“Justice League” (2017)
If “Justice League” proves anything it’s that any pretense of the inclusion of genuine human heart in the halting but expanding collection of high-powered missteps known as the DC Extended Universe is provided solely by the presence of Diane Lane as Superman’s adoptive mom, Martha Kent.
Alone in this cinema cycle of whose entire modus operandi is predicated on the presumed excitement surrounding operatic violence and a fervent argument promoting the basic irrelevance of humans without the advantage of supernal abilities or (in the case of Batman) resources, the figure of Martha Kent stands alone as a beacon of devotion unencumbered by any motivation save as the torchbearer for the purity of traditional maternal affection. (Kevin Costner provided a well-matched partner with his portrayal of spouse Jonathan Kent, but his early exit, though occasionally referenced, presence in the franchise contributes a philosophic but strained emotional reach.)
The architects of this extended franchise were certainly aware of this in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” when they needlessly and sadistically exploited the fragility of this character in keeping with DC’s post-Frank Miller/911 era fascination with nihilism as entertainment rather than good old-fashioned adventure stories demarcating the forces of good from those of the reprehensible. One of the reasons for the failure of “B v S”, is its total rejection of the human factor. In the end, what is celebrated and what loss is mourned at the conclusion of that film are not the untold thousands who suffered as casualties of the crossfire between interplanetary interlopers, but of the singular death of a super-powered alien who, for the better part of the film, has been treated with suspicion and something indistinguishable from animus. This last minute reversal of sentiment represents the surrender of the people of modern civilization to finally unite not in a harmonious brotherhood of global understanding, but as sheepish submissives alarmingly eager to fall subordinate to unquestioning preternatural idolatry.
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