With Hollywood studios no longer satisfied with single superhero-led films, the trend is for a melange of various comic book favourites. Disney has spent hundreds of millions of dollars by making the Marvel characters join forces (see The Avengers and Captain America: Civil War), and now Warner Bros. is doing the same with its DC assets.
The result – Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. The long title is all the hint you need. Running at 2 hours 31 minutes, BvS is bigger and brasher but certainly not better than its predecessors.
Zack Snyder, of 300 and Sucker Punch fame, picks up where his 2013 hit Man of Steel left off, this time with the addition of brooding Bruce Wayne in Gotham City. Since the plot is so bloated, the story is best described as this: evil business prodigy taps into fears about vigilante superheroes, pits Batman against Superman, but then an apparently indestructible alien emerges pushing Batman and Superman together to save mankind. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman weaves in and out, while Lois Lane (played again by Amy Adams) also turns up, usually in life-threatening situations.
The two leads, Henry Cavill (returning as Superman) and Ben Affleck (in the unfortunate position of following Christian Bale’s Batman legacy), are ridiculously pumped and muscular that Beefcake v Beefcake would be a more appropriate title. After all neither do very much other than smash, punch and grunt. Yet on top of Affleck’s hefty frame is a new Batsuit which resembles an armoured truck, making you wonder how he’s able to shuffle forwards let alone sprint after villains.
The boring dialogue, full of clunky biblical references, and joyless tone don’t help either. Only Jessie Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor offers some relief with his manic energy and bold commitment to being a cartoonish megalomaniac.
Because subtlety obviously wasn’t a priority, audiences will spot the glaring product placements. In terms of brands, Aston Martin and Turkish Airlines feature prominently. But Warner Bros. makes sure to include ‘teasers’ for its upcoming DC Entertainment releases, including Wonder Woman’s solo film, Aquaman and The Flash. Brace yourself!
Batman V Superman is out in cinemas now.