Well, you're probably aware that you're not alone. The vast consensus is that this tentpole project for the DCEU was a failure. However, with the passage of time, hate fatigues. The fire of rage can only burn so long, and with it ebbing down to embers we have to look back and wonder… was it really that bad? One YouTuber says hell yes. In his three-part, feature length video-essay series, Bob "MovieBob" Chipman is explaining in unremitting detail why Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is Really That Bad. If you don't know why this should excite you, then settle in.
You may recall two years ago when the Adam Sandler movie Pixels came out, how a review of it went viral, which said (among other things) "This is the kind of movie that shouldn't be "reviewed" so much as fed through a malfunctioning industrial shredder." That review was the brainchild of MovieBob. He's a Boston based reviewer who has been an online film critic since 2005, and a prolifically visible personality since about 2009. His matter-of-fact delivery, plain-stated honesty, and academic frame of nerd-reference (combined with occasional bursts of disbelieving hyperbolic outrage) have carried him from his platform on The Escapist, through independent YouTube production, to his now regular review spot at geek.com.
As part of his output he produces a series called Really That Good. In it he reviews movies that are generally held to be classics (Ghostbusters Titanic, The Matrix), and re-examines them to ascertain exactly why they continue to inspire and entertain. His latest piece on Batman vs Superman is the flip side of this. He takes a scalpel and rib-spreader, and explains, in exquisite detail, why this film is as bad as you think it is.
His approach is all encompassing, there's no other word for it. Not only is he acutely aware of the passive negativity that surrounds this film, he has also been profoundly exposed to the vehemence that the film inspires in its defenders. To that end he addresses minute detail after minute detail, making addendum after addendum to name check (and then body check) common and uncommon defenses of the movie. It is exhaustive, and occasionally exhausting, but always damn fascinating. He discusses the film as (among other things) a product of a conflict between three-act and five-act structure, compares it beat-by-beat to The Avengers, looks at execution versus intent, and hammers home death-blow after death-blow to any pretense at acceptability this move has.
Now, while this is an experience of the negative, it's worth noting that Bob gives credit where it is due. He praises director Zack Snyder's abilities (he is one of very few people who gave a positive review to Snyder's Sucker Punch), and takes time to say nice things about a few choice parts of the film. Of course, given the title, the vast majority of this is searing indictment, but as a long time viewer of Chipman's work, it's important to remind newcomers that with him positivity always comes first. This is, after all, a one-time spin-off of a show dedicated to praise over hypercriticism.
Though when he lays into a property… boy howdy does Chipman know how find the jugular. Really That Bad: Batman Vs Superman is a brilliant post-mortem/living dismemberment. With references to film theory and classical structure, criticisms that range from the broad to the discrete, and plenty of choice hyperbole, he picks apart this film in the same manner that the meat industry picks apart a dead animal. He makes use of every part, leaves nothing on the bone, and then grinds up the bone. If you need a cathartic release pre/post Justice League (baring in mind its hugely troubled production process, and initial poor reviews), this is definitely it. The first part of the series is now live, the second and third parts will be following in due course. If you've ever had an argument over this movie, then this is a show for you.
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Thomas Burns Scully is a PopDust contributor, and also an award-winning actor, playwright, and musician. In his spare time he writes and designs escape rooms. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
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