For the best part of a decade now, Hollywood marketers has shown a penchant for promoting the ‘visionary’ – you’ll be familiar with trailers claiming the latest film hitting your multiplex as being from ‘visionary director [INSERT NAME HERE]’. Our research suggests the trend started around the time of Watchmen’s first trailer in 2008, which featured the line ‘From the visionary director of 300.’ This credit provoked some questioning; that comic book adaptation’s director, Zack Snyder, only had two prior feature credits to his name before being awarded this lofty title: fellow faithful comic adaptation 300, and a remake of Dawn of the Dead. Was it premature to label this figure a visionary based on little evidence of his own originality?
Further ‘visionaries’ have been cited in trailers since, some of which have made more sense, but the latest example to get some pundits a-tweeting was the initial trailer for asylum horror A Cure for Wellness, which attributed the status to director Gore Verbinski. The Verbinski who helmed much of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise that went so stale? The man whose last film, The Lone Ranger, was a notable box office bomb?
Is Gore Verbinski a visionary director? Our verdict: a resounding yes, actually…
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Of the numerous problems with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, one of them is quite succinctly illustrated by one scene in the film’s back half. It sees Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck, aka Batfleck) browsing some top secret files, many of which concern the mysterious Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) who’s been popping up throughout the film, mostly being all cipher-like because her solo movie isn’t out until next year. This scene includes what may be a cinematic first: a character in a film literally looking at a promo still for a real film that’s yet to come out, in this case a picture of Gadot’s Wonder Woman in her forthcoming film’s 1918 period setting, posing with various recognisable faces (Chris Pine, Ewen Bremner) that will presumably make up her posse – not just a picture of her, but a glance at the supporting cast.
The need to shoehorn any and all set-up references to future entries in the DC ‘extended universe’ that this movie is properly kicking off – Man of Steel didn’t seem like a primer for anything but another solo Superman tale – isn’t the only major issue with the film (and it’s not like Disney’s Marvel efforts are any less guilty of it), but it ties in well with another complaint: Dawn of Justice is a needlessly byzantine mess. A lot of stuff happens, and very loudly at that, but so little of it ultimately coheres. It’s overstuffed to the point that Superman (Henry Cavill, asked to stick to scowling this time) is practically relegated to the status of glorified supporting role…
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