Sunday, 21 April 2019

Krypton factor may just prove decisive

BILLED as the most anticipated superhero match-up ever, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice roars into

BILLED as the most anticipated superhero match-up ever, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice roars into cinemas this weekend.

Without wanting to give too much away, if you’ve ever read the DC comics you’ll no doubt be aware that “Justice” in this context likely refers to the Justice League of America...

But wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves — Justice League Part One isn’t due out for another year at least.

The comics have their place, though. Batman and Superman were always equally heroes, but while Krypton’s last son posed as newspaper reporter Clark Kent to conceal his amazing powers and alien lineage, Bruce Wayne was just a regular guy — albeit an incredibly wealthy and psychologically tormented one.

It was precisely because Batman was “only human” that many comics fans could relate to him.

For the same reason, however, a battle between Batman and Superman was never really on the cards. How could it be, with Superman’s vastly superior powers?

Some 30 years ago now, comics writer and artist Frank Miller came up with an answer as part of a ground-breaking reimagining of the caped crusader.

Instead of being effectively ageless, Miller’s Batman was 55 years old, having hung up his cape 10 years earlier.

Among its many highlights, The Dark Knight Returns featured a climactic battle with Superman, in which the playing field was levelled by various ingenious means — some technological, some circumstantial.

Suffice to say, Miller’s masterpiece has provided filmmakers with a rich source of inspiration ever since — something openly acknowledged by Batman v Superman director Zack Snyder.

The film picks up where 2013’s Man of Steel — also directed by Snyder — left off. From his brooding vantage point in Gotham City, Batman notes the sudden emergence of Superman with alarm. Fearing the implications of a godlike superhero with seemingly unlimited powers, he heads to Metropolis determined to take on the boy from Krypton.

But as the two most powerful crimefighters on the planet go at it hammer and tongs, a new threat arises — and the powers of both might be needed to finally defeat it.

Lurking in the background, as is invariably the case in films involving Superman, is the villainous Lex Luthor — here played by a weaselly but youthful Jesse Eisenberg.

Gal Gadot plays the Amazonian warrior princess Wonder Woman. But where does she fit in?

Meanwhile, if acting ability is a superpower, Amy Adams’s return as Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane is most welcome.

The film is showing at Henley’s Regal Picturehouse from today (Friday).

Matthew Wilson

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