ANTI-CLI­MAC­TIC CLASH OF TI­TANS

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LIFESTYLE -

THERE is more at stake be­hind the scenes of Bat­man v Su­per­man: Dawn of Jus­tice than there ever is on screen, as DC Comics at­tempts to build a ‘shared uni­verse’ of su­per­hero films to com­pete with Mar­vel’s fran­chise.

Bat­man v Su­per­man is de­signed to jump-start DC’s con­nected uni­verse by bring­ing to­gether the tit­u­lar char­ac­ters, as well as Won­der Woman and other cameos, in what is ei­ther an al­ter­na­tive ap­proach de­signed to dis­tin­guish it­self from Mar­vel or a short­cut to avoid the lengthy ground­work (I’m lean­ing to­wards the lat­ter).

What it all means is that it’s dif­fi­cult to judge the movie in its own right be­cause even the di­rec­tor treats it as a pre­lude to a slate of al­ready-an­nounced movies through to 2020.

It’s also dif­fi­cult to feel that any­thing is at stake through­out the movie. Dur­ing the ini­tial ac­tion scenes the au­di­ence is wait­ing for Bat­man and Su­per­man to clash; when the two heroes do go toe-to-toe, au­di­ences are wait­ing for the true vil­lain to re­veal him- self; and even as the film builds to its fi­nale, it’s all just a pro­logue for the up­com­ing Jus­tice League movies (as ev­i­denced by the far-too-many epi­logues).

That’s not to say it’s a bad movie.

Os­ten­si­bly a se­quel to Man of Steel, it opens with the fi­nale from that film told from Bruce Wayne’s point of view.

See­ing the de­struc­tion brought down upon Me­trop­o­lis by two god- like be­ings, Wayne be­comes con­vinced that Su­per­man is too dan­ger­ous and must be stopped.

It’s an at­tempt to ad­dress the crit­i­cism that Man of Steel in­volved too much de­struc­tion with­out con­cern for the hu­man con­se­quence. It achieves that to a point, but the su­per­hero show­down and the fi­nale still rely heav­ily on di­rec­tor Zack Sny­der’s brand of ‘de­struc­tion porn’.

Henry Cav­ill builds on the brood­ing Su­per­man of Man of Steel, weigh­ing up the dif­fi­cul­ties of do­ing the right thing against the re­spon­si­bil­ity of an­swer­ing to those he wants to save. Ben Af­fleck is far from the dis­as­ter that some fans feared when his cast­ing was an­nounced, though his Bruce Wayne is su­pe­rior to his Bat­man.

Gal Gadot stands out brightly as the first big screen in­car­na­tion of Won­der Woman.

Jesse Eisen­berg also brings a manic en­ergy to the role of Lex Luthor with­out over­do­ing it.

At two-and-a-half hours long, it doesn’t drag, with the ac­tion flow­ing quite seam­lessly.

But with a film that has so much rid­ing on it, it’s not quite the home run DC Comics would have hoped for. It doesn’t have the comic touch or ca­ma­raderie of Mar­vel’s films, nor does it have the grav­i­tas of the Dark Knight movies.

Bat­man (Ben Af­fleck) and Su­per­man (Henry Cav­ill) don’t see eye-to-eye.

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