Critics are hard on this film because it is a betrayal of the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies spirit of parody and satire. No one at WarnerMedia cared about skewering itself–The Simpsons and Fox, anyone?–so the movie has way too much product placement done in the name of homage to more than 50 years of entertainment. The goal should be to generate laughter at the expense of the product and the studio, not to humble brag about how you have the world’s minds on lock.
P.S. See below for a classic example of Warner Bros. making fun of itself.
“The only natural resource in the world that there is too much of: girls.” Because of the topic addressed, that line, uttered by the old-time Bond villain in this old-time-Bond-meets-Jason-Bourne flick, deserved a much more significant movie than this. At this point, the Marvel formula of drama-action-joke-repeat is irresistible to its shareholders, I’m sure, but it’s sad and a little frustrating to see such a good movie, led by a great star, subtly and not-so-subtly work against itself. When the accompanying (connected by Disney+) Simpsons shortis only slightly more light than a serious, well-meaning film, it might be time for Marvel/Disney to re-assess after making the bank deposit.
Okay, right, remember the Racer X storyline from Speed Racer? Now, remember UPN‘s much-maligned Homeboys From Outer Space? (You don’t! Good for you! LOL!) So put them together and you have…..well, if there was any doubt this is a past-films-cameo/supporting scene superhero franchise….. If you love these characters (as I have learned to do for about four films now, since The Rock was the group’s enemy), just go and have a good time!
Verdict: Much better than Joss Whedon (and I’m not by a long shot Snyder’s biggest fan; he thinks every superhero film is his Watchmen in disguise), but you should watch the chaptered film as a six-part mini-series. (Steppenwolf was actually a great villain! Who would’vethunk?!?) What was fascinating to me was how much the Black characters–Cyborg and his father–were the center of the story; Ray Fisher and Joe Morton are probably celebrating, and should! Worth the wait, and I hope this very dark universe will continue in episodic TV form on HBO Max. Superfriends overload? Never!
UPDATE: So it was supposed to be episodic TV, a mini-series, from the beginning of the HBO Max deal, but…..
Why these Carr-Hunter discussions are growing in popularity. Look how Dr. Carr links Chadwick to: a) Black playwrights, b) Black bookstores, c) Black protest, d) to Black cultural development. And then e) THOTH!
I thought it was important to put my thoughts on the record here since I unofficially now have a LOT of reviews online:
I see my “job” as a cultural critic to hold up a clean glass and a dirty glass and evaluate whatever it is I’m reviewing at to where it fits on that scale. I strive for fairness and proper perspective. If I was reviewing, say, Battle of the Planets: The Complete Series, I wouldn’t compare it to The Smurfs. Different glasses, different classes of merriment. The wand (the perspective to review from, which comes from the topic) chooses the wizard (the review).
My “issue” is that too many Black intellects want to play in radical waters and not risk drowning. So I call them on that. Every time. As hard as possible. Because there’s too much ancestral blood in that water to play. So if Black scholars want to be Black Power smoothies rather than Integrationist Oreos because the rewards are relatively remarkable, I’ll call them smoothies. But smoothies are not examples of clear water.
Attention, writers: three years is a long time to write these books:
We need a serious media studies criticism book on the film phenomenon–how and why it happened, from both popular culture and propaganda-study perspectives, detailing Disney’s very detailed plan for worldwide mind control through eye-candy. The Disney-Sony dustup over Spidey would be an excellent coda.
We need a book about the Africanisms of the film. Here’swhere you would start.