It’s an awkward title isn’t it? Unwieldy, hefty, hard to define. At least ‘Man of Steel’ made sense, representing a fresh take on a cultural icon while emphasising the humanity in Superman.

And the film of Man of Steel (2013) reflected this, more or less. Admittedly, it was flawed, overlong, and climaxed in a colossal destruction of civilian life that didn’t sit right with fans. But it had a vision and stuck to it, and its undoubtedly impressive visualisation of Superman in action left a promising future.

And of course, it has Henry Cavill, who is just so obviously the brawniest, steamiest, smoothest and tallest drink of water on this planet (and indeed Krypton) that seeing him fly about will always be a delight, am I right? Guys?

Yet, as its terrible title sadly reflects, Batman v Superman simply holds no water. It gives me no pleasure to say this either, because I was rather excited. Even more, I had low expectations.

I was perfect blockbuster audience fodder, and even then it missed the mark. To cut straight to the point, the film is a total, total mess.

It’s an utterly shambolic handling of potentially great material that offers a viewing experience equivocal to watching someone cook your entire family’s Christmas meal with a blender.

Let’s start with the fact the film is zero fun. It is un-fun. It is the null point of entertainment.

From its bleak colour palette to its inclusion of executions and torture, the film is unforgivingly grim, and its recreation of Man of Steel’s finale uncomfortably codes the visuals of 9/11 into a blockbuster, ostensibly, for children and teens. Christopher Nolan’s Batman films had darkness, for sure, but they crucially weren’t miserable.

And this continues for an unrelenting two and half hours, in which Snyder flits, flips and deviates through a cumbersome plot about……something. I think it was definitely about something.

Shoehorned into proceedings meanwhile, with the subtlety of a surgeon operating with a mallet and cheesewire, is Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and the Justice League subplot. One such example involves Bruce Wayne’s prophetic vision of The Flash (Ezra Miller) which is so ludicrously out of place I genuinely guffawed.

In fact, whose film is it? It’s not Superman’s, it’s not really Batman’s, it claims to be Justice League’s, but it sort of ends up being all and none.

Throw into the mix some irrelevant and non sequitur dream sequences, a wafer-thin villain in Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), a hastened side plot about political committees, and what you have is an incoherent, turgid, and ultimately boring film that culminates in what seems to be a Gameboy rendered CGI-monster having a fight with our ‘heroes’ in lots of bright flashes of orange.

Meanwhile poor ol’ Henry the hunk is given nothing to do, while Ben Affleck is saddled with the dead horse of Snyder’s Batman from the outset.

Did Snyder, or even the studio (who are likely the conspiring puppeteers behind this debacle) never hear the phrase “too many cooks spoil the broth”? Or “less is more”?. The film so desperately wants to be everything, yet is so crushingly nothing.

At its heart, it boils down to the fact that the film promises Batman vs Superman. It should be simple arithmetic.

One versus the other equals fun, excitement and action. But alas, the film criminally fails to do the audience the promise offered in the title, and settles for a dead bore of a film.

At any rate, Marvel can rest easy, because Captain America: Civil War will look like Citizen Kane in comparison.

George Pundek

Film Editor

Categories: Arts Theatre

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