So in honour of the new Justice League trailer, can I ask you what you feel are the top ten worst things about the DCEU movies so far?
*grins evilly, cracks knuckles*
Let’s get this one out of the way:
10. This fucking shot right here
“Pretentious” does not even begin to cover it. And that expression! I don’t have much nice to say about Henry Cavill in these movies, but I do enjoy his utter inability to hide his embarrassment at what he’s participating in at this moment.
9. The Why Did You Even Bother Club: Lois Lane, the Daily Planet, Rick Flag & June Moon, the media, the military, Congress…
Remember how The Avengers had this idea of Agent Coulson as the in-universe fanboy who understood the team better than anybody, and how the best part of Age of Ultron was the trip to Hawkeye’s farm? So why do the “human” elements of the DCEU feel so forced and stale?
8. Someone needs to go to jail for these action scenes
I thank the gods that I (unlike many of my friends) walked into Man of Steel sober, because Snyder’s destruction porn in that movie is a truly bad trip. Everything you need to know about the dude is in this juxtaposition: when he’s showing a building breaking apart, he wants you to see details, dammit, this is his canvas. When he has to cut to, y’know, humans, they’re dully shot and horribly lit, and his impatient desire to get to the next orgasmic splash-panel-shot is palpable. Elsewhere, the Doomsday sequence in BvS not only extends the plot far beyond its logical climax (the dictionary definition of overkill), it’s an unbelievably dull and drab nesting doll of mushroom clouds, pure headache-inducing sound and fury signifying nothing, my least favorite superhero throwdown on screen…until the Enchantress fight in Suicide Squad, which had me in tears in the theater, I was laughing so hard.
7. Pa Kent wants you and your children dead, you hear me? DEAD!
This may be the single worst aspect of Man of Steel specifically. I hate it on every level. I hate that Pa Kent spouts this BS, I hate that we’re supposed to take it seriously, I hate how it bogs down the post-Krypton story with no real weight or payoff (since we already know that Adult Clark is saving people by the time we get his Dad’s speech about not doing so), I hate that entire unbelievably dumb tornado scene, and I hate how freakin’ casual Snyder and Goyer are about death throughout this SUPERMAN STORY. Supes kills Zod, screams that scream…and then he’s downing satellites with a smirk, and biking through an apparently just-fine Metropolis, and hahaha look, glasses! Tone? Stakes? What are those? What was the point to him killing Zod other than Snyder getting that fetishistic close-up of the scream? Man of Steel was always going to be a bad movie, but this is where it became a Bad movie.
6. THIS IS KATANA
SHE’S GOT MY BACK
5. Batman v Superman is I Took Half a Philosophy Course, The Movie
Every single second of this insufferable thing is screaming at you to take it seriously. Every. Single. One. And it’s earned maybe 2% of the time, usually when it directly swipes a line from a comic. There’s nothing else to most of these scenes—just This Is Dramatic, with no attention put into the “this” from the basic “we need to care about these people” angle that Marvel generally has a lock on. The ambition falls flat. In particular, the worldbuilding sequences in BvS (the Injustice future, the Flash visitation, the videos of future JL members) constitute some of the clumsiest and most misguided scenes ever in a comic book movie, because they thoroughly ratfuck the tone, pacing, and focus in the most masturbatory manner imaginable outside of literal porn. (Has there ever been a less appropriate use of Exciting Pump-You-Up music than when Wonder Woman is…sitting at her laptop…watching QuickTime videos?)
4. Scene to scene, line to line, end to end, every storytelling decision in Suicide Squad is wrong
I don’t demand a movie make perfect logical sense for me to like it, and nitpicking about plot holes often aggravates me, because there are many more important things to making and watching movies. What I demand is that you not assemble your movie like a dozen different food-poisoning-induced fever dreams all happening simultaneously. When you have to literally actually reshow parts of your “villain launches their evil plan” sequence (kind of an important part of a comic book movie!) because it was so confusing and poorly communicated the first time through, you’ve lost any semblance of structural coherence. This isn’t clever nonlinear storytelling. This is an abysmal, abyssal editing fail. Honestly, given the garbage fire behind the scenes, Suicide Squad barely counts as a finished movie.
Final three slots reserved for the fatal performances. You know the ones.
3. How did you let Jared Leto keep doing this after day one
How did you not brain him with a shovel or something
2. Why, though
Why would you do this to us
And of course, at #1…
1. This ostensibly sentient block of granite you insist on calling Clark Kent
Ok, that’s not entirely fair. He’s poorly cast, written, and directed. The DCEU is fundamentally broken because its central character does not work. He’s got two modes–deadly boring and straight-up deadly–and neither is compelling. I’m far from the first to say it: this is a Superman for people who never liked Superman.