genre’s clichés, arguably satirical, increasingly repulsed by self-consecration and committed to fun.

    “Batman v Superman” is the sort of movie “Deadpool” is pantsing. So is a series like the “X-Men,” of which “Deadpool” is a spiked offshoot. A great deal of “Batman” revolves around the moral propriety of a great, big public statue of Superman that wouldn’t be out of place on the cover of an Ayn Rand novel. You want to commend this movie’s stabs at thoughtfulness. But it’s stabbing with a spork. At some point you have to laugh.

    Envy of Superman’s Christ-ness so consumes Mr. Affleck’s Batman that he’s dreaming in messiah complexes. Awake (but scarcely alive), he’s so confused: Does he want to be Jesus or Pontius Pilate? Decisions. Our two heroes lock eyes, make threats and throw each other around. (Henry Cavill plays Superman and Clark Kent in the way oak can play a chair.) The exchange of blows might have imparted a homoerotic charge. But this movie is: So. Angry. Under the professional-wrestling circumstances, that “v” in the title just looks like somebody decapitated a heart.

    To sit through this — and there’s a lot to sit through (Senate hearings, newsroom slapstick, Scoot McNairy doing Lieutenant Dan from “Forrest Gump”) — is to see both rage and piety hit a wall. “Batman v Superman” features the latest in a handful of live-action incarnations of Batman since 1989 and Superman since 1978. Putting Gotham City across the river from Metropolis just combines two sites of “been there done that.” Insisting on the holiness of it all lands in the tiny crack between “duh” and “you just told me this.”

    The director is Zack Snyder, the maker of “300,” “Watchmen,” “Sucker Punch,” and “Man of Steel.” Piety is the only mode he’s got. It’s the only mode most of these comic-book movies have had: suffering, oppression, misunderstanding, apocalypse. For a decade and a half, from the first wave of “X-Men” movies to Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, terroristic disaster is now the ultimate signifier of seriousness.

    The quest for topical immediacy turns queasy fast. Fifteen years ago, people talked about the Sept. 11 attacks as something that seemed out of the movies. Now that day culminates in movies, over and over, until you’re appalled or inured — which is, of course, appalling.

    We’ve seen the movies attempt to refract the world as the great comic books do, but often without their un-self-conscious power and with a sense of burden. The “Avengers” series, for instance, has to top not only its spinoffs but also itself.

    Directors as different as Jon Favreau (the first two “Iron Man” movies), Shane Black (the last one) and Kenneth Branagh (“Thor”) have tried to install levity and classicism. The “Avengers” movies, including spinoffs built around Captain America, dramatize the country’s civil-liberty and national-security skirmishes. They also bury those political fights to wage a war whose visual language evokes real-world destruction in a way that cheapens the extant impact of its “source material.”

    So burden, in these movies, is often all you feel. The burden has been lucrative, it’s true. So “if ain’t broke …” and all of that. But the genre’s rhythms and tropes, its politics, allegories and story arcs have become so familiar — Hark: Here’s a character at the very end of a movie, staring into the distance, speaking to another character about how they’ll have to get together and do this again, in a sequel — that you have to laugh at that, too.

    And the movies also started laughing. In the summer of 2014, while “Batman v Superman” was in production at Warner Bros., Marvel and Disney opened “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Officially, it hailed from the Marvel universe, and its ragtag-crew-commits-a-caper-in-outer-space plot keeps its tongue in the source material’s cheek. But it was closer to “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” than “Captain America.”

    The distance between “Guardians” and the average Marvel movie captured the spirit of life and lawlessness. It was more concerned with pop moviemaking than with burnishing the larger Marvel brand, per se. (At the end of the day, Marvel still used the movie to whet appetites for more “Avengers”-adjacency. But it maintained the illusion of independence.)

    A year later came “Ant-Man,” a happy little comedy that no one seemed to want but lots of people were glad they saw. It, too, came from Marvel but had far more in common with “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and late ’80s, early ’90s contraptions from Amblin Entertainment, which, at the time, was bringing you stuff like “Gremlins 2” and “Arachnophobia.” The surprise of “Ant-Man” was it had nothing on it shoulders, no chips, no boulders, no wings. It’s another “Avengers” satellite but one that seems to run into the mother ship by accident. What entertained me wasn’t fealty to its source but the pleasure its makers took in creating and sustaining lightness.

    But nothing is laughing harder or louder or more obnoxiously at the state of the superhero movie than “Deadpool.” It is nothingness. It believes in violence, but that’s about all it believes in: slashing and stabbing and shooting and — with Mr. Reynolds splashing figurative vinegar in the title role — sarcasm. And the nihilism is not without its charms.

    These self-conscious comedies — “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Ant-Man,” “Deadpool” — seem as if they’ve sprung from the comic-book film’s need to self-preserve, self-regenerate and self-mythologize, while forgoing weirdness and ingenuity and glee.

    They are almost a fun-house mirror of the presidential election. These insurgent movies rail against establishment pictures, inasmuch as a major studio movie can be insurgent. (And by “Deadpool” standards, the money isn’t all that: “Deadpool” cost a reported $58 million to make, versus $250 million for “Batman v Superman” and the most recent “Avengers” movie.) In both politics and at the megaplex, disgust with the same old, same old has produced an appetite for change.

    Deadpool spends his movie being nagged into shedding his amorality by joining the dysfunctional but unimpeachably moral X-Men, which, having inspired at least two generations of films, counts as an establishment. Their primary representative here is the steel-skinned (and generally underused) Russian giant Colossus, whose stern earnestness Deadpool joyously mocks. In the manner of a certain billionaire Republican candidate, Deadpool thinks those guys are losers.

    “Batman v Superman” has grossed well more than a half-billion dollars worldwide, but even fans are grousing. We’re now at a point where these movies are happening to us. Studios make, we go. Our relationship is almost reflexive, like breathing — or belching.

    The movie insurgency looked to be a Marvel-only outbreak. But DC Comics, Batman and Superman’s home, is scheduled to release its own allergic reaction later this year with “The Suicide Squad,” which stars Will Smith leading a bunch of jailbird supervillains and may as well be called “Dawn of Injustice.”

    Obviously, the studios get to have it both ways, talking out of both sides of their mouths. Ambien-like tradition, coked-up nihilism: They’re going to the bank, either way. It’s big-tent blockbustering. But in the theaters themselves, something has changed. We’re now laughing with the self-consciousness, lunacy and happy incompetence that just a few years ago in, say, those “Ghost Rider” movies, starring a fully committed Nicolas Cage, we were laughing at. Time will tell whether this is signal or noise. But for now, the vulgar, cheap-to-finance “Deadpool” has been so intensely popular, that he should be running for president in the sequel.
    DreG dapped this.
  2. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub I gave the Loc'ness monstah about $3.50
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    Aug 12, 2015
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    All this here. Co-sign.
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  3. DreG

    DreG is a Featured MemberDreG Art Heaux
    Squad Veteran Most Valuable Player The 1000 Daps Club Supporter

    Aug 21, 2015
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    One of it's many failings is it tried to do so many epic things without earning them.You could defend it if they'd made you care about why the action was happening.They have to realize Superhero isn't a genre,but that you have to find the niche of each story ,which is why Marvel suceeds.
    #3 DreG, Apr 14, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2016
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