Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★★★★

This wasn't what I expected at all on a first viewing. There's such a tonal tightrope being walked on top of an already intense and compelling narrative that even just the opening credits sequence is an assault on your senses. As a result, my second viewing (at home this time instead of theaters) was far more engaging. Scarier, funnier and more intense, I found myself in tears before the end of the opening credits.

Although stylistically Army of the Dead has very little in common with Romero, this specific combo of jank, melodrama, blunt politics and unhinged zombie carnage Snyder captured results in a pretty Romeroey end product. It isn't perfect, the flick has a clunkiness at its core and a few too many song covers, but the characterizations, action and world are so on point I can't really complain.

I've seen a lot of criticism for the photography in this flick and I have to respectfully disagree, Army is my favorite looking studio film in a while. Snyder is acting as his own director, cinematographer and (generally) cam op on a rig he constructed himself. His new approach to shooting really feels like he's saying "you can do this too" to filmmakers as he's transitioned from the most maximal aesthetics possible with the DC films to a look basically anyone could achieve if they're creative enough. This shallow focus, colorful, handheld look reminded me of the aesthetic of my film dogs if it were expanded into fitting a $90 million dollar Blockbuster. How could I not root for this?

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