Man of Steel was a triumph for Zack Snyder and Warner Bros taking $116,000,000 on its first weekend. Henry Cavill as the caped crusader brought new energy to a role that had grown stale in the stewardship of Christopher Reeve, and which practically withered and died under Brandon Routh.
So, it comes as something of a disappointment that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice fails to hit any of the heights of its predecessor and is instead akin to a two-hour trailer for a new superhero franchise with Batman, Wonder Woman and other DC comic properties at its heart.
On the upside, the special effects are pretty good and many of the core characters from Man of Steel reprise their roles; Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Diane Lane as Superman's earthly mum, Martha, Laurence Fishburne as hard-nosed newspaper editor Perry White, Harry Lennix as Swanick – even Kevin Costner makes a cameo appearance as the Clarke's late stepdad father, Jonathan. All make a decent fist of what they are asked to do. Unfortunately, the two super characters are conspicuously sans character.
Henry Cavill, so good as Superman in Man of Steel, has so little to work with that he is unable to develop the character further. Ben Affleck, meanwhile, new to the role of Batman seems like a clumsy imposter in the superhero universe. The armoured Bat suit just does not work and looks like a costume that death metal rockers Lordi discarded ahead of their Eurovision appearance in 2006.
The storyline is not helped by some cringe-worthy dialogue and the hopeless miscasting of Jesse Eisenberg as super villain Lex Luthor. These failings, unfortunately mean this eagerly awaited blockbuster amounts to little more than the rubble of Metropolis and Gotham after the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader have done battle.
From this film, it is clear that studio executives believe that there is more money to be made from kids than from the loyal fanboy (girl) audience where Batman is concerned and has ditched the brooding adult themes of Christopher Nolan's excellent Dark Knight series in favour of something that is more easily merchandised. Marvel has made hay with The Avengers franchise and DC, playing catchup, is eager to take a slice of the pie with Justice League.
Snyder teases out the introduction of Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) throughout the film until she bursts into the action in the finale as her super alter ego Wonder Woman. It certainly raised a cheer from the audience.
Is this a film to take your grandchildren to see over the Easter Holidays? I'd have to say, yes. Though it is pitched at a new younger audience, it carries a PG certificate for scenes that small children may find distressing. So long as you enter the cinema knowing that this is going to be noisy, low on real story and high on special effects and earth-shaking fight sequences then you won't be disappointed. Well, you might, the kids won't! And in the grand scheme of occupying hours during school holidays, that has to be considered a success.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
In cinemas nationwide now.Last modified: March 29, 2016