Riley’s review published on Letterboxd:
I’m just so tired man, tired of the homogeny, tired of the complete lack of weight, tired of every $200 million dollar production looking like wet concrete, if this is what’s considered a “break from formula” then we’re more doomed than I initially believed. Zhao’s discomfort in having to make something as flavorless as this comes through in every frame. A film that so desperately wants to be a grandiose LOTR level epic yet also feels the need to undercut that scope with prolonged sequences of its cardboard cutout characters having elongated dialogue in the same old tired Whedon-sarcasm that they still haven’t moved on from in almost a decade. I just want something to take the weight of its story seriously ONE TIME, am I going insane for asking that?
IMAX photography does wonders for giving some sense of scale to scenes that would otherwise feel like watching paint dry but as usual they just can never let the scope and visuals breath and speak for themselves, bogged down in almost 3 straight hours (Jesus Christ Sàtàntango felt shorter than this) of expository dialogue of people discussing who they are, what they’re doing, why they’re doing it etc. only for not a single one of these people to stand out. If you’re gonna treat me like a baby at the very least give me a damn treat for it! Anyway, if your films protagonists are apparently ancient all powerful gods as old as time I’d like to actually *feel* that for a single moment, hell love him or hate him at least Snyder knows how to sell the weight of these figures as mythical deity’s, should’ve gotten him on this but I’ll stay quiet! That’s the thing really, I could drone on ad-nauseam about every structural/ formal factor that I just find exhausting and dislike but that’d just be me repeating the same thing that applies to this franchises broader cultural dominance as a whole.
There’s some broad weirder strokes I like here & there especially in the more cosmic elements but all that is once again lost in marvels typical post-production gentrification. Anyway, it’s bad and it’s allusions to Malick are downright hilarious at points but I’ve just accepted I find these so endlessly exhausting at this point so thankfully I’ll have forgotten most of it by tomorrow. Can’t wait for Dune and No Time to Die to finally drop here cause my god I need to be reminded what real movies look like *SOON*.