Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Zack Snyder: choosing brilliance over coherence

Well, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is getting slammed by the majority of film critics so far, although the complaints about the Zack Snyder directed film--choppy, slow, a mangled storyline, grandiosity, too grim and dark--are not really things that would keep away from the film. Admittedly I've been a Snyder fan since seeing  300, his sword-and-sandals hit, and I've even been a defender of his much maligned riot grrll slug fest Sucker Punch. Plainly, ZS is one of those directors who has a visual style so commanding and brilliantly mounted , film to film, that style literally trumps substance in a very big way. In the case of Sucker Punch , which has a plot line that is easily explained-- an orphan teen girl is consigned to an orphanage where evil management markets them as nubile prostitutes to flabby white men with money and big cigars, and who's protagonist is able to enter another realm altogether by performing provocative dances --but is impossibly muddled in the movie's presentation, Snyder's bravura visuals, honed in comic book action panels, keep the film from being a waste. 

There is evidence of genius in how this man puts together his set pieces, scenes so amazingly executed, CGI and all, that we may have to reconsider what it is we mean when we use the term "masterpiece". Toward that consideration, let me say that I've seen Sucker Punch in it's entirety four additional times since seeing it in the theaters, and have watched large chunks of it on the premium cable channels while staying up beyond my bed time. Yes,the movie is incoherent, but I've seen it several times and I've more than one spirited (and surprisingly lucid) defenses of the film against those determined to make an audience think that Snyder is incompetent. My revisionist take on the auteur theory would advise that Zack Snyder is the Fellini of the Digital Age, a master of crushing spectacle more intrigued a a vivid since of the world, a world beset by seers, odd gods, super heroes and villains, guns, swords, collapsing skyscrapers and splendid evocations of steam punk contrasted against futuristic gleam; his vision over takes all, and his narrative style, at times, fails the visuals under way. It's like trying to find the exact words to describe the best or worst dream you've ever had. In any event, I suspect I 'll find BvS:DoJ entertaining, maybe even evidence of more divisive genius. Or maybe this will the Snyder where I find his maneuvers predictable and tattered in the over use. I will report what I find soon enough.

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