Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★★★

Move over, BvS! Army of the Dead is Zack Snyder’s most miserable movie. With a heist in a zombie-infested Vegas, zombies that can feel and care about looking cool, and fun interactions between humans that care about looking cool, you have all the ingredients of a fun time. And it all leads to utter disaster.

Army of the Dead isn’t trying to explore anything. There’s nothing beneath the surface or even emotional beats that carry on from scene to scene – it’s all self-indulgent, spectacular fun in the form of over-the-top kills and self-aware montages; what you have to do is sit back and enjoy yourself.

Snyder knows how to stage action and how to plot spectacle. The film is one long succession of pockets of coolness tied only by intentionally feeble attempts at a semblance of dimension. All that’s interested in is the zombie wearing a cape and the undead tiger, attacking to (of course) cool music. The humans’ instinct is not to run for their lives but to watch in awe, and you laugh and cheer and think to yourself “that Snyder guy invented coolness”. The puzzle pieces made out of a fun time are in place, only the heist itself left. Then, they are shoved off the table, all at once, and sink into a pool of stupidity, the depressing and hopeless kind, and you realize that what Army of the Dead needs and lacks is respect for its characters and itself. Spectacle and coolness can only take you so far when you don’t care about where they take you.

But the point is to have fun, and for the most part, I did! Army of the Dead is the kind of film that doesn’t work if you don’t take everything it gives you at face value. It wants you to turn off your brain, not try and poke holes in it. Ultimately, though, that’s exactly its undoing. That it’s all fun with no strings attached for around two hours, only to hit you with misery that, too, has to be taken at face value.

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