Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice” was heavily contested and detested earlier this year, but for many reasons, I cannot dismiss it without reservations. Yes, it was messy, overlong, poorly paced, deathly mature and generally too gloomy for its own good. But I don’t think a lot of people give its visual presentation enough credit. Snyder is a style-driven filmmaker, and while a lot of his stylistic choices, namely his overuse of slo-mo, have earned their fair share of ridicule, you always know when you’re watching one of his films. In an age where Marvel’s producer-focused cinematic universe often trumps stylistic flourishes (except for last weekend’s “Doctor Strange,” somewhat), Snyder is a visionary auteur, and he knows how to make a starkly beautiful slice of celluloid. Thankfully, a new video compilation offers a well-researched look at the film’s visual allegories, symmetry and parallels, while also removing most of the muddled story details in the process.
Providing nods to everything from films like Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” and Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane,” to 18th-century paintings, including Gustave Doré’s “Paradise Lost,” Alfred Stevens’ “The Bath,” Cleon Peterson’s “A Balance of Terror,” and Andrea Mantegna’s “Crucifixion,” to specific passages from Revelations, it’s an intriguing, often eye-opening look at Snyder’s direct connection to classic art, even if he’s often known to simply imitate rather than create. Snyder’s brush can be a dazzling one, and while his storytelling might be called in question more often than not, at least he still knows how to impress within the frame.