This spring’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was designed to kickstart (again) the formation of a new DC movie universe, but failed to meet box office expectations. Critics call the film convoluted and unnecessarily grim. DC and Warner Bros. have reacted to by reportedly adding humor to the upcoming Suicide Squad and Justice League films. But according to one video blogger, there’s a more fundamental flaw to Batman v Superman: Zach Snyder’s obsession with creating cinematic moments.
In his latest video, Evan Puschak, aka NerdWriter, notes that the franchises’s problems run deep than Man of Steel and Batman v Superman’s bleak perspective. Rather, it’s Snyder’s style over substance slow-motion moments, reliance on close-ups, and obsession with montage. "What Batman v Superman really lacks is scenes," he explains, "actual scenes, not just filler between moments."
It's difficult to create iconic cinematic moments intentionally
Anyone who’s seen Snyder’s films will recognize what Puschak means here: his films are filled with visually stunning frames that feel expressly engineered to elicit awe from the audience. Tons of films have these moments, but Pucshak notes that it’s incredibly difficult for a film to survive on awe alone: it’s sort of like a company social media marketer trying to create a blockbuster meme — you can see what they’re trying to do, but it doesn’t quite work.
This is the fundamental issue with Batman v Superman and Man of Steel: each film feels as though their stories are designed around these moments of awe, rather than the other way around. Pucshak isn’t just going out on a vague feeling: he points to Snyder’s underwhelming use of location to ground his characters, and lack of effort to spend time to give the characters time to connect with their viewers.
Essentially, his argument is a basic one: Batman v Superman is mostly flash, with little substance to give it staying power with audiences. Its director chooses moments over story. Hopefully, some of the changes made to the forthcoming DC slate will include fixing this basic, but incredibly important flaw.