Bat vs Super: At least the savage reviews are entertaining

As “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” is work of commerce and not art, the critics are free to be amusingly  harsh:

“For the death of cinema, it’s not bad…  “Batman v Superman” stomps and grinds its way to about six false endings, each meant to set up a future film in the franchise.”

Ty Burr, Boston Globe

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”plays like a loose, unofficial quarter-billion-dollar remake of “The Odd Couple,” in which Oscar and Felix are literally trying to kill each other.”

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

“Its two-and-a-half-hour running time — not so much a “dawn” as an entire morning spent watching the clock in anticipation of lunchtime…The studio has, in the usual way, begged and bullied critics not to reveal plot points, and I wouldn’t dream of denying you the thrill of discovering just how overstuffed and preposterous a movie narrative can be.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). Hints of sexuality and of extreme brutality are meant to make it seem daring and serious.”

A. O. Scott, New York Times

“Regardless of the seemingly interminable years it took to put together,Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice feels both hastily made and expensively shoddy…  It’s hard to put too much of the onus on the people we see in front of the camera, even if Cavill and Eisenberg both turn out career-worst performances…  his (director Snyder) usual eye for imagery is muted by the film’s hideous, monotonous color palette and generic approach to set pieces. He has shot a slick, dull and overlong car commercial, interrupted by monsters.

Andy Crump, Paste

“In practice, it’s two CGI effects whaling on each other, and shouting manifestos: “The world only makes sense if you force it to,” Batman yells at Superman while pummeling him repeatedly for no discernable reason…When Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), finally turns up, abruptly and without backstory, she becomes the film’s highlight simply by being less miserable and morally compromised than anyone else onscreen.”

Tasha Robinson, The Verge

“We all know superheroes don’t die, not when there are reboots in the balance. After this one, you’ll wish a few of them did.”

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York



Knight of Cups

Knight of Cups is a Terrence Malick film:  elusive, beautiful, suggestive of an autobiographical account of a spiritual exercise.

If the main reason you go to the movies is to be entertained, you will probably not enjoy this.  While departing my screening, I overheard one fellow theater goer say after powering his phone: “Wow, that was only two hours.”

On the other hand, if the idea of sitting back and letting the cinematic equivalent of a tone poem wash over you sounds appealing, this may just be your cup of tea.  Just be aware that what’s presented is the experience of someone trapped midway on their journey through life, rather than a tale of someone finding their way out of the dark woods.  The protagonist seeks distraction or meaning from six different romantic relationships, but the promised of an initial voiceover we don’t see a pilgrim’s progress, but a cyclical repetition of similar circumstances.

There is very little narrative, about 75% of it is shared in the trailer.  On the other hand, there is a surfeit of arresting images: of Los Angeles, of nature, of the striking women that Christian Bale’s character has relationships with.  Some people will complain that these women are manic anima dream girls, without  motivations or a well defined personality.  At the same time, we learn almost nothing directly about the protagonist, his family, or anyone else in the the film, so I don’t know that it would be  fair to see Malik as treating the female characters particularly instrumentally.