Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★★

Army of the Dead had me for the first hour. I was seriously going along with it considering that this might be Zack Snyder's best film to date. It certainly boasts his best, most restrained filmmaking since at least Watchmen, if not Dawn of the Dead (very little ramping, motivated camera movements and a serious effort to let the action sequences play out with as little cutting as possible).

Unfortunately, after about the hour mark, the movie started to really fall apart for me. There are two emotional subplots that get really suddenly tossed into the film, and both feel really stilted and flat. I get what Snyder was trying to do here, but in execution they just feel really forced and like at least one performer in each is trying too hard. There's also a lot of pacing issues in the action where things feel too drawn out - characters seem to take forever to actually die even after the point where the film makes it clear they're going to bite it, no pun intended - and the final 15 minutes feature a series of suspension-of-disbelief-breaking moments that left a bad taste in my mouth.

Also, as hinted at with the slowness of some of the action sequences, there is absolutely no reason this film needed to be two and a half hours long. There's easily at least half an hour you can take out of the film just by tightening up most of the scenes. There are even a couple dialogue exchanges that come out of nowhere, where a previous scene setting them up had clearly been cut.

I have other issues that I can't get into without spoilers, but suffice it to say that Army of the Dead was a very frustrating and disappointing viewing experience. Snyder fans will love it, though.


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