Film review: BATMAN V SUPERMAN – DAWN OF JUSTICE (12A)

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SHOWCASE CINEMAS PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW

CAST: BEN AFFLECK, HENRY CAVILL, GAL GADOT, JESSE EISENBERG, AMY ADAMS, JEREMY IRONS, DIANE LANE, LAURENCE FISHBURNE, HOLLY HUNTER, CALLAN MULVEY, TAO OKATOTO, SCOOT McNAIRY, MICHAEL CASSIDY, JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN, JOE MORTON, MICHAEL SHANNON, KEVIN COSTNER, RAY FISHER, EZRA MILLER & JASON MOMOA

RUNNING TIME: 2 HRS 31 MINS

DIRECTOR: ZACK SNYDER

This is probably the biggest blockbuster disappointment of all-time.

What could have potentially been a comic book-turned-movie masterpiece is an exhausting cacophony of muddled ideas shoehorned into one movie – with enough material for two.

Director Zack Snyder’s ‘scattergun’ approach of clunky fast-editing and choppy direction leaves you gasping for breath (and not in a good way) – as it drowns in a never-ending whirlpool of its seemingly good intentions.

It’s not a complete disaster – how could a film based around Batman battling Superman be? – with just about enough fleeting moments of promise going into a Justice League ensemble (and before that Wonder Woman) film, that any damage could just about be rectified due to the iconic combatants at hand.

The Krypton? Ben Affleck’s Frank Miller-inspired Dark Knight – along with some of his surprisingly violent bullet-fuelled fight scenes – and the generally noteworthy cameo of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman; a fantastically jaw-dropping US senate set piece; the fanboy ‘tease’ of future Justice League members; and bizarrely a frenetic last twenty minutes that kind of works due to there being just ‘one’ coherent scenerio left for Snyder to achieve.

And that nearly adds an extra mark . . . but it’s a little too late to be forgiven.

The Kryptonite? Cavill’s interesting first outing in Man of Steel (a much better film) being watered down (which isn’t entirely his fault) – also see Amy Adams’ Lois Lane – with mediocre dialogue; the same for the woefully underused Jeremy Iron as Alfred and Laurence Fishburne as Perry White; the complete lack of comic relief (bar one line from Diane Lane’s Martha Kent); a ho-hum special effects-laden ultra villain in Doomsday (see Abomination in The Incredible Hulk); AND Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor simply doesn’t work – being more irritating than maniacal.

The general plot? After the trillions of dollars worth of damage caused by Superman’s battle with General Zod in Metropolis during the climax of his standalone 2013 movie, a growing number of people are now seeing the Man of Steel as a threat to humanity.

Despite being a beacon of hope to parts of society, Bruce Wayne and his Caped Crusader alter-ego see him as a reckless power that mustn’t be left ungoverned – and wants to seek justice for the chaos he has brought to Earth.

But while the two superhero powers get embroiled in a bitter feud, a terrifying new threat arises from Eisenberg’s Luthor – after getting his hands on Zod’s DNA – providing a foe (i.e. Doomsday) that is more powerful than both of them.

Throw in a side story with Callan Mulvey’s Russian bad guy and multiple convoluted scenarios – and bizarre dream sequences – then you’ve got a movie that goes on for nearly as long as the mind-numbing 2009 Transformers flick, Revenge of the Fallen.

Fortunately you can only be mad at the Batman, Supes’ and co for so long, and undeniably there’s enough glimmers of hope that this DC Comics product can maybe eventually reach the heights of the more-polished and finely-tuned Marvel franchise.

After this they’re definitely playing catch up . . .

Rating: 2/5 Gavin Miller