A credible achievement it is to make two features of such lengthiness in one year, Ridley Scott forgets that quantity does not equal quality. Between The Last Duel and House of Gucci is almost six hours of artisanship, but none of it is confident of itself. Where House of Gucci closed itself off from innovation and toured the usual suspects of the biopic genre, The Last Duel relies on an impossibly grand scale and another ensemble. Scott is wasteful and has no way of separating the wheat from the chaff, but he doesn’t need to. There is enough in the grandiose and inspired status of The Last Duel for it to compete on its own level, primarily because there is nothing quite like it anymore.
Asteroids are always threatening Earth. Just today, there were two that skittered on by like bowling balls rolling along the gutter. There’ll be five more in just as many days over the first week of May. We have nothing to worry about. Armageddon thinks not. Instilling within its audience is a fear founded by the dinosaurs. It happened to them; it will happen to us. Michael Bay tends not to disappoint when blockbuster blowouts are concerned. As he opens with the immediate destruction of Earth, narration rolling on saying “…it will happen again, it’s just a question of when,” you get the feeling this is not just a threat from the sentient powers beyond the stars, but from Bay too.
Five years, four hours and $370 million later, this is what Zack Snyder has to show for himself. Justice League, or, to give it the full title should I be hung, drawn and quartered by the bedwetting fans of the DC Extended Universe, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, is the titan-like efforts of a collection of febrile, short-tempered aficionado’s demanding a second shot for their apparition of Christ. It is a testament to the strength of a mass, who can push their king toward another shot at glory. He boldly sits upon the directing throne, waving his hand to the side, and here, offers up his elongated piece. A final chapter to close off a very short book that nobody particularly enjoyed all that much. Here, in all its glory, is the redux edition. A creative has been given the budget of a respectably moderate Hollywood flick to reshoot a film that, compared to the other superhero filler released before and after it, can be considered a flop.
Collating the riff-raff that DC had thrown out to audiences under one umbrella term is no small feat, but to hurry them in a film together to counteract the decade-long head start Marvel received is the signs of a panicked cast and crew. Justice League, like many of these extended universe pieces, is a good idea on paper, and with the right pacing and length of time between them, could certainly have been something more. The blueprint is there but is expectedly foiled by the collaboration of idiots and fools who thought they had hit the peak of their creative powers, when, evidently, they were far from scratching the surface.
Gritty, emotionless nonsense seems to be a speciality of the half-hearted efforts of the DC Extended Universe. Panicked at the head start their rival conglomerates had when crafting a cinematic universe, Suicide Squad jumps the gun, as does Justice League. An ensemble of villains the hardcore comic community will no doubt know about, but the average audience member will know no such thing, and will never need to know. Nothing within this film is worth knowing or considering, and director David Ayer is in on the joke. Surely, he is. As that is the only convincing conclusion to come to when considering his, or the involvement of anyone for that matter, it is safer to consider Suicide Squad a massive practical joke, rather than a concept and creation people made consciously.
To give Zack Snyder a fair chance, we must judge him on the merits of his technical craft, as well as the hurdles he had to jump to get his vision to the screen. No excuses are to be found with the director’s cut of a film. It is their vision, the best they could assemble in the year or two they have slaved away on a piece, hoping to appease those out there that wished for gritty nonsense and super serious tones. Do they work? They could. Had they been implemented correctly, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice could have been somewhat engaging or at the very least come dangerously close to being somewhat interesting. There is no room for quality here, with flatlining pacing, tropes that Snyder drags through his usual tropes and lack of effectiveness.
Horrors linger above in the sky, the unmapped star system beyond this planet strikes fear into those that believe there is something out there waiting to attack. Why we as a Populus are more concerned with what is above than what is below is a striking damnation of our inability to see where real danger lies. We must explore our own planet and the depths it holds before we jet off to the stars looking for trouble. Jun Fukuda considers this with Ebirah, Horror of the Deep. Its title should give way to the obvious ruminations, the crab-like monsters that lurk deep on the ocean surface. What lies underwater is no match for the King of Kaiju, though, as expected, he tears through foes yet again in a competent rendition of monster madness.