Friday, December 04, 2015

Sinking feeling

Way back when I used to review movies for The Muse and The Express I remember that it was always easier to write about movies I hated. Probably not much of a surprise for people who knew me back then. Let's just say I had negative energy to burn and it was easy to sit down at pound away at a keyboard about why the movie was so very, very offensive to me.

I mean, nothing I wrote ever topped my friend Andrew's review of the movie Ski School, which he called Ski Sluts throughout the review. A review so singularly vicious that the local cinemas pulled The Muse's movie review passes for two years. But, you know, I had some game. I could bring the pain when I had to.

But it's not like I want the movies to be bad. I recall someone giving Siskel and Ebert grief, saying how hard a job could it really be to sit in a movie theatre all day and watch movies. Until they pointed out how many hours of their lives they had wasted watching absolute dreck by people not even trying to make something useful. I believe Siskel said it damaged the soul after awhile. I can believe that.

So yes, it's easier to hate on something bad...but I'd just as soon be challenged to write something good about a great movie.

I've also been pretty good at watching movie trailers and getting a fairly accurate vibe on if I'm going to like the movie. For example, I saw the trailers for the Fantastic Four earlier this year and was immediately filled with dread. I really, really wanted that movie to be good, because I have a great fondness for the characters. But it just looked so...wrong.

And wouldn't you know it. Terrible movie. One of the worst reviewed ones of the year.

I was feeling apprehensive about the latest Bond after seeing the trailers, and I was right. I was feeling underwhelmed about the last Hunger Games after the trailers, and I was spot on with that one (the series ended on a decidedly "meh" note). I really try to go into these things with an open mind and not pre-judge. And I can be wrong - I thought Guardians of the Galaxy was going to be terrible based on the trailers - but not very often.

So when we had a tale of two trailers the last week or so - Captain America: Civil War and Batman vs. Superman - I had very different reactions.

Captain America...sign me up. Nice emotional context, some big fight scenes to look forward to and everyone looks so relaxed and comfortable with their roles at this point. It's like the latest instalment from old friends. I could be wrong, but I think that's going to be a movie I'm going to enjoy.

I've yet to see a trailer for Batman vs. Superman that does not fill me with dread. I don't want the movie to suck. I want a good movie, so they go and spin off, maybe get a fun Justice League movie, maybe get a really good Wonder Woman movie...

...but man, it just looks awful.

It just looks so dark and grim. No one ever cracks a smile. It looks like everybody is just massively full of their own self-importance. It looks cool but it doesn't look fun.

The two best online comments I've seen so far.

1. That Jesse Eisenberg appears to be playing Lex Luthor as if he was Mark Zuckerberg doing too much cocaine at a party. Sounds about right.

2. Someone else said the movie looked like a 90s DC comic, a comment that chilled me right to the bone. Sure there were good DC super hero comics in the 90s. But it was the decade of Knightfall (Batman gets his back broken), Death of Superman, polybags and foil covers. It was a decade where gimmicks and stunts covered up the fact that the art and stories were often not very good.

That's what I'm afraid what we have with Batman vs. Superman. Dark, grim, flashy, cool moments and utterly lacking any substance. Say what you will about Marvel movies, they're fun. I really doubt this one will be.

I hope I'm wrong. Got the funny feeling I'll look back on this in March after watching the movie and see that I was eerily psychic.

Last Five
1. Downtown - Matt Mays
2. 19th nervous breakdown - Rolling Stones
3. Sick of you - Cake
4. By Bye love - The Cars
5. Gimme something - Ryan Adams*

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