Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ★★★½

The loudest, angriest blockbuster since Sucker Punch comes across as a moral meditation on our approach toward fighting terror. With the titular superheroes representing polar and irreconcilable worldviews, this becomes a film mostly marked by its pervasive feeling of impotence. Power is treated with suspicion, yet it seems to have very little ability to prevent suffering (it’s telling that Batman’s grandest display of his prowess occurs in a dream). All in all a thought-provoking film for our times that, unsurprisingly, is not what the audience that subsidizes these things wants to see. Instead of escapism, we get explicit nods to the 9/11 attacks and the Benghazi scandal. It’s in many ways a flailing, misguided film, but it is hardly ugly for the sake of being ugly. Snyder’s tendency toward excess amplifies the allegorical stakes and the sensation of violence, which might not be pretty, even if it feels appropriate in this context.

60/100

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