have u watched the nerd writer's video on bvs? I'd love to know your thoughts about it :) kinda breaks my heart because he's one of my favourite channels :'(
I too love that channel and I too feel a bit ambivalent about the video and the fact that its existence has now produced the necessity to address whatever was said, but I suppose that’s life hahaha. We will deal with the assertion about Moments v Scenes in general and the means by which Nerdwriter1 arrives at his conclusion.
In titling the video essay “Moments v Scenes” Nerdwriter1 suggests a dichotomy between the two, much like the difference between arias and exposition in opera. The essence of the difference between the two is grounded in the question of whether the characters inhabit the space as if they truly exist there. According to Nerdwriter1, when there is an oversaturation of shots that are meant to convey awe (much like an aria), then the film itself falls flat on its face. There is some semblance of truth to this - I’ve always grown tired very quickly when watching jukebox musicals as opposed to other musical theatre productions because too much of a good thing is too much. Nerdwriter1 opines that Snyder overuses moments - the so-called “cool shots” - in his filmography.
Generally speaking, I think there is something to be said about Snyder’s reliance on iconography as a means of storytelling. This tradition features very strongly in medieval art, and is rather alien to modern audiences who haven’t been raised on socialist realism or some variant of the like. That is what’s underpinning what Nerdwriter1 has called “moments” in his video essay, and the point I wished he had made instead of coining his own technical terms and divorcing film from other mediums. But I digress. I think this whole discussion raises questions about filmmaking and effective storytelling that cannot be fully addressed at present, or perhaps at all, because of the palpable possibility of running into the subjective realm of personal taste. For instance, we’ve all noticed Snyder’s reliance on allegory and I think to remedy the moments versus scenes criticism as Nerdwriter1 has expressed would require some of the shots which function on both a literal and allegorical level to be composed in a more literal manner. To me, this would be stripping the shot of its narrative power - there are viewers like me who experience frisson from being able to identify intertextual references as such, and why should I not be able to enjoy the film in this way? Moreover, the distinction between moments and scenes as presented in the video is not as clear as it should be once Nerdwriter1 begins to apply his theory to specific examples from the film, and there is a sense he evokes the famous line from Jacobellis v Ohio - “I know it when I see it” - as a panacea of sorts in his analysis. It is trite to point out that absence of clarity impedes certainty - things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.
We next turn to the methodology used. Nerdwriter1 confines his analysis to the theatrical cut of BvS and invokes 300 in order to draw a general observation (or malady) about Snyder’s filmmaking. The use of evidence is problematic simply because the theatrical cut, as we all know, was never Snyder’s first intention but Warner Bros’s decision, and therefore attributing the length of scenes in the theatrical cut to Snyder is essentially force-fitting evidence to support his hypothesis. His point can still stand but the weight of his argument (and I would venture to say that the rigour of his methodology) is already thrown into question, because the criticism made is buttressed by the length of time spent in any one location in the film. This affects the persuasiveness of the overall argument.
As mentioned, the distinction as presented in the video itself is in fact rather vague but I think Nerdwriter1 ultimately alludes to the relationship between the setting and characterisation as the basis of his argument. He elevates this relationship as a function of setting, using the farmhouse scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron as a key example of a “scene”: a shot that humanises the characters, or throws light upon their motivations. In order to play up the relationship a character has with the space, Nerdwriter1 also thinks that medium shots, close-ups and extreme-close-ups have been overused in the film.
I think these are good points to make. But the examples drawn from the film (apart from Lois standing in the rain to confront Swanwick, which incidentally makes me think about Joe Wright’s decision to have the first proposal in the rain in his Pride & Prejudice) do not support his overall contention that there is such a problem with BvS. BvS can be interpreted as a cautionary tale about isolation; it stands to show that the shots reflect this in their almost claustrophobic emphasis on the interior when characters cease being men of action and instead look inward. That’s the reason why the Fortress of Solitude is presented in such an ambiguous manner, or the fact that the real Clark is trapped within the inner space of his (Lois’s?) apartment against the discourse about him outside. Bruce is also most at ease in the Batcave. When isolated from the world our heroes begin to truly exist as themselves instead of the masks they wear (which allows for scenes like the bathtub scene to humanise them, and also plays up the Bruce’s mind-forged manacles), but it also means they are confined and the film highlights how confinement can have deleterious effects on their engagement with the outside world. Much like how the conflict was predominantly psychological (and the final battle the culmination of that struggle) it is the metaphysical and not the physical we are to focus upon, and the shots serve that purpose exactly. Assuming I have not misunderstood the crux of Nerdwriter1′s essay - and I hope not, having watched it 4 times because I struggled to distill the essence of his argument - I’m afraid I’m mostly unconvinced.
Zack Snyder has given us so much. He has given us the perfect cast, he gave us Batman and Superman fighting each other on the big screen, he’s giving us a Justice League movie, he gave us a freaking 2 and half minute long trailer for Justice League even though they’re not even halfway through shooting and the movie is over a year away. Even if you didn’t like Batman v Superman (personally, I loved it) don’t send him hate for it. At the end of the day he’s just another fan wanting to tell a story and he told it the best way he could. He does not deserve any of the shit he’s been given, both from fans and from critics (who are clearly biased). Booing him when he came on to the stage at comic con was so disrespectful. Think for a minute how crushed that must have made him feel when he is trying his best.
BVS: A very “serious movie” dealing with “serious subject matters and themes” that lacks any “humor” or “Fun.”“Too dark” “I no understand” “Y NO DanCe off or talking racoons?!” - Rotten Tomato “Critics”
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) dir. Zack Snyder