Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★★★½

There is literally a scene in this movie where a character points a weapon to another character - a man dressed in blue, someone who was previously in a higher position of power than them but is now lying on the floor, powerless, unarmed and in fear of their life - and threatens to kill them.

Character B, the one lying on the floor, responds with something along the lines of this, I don't remember the exact wording, so I must paraphrase: "Please, I have a mother!"

Character A, the one pointing the weapon, instead of coming to the sudden realization that both of their mothers have the same name, simply replies with something along the lines of this: "I don't care if you have a mother."

Snyder's sense of pace is what keeps this film from being a total disaster, but keep in mind that doesn't mean the film has great pacing, far from it, simply that the transitions from scene to scene carry a type of rhythmic cinematic momentum that always keeps you on the edge of your seat - this is probably better than ZSJL in that respect.

But this is also thoroughly underwhelming from most perspectives, filmmaking wise - this first half may be the most formally inventive thing Snyder has ever shot, but this style doesn't work for the actual heist mission, which is incredibly underdeveloped. Why doesn't Snyder switch between his more realistic, free flowing style and his controlled, mythological style of action? He did it in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice!

Thematically, this film just leaves a bad taste in your mouth because of how much it contrasts with the inspirational humanity displayed in Snyder's DCEU films. The fact they decided to release the film without any minor edits was a horrible decision, this just leaves the viewer feeling uncomfortable, distracting them from the actual plot and ideas of the film. It also doesn't help that most of the ideological substance here comes in the first act, and is either very subtly hidden in the next two, or almost completely abandoned in them. Compared to the powerful and sincere empathy of Snyder's DCEU films, this just leaves the viewers uninspired, confused and a bit hopeless. It's hard to tell what Snyder actually believes or agrees in, what's ironic and what is sincere, it's also difficult to point out what the film's opinion on the zombies (which he seems to be unusually uninterested in here) is, or the heist group themselves. Not only that, but the only two characters who have any type of emotional background or development fall flat due to hackneyed writing. This is definitely my least favorite script of the ones that Snyder has worked with up to this point, it includes a bunch of set ups without payoffs (the shamblers reawaken when it rains), and a bunch of payoffs without set ups (lobster rolls)

If you're expecting a thrilling, heart filled romp with Snyder's usual penchant for grandiose and ambitious action sequences, this isn't that (well, unless you only watch the opening credits sequence, which is not only superior to the rest of the film in its action but in its emotion), instead this is a glorified B-movie that feels distinctively much more "Netflix" than Snyder's other works.

The two action sequences that we see before the heist begins - the credits montage and the visualization that happens when Bly Tanaka is explaining the heist - are shot in a much more epic, grandiose and operatic manner than anything that actually happens in the heist scenes, instead those are shot in a completely different manner, not at all similar to the glorious action sequences of 300 and his DCEU saga, this was a probably an intentional "subversion of expectations", but I don't think it's necessary to reduce the quality of your action sequences in order to demonstrate the futility of your protagonist's quest.

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