A bloated $200m special-effects fest looks set to keep superheroes on the silver screen for years to come
Well, Jesse Eisenberg looks as if he is having fun, anyway. Following in the eminent footsteps of Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey, he plays arch villain Lex Luthor in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. And he seems to be all up for it, rolling his eyes and relishing the character’s inherent badness.
It is difficult not to view this as a marketing exercise to enable DC Comics to do for Warner Bros what Marvel has done for Disney, but let’s wait and see. It will open here, in glorious 3D, on 25th March (a month before Captain America goes head to head with Iron Man in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War). It introduces a new Batman in the burly, middle-aged form of Ben Affleck, but Henry Cavil doesn’t seem to have aged an iota as Superman and Clark Kent.
A $200m sequel to Man of Steel, the aim is to use Dawn Of Justice to “accelerate a shared film universe featuring DC Comics characters” – hence the appearances of Wonder Woman (played by the Israeli actress Gal Gadot), Aquaman and Cyborg in guest roles in the final part of the story. These characters will all have separate lives – and careers – as individual superheroes and then come together, intermittently, in an Avengers fashion to take on some extra-dangerous threat to mankind.
Dawn of Justice is directed by Zack Snyder, who did Man of Steel (and there are those who wouldn’t necessarily consider that a recommendation), and the supporting cast includes Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Holly Hunter, Scoot McNairy and Jena Malone.