Prize fight bit of a letdown
DC’s ongoing attempts to compete with Marvel’s hugely successful cinematic universe continue with the clash between their two biggest name heroes.
For a comic book aficionado like myself, it sounded like a dream come true – helped by the fact Batman and Superman were my favourite superheroes growing up.
Does the finished product live up to expectations? At times, definitely yes – but there’s a lot wrong with Zack Snyder’s overstuffed blockbuster.
Let’s start with what does work. Just seeing Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman together is a giddy milestone in itself and the central trio are worthy of the iconic roles.
While not hitting true greatness, Ben Affleck makes for a fine Batman – and Bruce Wayne – and the striking suits and hand-to-hand combat skills and flair for technology jump straight from the comic book pages.
Henry Cavill is saddled with a moody, downbeat Superman who is targeted not just by Batman, but a society split between thinking he’s a destructive alien or God-like saviour. The Brit does the best he can with such a role – and does get his chance to shine late on.
Almost stealing the show, though, is Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. Helped by the fact this marks the heroine’s movie bow she may be, but the Fast & Furious star is a strong, exciting, crowd-pleasing presence that bodes well for her solo adventure.
Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is a world away from Gene Hackman’s take on the supervillain; he plays him as a kinetic young entrepreneur with a knack for levity dripping with evil intention.
Snyder’s trademark slo-mo and visual eye result in memorable shots and set-pieces, not least a 9/11-ish opening sequence that sees Man of Steel’s climactic battle from Bruce Wayne’s perspective, and the score by Junkie XL and Hans Zimmer is suitably epic.
Plenty going for it, then, but Snyder and the studio heads were too ambitious in their efforts to cram so much into one film. Not only are we introduced to a new Batman and Wonder Woman, but there’s the progression of Superman’s story and laying down markers for the two-part Justice League movie.
Chris Terrio (Argo) and David S Goyer (The Dark Knight) do their best with the script but only experts in all things DC will keep up with some of the goings-on, and controversial changes to Batman’s character felt out of place.
They’re in keeping, though, with the dark tone that moves things in a more adult direction than found in Marvel’s movies; not sure what kids will make of the jump scares, nightmarish visions and human bombs.
It’s over an hour-and-ahalf until the titular scrap takes place and, like the film itself, it’s a bit of a letdown.
What a shame the emotional kick and heroism in the CGI-heavybut-thrilling finale take so long to show up.
Head-to-head Cavill and Affleck’s heroes prepare for battle